We have no cynicism

Kathleen Parker, writing about diplomatic  fallout from the Wikileak documents, includes a poignant reaction:

Writing for the center-right Le Figaro, French journalist Renaud Girard said: “What is most fascinating is that we see no cynicism in U.S. diplomacy. They really believe in human rights in Africa and China and Russia and Asia. They really believe in democracy and human rights.”

Yes, we really do.

If Americans are guilty of anything, he said, it is being a little naive. Let’s plead guilty as charged and get on with it.

via Kathleen Parker – Can we become an America WikiLeaks can’t assail?.

I guess the rest of the world doesn’t really believe in all that stuff about democracy and human rights like we do.  So in our idealism we naively try to help the world and just get beaten around for our trouble.  I know that critics of America ascribe sinister motives to our policies–they are just in Iraq for the oil, etc.–but I think our real problem has been our good intentions, which just don’t work out the way our optimistic national character expects them to.

And yet I think it’s good not to be cynical about democracy, freedom, human rights, etc.  Is there a way to keep our ideals without being naive?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I guess the rest of the world doesn’t really believe in all that stuff about democracy and human rights like we do.”

    Assuming that is the case, what do they believe in?

    The obvious answer is self interest. It is normal and natural. Due to the dominance of American influence they may use the language of freedom and human rights, but isn’t their real motive. Maybe that is why they suppose that underneath our proclamations, we are really just as self interested. It is plausible anyway.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I guess the rest of the world doesn’t really believe in all that stuff about democracy and human rights like we do.”

    Assuming that is the case, what do they believe in?

    The obvious answer is self interest. It is normal and natural. Due to the dominance of American influence they may use the language of freedom and human rights, but isn’t their real motive. Maybe that is why they suppose that underneath our proclamations, we are really just as self interested. It is plausible anyway.

  • Booklover

    Dear Dr. Veith,

    Check the spelling in your title. (I can only say this because you almost never make spelling errors.) :-)

  • Booklover

    Dear Dr. Veith,

    Check the spelling in your title. (I can only say this because you almost never make spelling errors.) :-)

  • Cincinnatus

    We’d be better off if we didn’t.

  • Cincinnatus

    We’d be better off if we didn’t.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Yes there is, but it requires one to actually know what their ideals are in the first place, and why they hold them. It may also require people to read history and see what other people’s ideals are and why. And that means not just our history, or the bum rush jobs someone places on Wikipedia (Sorry tODD, just doesn’t cut it for understanding the world).
    Then it also means realizing that it is going to take education, and dilligence and lots of it. You aren’t going to turn Iraq into a democracy that values individual freedoms, and freedom of religion in six months. It’s futile putting a time line on it.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Yes there is, but it requires one to actually know what their ideals are in the first place, and why they hold them. It may also require people to read history and see what other people’s ideals are and why. And that means not just our history, or the bum rush jobs someone places on Wikipedia (Sorry tODD, just doesn’t cut it for understanding the world).
    Then it also means realizing that it is going to take education, and dilligence and lots of it. You aren’t going to turn Iraq into a democracy that values individual freedoms, and freedom of religion in six months. It’s futile putting a time line on it.

  • John C

    “The rest of the world doesn’t really believe in all that stuff about democracy and human rights like we do.”

    It is unclear what the US thinks of freedom, democracy and human rights. In the past, the US has supported some very brutal and murderous dictatorships.
    We all have an interest in human rights and democracy. However not everyone embraces the American model.
    The road to hell is paved…………………………..

  • John C

    “The rest of the world doesn’t really believe in all that stuff about democracy and human rights like we do.”

    It is unclear what the US thinks of freedom, democracy and human rights. In the past, the US has supported some very brutal and murderous dictatorships.
    We all have an interest in human rights and democracy. However not everyone embraces the American model.
    The road to hell is paved…………………………..

  • Porcell

    Kathleen Parker is correct that in many we have become a weak, flabby nation, except for the military. Just now, as she points out, the world knows that we have a weak president and a Congress that is hemorrhaging debt and apparently unable to do any thing about it.Those who envy and fear America’s past great strength are delighted with this parlous state of affairs.

    However, I disagree that we have to cave to some sort of digital regime that allows a bunch of nerds to publish state secrets. A really strong nation would find a way to put a stop by this by updating the 1917 espionage law.

  • Porcell

    Kathleen Parker is correct that in many we have become a weak, flabby nation, except for the military. Just now, as she points out, the world knows that we have a weak president and a Congress that is hemorrhaging debt and apparently unable to do any thing about it.Those who envy and fear America’s past great strength are delighted with this parlous state of affairs.

    However, I disagree that we have to cave to some sort of digital regime that allows a bunch of nerds to publish state secrets. A really strong nation would find a way to put a stop by this by updating the 1917 espionage law.

  • DonS

    We had a long discussion about this issue on another thread last week, in the context of empire. I was insistent on a literal definition of the term because I wanted to make the point that the U.S. is rather unique among nations, at least those having had a status as a world power, in that it does not seek to subjugate other nations or expand its territory. It was founded on the ideal of human rights and liberty, and that ideal is its major export, and an important purpose for its diplomacy and foreign policy.

    I got a lot of resistance, largely because of cynicism that the U.S.’s stated policies are real. I believe they are, and I think we’ve proven so over the years, particularly during and after WWII. However, I understand the cynicism, because there have been a number of “overzealous” incidents over the years where good motivations were subsumed by bad acts, as John C @ 5 alludes to above.

    I am glad that the U.S. stands for individual rights and liberty, and is a unique place where your societal standing is no significant impediment to your personal achievement. May that ever be so, whether or not the rest of the world appreciates it, and may we learn to measure our actions, not giving way to relativistic “end justifies means” thinking. Furthermore, while I understand those of other nations doubting our good intentions, I hope for a day where American citizens aren’t so cynical. We should be proud of our history and the wisdom and insight of our Founding Fathers.

  • DonS

    We had a long discussion about this issue on another thread last week, in the context of empire. I was insistent on a literal definition of the term because I wanted to make the point that the U.S. is rather unique among nations, at least those having had a status as a world power, in that it does not seek to subjugate other nations or expand its territory. It was founded on the ideal of human rights and liberty, and that ideal is its major export, and an important purpose for its diplomacy and foreign policy.

    I got a lot of resistance, largely because of cynicism that the U.S.’s stated policies are real. I believe they are, and I think we’ve proven so over the years, particularly during and after WWII. However, I understand the cynicism, because there have been a number of “overzealous” incidents over the years where good motivations were subsumed by bad acts, as John C @ 5 alludes to above.

    I am glad that the U.S. stands for individual rights and liberty, and is a unique place where your societal standing is no significant impediment to your personal achievement. May that ever be so, whether or not the rest of the world appreciates it, and may we learn to measure our actions, not giving way to relativistic “end justifies means” thinking. Furthermore, while I understand those of other nations doubting our good intentions, I hope for a day where American citizens aren’t so cynical. We should be proud of our history and the wisdom and insight of our Founding Fathers.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “I think our real problem has been our good intentions”.

    So, when America applies for a job, and we get asked what our greatest weakness is, our strategy should be to say “We care too much”?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “I think our real problem has been our good intentions”.

    So, when America applies for a job, and we get asked what our greatest weakness is, our strategy should be to say “We care too much”?

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell@6: Egads, man! A revisitation and strengthening of the 1917 Espionage Law? Are you aware of the implications and history of that law? That piece of reactionary, statist nonsense was a travesty–and it’s supported by obsolete/problematic/quasi-racist case law and legislation to boot!

    Grube@8: Race-baiting much? DonS is misguided, but no need to be equally obtuse.

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell@6: Egads, man! A revisitation and strengthening of the 1917 Espionage Law? Are you aware of the implications and history of that law? That piece of reactionary, statist nonsense was a travesty–and it’s supported by obsolete/problematic/quasi-racist case law and legislation to boot!

    Grube@8: Race-baiting much? DonS is misguided, but no need to be equally obtuse.

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus: That piece of reactionary, statist nonsense [the 1917 espionage law] was a travesty–and it’s supported by obsolete/problematic/quasi-racist case law and legislation to boot!

    Jeffrey Smith, attorney for the Washington Post:

    Third, we should modernize the espionage statutes, the law under which leaks are prosecuted. Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) have rightly begun to look at them. The espionage laws date to World War I, and although they have served us well, the WikiLeaks case calls into serious question whether they are adequate to deal with the modern digital world.

    The government has every right to protect state secrets and to prosecute those who publish them. The Congress provides a decent check and balance on this.

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus: That piece of reactionary, statist nonsense [the 1917 espionage law] was a travesty–and it’s supported by obsolete/problematic/quasi-racist case law and legislation to boot!

    Jeffrey Smith, attorney for the Washington Post:

    Third, we should modernize the espionage statutes, the law under which leaks are prosecuted. Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) have rightly begun to look at them. The espionage laws date to World War I, and although they have served us well, the WikiLeaks case calls into serious question whether they are adequate to deal with the modern digital world.

    The government has every right to protect state secrets and to prosecute those who publish them. The Congress provides a decent check and balance on this.

  • Porcell

    Todd: So, when America applies for a job, and we get asked what our greatest weakness is, our strategy should be to say “We care too much”?

    That’s not what Veith meant. He was seconding the Figaro’s writer’s point that America is not cynical in its efforts to promote human rights around the world. From real-politic necessity, we have allied with some autocratic nations, though that doesn’t diminish the sincerity of our underlying efforts, the whining of liberals and isolationists, who despise “Amerikan” international efforts, to the contrary notwithstanding.

  • Porcell

    Todd: So, when America applies for a job, and we get asked what our greatest weakness is, our strategy should be to say “We care too much”?

    That’s not what Veith meant. He was seconding the Figaro’s writer’s point that America is not cynical in its efforts to promote human rights around the world. From real-politic necessity, we have allied with some autocratic nations, though that doesn’t diminish the sincerity of our underlying efforts, the whining of liberals and isolationists, who despise “Amerikan” international efforts, to the contrary notwithstanding.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ” But someday, perhaps, you’ll talk to a black or brown man, an Asian American, a woman, someone without a backyard pool, someone whose poverty and illness caused them to be denied health care, or an Iraqi Christian. Listen to them.”

    Those folks are free to build their own awesome societies. They are free to establish just governments and efficient markets, and universities and research labs, and hospitals and charities and…

    No one is denying them anything.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ” But someday, perhaps, you’ll talk to a black or brown man, an Asian American, a woman, someone without a backyard pool, someone whose poverty and illness caused them to be denied health care, or an Iraqi Christian. Listen to them.”

    Those folks are free to build their own awesome societies. They are free to establish just governments and efficient markets, and universities and research labs, and hospitals and charities and…

    No one is denying them anything.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Those who believe in American Exceptionalism need to get out more, to visit other countries and listen to their people, and experience the aspects of how they live. ”
    Maybe those who don’t believe need to get out more, like visiting 3rd world slums. Oh, wait, they do. It is called service/medical missions.

    “They may see: smaller living spaces, fewer appliances, better transportation systems, great food, efficient medical care, more leisure time, interesting culture, etc. Or they may not.”
    Let me guess, in Europe and East Asia it is arguably better and everywhere else it’s not.

    “Some of these features will please the visitor, some will not. But the idea of any Exceptionalism, if one’s eyes and ears are open, would probably be shattered.”
    Or the reverse. Those who don’t believe, will after seeing other places.

    “One can also find a more realistic view of America by looking at statistics which will show America lagging in many area — health care, maternal morbidity, imprisonment, suicides, domestic surveillance, etc. — but it’s not as much fun as traveling to a different place.”
    I agree. Dept of Justice and US Census data tables are big eye openers as to the nature of our domestic issues.

    “But as for DonS, I’m not race-baiting;”
    Sure you are.

    “I merely want to point out that it’s easy to believe in American Exceptionalism if you, by virture of race and income, haven’t struggled with American Failure.”
    What American failure? Pick any ethnic group and on average you will find they live longer, make more money, have a higher standard of living, more access to health care and education in the US than in their homelands.

    “How could anyone remotely familiar with, say, the treatment of blacks and Indians in this country think that America is Exceptional? Perhaps we’re not as bad as some other countries, granted.”
    How about better than all the others? Name one that is better.

    “But Exceptionalists – like the Pharisee in Matt 18 – are saying America is, well, Better than anyone else.”
    Because we are. However we aren’t perfect. What other culture is as critical of itself as the US?

    “And by implication, Americans are thus Better than anyone else. It’s a ridiculous form of narcissism passing as patriotism.”
    No, it is objective reality. Even so, we criticize ourselves and seek improvement.
    So, please, tell us a culture that is more self critical.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Those who believe in American Exceptionalism need to get out more, to visit other countries and listen to their people, and experience the aspects of how they live. ”
    Maybe those who don’t believe need to get out more, like visiting 3rd world slums. Oh, wait, they do. It is called service/medical missions.

    “They may see: smaller living spaces, fewer appliances, better transportation systems, great food, efficient medical care, more leisure time, interesting culture, etc. Or they may not.”
    Let me guess, in Europe and East Asia it is arguably better and everywhere else it’s not.

    “Some of these features will please the visitor, some will not. But the idea of any Exceptionalism, if one’s eyes and ears are open, would probably be shattered.”
    Or the reverse. Those who don’t believe, will after seeing other places.

    “One can also find a more realistic view of America by looking at statistics which will show America lagging in many area — health care, maternal morbidity, imprisonment, suicides, domestic surveillance, etc. — but it’s not as much fun as traveling to a different place.”
    I agree. Dept of Justice and US Census data tables are big eye openers as to the nature of our domestic issues.

    “But as for DonS, I’m not race-baiting;”
    Sure you are.

    “I merely want to point out that it’s easy to believe in American Exceptionalism if you, by virture of race and income, haven’t struggled with American Failure.”
    What American failure? Pick any ethnic group and on average you will find they live longer, make more money, have a higher standard of living, more access to health care and education in the US than in their homelands.

    “How could anyone remotely familiar with, say, the treatment of blacks and Indians in this country think that America is Exceptional? Perhaps we’re not as bad as some other countries, granted.”
    How about better than all the others? Name one that is better.

    “But Exceptionalists – like the Pharisee in Matt 18 – are saying America is, well, Better than anyone else.”
    Because we are. However we aren’t perfect. What other culture is as critical of itself as the US?

    “And by implication, Americans are thus Better than anyone else. It’s a ridiculous form of narcissism passing as patriotism.”
    No, it is objective reality. Even so, we criticize ourselves and seek improvement.
    So, please, tell us a culture that is more self critical.

  • Porcell

    sg, Bravo at 15.

  • Porcell

    sg, Bravo at 15.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg @ 15:

    “No, it is objective reality. ”

    No people can refer or discuss themselves completely objectively.

    For instance, you are judging other nations according to the American Ideal. Thus they fall short. But others , who do not hold to the same Ideal, will judge themselves, and others, including the US, differently.

    Which brings me to another point. Much has been said here on the fact that America is built around an ideal. I think it would be more accurate to say that America is more openly subjected to the judgement of its own Ideal.

    Although I’d be hard-pressed to formulate one, I think one could also speak of the English Ideal, the French Ideal, the Russian Ideal etc etc. There certainly was an Afrikaner Ideal in old South Africa, and there is some similarity, as the Afrikaner was an immigrant people from many nations, “melted together” as one.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg @ 15:

    “No, it is objective reality. ”

    No people can refer or discuss themselves completely objectively.

    For instance, you are judging other nations according to the American Ideal. Thus they fall short. But others , who do not hold to the same Ideal, will judge themselves, and others, including the US, differently.

    Which brings me to another point. Much has been said here on the fact that America is built around an ideal. I think it would be more accurate to say that America is more openly subjected to the judgement of its own Ideal.

    Although I’d be hard-pressed to formulate one, I think one could also speak of the English Ideal, the French Ideal, the Russian Ideal etc etc. There certainly was an Afrikaner Ideal in old South Africa, and there is some similarity, as the Afrikaner was an immigrant people from many nations, “melted together” as one.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Louis, I basically agree with you. Perhaps, I should have said objective criteria. What among those criteria a culture chooses to value is, as you say, subjective. I would argue that the default is self interest. That is the natural healthy desire to preserve one’s own group and identity. The epitome of this natural disposition is Japan, in my opinion.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Louis, I basically agree with you. Perhaps, I should have said objective criteria. What among those criteria a culture chooses to value is, as you say, subjective. I would argue that the default is self interest. That is the natural healthy desire to preserve one’s own group and identity. The epitome of this natural disposition is Japan, in my opinion.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg: Exactly. That is why I am wary of comparisons (not that I don’t occasionaly indulge :) ), but also why I reject “Calvinist politics, culture and sociology” (like those terms?), ie politics etc. that argue for special election, or predetermined glory and all that.

    This is part of the very foundation my rejection of “City-on-a-Hill-American-Exceptionalism”. Unfortunately, for the less-than-sophisticated thinker, that translates as “You just hate us, you nasty Commie-Nazi-Imperialist-liberal-arugula-eating scum!” :)

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg: Exactly. That is why I am wary of comparisons (not that I don’t occasionaly indulge :) ), but also why I reject “Calvinist politics, culture and sociology” (like those terms?), ie politics etc. that argue for special election, or predetermined glory and all that.

    This is part of the very foundation my rejection of “City-on-a-Hill-American-Exceptionalism”. Unfortunately, for the less-than-sophisticated thinker, that translates as “You just hate us, you nasty Commie-Nazi-Imperialist-liberal-arugula-eating scum!” :)

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    If the nation lacks cynicism, I’ve got some to share! (here to help…..)

    But seriously, the point is not to reject the principle of American exceptionalism outright, but rather to refine it to the things we….actually excel at. Specifically, limited government, free markets, and a historic rejection of the trappings of empire.

    Notably, of course, these exceptions to world patterns are regrettably fading, but a cynic like me can still hope.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    If the nation lacks cynicism, I’ve got some to share! (here to help…..)

    But seriously, the point is not to reject the principle of American exceptionalism outright, but rather to refine it to the things we….actually excel at. Specifically, limited government, free markets, and a historic rejection of the trappings of empire.

    Notably, of course, these exceptions to world patterns are regrettably fading, but a cynic like me can still hope.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Yeah, Louis, which is why I bring up the culture of self examination, self criticism. I think that other cultures would benefit from some honest self examination. I also think that the Commie-arugula-eating-liberal-Imperialist-Nazi scum ( Caelins ) would benefit from some self examination in regards to their policies as well. The thing is no one, not the third world leaders and not even well-meaning Caelins, is going to improve without some honest self examination. Conservatives/reactionaries aren’t the only ones with logs in their eyes. :-)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Yeah, Louis, which is why I bring up the culture of self examination, self criticism. I think that other cultures would benefit from some honest self examination. I also think that the Commie-arugula-eating-liberal-Imperialist-Nazi scum ( Caelins ) would benefit from some self examination in regards to their policies as well. The thing is no one, not the third world leaders and not even well-meaning Caelins, is going to improve without some honest self examination. Conservatives/reactionaries aren’t the only ones with logs in their eyes. :-)

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg@21 – Absolutely! Logs are everywhere! If only we could see them.. :) :)

    As for self-examination, having lived in SA till the end of 2006, I saw more of that (especially after 1994) than the stomach can stand. It is an Afrikaner disease – endless self-examination, self-identification, etc etc.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg@21 – Absolutely! Logs are everywhere! If only we could see them.. :) :)

    As for self-examination, having lived in SA till the end of 2006, I saw more of that (especially after 1994) than the stomach can stand. It is an Afrikaner disease – endless self-examination, self-identification, etc etc.

  • DonS

    Grube @ 8: I don’t understand a comment like this. It’s hard to argue that you are not race-baiting when you go right to the “rich, white men” label. Is it about the pool? Is your anger based on the fact that “rich, white men” seem to have more stuff? Clearly, the U.S. Constitution applies equally to all men and women, at least since the U.S. Civil War and Women’s Suffrage. So, what is your issue?

    You seem to be confusing the ideal with the execution. Should we throw out the ideal because the execution hasn’t been flawless? Or should we applaud and support the ideal, and work within the system to better apply it? Since you seem to think the U.S. is a failure, please identify the model of governance you prefer, and the country or countries which have implemented that model to your satisfaction. In other words, how about making your criticism at least a tad constructive?

  • DonS

    Grube @ 8: I don’t understand a comment like this. It’s hard to argue that you are not race-baiting when you go right to the “rich, white men” label. Is it about the pool? Is your anger based on the fact that “rich, white men” seem to have more stuff? Clearly, the U.S. Constitution applies equally to all men and women, at least since the U.S. Civil War and Women’s Suffrage. So, what is your issue?

    You seem to be confusing the ideal with the execution. Should we throw out the ideal because the execution hasn’t been flawless? Or should we applaud and support the ideal, and work within the system to better apply it? Since you seem to think the U.S. is a failure, please identify the model of governance you prefer, and the country or countries which have implemented that model to your satisfaction. In other words, how about making your criticism at least a tad constructive?

  • DonS

    Grube @ 11: “But Exceptionalists – like the Pharisee in Matt 18 – are saying America is, well, Better than anyone else. And by implication, Americans are thus Better than anyone else. It’s a ridiculous form of narcissism passing as patriotism.”

    Ahhh, the root of the matter. You have a completely misguided view of American Exceptionalism. “Exceptional” does not mean “superior” or “better”. Strictly speaking, at least in this context, it means “unusual”, “unique”, or “uncommon”. Now, I understand that there are those Americans who, in their patriotic fervor, sometimes confuse these definitions themselves. But that does not make it wrong to apply the term. It merely makes it wrong to WRONGLY apply the term.

    What is uncommon, or exceptional, about the U.S. is its clear and distinctive mission statement, i.e. the U.S. Constitution, which establishes the governing ideal as being the rights and dignity of the individual, paramount to those of the state and to be protected by the state. For the most powerful nation in the history of the world to be governed on those principles makes this a truly unique time in history.

    This is not something that should abet American arrogance. Quite the contrary. It should, rather, speak to American responsibility to ensure that our citizens are properly educated as to this ideal and the importance of upholding it far above the power of the state. It is both a foreign policy concern and a domestic policy concern. May we never trade in our ideal for the pottage of government security, which always comes with diminished individual liberty and an emphasis on the “collective good”.

  • DonS

    Grube @ 11: “But Exceptionalists – like the Pharisee in Matt 18 – are saying America is, well, Better than anyone else. And by implication, Americans are thus Better than anyone else. It’s a ridiculous form of narcissism passing as patriotism.”

    Ahhh, the root of the matter. You have a completely misguided view of American Exceptionalism. “Exceptional” does not mean “superior” or “better”. Strictly speaking, at least in this context, it means “unusual”, “unique”, or “uncommon”. Now, I understand that there are those Americans who, in their patriotic fervor, sometimes confuse these definitions themselves. But that does not make it wrong to apply the term. It merely makes it wrong to WRONGLY apply the term.

    What is uncommon, or exceptional, about the U.S. is its clear and distinctive mission statement, i.e. the U.S. Constitution, which establishes the governing ideal as being the rights and dignity of the individual, paramount to those of the state and to be protected by the state. For the most powerful nation in the history of the world to be governed on those principles makes this a truly unique time in history.

    This is not something that should abet American arrogance. Quite the contrary. It should, rather, speak to American responsibility to ensure that our citizens are properly educated as to this ideal and the importance of upholding it far above the power of the state. It is both a foreign policy concern and a domestic policy concern. May we never trade in our ideal for the pottage of government security, which always comes with diminished individual liberty and an emphasis on the “collective good”.

  • DonS

    sg @ 15: Well said. I would clarify that when you say we are better than others, you mean our society, , rather than we as people, largely because of the ideal it is based upon. I agree with that, and largely for the same reason — we are self-critical and continually seeking to improve our execution of the ideal, which is to value the rights and dignity of the individual above the rights of the collective. Our Constitution, properly understood and enforced, is, quite frankly, a superior guideline for fair governance.

  • DonS

    sg @ 15: Well said. I would clarify that when you say we are better than others, you mean our society, , rather than we as people, largely because of the ideal it is based upon. I agree with that, and largely for the same reason — we are self-critical and continually seeking to improve our execution of the ideal, which is to value the rights and dignity of the individual above the rights of the collective. Our Constitution, properly understood and enforced, is, quite frankly, a superior guideline for fair governance.

  • SKPeterson

    I think one aspect of the issue is that we are fallen, sinful men, yet we cling to an ideal, or set of ideals that define who we are. However, being sinful, we often fall short, we disagree over the means and methods by which our ideals are realized.

    Regarding self-examination by a nation, I think our European friends in the wake of WWI tried this and found themselves wanting and questioning their ideals. Think of the Germans. A nation that produced the cultural treasures of Bach and Goethe produced the horrors of Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen. I would argue that the German people turned away from the impulses and ideals that created the conditions for Bach, Goethe and others in the name of defending and extending those ideas. They sold their birthright for a bowl of pottage. Now, the other side of human nature has kicked in with much of Europe – schadenfreude and the desire for others to be similarly debased.

  • SKPeterson

    I think one aspect of the issue is that we are fallen, sinful men, yet we cling to an ideal, or set of ideals that define who we are. However, being sinful, we often fall short, we disagree over the means and methods by which our ideals are realized.

    Regarding self-examination by a nation, I think our European friends in the wake of WWI tried this and found themselves wanting and questioning their ideals. Think of the Germans. A nation that produced the cultural treasures of Bach and Goethe produced the horrors of Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen. I would argue that the German people turned away from the impulses and ideals that created the conditions for Bach, Goethe and others in the name of defending and extending those ideas. They sold their birthright for a bowl of pottage. Now, the other side of human nature has kicked in with much of Europe – schadenfreude and the desire for others to be similarly debased.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    SKP @ 26 – absolutely. I think the Germans led, and probably still lead, the world in self-examination.

    There is the recent interview I read about an American-Jewish author, from NYC, who grew up in a very anti-German household (they lost lots of family in the holocaust), who eventually went to Germany, and was surprised at the depth of self-analysis, the intelectualism, and the reception of his work.

    Read it here: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,716335,00.html

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    SKP @ 26 – absolutely. I think the Germans led, and probably still lead, the world in self-examination.

    There is the recent interview I read about an American-Jewish author, from NYC, who grew up in a very anti-German household (they lost lots of family in the holocaust), who eventually went to Germany, and was surprised at the depth of self-analysis, the intelectualism, and the reception of his work.

    Read it here: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,716335,00.html

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I would clarify that when you say we are better than others, you mean our society, , rather than we as people, largely because of the ideal it is based upon.”

    Yes, of course.

    ” I agree with that, and largely for the same reason — we are self-critical and continually seeking to improve our execution of the ideal, which is to value the rights and dignity of the individual above the rights of the collective.”

    Right, but what is the inspiration for such and ideal? I would say it is our religion, to love and serve our neighbor and submission to the righteous authority of God.

    “Our Constitution, properly understood and enforced, is, quite frankly, a superior guideline for fair governance.”

    And who would write such a thing? Folks thoroughly indoctrinated by Christian ethics.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I would clarify that when you say we are better than others, you mean our society, , rather than we as people, largely because of the ideal it is based upon.”

    Yes, of course.

    ” I agree with that, and largely for the same reason — we are self-critical and continually seeking to improve our execution of the ideal, which is to value the rights and dignity of the individual above the rights of the collective.”

    Right, but what is the inspiration for such and ideal? I would say it is our religion, to love and serve our neighbor and submission to the righteous authority of God.

    “Our Constitution, properly understood and enforced, is, quite frankly, a superior guideline for fair governance.”

    And who would write such a thing? Folks thoroughly indoctrinated by Christian ethics.

  • Paul Haynes

    Well, well, well!
    No-one cares as much about democracy and human rights as much as the United States!
    I must tell my fellow Australians, not to mention New Zealanders and Brits.
    Unlike you lot we didn’t wait until we were directly attacked by the Japanese – the Aussies could see our friends were under attack and we rallied to the cause, even if it was thousands of miles away.
    And Americans wonder why they provoke such disgust around the world.
    Grow up.

  • Paul Haynes

    Well, well, well!
    No-one cares as much about democracy and human rights as much as the United States!
    I must tell my fellow Australians, not to mention New Zealanders and Brits.
    Unlike you lot we didn’t wait until we were directly attacked by the Japanese – the Aussies could see our friends were under attack and we rallied to the cause, even if it was thousands of miles away.
    And Americans wonder why they provoke such disgust around the world.
    Grow up.

  • Porcell

    Actually, America, from the time the Puritans landed in Boston, was internationally minded. The Puritans were out to prove to England that Protestant culture could build, as it were a city on a hill with a religious and democratic foundation. Later, in a time of relative weakness in relation to European powers, Washington and others warned of entangling alliances, though from the time of Secretary od State John Quincy Adams America played a strong international role.

    The most cogent recent book on the subject is Robert Kagan’s Dangerous Nation: America’s Foreign Policy from Its Earliest Days to the Dawn of the Twentieth Century. Kagan stresses the idealism of American policy tempered with necessary realism. He would agree with Figaro writer, Renaud Girard, that America’s emphasis, for all its faults, on democracy and hunan rights is sincere and far from cynical. The simple fact is that in WW II and the Cold War America saved Europe from fascism and communism, just as recently we liberated Iraq from a cruel dictator.

  • Porcell

    Actually, America, from the time the Puritans landed in Boston, was internationally minded. The Puritans were out to prove to England that Protestant culture could build, as it were a city on a hill with a religious and democratic foundation. Later, in a time of relative weakness in relation to European powers, Washington and others warned of entangling alliances, though from the time of Secretary od State John Quincy Adams America played a strong international role.

    The most cogent recent book on the subject is Robert Kagan’s Dangerous Nation: America’s Foreign Policy from Its Earliest Days to the Dawn of the Twentieth Century. Kagan stresses the idealism of American policy tempered with necessary realism. He would agree with Figaro writer, Renaud Girard, that America’s emphasis, for all its faults, on democracy and hunan rights is sincere and far from cynical. The simple fact is that in WW II and the Cold War America saved Europe from fascism and communism, just as recently we liberated Iraq from a cruel dictator.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Unlike you lot we didn’t wait until we were directly attacked by the Japanese – the Aussies could see our friends were under attack and we rallied to the cause, even if it was thousands of miles away.”

    Unlike us, their head of state is the UK sovereign.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Unlike you lot we didn’t wait until we were directly attacked by the Japanese – the Aussies could see our friends were under attack and we rallied to the cause, even if it was thousands of miles away.”

    Unlike us, their head of state is the UK sovereign.

  • DonS

    sg @ 28 & 31: I knew you knew. But we have a lot of extremely sensitive souls on this thread who look for every opportunity to take the words of Americans and cast them in the worst possible lot. Look at our friend, Paul @ 29 as evidence of this. @ 31, very well said :)

  • DonS

    sg @ 28 & 31: I knew you knew. But we have a lot of extremely sensitive souls on this thread who look for every opportunity to take the words of Americans and cast them in the worst possible lot. Look at our friend, Paul @ 29 as evidence of this. @ 31, very well said :)

  • DonS

    “lot” should be “light” @ 32.

  • DonS

    “lot” should be “light” @ 32.

  • DonS

    Paul @ 29: No one is saying that other countries today don’t care about human rights. We are saying that the U.S. was the first major power to be founded on the principle of human rights. So it’s “cared”, not “cares”. Wasn’t Australia a prison colony at the time of the U.S. Constitution? Of the UK? Enough said. It is gratifying, however, that so many western countries have adopted many of these principles of individual rights in ensuing years.

    And, it seems as if Australians would be speaking Japanese but for the interdiction of the U.S. fleet in the Coral Sea in May 1942. Something to keep in mind when you determine to bad mouth the U.S.

  • DonS

    Paul @ 29: No one is saying that other countries today don’t care about human rights. We are saying that the U.S. was the first major power to be founded on the principle of human rights. So it’s “cared”, not “cares”. Wasn’t Australia a prison colony at the time of the U.S. Constitution? Of the UK? Enough said. It is gratifying, however, that so many western countries have adopted many of these principles of individual rights in ensuing years.

    And, it seems as if Australians would be speaking Japanese but for the interdiction of the U.S. fleet in the Coral Sea in May 1942. Something to keep in mind when you determine to bad mouth the U.S.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg@31: Oh, yes, Her Majesty is really horrible oppressor, she even has her own jumbo jet in which she flies around, and the royalty has this huge securtiy team around them constantly, and ..

    Oh wait. That’s your president. sorry ;)

    Actually, amongst many reasons to have a royalty, I maintain that humanity has this natural need to look up at a sovereign. And I prefer the House of Windsor to the Kennedy’s, or Prince William to Justin Bieber, or Prince Charles to Donald Trump, or Kate to Paris…. :) :)

    In all seriousness though, the WWII thing was dealt with on that other thread. And Paul, I’m hurt that you didn’t mention Canada and SA……

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg@31: Oh, yes, Her Majesty is really horrible oppressor, she even has her own jumbo jet in which she flies around, and the royalty has this huge securtiy team around them constantly, and ..

    Oh wait. That’s your president. sorry ;)

    Actually, amongst many reasons to have a royalty, I maintain that humanity has this natural need to look up at a sovereign. And I prefer the House of Windsor to the Kennedy’s, or Prince William to Justin Bieber, or Prince Charles to Donald Trump, or Kate to Paris…. :) :)

    In all seriousness though, the WWII thing was dealt with on that other thread. And Paul, I’m hurt that you didn’t mention Canada and SA……

  • Cincinnatus

    A lot of nonsense is going on in this thread right now, but I’d like to chime in on this one: the idea that mankind need a sovereign to look up to is Hobbesian hogwash.

  • Cincinnatus

    A lot of nonsense is going on in this thread right now, but I’d like to chime in on this one: the idea that mankind need a sovereign to look up to is Hobbesian hogwash.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The monarch was originally sort of elected by the chieftains. He was one of their own. He was the leader of the nation. Of course they were just teeny tiny nations. Lots of human societies are/were organized that way. It is pretty endemic. It is just that humans are social and that means hierarchy. Just as the father leads the family and the chief the tribe, so the king leads the nation. Later, it got more complicated.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The monarch was originally sort of elected by the chieftains. He was one of their own. He was the leader of the nation. Of course they were just teeny tiny nations. Lots of human societies are/were organized that way. It is pretty endemic. It is just that humans are social and that means hierarchy. Just as the father leads the family and the chief the tribe, so the king leads the nation. Later, it got more complicated.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’d love it if we could figure out if America is “better” than everywhere else or not. It certainly would help clarify things.

    SG (@15) certainly thinks so. In replying to Grube (@11), who said, “Perhaps we’re not as bad as some other countries,” SG asserted, “How about better than all the others? Name one that is better.” And in reply to Grube’s statement that Exceptionalists are saying America is “better than anyone else”, SG replied, “Because we are.” She then went on to say that the idea that Americans are “better than anyone else” is “objective reality.”

    But DonS (@24), in contrast, thinks that “‘Exceptional’ does not mean ‘superior’ or ‘better’.” And we all know Don thinks America is “exceptional”. But, apparently, not “better”.

    No, wait! DonS then goes on to say (@25) to SG that “when you say we are better than others, you mean our society … I agree with that.”

    So … America: “better” than everywhere else? Or not? I’ll let you two work this out for yourselves.

    Of course, Don also claims (@34) that “No one is saying that other countries today don’t care about human rights.” Hmm. And yet, up there in the first comment (@1), SG said, “Due to the dominance of American influence they [the antecedent for which was 'the rest of the world'] may use the language of freedom and human rights, but isn’t their real motive.”

    Of course, Don himself said (@24) that “What is uncommon, or exceptional [which Don earlier defined as also meaning 'unique'], about the U.S. is its clear and distinctive mission statement, i.e. the U.S. Constitution, which establishes the governing ideal as being the rights and dignity of the individual, paramount to those of the state and to be protected by the state. For the most powerful nation in the history of the world to be governed on those principles makes this a truly unique time in history.”

    So … America: “unique” in caring about human rights? I’ll let you two hammer that one out, again.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’d love it if we could figure out if America is “better” than everywhere else or not. It certainly would help clarify things.

    SG (@15) certainly thinks so. In replying to Grube (@11), who said, “Perhaps we’re not as bad as some other countries,” SG asserted, “How about better than all the others? Name one that is better.” And in reply to Grube’s statement that Exceptionalists are saying America is “better than anyone else”, SG replied, “Because we are.” She then went on to say that the idea that Americans are “better than anyone else” is “objective reality.”

    But DonS (@24), in contrast, thinks that “‘Exceptional’ does not mean ‘superior’ or ‘better’.” And we all know Don thinks America is “exceptional”. But, apparently, not “better”.

    No, wait! DonS then goes on to say (@25) to SG that “when you say we are better than others, you mean our society … I agree with that.”

    So … America: “better” than everywhere else? Or not? I’ll let you two work this out for yourselves.

    Of course, Don also claims (@34) that “No one is saying that other countries today don’t care about human rights.” Hmm. And yet, up there in the first comment (@1), SG said, “Due to the dominance of American influence they [the antecedent for which was 'the rest of the world'] may use the language of freedom and human rights, but isn’t their real motive.”

    Of course, Don himself said (@24) that “What is uncommon, or exceptional [which Don earlier defined as also meaning 'unique'], about the U.S. is its clear and distinctive mission statement, i.e. the U.S. Constitution, which establishes the governing ideal as being the rights and dignity of the individual, paramount to those of the state and to be protected by the state. For the most powerful nation in the history of the world to be governed on those principles makes this a truly unique time in history.”

    So … America: “unique” in caring about human rights? I’ll let you two hammer that one out, again.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@34), you really have played the ugly American card with this statement:

    And, it seems as if Australians would be speaking Japanese but for the interdiction of the U.S. fleet in the Coral Sea in May 1942. Something to keep in mind when you determine to bad mouth the U.S.

    Why do Americans love to do that so? And so selectively, I might add.

    Will I ever hear Americans using this to stop people from bad-mouthing the Soviet Union? After all, it seems as if we in America might be speaking either Japanese or German if not for their massive effort in WWII. But they never get mentioned in this way. Or is there some reason why American demands for military thanks only go back to WWII? Why, the next time you bad-mouth the French, keep in mind how they were crucial in our winning the Revolutionary War! Yeah, I never hear things like that, either. At least, not from people in Don’s position.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@34), you really have played the ugly American card with this statement:

    And, it seems as if Australians would be speaking Japanese but for the interdiction of the U.S. fleet in the Coral Sea in May 1942. Something to keep in mind when you determine to bad mouth the U.S.

    Why do Americans love to do that so? And so selectively, I might add.

    Will I ever hear Americans using this to stop people from bad-mouthing the Soviet Union? After all, it seems as if we in America might be speaking either Japanese or German if not for their massive effort in WWII. But they never get mentioned in this way. Or is there some reason why American demands for military thanks only go back to WWII? Why, the next time you bad-mouth the French, keep in mind how they were crucial in our winning the Revolutionary War! Yeah, I never hear things like that, either. At least, not from people in Don’s position.

  • Porcell

    Louis: sg@31: Oh, yes, Her Majesty is really horrible oppressor, she even has her own jumbo jet in which she flies around, and the royalty has this huge securtiy team around them constantly, and ..

    Codswallop, read Tocqueville’s Democracy in America that royally proved how arrogant monarchs and aristocrats in Europe essentially furthered their own narrow interests and lost the confidence of their peoples and sent many of them to America’s shores. Today’s constitutional monarchy in Britain has essentially neutered the monarchy and placed it nicely in an irrelevant romantic form.

    For once, I agree with Cincinnatus on a subject.

  • Porcell

    Louis: sg@31: Oh, yes, Her Majesty is really horrible oppressor, she even has her own jumbo jet in which she flies around, and the royalty has this huge securtiy team around them constantly, and ..

    Codswallop, read Tocqueville’s Democracy in America that royally proved how arrogant monarchs and aristocrats in Europe essentially furthered their own narrow interests and lost the confidence of their peoples and sent many of them to America’s shores. Today’s constitutional monarchy in Britain has essentially neutered the monarchy and placed it nicely in an irrelevant romantic form.

    For once, I agree with Cincinnatus on a subject.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 39: Oh, please, tODD. Did you even read the comment I was responding to?

    Unlike you lot we didn’t wait until we were directly attacked by the Japanese – the Aussies could see our friends were under attack and we rallied to the cause, even if it was thousands of miles away.
    And Americans wonder why they provoke such disgust around the world.
    Grow up.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 39: Oh, please, tODD. Did you even read the comment I was responding to?

    Unlike you lot we didn’t wait until we were directly attacked by the Japanese – the Aussies could see our friends were under attack and we rallied to the cause, even if it was thousands of miles away.
    And Americans wonder why they provoke such disgust around the world.
    Grow up.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Yes, Don (@41), I did read it. That doesn’t change my reaction to your comment.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Yes, Don (@41), I did read it. That doesn’t change my reaction to your comment.

  • Louis

    Cincinnatus – my observation is merely an anthropological one. But the reaction it provokes with Americans is always fun to see – even if the emoticons are present in force. But it is not an avenue I feel like pursuing tonight…

    Todd, you are quite correct in your analysis of DonS’s posts Jingoism is difficult, if not impossible, to hide. I do find it very ironical that the individuals most opposed to the idea of calling America a form of empire, soft or otherwise, are the ones most likely to indulge in nationalist/jingoist rhetoric.
    Says this transplanted European-South African-Canadian-liberal-Communist-Monarchist-post modern romantic-loyalist-non-American-isolationist-non-interventionist-prairie dwelling-foreign-arugula-eating-ignorant-elitist… Person. BIG WINK.

  • Louis

    Cincinnatus – my observation is merely an anthropological one. But the reaction it provokes with Americans is always fun to see – even if the emoticons are present in force. But it is not an avenue I feel like pursuing tonight…

    Todd, you are quite correct in your analysis of DonS’s posts Jingoism is difficult, if not impossible, to hide. I do find it very ironical that the individuals most opposed to the idea of calling America a form of empire, soft or otherwise, are the ones most likely to indulge in nationalist/jingoist rhetoric.
    Says this transplanted European-South African-Canadian-liberal-Communist-Monarchist-post modern romantic-loyalist-non-American-isolationist-non-interventionist-prairie dwelling-foreign-arugula-eating-ignorant-elitist… Person. BIG WINK.

  • Cincinnatus

    Louis: Humans crave and need hierarchy, yes, but not a monarch necessarily. As sg notes (though to different ends), kings were originally “elected” almost democratically. Before we “pursue” this “avenue” any further, could I ask where exactly you’re going with this? Are you hinting at divine right of kings? Monarchy as the best form of government?

    As for the other points, I’ve weighed in on the issues in past threads, so I’ll just summarize my thoughts here:

    -America is “exceptional” in the sense that it was the first (and possibly only) nation founded upon an ideal/ideology. In fact, its primary mode of identification is still ideological. No, there is no English, French, or Chinese ideal/ideology; to be English or Chinese still signifies something ethnic, religious, or cultural. This does not mean America is “better,” only that it is historically and politically “different.”

    -America is also an empire.

  • Cincinnatus

    Louis: Humans crave and need hierarchy, yes, but not a monarch necessarily. As sg notes (though to different ends), kings were originally “elected” almost democratically. Before we “pursue” this “avenue” any further, could I ask where exactly you’re going with this? Are you hinting at divine right of kings? Monarchy as the best form of government?

    As for the other points, I’ve weighed in on the issues in past threads, so I’ll just summarize my thoughts here:

    -America is “exceptional” in the sense that it was the first (and possibly only) nation founded upon an ideal/ideology. In fact, its primary mode of identification is still ideological. No, there is no English, French, or Chinese ideal/ideology; to be English or Chinese still signifies something ethnic, religious, or cultural. This does not mean America is “better,” only that it is historically and politically “different.”

    -America is also an empire.

  • Porcell

    Todd, it is rather incredible how you at 39 implicitly disparage America and praise the Soviet Union and France. Of course, America is grateful for the help of France during the Revolutionary War and the Soviet Union during WWII, though that doesn’t in the slightest diminish American greatness in world affairs. Don had every right to remark that Australia would have been in deep Jap manure had we not fought the battle of Coral Sea and defeated that savage nation in WWII.

    You are, I fear, essentially a righteous liberal moralist who gets off on America’s faults, demanding a sort of utopian perfection. Get real, and, please, don’t regurgitate your stock accusation of nationalist bile.

  • Porcell

    Todd, it is rather incredible how you at 39 implicitly disparage America and praise the Soviet Union and France. Of course, America is grateful for the help of France during the Revolutionary War and the Soviet Union during WWII, though that doesn’t in the slightest diminish American greatness in world affairs. Don had every right to remark that Australia would have been in deep Jap manure had we not fought the battle of Coral Sea and defeated that savage nation in WWII.

    You are, I fear, essentially a righteous liberal moralist who gets off on America’s faults, demanding a sort of utopian perfection. Get real, and, please, don’t regurgitate your stock accusation of nationalist bile.

  • Louis

    Porcell – to say that Todd disparaged America in his comment is to read things into it that are not there. Also, sometimes things need to be “regurgitated” because they are true, and the intended audience did not grasp it first time round.

    Cincinnatus, to be honest, I was only having some fun with sg’s comment at #31. We can have that conversation some other time.

  • Louis

    Porcell – to say that Todd disparaged America in his comment is to read things into it that are not there. Also, sometimes things need to be “regurgitated” because they are true, and the intended audience did not grasp it first time round.

    Cincinnatus, to be honest, I was only having some fun with sg’s comment at #31. We can have that conversation some other time.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I’d prefer that the American National Government do less to promote ‘democracy’ or ‘human rights’ in other nations. Doing so rarely ends well. Besides that idealistic policies rarely benefits us enough to justify the cost.

    I believe that pragmatism and realpolitik are what prevent wars. Idealism is more likely to cause them.

    In that sense I wish we had a political party that was more mature and realist than the starry-eyed idealists in the Republican and Democrat Parties.

    In that sense I hope no one in the President’s foreign policy inner circle actually thinks democracy in China would be a good thing for us.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I’d prefer that the American National Government do less to promote ‘democracy’ or ‘human rights’ in other nations. Doing so rarely ends well. Besides that idealistic policies rarely benefits us enough to justify the cost.

    I believe that pragmatism and realpolitik are what prevent wars. Idealism is more likely to cause them.

    In that sense I wish we had a political party that was more mature and realist than the starry-eyed idealists in the Republican and Democrat Parties.

    In that sense I hope no one in the President’s foreign policy inner circle actually thinks democracy in China would be a good thing for us.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@45), is it too much to ask you (a la Louis @46) how, exactly, I “disparaged” America?

    And then there’s the double standard in your comment. On the one hand, “Don had every right to remark that Australia would have been in deep Jap manure had we not fought the battle of Coral Sea and defeated that savage nation.” On the other hand, when I suggested that it would also be factually equivalent to note that France’s efforts were crucial to our winning the Revolutionary War, or that the Soviet Union’s efforts massive effort was crucial to our winning WWII, you seem to have no enthusiasm for my “right to remark” such things — in fact, you find it “rather incredible” that I would “praise” those countries for their crucial help. What’s more, all you can offer up is to say that “America is grateful for the[ir] help”, a far cry from the “deep Jap manure” phrasing you used for Australia.

    But what’s really funny is to see you do your usual thing of stringing together a bunch of epithets (“righteous liberal moralist”) and then get all sensitive about my labeling you a “nationalist”. As to the former, I realize that, coming from you, “liberal” just means “one who disagrees with Porcell”, while “moralist” is, of course, one of those words you sling around without ever explaining yourself, or even making it clear you know what it means.

    But I don’t understand why you would be so sensitive about my calling you a “nationalist”. You were, you may recall, the one arguing that the accuracy of someone’s judgment is dependent on where they come from (at the same link as above). That “one can hardly escape one’s background”, as you said, and that one’s race, ethnicity, and residence have “a lot” to do with or are “relevant” to the validity of one’s argument. You can quibble about what we call that nasty line of thinking, but the problem is with your argument, and not what we call it. It’s anti-logical and un-American, to say the least.

    Of course, the real problem here is that non-Americans have dared critique America, instead of bowing down before us and ceaselessly singing our praises. For American Exceptionalists, the only ones who are allowed to critique America are themselves.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@45), is it too much to ask you (a la Louis @46) how, exactly, I “disparaged” America?

    And then there’s the double standard in your comment. On the one hand, “Don had every right to remark that Australia would have been in deep Jap manure had we not fought the battle of Coral Sea and defeated that savage nation.” On the other hand, when I suggested that it would also be factually equivalent to note that France’s efforts were crucial to our winning the Revolutionary War, or that the Soviet Union’s efforts massive effort was crucial to our winning WWII, you seem to have no enthusiasm for my “right to remark” such things — in fact, you find it “rather incredible” that I would “praise” those countries for their crucial help. What’s more, all you can offer up is to say that “America is grateful for the[ir] help”, a far cry from the “deep Jap manure” phrasing you used for Australia.

    But what’s really funny is to see you do your usual thing of stringing together a bunch of epithets (“righteous liberal moralist”) and then get all sensitive about my labeling you a “nationalist”. As to the former, I realize that, coming from you, “liberal” just means “one who disagrees with Porcell”, while “moralist” is, of course, one of those words you sling around without ever explaining yourself, or even making it clear you know what it means.

    But I don’t understand why you would be so sensitive about my calling you a “nationalist”. You were, you may recall, the one arguing that the accuracy of someone’s judgment is dependent on where they come from (at the same link as above). That “one can hardly escape one’s background”, as you said, and that one’s race, ethnicity, and residence have “a lot” to do with or are “relevant” to the validity of one’s argument. You can quibble about what we call that nasty line of thinking, but the problem is with your argument, and not what we call it. It’s anti-logical and un-American, to say the least.

    Of course, the real problem here is that non-Americans have dared critique America, instead of bowing down before us and ceaselessly singing our praises. For American Exceptionalists, the only ones who are allowed to critique America are themselves.

  • DonS

    Louis @ 43:

    Jingoism? Really? The Oxford English dictionary definition of the term is “Extreme nationalism characterized especially by a belligerent foreign policy; chauvinistic patriotism”.

    So if you say something positive about your country, then you are engaging in “jingoism”, according to Louis. Or, does that only apply if you are American?

  • DonS

    Louis @ 43:

    Jingoism? Really? The Oxford English dictionary definition of the term is “Extreme nationalism characterized especially by a belligerent foreign policy; chauvinistic patriotism”.

    So if you say something positive about your country, then you are engaging in “jingoism”, according to Louis. Or, does that only apply if you are American?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 42: Well, certainly you are entitled to your opinion. As I am to mine, “ugly American” that I apparently am. I guess your opinion is de rigueur on a thread where the Aussie can slander the U.S. with a historically ignorant comment about the origins of WWII and the American is accused of being both “ugly” and a “jingoist” for responding by correcting the record with historical fact. Apparently, the only decent American is one continually apologizing for all of the “evil” his country has visited on the otherwise pristine world, and forgetting all of the good. And I don’t consider a comment to be “selective” when it is directly responsive to the statement of another.

    I don’t know if you notice, but I don’t go around “bad mouthing” other countries, as Paul did. I might criticize a particular action they take, but I try to stick to the facts and avoid the kind of slanderous misstatements he made. Should the issue of the Soviet Union’s contributions to the allied effort in WWII come up, I will duly acknowledge them, though I certainly won’t exaggerate their efforts by pretending that Germany or Japan might have otherwise invaded the U.S but for them. And I also might not forget that they entered the war on the German side and participated in the destruction of Poland, including such hideous atrocities as the Katyn Forest massacre. Similarly, I will gladly acknowledge the French contribution to the American victory in the Revolutionary War. I’m glad we were able to repay their efforts in spades in WWI and WWII.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 42: Well, certainly you are entitled to your opinion. As I am to mine, “ugly American” that I apparently am. I guess your opinion is de rigueur on a thread where the Aussie can slander the U.S. with a historically ignorant comment about the origins of WWII and the American is accused of being both “ugly” and a “jingoist” for responding by correcting the record with historical fact. Apparently, the only decent American is one continually apologizing for all of the “evil” his country has visited on the otherwise pristine world, and forgetting all of the good. And I don’t consider a comment to be “selective” when it is directly responsive to the statement of another.

    I don’t know if you notice, but I don’t go around “bad mouthing” other countries, as Paul did. I might criticize a particular action they take, but I try to stick to the facts and avoid the kind of slanderous misstatements he made. Should the issue of the Soviet Union’s contributions to the allied effort in WWII come up, I will duly acknowledge them, though I certainly won’t exaggerate their efforts by pretending that Germany or Japan might have otherwise invaded the U.S but for them. And I also might not forget that they entered the war on the German side and participated in the destruction of Poland, including such hideous atrocities as the Katyn Forest massacre. Similarly, I will gladly acknowledge the French contribution to the American victory in the Revolutionary War. I’m glad we were able to repay their efforts in spades in WWI and WWII.

  • Porcell

    Todd,at 48: Porcell (@45), is it too much to ask you (a la Louis @46) how, exactly, I “disparaged” America?

    At 39, you claimed that Americans habitually criticize France without giving it credit for helping during the American Revolution and the Soviet Union without crediting it for helping in WWII. In truth most literate Americans including historians give full credit for their help during these periods. Americans are far from ungrateful for such help, your protestations notwithstanding.

  • Porcell

    Todd,at 48: Porcell (@45), is it too much to ask you (a la Louis @46) how, exactly, I “disparaged” America?

    At 39, you claimed that Americans habitually criticize France without giving it credit for helping during the American Revolution and the Soviet Union without crediting it for helping in WWII. In truth most literate Americans including historians give full credit for their help during these periods. Americans are far from ungrateful for such help, your protestations notwithstanding.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    DonS, yes, jingoist. You are maybe a bit more subtle than others here, but there are certainly jingoist aspects imbedded in your political worldview – and Todd analyses your words on this list to great effect in that regard. Fot instance, you were compelled to mention Katyn earlier – well, Todd didn’t mention Dresden, did he? Neither did he try to hide the many atrocities of Stalin’s USSR. But your thetorical devices here are quite transparent – almost everytime you protest the charge of city-on-the-hill-exceptionalism, you have to smuggle it in the back door.

    Porcell: Todd had a very succint analysis of your regrettably nasty tactics – you seem to be the poster boy for if you don’t agree with me, you are my enemy, followed by a string of your favourite epithets. I once joked about it, but really it is quite apt: “Only the Sith deals in absolutes”.

    (Yes Todd, I quoted Episode 3. Now I have the Higher ground .. ;) ).

    Just so that you don’t have to think of all your favourite epithets, I’m signing off as your favourite transplanted European-South African-Canadian-liberal-Communist-Monarchist-post modern romantic-loyalist-non-American-isolationist-non-interventionist-prairie dwelling-foreign-arugula-eating-ignorant-elitist… Person.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    DonS, yes, jingoist. You are maybe a bit more subtle than others here, but there are certainly jingoist aspects imbedded in your political worldview – and Todd analyses your words on this list to great effect in that regard. Fot instance, you were compelled to mention Katyn earlier – well, Todd didn’t mention Dresden, did he? Neither did he try to hide the many atrocities of Stalin’s USSR. But your thetorical devices here are quite transparent – almost everytime you protest the charge of city-on-the-hill-exceptionalism, you have to smuggle it in the back door.

    Porcell: Todd had a very succint analysis of your regrettably nasty tactics – you seem to be the poster boy for if you don’t agree with me, you are my enemy, followed by a string of your favourite epithets. I once joked about it, but really it is quite apt: “Only the Sith deals in absolutes”.

    (Yes Todd, I quoted Episode 3. Now I have the Higher ground .. ;) ).

    Just so that you don’t have to think of all your favourite epithets, I’m signing off as your favourite transplanted European-South African-Canadian-liberal-Communist-Monarchist-post modern romantic-loyalist-non-American-isolationist-non-interventionist-prairie dwelling-foreign-arugula-eating-ignorant-elitist… Person.

  • Tom Hering

    “America is grateful for the help of … the Soviet Union during WWII …” – Porcell @ 45.

    As the Soviets had already been fighting Hitler for five months before we entered the war, it would be more accurate to say that help flowed the other way – from us to them. Especially as we supplied the Soviets with a great deal of war materiel. Then, too, we helped them by letting them keep Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe at the end of the war.

  • Tom Hering

    “America is grateful for the help of … the Soviet Union during WWII …” – Porcell @ 45.

    As the Soviets had already been fighting Hitler for five months before we entered the war, it would be more accurate to say that help flowed the other way – from us to them. Especially as we supplied the Soviets with a great deal of war materiel. Then, too, we helped them by letting them keep Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe at the end of the war.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    DonS, if it will help, I’ve also met/come accross jingoists or semi-jingoists in other cultures / nationalities. One particular Russian springs to mind.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    DonS, if it will help, I’ve also met/come accross jingoists or semi-jingoists in other cultures / nationalities. One particular Russian springs to mind.

  • Porcell

    Louis, at 52, calling Don S a jingoist, or me a racist, as you’ve done in the past, is both wrong and nasty. One can reasonably defend America without being a jingoist and talk about ethnic realities and differences without being a racist. You may suffer the illusion that you hold the high moral ground, though, when you can’t discuss issues without using such pejoratives as jingoist or racist ,you are merely an ordinary moralist.

    Personally, as a matter of good manners, I would hardly be so gauche as to become involved on a Canadian blog-site, criticizing Canadian foreign policy and accusing patriotic Canadians of being jingoists.

  • Porcell

    Louis, at 52, calling Don S a jingoist, or me a racist, as you’ve done in the past, is both wrong and nasty. One can reasonably defend America without being a jingoist and talk about ethnic realities and differences without being a racist. You may suffer the illusion that you hold the high moral ground, though, when you can’t discuss issues without using such pejoratives as jingoist or racist ,you are merely an ordinary moralist.

    Personally, as a matter of good manners, I would hardly be so gauche as to become involved on a Canadian blog-site, criticizing Canadian foreign policy and accusing patriotic Canadians of being jingoists.

  • John C

    Don at 34
    Yep, in 1788 Australia was a prison colony. We got the convicts, you got the Puritans. I think Australia got the better deal. It also reflects out attitude towards religion.

  • John C

    Don at 34
    Yep, in 1788 Australia was a prison colony. We got the convicts, you got the Puritans. I think Australia got the better deal. It also reflects out attitude towards religion.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell – I can’t remember calling you a racist? Could you refer me to the place, please?

    I see you are again attempting to eject me from the site, because I dared to criticise and call things as I see them. I am not going to leave. Also, as you are very happy to call everybody names who disagree with you, I’m not taking your criticism seriously.

    Of course one can defend ones nationality and culture without being jingoist. Lots of people do it- even right here on this site. But must I stay quiet if things go too far? You seem to labour under many illusions, my “sithh” comment pointing to the prime example.

    I am happy to entertain DonS’ rebuttal to my statements above, and especially to Tod”s statements earlier.

    Seriously though, what is the case with your newest accusation which you repeat all the time to all and sundry that disagree with you – “Moralist”? Are we to infer from that everything goes, as long as it brings the required results? The End justifies the means, always?

    Look, I used the word jingoist because in my understanding, it fitted best with Todd’s analysis at # 38.

    I remain, coridially yours, a transplanted European-South African-Canadian-liberal-Communist-Monarchist-post modern romantic-loyalist-non-American-isolationist-non-interventionist-prairie dwelling-foreign-arugula-eating-ignorant-elitist- MORALIST… Person.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell – I can’t remember calling you a racist? Could you refer me to the place, please?

    I see you are again attempting to eject me from the site, because I dared to criticise and call things as I see them. I am not going to leave. Also, as you are very happy to call everybody names who disagree with you, I’m not taking your criticism seriously.

    Of course one can defend ones nationality and culture without being jingoist. Lots of people do it- even right here on this site. But must I stay quiet if things go too far? You seem to labour under many illusions, my “sithh” comment pointing to the prime example.

    I am happy to entertain DonS’ rebuttal to my statements above, and especially to Tod”s statements earlier.

    Seriously though, what is the case with your newest accusation which you repeat all the time to all and sundry that disagree with you – “Moralist”? Are we to infer from that everything goes, as long as it brings the required results? The End justifies the means, always?

    Look, I used the word jingoist because in my understanding, it fitted best with Todd’s analysis at # 38.

    I remain, coridially yours, a transplanted European-South African-Canadian-liberal-Communist-Monarchist-post modern romantic-loyalist-non-American-isolationist-non-interventionist-prairie dwelling-foreign-arugula-eating-ignorant-elitist- MORALIST… Person.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    John C @ 56 – that’s funny (Puritans vs Convicts)!

    Seriously though, history is history. Whether my ancestors were convicts or Puritans or Stuarts or Cromwellians or colonists or natives carries no moral judgement on me today.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    John C @ 56 – that’s funny (Puritans vs Convicts)!

    Seriously though, history is history. Whether my ancestors were convicts or Puritans or Stuarts or Cromwellians or colonists or natives carries no moral judgement on me today.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    DonS, to be fair though, I’ll change my stance from calling you a jingoist (did I actually say that – nevermind, lets say I did), to saying that your arguments leaves the impression of, or comes across as, jingoism. Maybe not intentional. But there it is.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    DonS, to be fair though, I’ll change my stance from calling you a jingoist (did I actually say that – nevermind, lets say I did), to saying that your arguments leaves the impression of, or comes across as, jingoism. Maybe not intentional. But there it is.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Ugh, descended into name calling again?

    Come on, people. It doesn’t matter if the other person in the discussion is an “ugly American”, a “racist”, a “jingoist”, a long string of descriptors, or even the devil himself. The discussion is not about the commenters. It is about the topic. Sheesh.

    Talking so much about the commenters is offensive and irrelevant.

    It is so tiresome.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Ugh, descended into name calling again?

    Come on, people. It doesn’t matter if the other person in the discussion is an “ugly American”, a “racist”, a “jingoist”, a long string of descriptors, or even the devil himself. The discussion is not about the commenters. It is about the topic. Sheesh.

    Talking so much about the commenters is offensive and irrelevant.

    It is so tiresome.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg – hence my post at 59.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg – hence my post at 59.

  • Porcell

    Louis, on a thread having to do with Israel and the Arabs, I praised the Israelis and criticized the Arabs, leading you to call me a racist.

    I have no intention to eject you from this site; only you can accomplish that. As to what I mean by a moralist, have a close look at the first paragraph of post 55 that gives examples of moralism.

  • Porcell

    Louis, on a thread having to do with Israel and the Arabs, I praised the Israelis and criticized the Arabs, leading you to call me a racist.

    I have no intention to eject you from this site; only you can accomplish that. As to what I mean by a moralist, have a close look at the first paragraph of post 55 that gives examples of moralism.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Okay, Louis, what is the point of labeling his argument as jingoism?

    The thing about labels is that they take on a life of their own. It is just a feature of language. Labels add connotations and imply things not said. They muddy the water of the discussion with emotion. Rather than cut through to the heart of the matter, they cloud it and impede progress. How about some more facts and less emotionally charged language?

    Please don’t think this is directed at you personally, rather at the thread.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Okay, Louis, what is the point of labeling his argument as jingoism?

    The thing about labels is that they take on a life of their own. It is just a feature of language. Labels add connotations and imply things not said. They muddy the water of the discussion with emotion. Rather than cut through to the heart of the matter, they cloud it and impede progress. How about some more facts and less emotionally charged language?

    Please don’t think this is directed at you personally, rather at the thread.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell, I don’t have the reference handy, but praising one race and attacking the other, BASED on their race, is well, racist. Racism is defined by the OED as:

    the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race , especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

    Your arguments there, if I remmeber correctly, came across as fitting the definition. However, in the the same spirit as with DonS at 59, I’m willing to concede that the arguments comes across as racist. At what stage a racist argument / racist argumentation makes one a racist as a person, is an interesting question.

    Your use of the word “moralist”:

    The Free online dictionary defines a moralist as:
    mor·al·ist (môr-lst, mr-)
    n.
    1. A teacher or student of morals and moral problems.
    2. One who follows a system of moral principles.
    3. One who is unduly concerned with the morals of others.

    I guess you are using the word in the sense of the third meaning? If so, please explain when one transcends the line from say 2 to 3? I think you would find that that is a blurry line. Let me state that other than for the First Use of the Law, I’m no “moralist” in the public sense (social science) sense of the word. I would rather fit into the philosophical sense of the word (to some extent, note) – also from the abovementioned source:

    moralist
    1. (Social Science / Education) a person who seeks to regulate the morals of others or to imbue others with a sense of morality
    2. (Philosophy) a person who lives in accordance with moral principles
    3. (Philosophy) a philosopher who is concerned with casuistic discussions of right action, or who seeks a general characterization of right action, often contrasted with a moral philosopher whose concern is with general philosophical questions about ethics

    Meanwhile, I’m remain cordially yours,

    a gauche transplanted European-South African-Canadian-liberal-Communist-Monarchist-post modern romantic-loyalist-non-American-isolationist-non-interventionist-prairie dwelling-foreign-arugula-eating-ignorant-elitist – moralist – “the devil himself” … Person.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell, I don’t have the reference handy, but praising one race and attacking the other, BASED on their race, is well, racist. Racism is defined by the OED as:

    the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race , especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

    Your arguments there, if I remmeber correctly, came across as fitting the definition. However, in the the same spirit as with DonS at 59, I’m willing to concede that the arguments comes across as racist. At what stage a racist argument / racist argumentation makes one a racist as a person, is an interesting question.

    Your use of the word “moralist”:

    The Free online dictionary defines a moralist as:
    mor·al·ist (môr-lst, mr-)
    n.
    1. A teacher or student of morals and moral problems.
    2. One who follows a system of moral principles.
    3. One who is unduly concerned with the morals of others.

    I guess you are using the word in the sense of the third meaning? If so, please explain when one transcends the line from say 2 to 3? I think you would find that that is a blurry line. Let me state that other than for the First Use of the Law, I’m no “moralist” in the public sense (social science) sense of the word. I would rather fit into the philosophical sense of the word (to some extent, note) – also from the abovementioned source:

    moralist
    1. (Social Science / Education) a person who seeks to regulate the morals of others or to imbue others with a sense of morality
    2. (Philosophy) a person who lives in accordance with moral principles
    3. (Philosophy) a philosopher who is concerned with casuistic discussions of right action, or who seeks a general characterization of right action, often contrasted with a moral philosopher whose concern is with general philosophical questions about ethics

    Meanwhile, I’m remain cordially yours,

    a gauche transplanted European-South African-Canadian-liberal-Communist-Monarchist-post modern romantic-loyalist-non-American-isolationist-non-interventionist-prairie dwelling-foreign-arugula-eating-ignorant-elitist – moralist – “the devil himself” … Person.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg: The line of argument continues to smuggle a sense of nationalist superiority in the back door. That sense often invokes a very negative response in others. Thus, I wish to address it, because, frankly speaking, I’m trying to be a man of peace. Overt nationalism, or jingoism, is a source of conflict and death, whether intentional or not (btw, before I get attacked on it, in my personal capacity I tend to draw a line between patriotism, ie love of country, and nationalism, which is the advancement of one’s own nationality at the cost of others.) Calling it Jingoism brings more attention, (and hopefully self-examination), to the phenomenon.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg: The line of argument continues to smuggle a sense of nationalist superiority in the back door. That sense often invokes a very negative response in others. Thus, I wish to address it, because, frankly speaking, I’m trying to be a man of peace. Overt nationalism, or jingoism, is a source of conflict and death, whether intentional or not (btw, before I get attacked on it, in my personal capacity I tend to draw a line between patriotism, ie love of country, and nationalism, which is the advancement of one’s own nationality at the cost of others.) Calling it Jingoism brings more attention, (and hopefully self-examination), to the phenomenon.

  • John C

    I agree Lois. But a country’s constitution does reflect the thoughts, attitudes and the values of the time it was written and for better or ill, it continues still to decribe what is lawful for citizens and governments.
    And if Cromwell did have a say in writing the Canadian constitution then you probably wouldn’t be living there.

  • John C

    I agree Lois. But a country’s constitution does reflect the thoughts, attitudes and the values of the time it was written and for better or ill, it continues still to decribe what is lawful for citizens and governments.
    And if Cromwell did have a say in writing the Canadian constitution then you probably wouldn’t be living there.

  • Porcell

    I see, the man of peace brings needed attention to the satanic jingoists on the blog. Such righteous codswallop.

  • Porcell

    I see, the man of peace brings needed attention to the satanic jingoists on the blog. Such righteous codswallop.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    John C – also true. But I have stated in my posts here before, that one has to keep in mind the realities of the world as it is now, hence my acceptance, to some extent, of Realpolitik. I’m generaly wary of World-Improvers as a class, recognising that Trotskyism doesn’t work. I prefer to observe, rather than to moralise (Porcell’s accusations nonewithstanding). Sometimes, however, the observations tend to make folks uncomfortable (witness the Empire debate some days ago). But there is also a line, once crossed, where merely observing can be construed as condoning. I mean, where does one draw the line between say observing country A’s interference in country B, or objecting to it, or interfering with it? I do not know.

    Maybe I’m just growing cynical with time.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    John C – also true. But I have stated in my posts here before, that one has to keep in mind the realities of the world as it is now, hence my acceptance, to some extent, of Realpolitik. I’m generaly wary of World-Improvers as a class, recognising that Trotskyism doesn’t work. I prefer to observe, rather than to moralise (Porcell’s accusations nonewithstanding). Sometimes, however, the observations tend to make folks uncomfortable (witness the Empire debate some days ago). But there is also a line, once crossed, where merely observing can be construed as condoning. I mean, where does one draw the line between say observing country A’s interference in country B, or objecting to it, or interfering with it? I do not know.

    Maybe I’m just growing cynical with time.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell – “satanic”????

    Do you have the ability to interact with arguments, or merely throw epithets around?

    Your dear righteous gauche transplanted European-South African-Canadian-liberal-Communist-Monarchist-post modern romantic-loyalist-non-American-isolationist-non-interventionist-prairie dwelling-foreign-arugula-eating-ignorant-elitist – moralist – “the devil himself” … Person.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell – “satanic”????

    Do you have the ability to interact with arguments, or merely throw epithets around?

    Your dear righteous gauche transplanted European-South African-Canadian-liberal-Communist-Monarchist-post modern romantic-loyalist-non-American-isolationist-non-interventionist-prairie dwelling-foreign-arugula-eating-ignorant-elitist – moralist – “the devil himself” … Person.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race , especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.”

    Okay, using this definition, some would call the immigration policies of Japan and Israel (just to name two) racist. That is because this definition is both broad and vague and defines belief as a mitigating factor rather than just action. I mean how can the Japanese and Israelis prove they don’t believe they are superior? The definition includes things that hard hard to defend oneself against. Simply wanting to live in one’s own country with one’s own coethnics or coreligionists shouldn’t be regarded as evil. Maybe they just feel unique. Now, forcibly importing folks from a different race/ethnicity, giving them no rights and abusing them, is an entirely different matter. When race is used to exploit and abuse folks, then we have a moral problem (as in Saudi Arabia). When race/ethnicity is used as a way of choosing whom they allow to immigrate, that is something else entirely. By using a broad definition of racism, truly evil practices are labeled exactly the same as matters of free association.

    The definition is problematic specifically because it is “belief” rather than action. The problem is that the belief is what is considered evil rather than just the actions. By commingling thought and action, a group can be assailed for a belief. That is a problem. Even if one believes his group is better and therefore, like the Japanese, discriminates against others in immigration policy, how does that harm the one he feels is inferior? Do people from any group have a right to join a higher performing group? Do they have a right to enjoy the benefits of socialized systems of the higher performing group? Are higher performing groups automatically labelled racist if they close their (extremely densely populated) countries to low performing groups of people of different races/ethnicities? Do high performing groups have the same rights to their own area that primitives have?

    There is plenty of racial hatred out there against whites just because they are a pretty successful group. However, those who hate whites wouldn’t be racist by this clever definition, because they could claim they don’t feel superior. How very convenient. By this definition, those who don’t want to admit the sick, criminal, uneducated, etc as immigrants can be labeled racists if the folks they don’t want to admit are a different race/ethnicity, but those who terrorize and expel market dominant minorities are free to do so, because hey, at least they don’t believe they are superior.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race , especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.”

    Okay, using this definition, some would call the immigration policies of Japan and Israel (just to name two) racist. That is because this definition is both broad and vague and defines belief as a mitigating factor rather than just action. I mean how can the Japanese and Israelis prove they don’t believe they are superior? The definition includes things that hard hard to defend oneself against. Simply wanting to live in one’s own country with one’s own coethnics or coreligionists shouldn’t be regarded as evil. Maybe they just feel unique. Now, forcibly importing folks from a different race/ethnicity, giving them no rights and abusing them, is an entirely different matter. When race is used to exploit and abuse folks, then we have a moral problem (as in Saudi Arabia). When race/ethnicity is used as a way of choosing whom they allow to immigrate, that is something else entirely. By using a broad definition of racism, truly evil practices are labeled exactly the same as matters of free association.

    The definition is problematic specifically because it is “belief” rather than action. The problem is that the belief is what is considered evil rather than just the actions. By commingling thought and action, a group can be assailed for a belief. That is a problem. Even if one believes his group is better and therefore, like the Japanese, discriminates against others in immigration policy, how does that harm the one he feels is inferior? Do people from any group have a right to join a higher performing group? Do they have a right to enjoy the benefits of socialized systems of the higher performing group? Are higher performing groups automatically labelled racist if they close their (extremely densely populated) countries to low performing groups of people of different races/ethnicities? Do high performing groups have the same rights to their own area that primitives have?

    There is plenty of racial hatred out there against whites just because they are a pretty successful group. However, those who hate whites wouldn’t be racist by this clever definition, because they could claim they don’t feel superior. How very convenient. By this definition, those who don’t want to admit the sick, criminal, uneducated, etc as immigrants can be labeled racists if the folks they don’t want to admit are a different race/ethnicity, but those who terrorize and expel market dominant minorities are free to do so, because hey, at least they don’t believe they are superior.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    I think sg, that one could claim that people who hate a group based on their perceived higher performance, claim a moral superiority. This would make the definition hold, while allowing for such cases.

    Also, any group can limit entry to that group based on their values. Mono-ethnic cultures doing that are not necessarily racist. However, when it comes to saying that you are allowing / disallowing people because they are inferior, that is racist. For instance, lets start a club of red-headed people. So, me, as someone with dark hair, cannot enter. That is not discrimiantory in the negative (ie related to racism) sense. However, were the club to change tact and say that only red-headed people are allowed because they are intelectually superior and generally sexier than the rest, then that becomes discrimantory in the negatvie sense. Now replace club with country, and red-headed with any specific race. See?

    Or take the Israeli example (not looking at the Palestinian conflict in this example): Under the law of return, all Jews can get automatic citizenship, because this is their (distant) ancestral homeland. Fine. But so-called “black-Jews” from Ethiopia have complained that they are treated as second class citizens. Also, Messianic Jews are being (I think this passed, I know they wanted to) excluded from that arrangement. Now both the latter cases will be discrimanatory in the negtive sense.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    I think sg, that one could claim that people who hate a group based on their perceived higher performance, claim a moral superiority. This would make the definition hold, while allowing for such cases.

    Also, any group can limit entry to that group based on their values. Mono-ethnic cultures doing that are not necessarily racist. However, when it comes to saying that you are allowing / disallowing people because they are inferior, that is racist. For instance, lets start a club of red-headed people. So, me, as someone with dark hair, cannot enter. That is not discrimiantory in the negative (ie related to racism) sense. However, were the club to change tact and say that only red-headed people are allowed because they are intelectually superior and generally sexier than the rest, then that becomes discrimantory in the negatvie sense. Now replace club with country, and red-headed with any specific race. See?

    Or take the Israeli example (not looking at the Palestinian conflict in this example): Under the law of return, all Jews can get automatic citizenship, because this is their (distant) ancestral homeland. Fine. But so-called “black-Jews” from Ethiopia have complained that they are treated as second class citizens. Also, Messianic Jews are being (I think this passed, I know they wanted to) excluded from that arrangement. Now both the latter cases will be discrimanatory in the negtive sense.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “but praising one race and attacking the other, BASED on their race, is well, racist.”

    How about praising one race based on their accomplishments, like enshrining human rights in law and enforcing it, and criticizing another for their barbarity and recurring genocidal tribalism?

    Is that racism, or just observation and reasoning based on the moralism of utility theory?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “but praising one race and attacking the other, BASED on their race, is well, racist.”

    How about praising one race based on their accomplishments, like enshrining human rights in law and enforcing it, and criticizing another for their barbarity and recurring genocidal tribalism?

    Is that racism, or just observation and reasoning based on the moralism of utility theory?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Discrimination is allowable, it is just the criteria that have evolved over time. I think the racism thing can be bogus. There has to be a balance of rights of different groups. The assumption that higher performing groups injure others by resisting immigration from low performing groups is bogus claim #1 and is used to injure members higher performing groups by promoting immigration by groups actively hostile to them.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Discrimination is allowable, it is just the criteria that have evolved over time. I think the racism thing can be bogus. There has to be a balance of rights of different groups. The assumption that higher performing groups injure others by resisting immigration from low performing groups is bogus claim #1 and is used to injure members higher performing groups by promoting immigration by groups actively hostile to them.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I think sg, that one could claim that people who hate a group based on their perceived higher performance, claim a moral superiority. This would make the definition hold, while allowing for such cases.”

    Plausible, but still doubtful such reasoning would ever actually be employed. Racism is more and more often used to assail higher performing groups who want to defend themselves and and their territory and institutions.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I think sg, that one could claim that people who hate a group based on their perceived higher performance, claim a moral superiority. This would make the definition hold, while allowing for such cases.”

    Plausible, but still doubtful such reasoning would ever actually be employed. Racism is more and more often used to assail higher performing groups who want to defend themselves and and their territory and institutions.

  • DonS

    Louis @ 52, 54, 59: Well, this thread has moved along, so it’s kind of hard to respond to. Let me say, in general, that I do not tend to label other people or their comments, largely for the reasons SG aptly points out @ 63. Labels, such as “jingoist” or “ugly American” are emotionally charged, and usually inaccurate when applied to a particular person or comment. They are resorted to, typically, when one doesn’t have a better argument. In other words, they are a substitute for substance, and are intended to invoke emotion. My goal in a conversation is to deal with the substance of a person’s arguments, rather than simply labeling them or their thoughts, as an attempt to marginalize them. Labels derail and destroy a civil conversation. They are certainly beneath people of substance such as you and tODD.

    I do appreciate your walk-back @ 59. If one must label, it is certainly better to label an argument than to attack the individual directly, as you did at 43 and 52. Then, you apparently attempted to soften the blow by patronizing me @ 54 with the notion that, well, other people are jingoists too, if it makes you feel any better. Nice.

    What is a “subtle jingoist”, anyway? A greater oxymoron I have seldom encountered. If you are in any way subtle, I don’t think you qualify as a jingoist.

    Tom @ 53 well solidified my earlier comment concerning the exaggeration and mischaracterization tODD made concerning the Soviet war effort in WWII, though they certainly deserve their due for ultimately sacrificing some 20 million of their countrymen’s lives for the allied cause. As for Dresden, I have two problems with your apparent equivocation of this bombing event to the Katyn Forest massacre. First, you do recognize that Katyn involved the deliberate rounding up of Polish officers and intelligentsia and shooting them, blindfolded and bound, en masse and in cold blood? While the Soviets were allied with Hitler? Just checking. Second, um, the RAF spearheaded Dresden, not the U.S., and did the worst of the firebombing. As was their practice throughout the war, the RAF, lacking adequate fighter protection and bombsights, bombed civilian centers at night, while the USAAF, having the P51 and the Norden bombsight, as well as a more robust bomber fleet comprised largely of B-17′s (the Flying Fortress), bombed military targets, using precision techniques, during the day. In the Dresden operations, the RAF bombed the city at night, while the USAAF bombed the marshalling yards during the day. Unfortunately, weather was poor over the city in February 1945, and the USAAF bombs were not as accurate as normal. But, still, you can’t hang Dresden solely on the U.S. It was a significant operation of the Crown, under which you technically still sit to this day there in Canada.

    And let’s understand something here. The bombing of civilian populations during WWII was not considered immoral or out of bounds by either side at that time. Everyone did it. It’s not so accepted today, and we look back and recoil at some of the things that were done, but it’s rather unfair to retroactively impose our present morality on historical times, as revisionist historians are wont to do. On the other hand, actions such as those taken by the Soviets in the Katyn Forest have always been despicable atrocities.

  • DonS

    Louis @ 52, 54, 59: Well, this thread has moved along, so it’s kind of hard to respond to. Let me say, in general, that I do not tend to label other people or their comments, largely for the reasons SG aptly points out @ 63. Labels, such as “jingoist” or “ugly American” are emotionally charged, and usually inaccurate when applied to a particular person or comment. They are resorted to, typically, when one doesn’t have a better argument. In other words, they are a substitute for substance, and are intended to invoke emotion. My goal in a conversation is to deal with the substance of a person’s arguments, rather than simply labeling them or their thoughts, as an attempt to marginalize them. Labels derail and destroy a civil conversation. They are certainly beneath people of substance such as you and tODD.

    I do appreciate your walk-back @ 59. If one must label, it is certainly better to label an argument than to attack the individual directly, as you did at 43 and 52. Then, you apparently attempted to soften the blow by patronizing me @ 54 with the notion that, well, other people are jingoists too, if it makes you feel any better. Nice.

    What is a “subtle jingoist”, anyway? A greater oxymoron I have seldom encountered. If you are in any way subtle, I don’t think you qualify as a jingoist.

    Tom @ 53 well solidified my earlier comment concerning the exaggeration and mischaracterization tODD made concerning the Soviet war effort in WWII, though they certainly deserve their due for ultimately sacrificing some 20 million of their countrymen’s lives for the allied cause. As for Dresden, I have two problems with your apparent equivocation of this bombing event to the Katyn Forest massacre. First, you do recognize that Katyn involved the deliberate rounding up of Polish officers and intelligentsia and shooting them, blindfolded and bound, en masse and in cold blood? While the Soviets were allied with Hitler? Just checking. Second, um, the RAF spearheaded Dresden, not the U.S., and did the worst of the firebombing. As was their practice throughout the war, the RAF, lacking adequate fighter protection and bombsights, bombed civilian centers at night, while the USAAF, having the P51 and the Norden bombsight, as well as a more robust bomber fleet comprised largely of B-17′s (the Flying Fortress), bombed military targets, using precision techniques, during the day. In the Dresden operations, the RAF bombed the city at night, while the USAAF bombed the marshalling yards during the day. Unfortunately, weather was poor over the city in February 1945, and the USAAF bombs were not as accurate as normal. But, still, you can’t hang Dresden solely on the U.S. It was a significant operation of the Crown, under which you technically still sit to this day there in Canada.

    And let’s understand something here. The bombing of civilian populations during WWII was not considered immoral or out of bounds by either side at that time. Everyone did it. It’s not so accepted today, and we look back and recoil at some of the things that were done, but it’s rather unfair to retroactively impose our present morality on historical times, as revisionist historians are wont to do. On the other hand, actions such as those taken by the Soviets in the Katyn Forest have always been despicable atrocities.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@50), how early were you up this morning? Anyhow, before you get to pitying yourself too much, I might note that SG had a pithy reply (@31) to Paul’s comment that succinctly corrected him on the matter — without anyone complaining, or without telling anyone that they, like, owe us, big time, for the foreseeable future, unless they repay us, I guess. As for your ability to give credit to Russia and France, I think Louis’ comment (@52) will suffice.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@50), how early were you up this morning? Anyhow, before you get to pitying yourself too much, I might note that SG had a pithy reply (@31) to Paul’s comment that succinctly corrected him on the matter — without anyone complaining, or without telling anyone that they, like, owe us, big time, for the foreseeable future, unless they repay us, I guess. As for your ability to give credit to Russia and France, I think Louis’ comment (@52) will suffice.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg: “Racism is more and more often used to assail higher performing groups” – recently, maybe, to some extent, in a limited number of countries, and often as revenge for past wrongs -sins of the fathers and all that. That is racist, defintely. But I really, really don’t want to go any further with the racism discussion.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg: “Racism is more and more often used to assail higher performing groups” – recently, maybe, to some extent, in a limited number of countries, and often as revenge for past wrongs -sins of the fathers and all that. That is racist, defintely. But I really, really don’t want to go any further with the racism discussion.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “sg: The line of argument continues to smuggle a sense of nationalist superiority in the back door. That sense often invokes a very negative response in others.”

    Okay, but why? Why do people respond negatively to the “sense of nationalist superiority”?

    Maybe Japan feels that way. So what? If they abide by their treaties and international law and are good global citizens and are polite and honorable, why can’t they keep their “sense of nationalist superiority”? and why can’t we just wink at it? Are we that threatened by their parochial pride? Seems pretty silly if we are confident enough ourselves.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “sg: The line of argument continues to smuggle a sense of nationalist superiority in the back door. That sense often invokes a very negative response in others.”

    Okay, but why? Why do people respond negatively to the “sense of nationalist superiority”?

    Maybe Japan feels that way. So what? If they abide by their treaties and international law and are good global citizens and are polite and honorable, why can’t they keep their “sense of nationalist superiority”? and why can’t we just wink at it? Are we that threatened by their parochial pride? Seems pretty silly if we are confident enough ourselves.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    My comment at #71, last paragraph. Israel did indeed pass such a law – see here: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DEFDB1439F934A15751C1A96F948260

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    My comment at #71, last paragraph. Israel did indeed pass such a law – see here: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DEFDB1439F934A15751C1A96F948260

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@55), you really are too much. Is there any other way to characterize your comment than, well, hypocrisy?

    “Calling Don S a jingoist, or me a racist, as you’ve done in the past, is both wrong and nasty.” Said the man who has no problem slinging around all sorts of epithets — “moralist”, “statist”, “nihilist” (all three of those flung at me by you, Porcell) … and I could come up with many, many, many more. And you even went on to call Louis an “ordinary moralist” in that same comment. And now you’re going to whine about being “wrong and nasty”?

    You’ve got quite a lot of nerve to complain about people slinging around labels, Peter. Especially when you’re whining about being labeled a “nationalist” or racist” now that you’ve made it explicitly clear that you believe a person’s nationality, ethnicity, and residence are relevant to the validity of their argument — and not merely the argument itself.

    “As a matter of good manners, I would hardly be so gauche as to become involved on a Canadian blog-site, criticizing Canadian foreign policy and accusing patriotic Canadians of being jingoists.” No, instead you have been so gauche as to become involved on a Lutheran blog, criticizing Lutheran dogma and accusing Lutherans of of “denominational hubris”, of being “narrow-minded sectarians”, “foolish and stiff-necked”, “petty”, and more.

    “Good manners”, indeed!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@55), you really are too much. Is there any other way to characterize your comment than, well, hypocrisy?

    “Calling Don S a jingoist, or me a racist, as you’ve done in the past, is both wrong and nasty.” Said the man who has no problem slinging around all sorts of epithets — “moralist”, “statist”, “nihilist” (all three of those flung at me by you, Porcell) … and I could come up with many, many, many more. And you even went on to call Louis an “ordinary moralist” in that same comment. And now you’re going to whine about being “wrong and nasty”?

    You’ve got quite a lot of nerve to complain about people slinging around labels, Peter. Especially when you’re whining about being labeled a “nationalist” or racist” now that you’ve made it explicitly clear that you believe a person’s nationality, ethnicity, and residence are relevant to the validity of their argument — and not merely the argument itself.

    “As a matter of good manners, I would hardly be so gauche as to become involved on a Canadian blog-site, criticizing Canadian foreign policy and accusing patriotic Canadians of being jingoists.” No, instead you have been so gauche as to become involved on a Lutheran blog, criticizing Lutheran dogma and accusing Lutherans of of “denominational hubris”, of being “narrow-minded sectarians”, “foolish and stiff-necked”, “petty”, and more.

    “Good manners”, indeed!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “But I really, really don’t want to go any further with the racism discussion.”

    Behold the power of taboo. Uh oh, I just labeled. Shame on me. Did I say that? :-)

    Anyway, Dr. Veith asked,
    “And yet I think it’s good not to be cynical about democracy, freedom, human rights, etc. Is there a way to keep our ideals without being naive?”

    Are we being naïve when we think that a discussion of the above does not by definition include constructs like racism?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “But I really, really don’t want to go any further with the racism discussion.”

    Behold the power of taboo. Uh oh, I just labeled. Shame on me. Did I say that? :-)

    Anyway, Dr. Veith asked,
    “And yet I think it’s good not to be cynical about democracy, freedom, human rights, etc. Is there a way to keep our ideals without being naive?”

    Are we being naïve when we think that a discussion of the above does not by definition include constructs like racism?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg @ 78: Really, do I have to explain that to you? If a kid walks across the playground constantly exclaiming about how “awesome” he is, how much better he is than everybody else, how his dad is cooler than all the others, how he is more clever, strong etc than everybody else etc etc etc, resentment will build, and eventually a number of convenient “mishaps” will occur.

    It is just human nature. Plus it is pride in the worst sense of the word, thus sinful.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg @ 78: Really, do I have to explain that to you? If a kid walks across the playground constantly exclaiming about how “awesome” he is, how much better he is than everybody else, how his dad is cooler than all the others, how he is more clever, strong etc than everybody else etc etc etc, resentment will build, and eventually a number of convenient “mishaps” will occur.

    It is just human nature. Plus it is pride in the worst sense of the word, thus sinful.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Why don’t the other kids just laugh? If they are strong, able to compete, then his bravado is just comical.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Why don’t the other kids just laugh? If they are strong, able to compete, then his bravado is just comical.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg@81, no I don’t want to go into that discussion FOR REASONS I HAVE OUTLINED TO YOU BEFORE! Plus, I have found it to be absolutely fruitless, because, as me (and Bror and Tom and Todd and others) in one of the previous convuluted discussions found out, your cross-cultural naivete in this matter stopped it from being so. There, now you made me loose my temper. So, NO DISCUSSION WITH YOU ON RACISM HERE. It will simply go round and round and round.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg@81, no I don’t want to go into that discussion FOR REASONS I HAVE OUTLINED TO YOU BEFORE! Plus, I have found it to be absolutely fruitless, because, as me (and Bror and Tom and Todd and others) in one of the previous convuluted discussions found out, your cross-cultural naivete in this matter stopped it from being so. There, now you made me loose my temper. So, NO DISCUSSION WITH YOU ON RACISM HERE. It will simply go round and round and round.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg @ 83 – were you ever a kid?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg @ 83 – were you ever a kid?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Plus, I have found it to be absolutely fruitless, because, as me … in one of the previous convuluted discussions found out, your cross-cultural naivete in this matter stopped it from being so.”

    Ah, so since I am naïve (I prefer ignorant BTW) there is no point in explaining anything to me. Well, there is a formula for enlightenment. :-)

    You crack me up. Ya, wouldn’t want to explain stuff to the naïve now would ya!

    “There, now you made me loose my temper.”

    I blame myself. I used an emotionally charged label and pushed you over the edge. Sorry.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Plus, I have found it to be absolutely fruitless, because, as me … in one of the previous convuluted discussions found out, your cross-cultural naivete in this matter stopped it from being so.”

    Ah, so since I am naïve (I prefer ignorant BTW) there is no point in explaining anything to me. Well, there is a formula for enlightenment. :-)

    You crack me up. Ya, wouldn’t want to explain stuff to the naïve now would ya!

    “There, now you made me loose my temper.”

    I blame myself. I used an emotionally charged label and pushed you over the edge. Sorry.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg, I tried, and it was fruitless. Shall we leave it at that? Pretty please?

    BTW, I have regained my temper, at the cost of a Christmas cookie and two cups of coffee. :)

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg, I tried, and it was fruitless. Shall we leave it at that? Pretty please?

    BTW, I have regained my temper, at the cost of a Christmas cookie and two cups of coffee. :)

  • DonS

    tODD @ 76: Yes, while, as you probably know, the time stamps on this blog, for some odd reason, seem to be on Atlantic time. Maybe the host is in Newfoundland? Or, maybe the server never adjusted for standard time (though I think it is always 4 hours ahead of our time zone). For example, Louis’ comment @ 87 is stamped 3:29 PM. Currently, in the PST zone, the time is 11:38 AM. A four hour difference. So, my comment @ 50, stamped 3:53 AM, was actually posted at 11:53 PM PST last night.

    Yes, SG’s comment @ 31 was pithy, a point I acknowledged @ 32. She’s very good at that. But Paul’s comment was a direct challenge to my earlier comment, and deserved a more thorough rebuttal, as well as a factual correction. That is my perogative, as I guess it is your’s to label me an “ugly American”, rather than him as an “ugly Aussie” :-)

  • DonS

    tODD @ 76: Yes, while, as you probably know, the time stamps on this blog, for some odd reason, seem to be on Atlantic time. Maybe the host is in Newfoundland? Or, maybe the server never adjusted for standard time (though I think it is always 4 hours ahead of our time zone). For example, Louis’ comment @ 87 is stamped 3:29 PM. Currently, in the PST zone, the time is 11:38 AM. A four hour difference. So, my comment @ 50, stamped 3:53 AM, was actually posted at 11:53 PM PST last night.

    Yes, SG’s comment @ 31 was pithy, a point I acknowledged @ 32. She’s very good at that. But Paul’s comment was a direct challenge to my earlier comment, and deserved a more thorough rebuttal, as well as a factual correction. That is my perogative, as I guess it is your’s to label me an “ugly American”, rather than him as an “ugly Aussie” :-)

  • DonS

    This is now the fourth post in a row with a happy emoticon :-). That is a good sign of holiday cheer ;-)

  • DonS

    This is now the fourth post in a row with a happy emoticon :-). That is a good sign of holiday cheer ;-)

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    DonS @88 – lets just declare everybody ugly and be done with it. And here is number 5: :)

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    DonS @88 – lets just declare everybody ugly and be done with it. And here is number 5: :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@88), no matter how much you hint at it, I refuse to call you an “attractive American”. Sorry. :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@88), no matter how much you hint at it, I refuse to call you an “attractive American”. Sorry. :)

  • DonS

    Yeah, tODD, that would be a bridge too far. I think Louis made an excellent suggestion :-)

  • DonS

    Yeah, tODD, that would be a bridge too far. I think Louis made an excellent suggestion :-)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Okay, Louis, you bring up racism in order to label and criticize a commenter. Then another commenter wants to discuss racism at the concept level and you label that commenter naïve and refuse discussion and blame the commenter. Can you see the problem here? It appears that the discussion is more about labeling than a socratic investigation of concepts, constructs and contemporary geo politics. Anyway, the level of emotion in this thread seems rather unwarranted. These are just ideas.

    “Plus it is pride in the worst sense of the word, thus sinful.”

    Is it pride to the Japanese? Is ethnic pride a sin in their culture, or is it virtue? We can’t just impose our values on others in the case of victimless behavior like what, bragging, conceit? Are others in the global community going to cry to the UN that the Japanese are prideful? I mean, come on.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Okay, Louis, you bring up racism in order to label and criticize a commenter. Then another commenter wants to discuss racism at the concept level and you label that commenter naïve and refuse discussion and blame the commenter. Can you see the problem here? It appears that the discussion is more about labeling than a socratic investigation of concepts, constructs and contemporary geo politics. Anyway, the level of emotion in this thread seems rather unwarranted. These are just ideas.

    “Plus it is pride in the worst sense of the word, thus sinful.”

    Is it pride to the Japanese? Is ethnic pride a sin in their culture, or is it virtue? We can’t just impose our values on others in the case of victimless behavior like what, bragging, conceit? Are others in the global community going to cry to the UN that the Japanese are prideful? I mean, come on.

  • DonS

    Fail. Our record is seven.

  • DonS

    Fail. Our record is seven.

  • DonS

    :-(

  • DonS

    :-(

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Oh, no, I posted before I refreshed and I broke the happy face chain. Now, I look like Scrooge! :-)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Oh, no, I posted before I refreshed and I broke the happy face chain. Now, I look like Scrooge! :-)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG asked (@93), “Can you see the problem here?” I can. Your comment contained no smilies. :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG asked (@93), “Can you see the problem here?” I can. Your comment contained no smilies. :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@96), it’s okay. My comment ended up posting after you’d recognized what you’d done, so I look no better.

    YOU ALL COMMENT TOO FAST.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@96), it’s okay. My comment ended up posting after you’d recognized what you’d done, so I look no better.

    YOU ALL COMMENT TOO FAST.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg @ 96: I am happy to discuss racism at any level in general. But not with you, as we (me, you, Todd, Bror, Tom, I think Kerner, Grace etc) had already discussed racism at that level before, and it went round and round and round.

    That is not a problem in the sense of me being disengenious. It is a experience…

    In essence: You (and Grace) believe racial differences (in terms of demeanour, academic performance etc) are because of genetics. The rest of us pointed to socio-economic, historic and cultural reasons, using some historical examples such as the “Irish Problem” of a century+ ago. You ignored the evidence, insisting on statistical evidence, which, as we explained, would be impossible. The discussion stalled, and broke down. I don’t see anything indicating a different outcome. Hence, my reluctance.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg @ 96: I am happy to discuss racism at any level in general. But not with you, as we (me, you, Todd, Bror, Tom, I think Kerner, Grace etc) had already discussed racism at that level before, and it went round and round and round.

    That is not a problem in the sense of me being disengenious. It is a experience…

    In essence: You (and Grace) believe racial differences (in terms of demeanour, academic performance etc) are because of genetics. The rest of us pointed to socio-economic, historic and cultural reasons, using some historical examples such as the “Irish Problem” of a century+ ago. You ignored the evidence, insisting on statistical evidence, which, as we explained, would be impossible. The discussion stalled, and broke down. I don’t see anything indicating a different outcome. Hence, my reluctance.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You ignored the evidence, insisting on statistical evidence, which, as we explained, would be impossible.”

    Yes, Louis, the discussion breaks down because you can’t refute facts with opinions. That is not the same as my being naïve. It is unfair to label me just because you can’t back up your assertions. However, I will concede that attempting to refute facts with opinions is fruitless. :-)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You ignored the evidence, insisting on statistical evidence, which, as we explained, would be impossible.”

    Yes, Louis, the discussion breaks down because you can’t refute facts with opinions. That is not the same as my being naïve. It is unfair to label me just because you can’t back up your assertions. However, I will concede that attempting to refute facts with opinions is fruitless. :-)

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    QED. :)

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    QED. :)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “In essence: You (and Grace) believe racial differences (in terms of demeanour, academic performance etc) are because of genetics. The rest of us pointed to socio-economic, historic and cultural reasons, using some historical examples such as the “Irish Problem” of a century+ ago. You ignored the evidence, insisting on statistical evidence, which, as we explained, would be impossible.”

    In essence: You, Louis believe racial differences (in terms of demeanour, academic performance etc) are because of socio-economic, historic and cultural reasons, using some historical examples such as the “Irish Problem” of a century+ ago. I pointed to data, using extensive unbiased sources such as the US Census, NAEP, Dept. of Justice. You ignored the evidence, insisting on popular opinion and unsubstantiated claims which, as I explained is not a reasonable standard of evidence let alone proof.

    Because you lack evidence, you can’t advance your opinion.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “In essence: You (and Grace) believe racial differences (in terms of demeanour, academic performance etc) are because of genetics. The rest of us pointed to socio-economic, historic and cultural reasons, using some historical examples such as the “Irish Problem” of a century+ ago. You ignored the evidence, insisting on statistical evidence, which, as we explained, would be impossible.”

    In essence: You, Louis believe racial differences (in terms of demeanour, academic performance etc) are because of socio-economic, historic and cultural reasons, using some historical examples such as the “Irish Problem” of a century+ ago. I pointed to data, using extensive unbiased sources such as the US Census, NAEP, Dept. of Justice. You ignored the evidence, insisting on popular opinion and unsubstantiated claims which, as I explained is not a reasonable standard of evidence let alone proof.

    Because you lack evidence, you can’t advance your opinion.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg, we didn’t ignore it. We basically said one can read the data in certain ways, depending on your presuppositions. Yours was genetics. Ours was socio-economic, historic and cultural reasons. Because it is nigh-impossible to quantify the latter variables, we pointed to a valid example, namely that of the Irish immigrants. It is you who never confronted THAT evidence.

    Tit for tat, tit for tat, round and round and round. QED^2.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg, we didn’t ignore it. We basically said one can read the data in certain ways, depending on your presuppositions. Yours was genetics. Ours was socio-economic, historic and cultural reasons. Because it is nigh-impossible to quantify the latter variables, we pointed to a valid example, namely that of the Irish immigrants. It is you who never confronted THAT evidence.

    Tit for tat, tit for tat, round and round and round. QED^2.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Ours was socio-economic, historic and cultural reasons.”

    Unsubstantiated. That is the problem. These “reasons” aren’t real. They are just opinions. The socio-economic deprivation notion doesn’t work because it never seems to happen when whites and Asians are abused and deprived.

    “It is you who never confronted THAT evidence.”

    It isn’t evidence. It is opinion.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/09/education/09gap.html

    Even the New York Times reports that socio-economics doesn’t account for differences.

    “Poverty alone does not seem to explain the differences: poor white boys do just as well as African-American boys who do not live in poverty, measured by whether they qualify for subsidized school lunches.”

    That is evidence not opinion.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Ours was socio-economic, historic and cultural reasons.”

    Unsubstantiated. That is the problem. These “reasons” aren’t real. They are just opinions. The socio-economic deprivation notion doesn’t work because it never seems to happen when whites and Asians are abused and deprived.

    “It is you who never confronted THAT evidence.”

    It isn’t evidence. It is opinion.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/09/education/09gap.html

    Even the New York Times reports that socio-economics doesn’t account for differences.

    “Poverty alone does not seem to explain the differences: poor white boys do just as well as African-American boys who do not live in poverty, measured by whether they qualify for subsidized school lunches.”

    That is evidence not opinion.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg – I’m stopping the conversation, not because I am stumped (I’m not), but because I’m getting dizzy, going round and round and round and….. and never getting anywhere. :)
    QED^3

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg – I’m stopping the conversation, not because I am stumped (I’m not), but because I’m getting dizzy, going round and round and round and….. and never getting anywhere. :)
    QED^3

  • Paul

    I was not disparaging America in my post, merely taking exception to the claim that it had some sort of preeminence regarding democracy and human rights.
    As to being the first nation to be founded on certain human rights ideals: How did slavery fit into that?
    As for Australia being a penal colony I refer readers to Blayney’s Tyranny of Distance, which shows that strategic concerns were the primary reason for Australia’s founding.
    One upmanship is just as unedifying in nations as it is with individuals. Both have their good and bad points. Something to do with The Fall, I guess!
    Once again, we all need to grow up!

  • Paul

    I was not disparaging America in my post, merely taking exception to the claim that it had some sort of preeminence regarding democracy and human rights.
    As to being the first nation to be founded on certain human rights ideals: How did slavery fit into that?
    As for Australia being a penal colony I refer readers to Blayney’s Tyranny of Distance, which shows that strategic concerns were the primary reason for Australia’s founding.
    One upmanship is just as unedifying in nations as it is with individuals. Both have their good and bad points. Something to do with The Fall, I guess!
    Once again, we all need to grow up!

  • Porcell

    Louis, Charles Murray in his book The Bell Curve remarks that on IQ tests black people on average score about one standard-deviaiation [15 points] below white people. Lest European white people take pride in this, he points out that East Asians and Jews score a standard deviation above European related white people.

    IQ is for the most part a factor of genetics. Einstein had better IQ genes than you and I.

    Question for you, is Charles Murray a racist as was claimed by leftists at Harvard where he worked and taught?

  • Porcell

    Louis, Charles Murray in his book The Bell Curve remarks that on IQ tests black people on average score about one standard-deviaiation [15 points] below white people. Lest European white people take pride in this, he points out that East Asians and Jews score a standard deviation above European related white people.

    IQ is for the most part a factor of genetics. Einstein had better IQ genes than you and I.

    Question for you, is Charles Murray a racist as was claimed by leftists at Harvard where he worked and taught?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I’m stopping the conversation, not because I am stumped (I’m not), but because I’m getting dizzy, going round and round and round and….. and never getting anywhere.”

    It is hard to get anywhere when you don’t allow facts a seat at the discussion table.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I’m stopping the conversation, not because I am stumped (I’m not), but because I’m getting dizzy, going round and round and round and….. and never getting anywhere.”

    It is hard to get anywhere when you don’t allow facts a seat at the discussion table.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Depends on what he did with that information, Porcell (ie, how he explained it, or what inferences he drew, etc). Also, on how he views the significance of IQ testing etc. In our original discussion, someone noted the apparent rise of IQ OVER TIME within a population group – they documented it as well, I think, although I’m not going to look for that discussion now. It would seem that that statistic indicates that there are other factors at work as well, and that a simplisitc a therefore B approach is, well, simplistic.

    Anyway, I have another question for you (and sg): How is it that America is so incredibly race obsessed? Left and right. So many boxes. And labels. I came from SA, and I have a lot of trouble understanding that. I mean, given your founding ideology, as per earlier in this thread, and elsewhere, why the obsession with race? It seems worse than in SA post 1994, something that takes a lot of doing.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Depends on what he did with that information, Porcell (ie, how he explained it, or what inferences he drew, etc). Also, on how he views the significance of IQ testing etc. In our original discussion, someone noted the apparent rise of IQ OVER TIME within a population group – they documented it as well, I think, although I’m not going to look for that discussion now. It would seem that that statistic indicates that there are other factors at work as well, and that a simplisitc a therefore B approach is, well, simplistic.

    Anyway, I have another question for you (and sg): How is it that America is so incredibly race obsessed? Left and right. So many boxes. And labels. I came from SA, and I have a lot of trouble understanding that. I mean, given your founding ideology, as per earlier in this thread, and elsewhere, why the obsession with race? It seems worse than in SA post 1994, something that takes a lot of doing.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    And I said I didn’t want this discussion. I never learn…

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    And I said I didn’t want this discussion. I never learn…

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Louis, my main complaint is that racism is essentially a heavy moral charge. Making such a claim needs to meet a certain standard of evidence in order that it not be made maliciously. When such a standard of evidence is not employed or even acknowledged as a necessary basis, then folks who are not racist can be injured just because there are unequal outcomes. The burden of proof must fall on the one making the claim, not on the defendant. That is an important basis in our system. Innocent until proven guilty. There is no evidence that all groups can perform similarly even given similar opportunity, therefore unequal outcomes cannot be used as evidence of racism.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Louis, my main complaint is that racism is essentially a heavy moral charge. Making such a claim needs to meet a certain standard of evidence in order that it not be made maliciously. When such a standard of evidence is not employed or even acknowledged as a necessary basis, then folks who are not racist can be injured just because there are unequal outcomes. The burden of proof must fall on the one making the claim, not on the defendant. That is an important basis in our system. Innocent until proven guilty. There is no evidence that all groups can perform similarly even given similar opportunity, therefore unequal outcomes cannot be used as evidence of racism.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg, what is racism then, given your rejection of the OED defintion? Similarly, Porcell, if you could answer that question?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg, what is racism then, given your rejection of the OED defintion? Similarly, Porcell, if you could answer that question?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “In our original discussion, someone noted the apparent rise of IQ OVER TIME within a population group – they documented it as well, I think, although I’m not going to look for that discussion now.”

    It is called the Flynn effect. Flynn documented the effect and noted that the rise was not in IQ as much as it was a rise in measured IQ. Flynn did not believe it was a real increase because other measures did not show gains. Also, the group differences measured in standard units did not change. Some argue that historical gains were based on improvements in health and nutrition, therefore further gains will not occur. Of course we won’t know for a while. It certainly seems that malnutrition and high pathogen load would be reasonable environmental factors suppressing function.

    I think we all want everyone to be as healthy and functional as possible, but all efforts at improvement need to be grounded in reality.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “In our original discussion, someone noted the apparent rise of IQ OVER TIME within a population group – they documented it as well, I think, although I’m not going to look for that discussion now.”

    It is called the Flynn effect. Flynn documented the effect and noted that the rise was not in IQ as much as it was a rise in measured IQ. Flynn did not believe it was a real increase because other measures did not show gains. Also, the group differences measured in standard units did not change. Some argue that historical gains were based on improvements in health and nutrition, therefore further gains will not occur. Of course we won’t know for a while. It certainly seems that malnutrition and high pathogen load would be reasonable environmental factors suppressing function.

    I think we all want everyone to be as healthy and functional as possible, but all efforts at improvement need to be grounded in reality.

  • DonS

    Paul @ 106: I’m glad you jumped back in! In your earlier comments you kind of waded into the middle of what has been a lengthy discussion over several threads. To put things in perspective, there is plenty of U.S.-criticism on this blog, from both ends of the political spectrum, and from both U.S. nationals and those who are not. I think everyone agrees that is fine and good. We all improve with constructive criticism, and the U.S.’s dominant role in the world is a heavy responsibility that tends to draw a lot of attention.

    However, I do believe sometimes the criticism is unrelenting and some of it is ill-founded, or an exaggeration. I, for one, and others on here as well, believe that, in addition to the bad, the U.S. has also been a force for good in the world, and that the present era, largely due to U.S. influence, is one which elevates human rights far more than in any previous era. There are plenty of commenters who apparently disagree with me on that point, and we have been getting into it lately. One thing that tends to happen is that people conflate the two separate issues of whether Americans are better than other people or whether the American system is better than that in many other nations of the world.

    That’s a nutshell, from my point of view. Read back through this thread and a prior one from last week on “empire” if you want to understand the discussion better in context.

    So, with that as background, to your specific points:
    “I was not disparaging America in my post, merely taking exception to the claim that it had some sort of preeminence regarding democracy and human rights.” — Thank you for the clarification. Your comment regarding the origins of WWII didn’t come across like that, probably because of the word “disgust”. That’s why I responded the way I did. The preeminence of America in the areas of democracy and human rights is not in that it is the only country to honor and respect these principles. Far from it. Rather, it is that America is a superpower, and superpowers have not been noted for their respect for other nations, and the rights of individuals, historically. It has certainly been a world leader in these areas, that is fairly indisputable.

    “As to being the first nation to be founded on certain human rights ideals: How did slavery fit into that?” — The U.S. was founded on a worthy ideal, probably the most worthy of any nation in history, other than the ancient nation of Israel. Its execution of that ideal was not, by any means, perfect. But, it also needs to be understood that the times in the late 18th century were far different than more recently. The U.S. has grown into its role as a true respecter of the individual rights and liberties of everyone.

    I don’t disagree with anything else you said. Welcome to the conversation.

  • DonS

    Paul @ 106: I’m glad you jumped back in! In your earlier comments you kind of waded into the middle of what has been a lengthy discussion over several threads. To put things in perspective, there is plenty of U.S.-criticism on this blog, from both ends of the political spectrum, and from both U.S. nationals and those who are not. I think everyone agrees that is fine and good. We all improve with constructive criticism, and the U.S.’s dominant role in the world is a heavy responsibility that tends to draw a lot of attention.

    However, I do believe sometimes the criticism is unrelenting and some of it is ill-founded, or an exaggeration. I, for one, and others on here as well, believe that, in addition to the bad, the U.S. has also been a force for good in the world, and that the present era, largely due to U.S. influence, is one which elevates human rights far more than in any previous era. There are plenty of commenters who apparently disagree with me on that point, and we have been getting into it lately. One thing that tends to happen is that people conflate the two separate issues of whether Americans are better than other people or whether the American system is better than that in many other nations of the world.

    That’s a nutshell, from my point of view. Read back through this thread and a prior one from last week on “empire” if you want to understand the discussion better in context.

    So, with that as background, to your specific points:
    “I was not disparaging America in my post, merely taking exception to the claim that it had some sort of preeminence regarding democracy and human rights.” — Thank you for the clarification. Your comment regarding the origins of WWII didn’t come across like that, probably because of the word “disgust”. That’s why I responded the way I did. The preeminence of America in the areas of democracy and human rights is not in that it is the only country to honor and respect these principles. Far from it. Rather, it is that America is a superpower, and superpowers have not been noted for their respect for other nations, and the rights of individuals, historically. It has certainly been a world leader in these areas, that is fairly indisputable.

    “As to being the first nation to be founded on certain human rights ideals: How did slavery fit into that?” — The U.S. was founded on a worthy ideal, probably the most worthy of any nation in history, other than the ancient nation of Israel. Its execution of that ideal was not, by any means, perfect. But, it also needs to be understood that the times in the late 18th century were far different than more recently. The U.S. has grown into its role as a true respecter of the individual rights and liberties of everyone.

    I don’t disagree with anything else you said. Welcome to the conversation.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “sg, what is racism then, given your rejection of the OED defintion?”

    One objection is the “superiority” thing. What difference does that make? I mean if you think you are better but still treat people equitably, what is the beef? For a racism definition to match its evil connotation, it has to be based on the desire to actually injure folks who are different rather than just shunning/avoiding them. Free association is a right, too. Peaceful, prosperous types shouldn’t be defamed as racists just because they want to stay safe among their own kind. Using racism label as semantic weapon to force them to admit folks who are more violent and lower performing and culturally different is a form of brutality and threatens them in their own homelands. If some species of fish is worth preserving in its natural habitat, then so are the Japanese. They are human beings with a socially responsible free democratic system after all. They deserve the right to self determination.

    “How is it that America is so incredibly race obsessed? Left and right. So many boxes. And labels.”

    Diversity.

    Really, it looks just like a natural feature of human existence. Humans are social, and historically organized into family based tribes, clans and nations. If fewer groups were represented, there would be less interest perhaps.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “sg, what is racism then, given your rejection of the OED defintion?”

    One objection is the “superiority” thing. What difference does that make? I mean if you think you are better but still treat people equitably, what is the beef? For a racism definition to match its evil connotation, it has to be based on the desire to actually injure folks who are different rather than just shunning/avoiding them. Free association is a right, too. Peaceful, prosperous types shouldn’t be defamed as racists just because they want to stay safe among their own kind. Using racism label as semantic weapon to force them to admit folks who are more violent and lower performing and culturally different is a form of brutality and threatens them in their own homelands. If some species of fish is worth preserving in its natural habitat, then so are the Japanese. They are human beings with a socially responsible free democratic system after all. They deserve the right to self determination.

    “How is it that America is so incredibly race obsessed? Left and right. So many boxes. And labels.”

    Diversity.

    Really, it looks just like a natural feature of human existence. Humans are social, and historically organized into family based tribes, clans and nations. If fewer groups were represented, there would be less interest perhaps.

  • Porcell

    Louis, when Murray, SG, or I refer to certain ethnic or characteristics, it doesn’t follow that we apply these to each and every member of the race. The OED definition of racism avers that racism assumes that certain characteristics apply to every member of the race. In the case of Murray, he is a serious scholar without an once of racial prejudice.

    When I criticized the Arabs in general for their appalling general lack of education, as indicated in part by the paucity of their Nobel prizes, It hardly follows that I consider all Arabs to be ill educated. Your calling me a racist for this comment was rather unfair. When Don and I make a spirited defense of America, for all its faults, this hardly make us jingoists.

    The truth is that the left with its egalitarian ideology attempts to close off serious discussion of ethnic realities. Should you wish to understand this, you might read the classic on the subject, Alan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind. Of course, you won’t read it, as you might have to face up to your easy assumptions as to who is and isn’t a racist jingoist, or whatever.

  • Porcell

    Louis, when Murray, SG, or I refer to certain ethnic or characteristics, it doesn’t follow that we apply these to each and every member of the race. The OED definition of racism avers that racism assumes that certain characteristics apply to every member of the race. In the case of Murray, he is a serious scholar without an once of racial prejudice.

    When I criticized the Arabs in general for their appalling general lack of education, as indicated in part by the paucity of their Nobel prizes, It hardly follows that I consider all Arabs to be ill educated. Your calling me a racist for this comment was rather unfair. When Don and I make a spirited defense of America, for all its faults, this hardly make us jingoists.

    The truth is that the left with its egalitarian ideology attempts to close off serious discussion of ethnic realities. Should you wish to understand this, you might read the classic on the subject, Alan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind. Of course, you won’t read it, as you might have to face up to your easy assumptions as to who is and isn’t a racist jingoist, or whatever.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@115), your comment on racism does not appear to mesh with Christianity. Is that of any concern to you?

    “I mean if you think you are better but still treat people equitably, what is the beef?” First of all, you appear to be asserting that it’s actually possible to treat people with complete indifference to the fact that you think you’re better than them.

    But more to the point, how does your remark mesh with Philippians 2?

    Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

    Not only are we exhorted to think of others as better than us, but Scripture ties together belief and action — note how its two exhortations as to action bookend the exhortation as to thought.

    And then there is the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus makes clear that it’s not mere external adherence to the Law that matters, but the attitude of one’s heart. Jesus did not say “if you hate people but are still outwardly nice to them, that’s okay” or “if you lust after a woman inwardly, but don’t actually have sex with her, that’s okay”. He condemned the inner thoughts as the problem. So must we, as Christians, say that it’s not an indifferent matter if someone believes he is better than others, whether by virtue of his race, his nationality, or whatever.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@115), your comment on racism does not appear to mesh with Christianity. Is that of any concern to you?

    “I mean if you think you are better but still treat people equitably, what is the beef?” First of all, you appear to be asserting that it’s actually possible to treat people with complete indifference to the fact that you think you’re better than them.

    But more to the point, how does your remark mesh with Philippians 2?

    Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

    Not only are we exhorted to think of others as better than us, but Scripture ties together belief and action — note how its two exhortations as to action bookend the exhortation as to thought.

    And then there is the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus makes clear that it’s not mere external adherence to the Law that matters, but the attitude of one’s heart. Jesus did not say “if you hate people but are still outwardly nice to them, that’s okay” or “if you lust after a woman inwardly, but don’t actually have sex with her, that’s okay”. He condemned the inner thoughts as the problem. So must we, as Christians, say that it’s not an indifferent matter if someone believes he is better than others, whether by virtue of his race, his nationality, or whatever.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Hey tODD, I totally agree with you on a standard for confessing Christians. However, when you make laws for diverse groups within and between countries, then policing thoughts and feelings is an absurd endeavor. You have to focus on action. It seems fair enough for folks to agree on specific actions. Demanding whole-hearted agreement on motives seems destined for failure.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Hey tODD, I totally agree with you on a standard for confessing Christians. However, when you make laws for diverse groups within and between countries, then policing thoughts and feelings is an absurd endeavor. You have to focus on action. It seems fair enough for folks to agree on specific actions. Demanding whole-hearted agreement on motives seems destined for failure.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Demanding whole-hearted agreement on worldview/cultural values/(some other thing) seems destined for failure.

    A good word isn’t really coming to me.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Demanding whole-hearted agreement on worldview/cultural values/(some other thing) seems destined for failure.

    A good word isn’t really coming to me.

  • Booklover

    He rules the world with truth and grace,
    And makes the nations prove
    The glories of His righteousness,
    And wonders of His love.

    No more let sin and sorrow grow,
    Nor thorns infest the ground;
    He comes to make His blessings flow
    Far as the curse is found.

    Joy to the world! The Savior reigns;
    Let men their songs employ;
    While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains,
    Repeat the sounding joy.

    Joy to the world! The Lord is come;
    Let earth receive her King;
    Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room,
    And heav’n and nature sing.

  • Booklover

    He rules the world with truth and grace,
    And makes the nations prove
    The glories of His righteousness,
    And wonders of His love.

    No more let sin and sorrow grow,
    Nor thorns infest the ground;
    He comes to make His blessings flow
    Far as the curse is found.

    Joy to the world! The Savior reigns;
    Let men their songs employ;
    While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains,
    Repeat the sounding joy.

    Joy to the world! The Lord is come;
    Let earth receive her King;
    Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room,
    And heav’n and nature sing.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Back to the idea of crying to the UN that the Japanese are prideful, or that people feeling superior is wrong. If folks want to keep out immigrants and others therefore accuse them of feeling superior, are they putting the best construction on those who want to keep out immigrants? For example, Japan is the highest trust, lowest crime country, so any immigration would likely mean higher crime and less safety for their citizens. So the best construction is more like their desire to protect their families.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Back to the idea of crying to the UN that the Japanese are prideful, or that people feeling superior is wrong. If folks want to keep out immigrants and others therefore accuse them of feeling superior, are they putting the best construction on those who want to keep out immigrants? For example, Japan is the highest trust, lowest crime country, so any immigration would likely mean higher crime and less safety for their citizens. So the best construction is more like their desire to protect their families.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@118) said, “I totally agree with you on a standard for confessing Christians”. But … isn’t that what we were disagreeing on? We were discussing the use of the word “racist” among, and as applied to, particular Christians. We were not, that I can see, discussing a standard definition for use in some legal setting.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@118) said, “I totally agree with you on a standard for confessing Christians”. But … isn’t that what we were disagreeing on? We were discussing the use of the word “racist” among, and as applied to, particular Christians. We were not, that I can see, discussing a standard definition for use in some legal setting.

  • Porcell

    Todd, the flaw in your argument is that one can, as Murray, SG, and others do on this blog , point out certain characteristics of groups of people, while at the same time caring for them as individuals. Christ undoubtedly at heart loved the money-changers in the temple, though he had no problem chastising them and cleansing them from the temple. Same with the adulteress whom he told to “go and sin no more” after chastising the moralizing Pharisees

    Christ in fact, far from being sentimental about people, was a consummate realist. When you claim that SG’s views don’t “mesh” with Christianity, it might be that the log is in your eye.

    The classic case of this is Moynihan’s memo to Nixon pointing out the breakdown of black family life, something for which at the time he was vilified for, though any fair observer now regards as prescient. Moynihan’s critics at the time made the same arguments that you and Louis piously make.

  • Porcell

    Todd, the flaw in your argument is that one can, as Murray, SG, and others do on this blog , point out certain characteristics of groups of people, while at the same time caring for them as individuals. Christ undoubtedly at heart loved the money-changers in the temple, though he had no problem chastising them and cleansing them from the temple. Same with the adulteress whom he told to “go and sin no more” after chastising the moralizing Pharisees

    Christ in fact, far from being sentimental about people, was a consummate realist. When you claim that SG’s views don’t “mesh” with Christianity, it might be that the log is in your eye.

    The classic case of this is Moynihan’s memo to Nixon pointing out the breakdown of black family life, something for which at the time he was vilified for, though any fair observer now regards as prescient. Moynihan’s critics at the time made the same arguments that you and Louis piously make.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Well, I was talking about accusing folks in general of racism. Should we as Christians being playing thought police and accusing folks of bad motives? I personally live in an ethnically diverse area and have many friends who come from very different groups and see people as individuals and don’t assume folks are racists. I figure everyone here does as well. I adamantly oppose claims that there is racism everywhere and folks are being held back by dominant groups in the US. Rather the US gives opportunities to more and more different folks than any other place ever. I think that is the best construction and I think it is supported in fact by all the data. No group on average is doing better in their homeland than their coethnics here, and there is no sinful pride in stating that fact.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Well, I was talking about accusing folks in general of racism. Should we as Christians being playing thought police and accusing folks of bad motives? I personally live in an ethnically diverse area and have many friends who come from very different groups and see people as individuals and don’t assume folks are racists. I figure everyone here does as well. I adamantly oppose claims that there is racism everywhere and folks are being held back by dominant groups in the US. Rather the US gives opportunities to more and more different folks than any other place ever. I think that is the best construction and I think it is supported in fact by all the data. No group on average is doing better in their homeland than their coethnics here, and there is no sinful pride in stating that fact.

  • Stephen

    It is amazing to me that anyone can look at what has been done in their name in the past and even more recently to other people and not think, even for one moment, that their “kind” has not been asserted as more valuable and/or superior than another. I feel like quoting Stuart Smalley about the defensive posturing on this thread “Denial is not just a river in Egypt.” This assertion of one’s own “ethnicity plus power” is sometimes called rather blankly and quite accurately “racism” regardless of the attempt to avoid a real conversation about meaning by pointing at a dictionary.

    Did you know that the Nazis had the Jewish prisoners who could play instruments perform Bach for the officers while women and children were herded into the gas chambers at Treblinka? I’m German. Besides Bach, Germans also came up with um . . . Lutheranism! How proud should I be? Is all this ethnic pride feeling good for everyone indulging in it? How far does it get you? Isn’t it the very thing that gets one upset when they see it in the other?

    We all have blood on our hands. At least Christians are the ones who recognize this, don’t we, and confess that we need a savior, the one who came in humility for each of us. Anyone who thinks their kind do not need him or need him any less that some other is deluded. And anyone unwilling to see in the other someone for whom Christ has died fails to see the Christ who died for them. He died for you, and likewise he died for them.

    The funny thing about race as a category is a complete myth. There is no such thing. We are divided by cultures, languages, time and space, but race, that thing we think is attached to our bodies and spirits, it does not exist, except in our fallen hearts.

  • Stephen

    It is amazing to me that anyone can look at what has been done in their name in the past and even more recently to other people and not think, even for one moment, that their “kind” has not been asserted as more valuable and/or superior than another. I feel like quoting Stuart Smalley about the defensive posturing on this thread “Denial is not just a river in Egypt.” This assertion of one’s own “ethnicity plus power” is sometimes called rather blankly and quite accurately “racism” regardless of the attempt to avoid a real conversation about meaning by pointing at a dictionary.

    Did you know that the Nazis had the Jewish prisoners who could play instruments perform Bach for the officers while women and children were herded into the gas chambers at Treblinka? I’m German. Besides Bach, Germans also came up with um . . . Lutheranism! How proud should I be? Is all this ethnic pride feeling good for everyone indulging in it? How far does it get you? Isn’t it the very thing that gets one upset when they see it in the other?

    We all have blood on our hands. At least Christians are the ones who recognize this, don’t we, and confess that we need a savior, the one who came in humility for each of us. Anyone who thinks their kind do not need him or need him any less that some other is deluded. And anyone unwilling to see in the other someone for whom Christ has died fails to see the Christ who died for them. He died for you, and likewise he died for them.

    The funny thing about race as a category is a complete myth. There is no such thing. We are divided by cultures, languages, time and space, but race, that thing we think is attached to our bodies and spirits, it does not exist, except in our fallen hearts.

  • Stephen

    Porcell

    The Bell Curve was a hatchet job that does not hold up to scrutiny by any academic, peer-reviewed or scientific standard. The research they used was cherry-picked, specious and highly dubious. The whole thing was calculated and paid for by the neoconservative Bradley Foundation. And Murray is no mild-mannered college professor doing research. He’s a popular libertarian pundit with an agenda.

    Come up with something better. I’ll give you Alan Bloom certainly. He’s genuine. But Murray? That’s awful. You’d just about make the label stick with that one, and I know you don’t deserve it.

    Merry Christmas!

  • Stephen

    Porcell

    The Bell Curve was a hatchet job that does not hold up to scrutiny by any academic, peer-reviewed or scientific standard. The research they used was cherry-picked, specious and highly dubious. The whole thing was calculated and paid for by the neoconservative Bradley Foundation. And Murray is no mild-mannered college professor doing research. He’s a popular libertarian pundit with an agenda.

    Come up with something better. I’ll give you Alan Bloom certainly. He’s genuine. But Murray? That’s awful. You’d just about make the label stick with that one, and I know you don’t deserve it.

    Merry Christmas!

  • Porcell

    Stephen, equating serious discussion of ethnic matters with the horror of German fascism is a myth. One can discuss real ethnic and even racial differences without being involved with mean-spirited assumptions.

    Among the fallacies of contemporary liberal thought is that speaking frankly of ethnic or racial realities is verboten. The truth is that such matters when suppressed eventfully come back with ferocity.

    While, as you say race as a pure category is myth, though, among cultural and ethnic groups, there are major differences worthy of serious discussion. Just now the Germans, who for compelling reason have tried to avoid discussion of ethnic differences, are facing the reality of a hostile Turkish population in their midst. There is no good reason not to face the reality that they were mistaken to bring in foreign, Muslim cheap labor; having done so, they need now to squarely face the hard consequences.

    The truth is that when hard realities, including ethnic differences, are not faced, then in the long run disaster occurs.

  • Porcell

    Stephen, equating serious discussion of ethnic matters with the horror of German fascism is a myth. One can discuss real ethnic and even racial differences without being involved with mean-spirited assumptions.

    Among the fallacies of contemporary liberal thought is that speaking frankly of ethnic or racial realities is verboten. The truth is that such matters when suppressed eventfully come back with ferocity.

    While, as you say race as a pure category is myth, though, among cultural and ethnic groups, there are major differences worthy of serious discussion. Just now the Germans, who for compelling reason have tried to avoid discussion of ethnic differences, are facing the reality of a hostile Turkish population in their midst. There is no good reason not to face the reality that they were mistaken to bring in foreign, Muslim cheap labor; having done so, they need now to squarely face the hard consequences.

    The truth is that when hard realities, including ethnic differences, are not faced, then in the long run disaster occurs.

  • kerner

    sg:

    I shouldn’t let myself be drawn ingto this, but your ability to rationalize is just amazing. Statistics are information. They may also be evidence, in the legal sense, but not necessarily. Opinion, likewise, can be evidence and can be admitted in court as such.

    Look, you have said over and over that: 1) you want to be around people who are ethnicly and culturally similar to yourself, and 2) you place a paramount value on safety, “high trust” levels, high academic achievement and comfort as the characteristics of the society in which you want to live.

    What it all comes down to is that you are afraid of people from some ethnic/cultural groups other than your own. Since these people frighten you, you want to avoid them. But avoiding people based on ethnicity has become unfashionable, so you have spent goodness knows how much time and effort trying to present your fears as reasoned decisions based on facts and evidence.

    Look, I am the first to admit that a lot of left wing jargon purporting to oppose racism is emotional nonsense. Every human being is unique; each a product of innumerable genetic and environmental variables. No two human beings are capable of learning or achieving equally in all things.

    But neither are the studies you quote or the statistics you cite capable of supporting the conclusions you draw. The New York Times article you cite compares “poor” white boys to black boys who are “not poor”. First of all, the term “poor” is defined by eligibility for free lunch at school. Who can even pretend to know what factors lead to that status? To jump from that to a conclusion that white people are genetically superior to blacks is this major leap of logic, unsupported by sufficient information, into gross generalization.

    While you present all this data, there isn’t nearly enough of it to take into account of all the variables involved in performance in real life. Some of the most violent, low achieving, and/or uncivilized societies in the world are white or mongoloid asian. Studies of students who may or may not be receiving free school lunch do not begin to address the millions of hereditary, cultural, and environmental variables involved to reach a valid conclusion as to why different cultures appear the way they do.

    But another issue is that it I fail to see the relevance of much of what you say. So what if the white American bell curve shows us performing better than many others at the moment. There have been times when our performance as a group was worse than many others. I just don’t see your point, except that you want to rationalize your fear of different people.

    There is also the issue of what we mean by “better”. We’ve gone round and round on that subject too.

    By the way, I question whether the kings in small societies were the product of free elections in the way you have presented them. I strongly suspect that being the guy most people were afraid of had a lot to do with how most of the “votes” were cast.

  • kerner

    sg:

    I shouldn’t let myself be drawn ingto this, but your ability to rationalize is just amazing. Statistics are information. They may also be evidence, in the legal sense, but not necessarily. Opinion, likewise, can be evidence and can be admitted in court as such.

    Look, you have said over and over that: 1) you want to be around people who are ethnicly and culturally similar to yourself, and 2) you place a paramount value on safety, “high trust” levels, high academic achievement and comfort as the characteristics of the society in which you want to live.

    What it all comes down to is that you are afraid of people from some ethnic/cultural groups other than your own. Since these people frighten you, you want to avoid them. But avoiding people based on ethnicity has become unfashionable, so you have spent goodness knows how much time and effort trying to present your fears as reasoned decisions based on facts and evidence.

    Look, I am the first to admit that a lot of left wing jargon purporting to oppose racism is emotional nonsense. Every human being is unique; each a product of innumerable genetic and environmental variables. No two human beings are capable of learning or achieving equally in all things.

    But neither are the studies you quote or the statistics you cite capable of supporting the conclusions you draw. The New York Times article you cite compares “poor” white boys to black boys who are “not poor”. First of all, the term “poor” is defined by eligibility for free lunch at school. Who can even pretend to know what factors lead to that status? To jump from that to a conclusion that white people are genetically superior to blacks is this major leap of logic, unsupported by sufficient information, into gross generalization.

    While you present all this data, there isn’t nearly enough of it to take into account of all the variables involved in performance in real life. Some of the most violent, low achieving, and/or uncivilized societies in the world are white or mongoloid asian. Studies of students who may or may not be receiving free school lunch do not begin to address the millions of hereditary, cultural, and environmental variables involved to reach a valid conclusion as to why different cultures appear the way they do.

    But another issue is that it I fail to see the relevance of much of what you say. So what if the white American bell curve shows us performing better than many others at the moment. There have been times when our performance as a group was worse than many others. I just don’t see your point, except that you want to rationalize your fear of different people.

    There is also the issue of what we mean by “better”. We’ve gone round and round on that subject too.

    By the way, I question whether the kings in small societies were the product of free elections in the way you have presented them. I strongly suspect that being the guy most people were afraid of had a lot to do with how most of the “votes” were cast.

  • kerner

    Now see, there @124 you said something I agree with. Poor achievement is NOT merely the result of white people holding everyone else back.

    On the other hand, white people have done such things in the past, and I believe that the cultural impact of that continues to be felt.

    Plus, the economic system in the United States is based on competition. By definition, competition involves some people trying to surpass (or hold back) others.

  • kerner

    Now see, there @124 you said something I agree with. Poor achievement is NOT merely the result of white people holding everyone else back.

    On the other hand, white people have done such things in the past, and I believe that the cultural impact of that continues to be felt.

    Plus, the economic system in the United States is based on competition. By definition, competition involves some people trying to surpass (or hold back) others.

  • trotk

    Stephen, thank you for this:

    “The funny thing about race as a category is a complete myth. There is no such thing. We are divided by cultures, languages, time and space, but race, that thing we think is attached to our bodies and spirits, it does not exist, except in our fallen hearts.”

    There aren’t hard and fast genetic boundaries between groups in the way that is being represented here by sg and Porcell.

  • trotk

    Stephen, thank you for this:

    “The funny thing about race as a category is a complete myth. There is no such thing. We are divided by cultures, languages, time and space, but race, that thing we think is attached to our bodies and spirits, it does not exist, except in our fallen hearts.”

    There aren’t hard and fast genetic boundaries between groups in the way that is being represented here by sg and Porcell.

  • trotk

    Porcell at 127:

    You are referring to race according to language, culture, and possibly country of origin when you speak of the Turks and Muslims.

    This is very different than the previous discussion regarding the abilities (particularly academic) of a particular race being the result of a genetic difference.

    Race, in terms of language, culture, family structure, work habits, can and should be discussed.

    But the previous discussion (saying the cause for someone’s academic performance is the genetics of his race) is the equivalent of a second grade student explaining relativity. Not only are there no hard and fast genetic lines (and in terms of the biology that should control academic performance, there’s no lines) between races, that discussion ignores a thousand other issues that impact how we do in school.

  • trotk

    Porcell at 127:

    You are referring to race according to language, culture, and possibly country of origin when you speak of the Turks and Muslims.

    This is very different than the previous discussion regarding the abilities (particularly academic) of a particular race being the result of a genetic difference.

    Race, in terms of language, culture, family structure, work habits, can and should be discussed.

    But the previous discussion (saying the cause for someone’s academic performance is the genetics of his race) is the equivalent of a second grade student explaining relativity. Not only are there no hard and fast genetic lines (and in terms of the biology that should control academic performance, there’s no lines) between races, that discussion ignores a thousand other issues that impact how we do in school.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, when Moynihan in his famous memo to Nixon spoke of the disintegration of marriage and family-life among black people in America, he was referring to a racial matter, out of genuine concern, not out of some sort of racial bias.

    Charles Murray, a Harvard professor, in his book, The Bell Curve spoke clearly of racial matters, though he explained that clearly distinguishing between genetic and cultural influences is problematic. He did find that black people are a standard deviation [15 points] lower in IQ than people of European origin and that East Asian and Jews are a standard deviation lower than people of European origin.

    The OED refers to the reality of race as follows:
    race 2
    noun
    each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics : people of all races, colors, and creeds.
    • a group of people sharing the same culture, history, language, etc.; an ethnic group : we Scots were a bloodthirsty race then.
    • the fact or condition of belonging to such a division or group; the qualities or characteristics associated with this : people of mixed race.
    • a group or set of people or things with a common feature or features : some male firefighters still regarded women as a race apart.
    • Biology a population within a species that is distinct in some way, esp. a subspecies : people have killed so many tigers that two races are probably extinct.
    • (in nontechnical use) each of the major divisions of living creatures : a member of the human race | the race of birds.
    • poetic/literary a group of people descended from a common ancestor : a prince of the race of Solomon.
    • archaic ancestry : two coursers of ethereal race.

    Stephen’s remark that race is a complete myth is mistaken, though itis true that the boundary between races is blurred.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, when Moynihan in his famous memo to Nixon spoke of the disintegration of marriage and family-life among black people in America, he was referring to a racial matter, out of genuine concern, not out of some sort of racial bias.

    Charles Murray, a Harvard professor, in his book, The Bell Curve spoke clearly of racial matters, though he explained that clearly distinguishing between genetic and cultural influences is problematic. He did find that black people are a standard deviation [15 points] lower in IQ than people of European origin and that East Asian and Jews are a standard deviation lower than people of European origin.

    The OED refers to the reality of race as follows:
    race 2
    noun
    each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics : people of all races, colors, and creeds.
    • a group of people sharing the same culture, history, language, etc.; an ethnic group : we Scots were a bloodthirsty race then.
    • the fact or condition of belonging to such a division or group; the qualities or characteristics associated with this : people of mixed race.
    • a group or set of people or things with a common feature or features : some male firefighters still regarded women as a race apart.
    • Biology a population within a species that is distinct in some way, esp. a subspecies : people have killed so many tigers that two races are probably extinct.
    • (in nontechnical use) each of the major divisions of living creatures : a member of the human race | the race of birds.
    • poetic/literary a group of people descended from a common ancestor : a prince of the race of Solomon.
    • archaic ancestry : two coursers of ethereal race.

    Stephen’s remark that race is a complete myth is mistaken, though itis true that the boundary between races is blurred.

  • Tom Hering
  • Tom Hering
  • trotk

    Porcell, you missed the point. When you say “racial matter,” what do you mean? Genetic? Cultural? Linguistic? Country of origin?

    The cultural racial issues are real. As are the linguistic, habitual, ethnic, and many others.

    But the genetic is a myth. This is what Stephen meant.

    The problem is that we think that there is something deeply different (all the way into the genes) between two races. This isn’t true in regards to what was being discussed earlier and what has been discussed on previous posts. There isn’t a genetic difference that determines (even at a general/population level) academic achievement or IQ. This is a myth.

    From the introduction to the 13th chapter of Murray’s book,
    “The debate about whether and how much genes and environment have to do with ethnic differences remains unresolved.”

    You see, even your poster child cannot argue that genetic differences cause the differences he observed (that can and should be talked about) in academic performance between different races.

    The bottom line is that, unless you are a scientist dealing with skin pigmentation (or something like that), when you discuss differences in races you are talking about cultural issues, not genetic.

  • trotk

    Porcell, you missed the point. When you say “racial matter,” what do you mean? Genetic? Cultural? Linguistic? Country of origin?

    The cultural racial issues are real. As are the linguistic, habitual, ethnic, and many others.

    But the genetic is a myth. This is what Stephen meant.

    The problem is that we think that there is something deeply different (all the way into the genes) between two races. This isn’t true in regards to what was being discussed earlier and what has been discussed on previous posts. There isn’t a genetic difference that determines (even at a general/population level) academic achievement or IQ. This is a myth.

    From the introduction to the 13th chapter of Murray’s book,
    “The debate about whether and how much genes and environment have to do with ethnic differences remains unresolved.”

    You see, even your poster child cannot argue that genetic differences cause the differences he observed (that can and should be talked about) in academic performance between different races.

    The bottom line is that, unless you are a scientist dealing with skin pigmentation (or something like that), when you discuss differences in races you are talking about cultural issues, not genetic.

  • trotk

    Porcell, just for future reference:

    Charles Murray/The Bell Curve have been so thoroughly torn to shreds that it isn’t worth referencing, unless as an example of how not to publish and explain and do research. Do some research on it, and you will find that it is a book to be tossed.

    A few assumptions it makes that are laughable:

    Intelligence can be reduced to IQ testing. (And the following – Intelligence can be ranked in a linear manner.)
    Intelligence is immutable (you are stuck with what you are born with).
    Intelligence is the result of genetic differences. (An assumption that chapters 13 and 14 rest on, even though Murray admits in his intro to chapter 13 that this cannot be proven.)

    Every group (that I know of)that studied the book and evidence after its publication (Murray didn’t submit it for peer review, and so they reviewed it after publication) rejected it. My favorite quote from the APA,
    “There is certainly no such support for a genetic interpretation… . It is sometimes suggested that the Black/ White differential in psychometric intelligence is partly due to genetic differences (Jensen, 1972). There is not much direct evidence on this point, but what little there is fails to support the genetic hypothesis.”

    Did you notice that? “What little [evidence] there is fails to support the genetic hypothesis.”

    Well done, Murray.

    See Stephen at 126 for issues in the methodology and motivation. Because we’ve learned that someone’s background affects their argument, right?

  • trotk

    Porcell, just for future reference:

    Charles Murray/The Bell Curve have been so thoroughly torn to shreds that it isn’t worth referencing, unless as an example of how not to publish and explain and do research. Do some research on it, and you will find that it is a book to be tossed.

    A few assumptions it makes that are laughable:

    Intelligence can be reduced to IQ testing. (And the following – Intelligence can be ranked in a linear manner.)
    Intelligence is immutable (you are stuck with what you are born with).
    Intelligence is the result of genetic differences. (An assumption that chapters 13 and 14 rest on, even though Murray admits in his intro to chapter 13 that this cannot be proven.)

    Every group (that I know of)that studied the book and evidence after its publication (Murray didn’t submit it for peer review, and so they reviewed it after publication) rejected it. My favorite quote from the APA,
    “There is certainly no such support for a genetic interpretation… . It is sometimes suggested that the Black/ White differential in psychometric intelligence is partly due to genetic differences (Jensen, 1972). There is not much direct evidence on this point, but what little there is fails to support the genetic hypothesis.”

    Did you notice that? “What little [evidence] there is fails to support the genetic hypothesis.”

    Well done, Murray.

    See Stephen at 126 for issues in the methodology and motivation. Because we’ve learned that someone’s background affects their argument, right?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “We all have blood on our hands.”

    No. We don’t.

    Plenty of our forebears were suffering under and fighting against the same oppressive forces that so many now want to blame us for. This whole line of reasoning is wrong.

    Just like we don’t assume all members of a group posses the average characteristics of their group, the same applies to us. You can’t just choose the worst examples from our group and blame us all for their actions. It is irrational. Sheesh talk about false syllogisms. Come on.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “We all have blood on our hands.”

    No. We don’t.

    Plenty of our forebears were suffering under and fighting against the same oppressive forces that so many now want to blame us for. This whole line of reasoning is wrong.

    Just like we don’t assume all members of a group posses the average characteristics of their group, the same applies to us. You can’t just choose the worst examples from our group and blame us all for their actions. It is irrational. Sheesh talk about false syllogisms. Come on.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Charles Murray/The Bell Curve have been so thoroughly torn to shreds that it isn’t worth referencing, unless as an example of how not to publish and explain and do research.”

    citation?

    This is just plain not true. The book was nitpicked, and some critics made some fair, but minor points. Nothing anywhere near evidence based refutation.

    The only thing truly wrong with it is that it doesn’t reach the conclusion that people want it to reach.

    Anyway Rindermann has a new paper out, in case anyone is interested.

    http://www.tu-chemnitz.de/hsw/psychologie/professuren/entwpsy/team/rindermann/publikationen/09Talent.pdf

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Charles Murray/The Bell Curve have been so thoroughly torn to shreds that it isn’t worth referencing, unless as an example of how not to publish and explain and do research.”

    citation?

    This is just plain not true. The book was nitpicked, and some critics made some fair, but minor points. Nothing anywhere near evidence based refutation.

    The only thing truly wrong with it is that it doesn’t reach the conclusion that people want it to reach.

    Anyway Rindermann has a new paper out, in case anyone is interested.

    http://www.tu-chemnitz.de/hsw/psychologie/professuren/entwpsy/team/rindermann/publikationen/09Talent.pdf

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I have to laugh. I go to a school board meeting and I come back to a feeding frenzy. I guess the sharks smelled blood in the water. :-)

    For those wound too tight, that just means that eager commenters noted a high comment count. So don’t go gettin’ bent.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I have to laugh. I go to a school board meeting and I come back to a feeding frenzy. I guess the sharks smelled blood in the water. :-)

    For those wound too tight, that just means that eager commenters noted a high comment count. So don’t go gettin’ bent.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “But the genetic is a myth.”

    I got your myth right here.

    http://hapmap.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “But the genetic is a myth.”

    I got your myth right here.

    http://hapmap.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “We are divided by cultures, languages, time and space, but race, that thing we think is attached to our bodies and spirits, it does not exist,”

    So why does the government (and plenty of others) collect statistics on race? The census, school registration, the Supreme Court, the US constitution, the Bible, I could go on and on and on. How do all these folks notice race? Why do we make laws regulating what is and is not legal based on race, if it doesn’t exist? How can there be racial discrimination if race doesn’t exist? You may as well say Australia doesn’t exist. It is so obviously false.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “We are divided by cultures, languages, time and space, but race, that thing we think is attached to our bodies and spirits, it does not exist,”

    So why does the government (and plenty of others) collect statistics on race? The census, school registration, the Supreme Court, the US constitution, the Bible, I could go on and on and on. How do all these folks notice race? Why do we make laws regulating what is and is not legal based on race, if it doesn’t exist? How can there be racial discrimination if race doesn’t exist? You may as well say Australia doesn’t exist. It is so obviously false.

  • Stephen

    Porcell

    Unfortunately, I did not make myself very clear in my stridency. I guess calling up images of concentration camps immediately either makes people defensive or does not allow them to actually hear what is being said. What I meant to do with that illustration is show how ridiculous and ultimately sinister it is to posit one ethnicity over another. And I tried to do this on terms that might convince us all that this is sinful. I guess I failed.

    I was not trying to cut off the conversation. I was , however, challenging the meaningfulness of it given all the veiled racism that a few were leaning into here. And I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, even though you cited repeatedly a source the veracity and weight of which has little or no credibility in ANY academic circles. Talking about Germany and Turkish immigrants I suppose is one more arrow in the quiver of a culture war that can now be broadened internationally. Well that’s great! Maybe Germany got rid of those gas chambers a little too soon, eh? What kind of “conversation” are you talking about other than asserting ethnic superiority over the other? I don’t hear ANYTHING else. It all boils down to vilifying the other, making them the demon, the problem, the scapegoat, the sacrifice, so we can . . . what exactly?

    If you want to call me a liberal and think that means something, fine. Whatever. You don’t know anything about me really except what I’m about to tell you. I’m a white, Lutheran, Christian man who grew up in the south during busing and desegregation. I know something about racism. My father was a pastor and a Republican, but I never learned that people were anything other than ones for whom Christ died. That’s it. If you actually want to learn something about racism, ask me, your Christian brother, instead of citing a worn out racist source. Or better, get to know a black brother in Christ who has suffered and is still suffering under the racism that still exists in this country. Do that, and you will live by that law you so obviously want to keep. Otherwise, I suggest you take a hard look at the way you view people that are not like you who do not have and did not come from the blessings you did, whatever they are. I get the sense they are manifold. Praise the Lord. There truly is nothing wrong with that.

    But if we are talking about black people, and I assume since you bring up that awful book you are, then we are talking about a people who have been slaves for 400 years, legally free for about 150, and only politically free for less than 50. Economically they are still catching up. How long should it take a people who have been subjugated that long, who have had their identities stripped away to create new ones and rise above that level of suffering? I’d say they’ve done quite well. Jazz music would be enough for me to be able to say that. But the way some have been talking on this thread you’d think white America has been nothing but purely magnanimous, throwing itself at the feet of everyone who needs their help instead of largely dragged along kicking and screaming.

    Regardless of how you feel about our president, if you did not see election night in November of 2008 as a great moment for our country, one that you fought for, one you should be proud of, then I would say you missed out. Presidents come and go. Thank God we have it that way. But we serve a loving and forgiving God who hates our sin, yet sees us all through His cross. And all it seems that we can do to thank him is size each other up and put each other down, the same ones for whom he died. That seems not right to me. How about you?

    So am I putting you down if I suggest that you “lean into” racist talk. Maybe you don’t even realize it, or think if you agree that it is that it will make you something you don’t want to be. What would that be? I suppose you could see it that way, and maybe that would not be so terrible. It would mean you would have to repent. God will catch you. He already has.

    Well, be that as it may, my intention is, as it was in my first post, to show the error and where it was headed. You didn’t seem to see that at all. So now I have spoken even more stridently. I’m not sure I like that I did. One reason is because I know you served in the US Marines and I respect that very highly. It may sound thin coming on the end of this, but I mean it as much as anything else I have said. This particular issue of race is something I feel very strongly about as you can tell, and something I have deep personal experience with, and so I speak to that only. I suggest you back away from it and reflect on it, pray about it, and seek out some of those people that I mentioned. Let them speak. Love your neighbor, and live by the faith you’ve been given. Build your house on that instead of that junk about who is better. That is all shifting sand. That’s what I really want to say.

  • Stephen

    Porcell

    Unfortunately, I did not make myself very clear in my stridency. I guess calling up images of concentration camps immediately either makes people defensive or does not allow them to actually hear what is being said. What I meant to do with that illustration is show how ridiculous and ultimately sinister it is to posit one ethnicity over another. And I tried to do this on terms that might convince us all that this is sinful. I guess I failed.

    I was not trying to cut off the conversation. I was , however, challenging the meaningfulness of it given all the veiled racism that a few were leaning into here. And I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, even though you cited repeatedly a source the veracity and weight of which has little or no credibility in ANY academic circles. Talking about Germany and Turkish immigrants I suppose is one more arrow in the quiver of a culture war that can now be broadened internationally. Well that’s great! Maybe Germany got rid of those gas chambers a little too soon, eh? What kind of “conversation” are you talking about other than asserting ethnic superiority over the other? I don’t hear ANYTHING else. It all boils down to vilifying the other, making them the demon, the problem, the scapegoat, the sacrifice, so we can . . . what exactly?

    If you want to call me a liberal and think that means something, fine. Whatever. You don’t know anything about me really except what I’m about to tell you. I’m a white, Lutheran, Christian man who grew up in the south during busing and desegregation. I know something about racism. My father was a pastor and a Republican, but I never learned that people were anything other than ones for whom Christ died. That’s it. If you actually want to learn something about racism, ask me, your Christian brother, instead of citing a worn out racist source. Or better, get to know a black brother in Christ who has suffered and is still suffering under the racism that still exists in this country. Do that, and you will live by that law you so obviously want to keep. Otherwise, I suggest you take a hard look at the way you view people that are not like you who do not have and did not come from the blessings you did, whatever they are. I get the sense they are manifold. Praise the Lord. There truly is nothing wrong with that.

    But if we are talking about black people, and I assume since you bring up that awful book you are, then we are talking about a people who have been slaves for 400 years, legally free for about 150, and only politically free for less than 50. Economically they are still catching up. How long should it take a people who have been subjugated that long, who have had their identities stripped away to create new ones and rise above that level of suffering? I’d say they’ve done quite well. Jazz music would be enough for me to be able to say that. But the way some have been talking on this thread you’d think white America has been nothing but purely magnanimous, throwing itself at the feet of everyone who needs their help instead of largely dragged along kicking and screaming.

    Regardless of how you feel about our president, if you did not see election night in November of 2008 as a great moment for our country, one that you fought for, one you should be proud of, then I would say you missed out. Presidents come and go. Thank God we have it that way. But we serve a loving and forgiving God who hates our sin, yet sees us all through His cross. And all it seems that we can do to thank him is size each other up and put each other down, the same ones for whom he died. That seems not right to me. How about you?

    So am I putting you down if I suggest that you “lean into” racist talk. Maybe you don’t even realize it, or think if you agree that it is that it will make you something you don’t want to be. What would that be? I suppose you could see it that way, and maybe that would not be so terrible. It would mean you would have to repent. God will catch you. He already has.

    Well, be that as it may, my intention is, as it was in my first post, to show the error and where it was headed. You didn’t seem to see that at all. So now I have spoken even more stridently. I’m not sure I like that I did. One reason is because I know you served in the US Marines and I respect that very highly. It may sound thin coming on the end of this, but I mean it as much as anything else I have said. This particular issue of race is something I feel very strongly about as you can tell, and something I have deep personal experience with, and so I speak to that only. I suggest you back away from it and reflect on it, pray about it, and seek out some of those people that I mentioned. Let them speak. Love your neighbor, and live by the faith you’ve been given. Build your house on that instead of that junk about who is better. That is all shifting sand. That’s what I really want to say.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Kerner,

    “I shouldn’t let myself be drawn ingto this, but your ability to rationalize is just amazing.”

    Ad hominem, first rattle out of the box.
    For the umpteenth time, it is not about me.

    “Statistics are information. They may also be evidence, in the legal sense, but not necessarily. Opinion, likewise, can be evidence and can be admitted in court as such.”

    Demonstrate that I have misused or misrepresented something.

    “Look, you have said over and over that: 1) you want to be around people who are ethnicly and culturally similar to yourself, ”

    No, I haven’t said that. I said that it isn’t wrong to feel that way. You accuse me to defame me. I will not be cowed by the aggressive tactic. I will not shut up and defer to others just because they insult me.

    “and 2) you place a paramount value on safety, “high trust” levels, high academic achievement and comfort as the characteristics of the society in which you want to live.”

    Safety and high trust certainly, the others are nice but nowhere near as important. How many are itching to move to a dangerous place where they can’t trust anyone, no one knows how to do anything, and it is miserable not comfortable? Would that even be rational?

    What is your point? Do you think I am a jerk because I think it is wrong to debase our society and destroy our social capital by allowing criminal aliens to just wander in and abuse us?

    “What it all comes down to is that you are afraid of people from some ethnic/cultural groups other than your own. Since these people frighten you, you want to avoid them.”

    Not true. I invite them into my home as friends and equals. However, I refuse to be blamed for the performance of their coethnics.

    “But avoiding people based on ethnicity has become unfashionable,”

    And fashion is oh, so important. Certainly more so than silly trifles like safety and community.

    “so you have spent goodness knows how much time and effort trying to present your fears as reasoned decisions based on facts and evidence.”

    Actually, I have linked to unbiased data sources, so folks can judge for themselves.

    “While you present all this data,”

    And you present none.

    “there isn’t nearly enough of it to take into account of all the variables involved in performance in real life.”

    Not necessary to establish the existence of a trend.

    “Some of the most violent, low achieving, and/or uncivilized societies in the world are white or mongoloid asian.”

    Evidence? citation needed

    “Studies of students who may or may not be receiving free school lunch do not begin to address the millions of hereditary, cultural, and environmental variables involved to reach a valid conclusion as to why different cultures appear the way they do.”

    Another iteration of “I think, therefore it is true”.

    Kerner, all your claims are unsupported by evidence, and no, I don’t accept your opinion as evidence, more like hearsay. People reach conclusions all the time. Some base them on facts. Others don’t.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Kerner,

    “I shouldn’t let myself be drawn ingto this, but your ability to rationalize is just amazing.”

    Ad hominem, first rattle out of the box.
    For the umpteenth time, it is not about me.

    “Statistics are information. They may also be evidence, in the legal sense, but not necessarily. Opinion, likewise, can be evidence and can be admitted in court as such.”

    Demonstrate that I have misused or misrepresented something.

    “Look, you have said over and over that: 1) you want to be around people who are ethnicly and culturally similar to yourself, ”

    No, I haven’t said that. I said that it isn’t wrong to feel that way. You accuse me to defame me. I will not be cowed by the aggressive tactic. I will not shut up and defer to others just because they insult me.

    “and 2) you place a paramount value on safety, “high trust” levels, high academic achievement and comfort as the characteristics of the society in which you want to live.”

    Safety and high trust certainly, the others are nice but nowhere near as important. How many are itching to move to a dangerous place where they can’t trust anyone, no one knows how to do anything, and it is miserable not comfortable? Would that even be rational?

    What is your point? Do you think I am a jerk because I think it is wrong to debase our society and destroy our social capital by allowing criminal aliens to just wander in and abuse us?

    “What it all comes down to is that you are afraid of people from some ethnic/cultural groups other than your own. Since these people frighten you, you want to avoid them.”

    Not true. I invite them into my home as friends and equals. However, I refuse to be blamed for the performance of their coethnics.

    “But avoiding people based on ethnicity has become unfashionable,”

    And fashion is oh, so important. Certainly more so than silly trifles like safety and community.

    “so you have spent goodness knows how much time and effort trying to present your fears as reasoned decisions based on facts and evidence.”

    Actually, I have linked to unbiased data sources, so folks can judge for themselves.

    “While you present all this data,”

    And you present none.

    “there isn’t nearly enough of it to take into account of all the variables involved in performance in real life.”

    Not necessary to establish the existence of a trend.

    “Some of the most violent, low achieving, and/or uncivilized societies in the world are white or mongoloid asian.”

    Evidence? citation needed

    “Studies of students who may or may not be receiving free school lunch do not begin to address the millions of hereditary, cultural, and environmental variables involved to reach a valid conclusion as to why different cultures appear the way they do.”

    Another iteration of “I think, therefore it is true”.

    Kerner, all your claims are unsupported by evidence, and no, I don’t accept your opinion as evidence, more like hearsay. People reach conclusions all the time. Some base them on facts. Others don’t.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “How long should it take a people who have been subjugated that long, who have had their identities stripped away to create new ones and rise above that level of suffering?”

    Not long. Second generation Eastern European Jews in New York who went to very ordinary schools and colleges managed quite a few Nobel Prizes.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “How long should it take a people who have been subjugated that long, who have had their identities stripped away to create new ones and rise above that level of suffering?”

    Not long. Second generation Eastern European Jews in New York who went to very ordinary schools and colleges managed quite a few Nobel Prizes.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I was , however, challenging the meaningfulness of it given all the veiled racism that a few were leaning into here.”

    If you are going to accuse folks, you need to back it up. You should be ashamed of yourself for accusing folks of racism just because they are discussing race and racism. Very poor form.

    “you cited repeatedly a source the veracity and weight of which has little or no credibility in ANY academic circles.”

    This is not true. It is credible. It is not loved.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I was , however, challenging the meaningfulness of it given all the veiled racism that a few were leaning into here.”

    If you are going to accuse folks, you need to back it up. You should be ashamed of yourself for accusing folks of racism just because they are discussing race and racism. Very poor form.

    “you cited repeatedly a source the veracity and weight of which has little or no credibility in ANY academic circles.”

    This is not true. It is credible. It is not loved.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@123), if you’re going to insert yourself into a discussion between SG and me, you might want to address what was actually said, you know.

    “One can, as Murray, SG, and others do on this blog, point out certain characteristics of groups of people, while at the same time caring for them as individuals.” Yeah, well, read SG’s comment that I replied to again. The topic wasn’t the laughably benign “pointing out certain characteristics of groups of people”, as you might wish it were, it was “if you think you are better but still treat people equitably” (@115). It was to that comment I mainly addressed my reply (@117). As is obvious.

    And I have no idea what you mean by saying that “Christ in fact, far from being sentimental about people, was a consummate realist,” though given the way in which you wield words like “moralist”, I’m not sure it means much of anything.

    “When you claim that SG’s views don’t ‘mesh’ with Christianity, it might be that the log is in your eye.” Okay, look. If you’re going to attempt to admonish me in a Christian manner, you really should actually tell me what I did wrong. I contrasted SG’s words with those of Scripture — and, you know, she agreed (@118) with what I said, even if I found that confusing. If you disagree with what I said, try to do so constructively.

    Merely suggesting that I’m a hypocrite isn’t helpful, because I am. As are you. None of us are exempt from sin, nor do we live up to our own pathetic standards (and if we do, so much the sadder — at least as far as our standards go), much less God’s.

    So yes, let me make it clear that I struggle with considering others as superior to me. I struggle with loving my neighbor. So do you.

    Now that we’re clear on that, maybe you’d like to defend from Scripture the practice of thinking yourself better than others?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@123), if you’re going to insert yourself into a discussion between SG and me, you might want to address what was actually said, you know.

    “One can, as Murray, SG, and others do on this blog, point out certain characteristics of groups of people, while at the same time caring for them as individuals.” Yeah, well, read SG’s comment that I replied to again. The topic wasn’t the laughably benign “pointing out certain characteristics of groups of people”, as you might wish it were, it was “if you think you are better but still treat people equitably” (@115). It was to that comment I mainly addressed my reply (@117). As is obvious.

    And I have no idea what you mean by saying that “Christ in fact, far from being sentimental about people, was a consummate realist,” though given the way in which you wield words like “moralist”, I’m not sure it means much of anything.

    “When you claim that SG’s views don’t ‘mesh’ with Christianity, it might be that the log is in your eye.” Okay, look. If you’re going to attempt to admonish me in a Christian manner, you really should actually tell me what I did wrong. I contrasted SG’s words with those of Scripture — and, you know, she agreed (@118) with what I said, even if I found that confusing. If you disagree with what I said, try to do so constructively.

    Merely suggesting that I’m a hypocrite isn’t helpful, because I am. As are you. None of us are exempt from sin, nor do we live up to our own pathetic standards (and if we do, so much the sadder — at least as far as our standards go), much less God’s.

    So yes, let me make it clear that I struggle with considering others as superior to me. I struggle with loving my neighbor. So do you.

    Now that we’re clear on that, maybe you’d like to defend from Scripture the practice of thinking yourself better than others?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    By the way, Porcell (@132), it’s somewhat humorous to see you turning to a dictionary to defend “the reality of race”, for two reasons. First of all, you didn’t quote from the Oxford English Dictionary — your quote comes from the smaller Oxford Dictionary of English.

    But more importantly, one might as well turn to the OED to defend the “reality of phrenology”, as it is likewise discussed therein.

    Of course, I think you may have missed Stephen’s point when he said that race is a “myth”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    By the way, Porcell (@132), it’s somewhat humorous to see you turning to a dictionary to defend “the reality of race”, for two reasons. First of all, you didn’t quote from the Oxford English Dictionary — your quote comes from the smaller Oxford Dictionary of English.

    But more importantly, one might as well turn to the OED to defend the “reality of phrenology”, as it is likewise discussed therein.

    Of course, I think you may have missed Stephen’s point when he said that race is a “myth”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG said (@139), “I got your myth right here.” And then pointed to “a public resource that will help researchers find genes associated with human disease and response to pharmaceuticals.”

    Does the HapMap mean something to you, SG? Is there a page on that Web site you can point to where they discuss the particular encodings for “being black”? Maybe I missed it.

    Surely you understood that, when Trotk said (@134) “the genetic is a myth”, he was not dismissing the whole of genetics, but rather the idea that race is something that can be pinpointed genetically, scientifically.

    As to your response (@130) to Stephen’s comment (“race, that thing we think is attached to our bodies and spirits, it does not exist”), I believe you missed the point.

    Stephen was (obviously) not saying that no one has ever believed in the concept of race. The examples you give — to say nothing of your comments here — are sufficient evidence of that. But that’s all your examples prove. That people believe in the idea of race. It doesn’t prove it has a scientific basis. And if you believe there is one, tell us what it is.

    What, scientifically, makes someone “white”? Or “black”? If a person is born to two black parents but has white skin (it happens), is he still “black”? And what is the scientific rationale behind the idea that the child of a “black” person and a white person is … “black”? Assuming that child went on to have a child with a “white” person, at what point, scientifically, would their offspring stop being “black”?

    You might as well claim that religion is genetically determined, as well. I’m pretty certain people collect statistics on that, too. And the Census asks about religion. And the Constitution mentions it, as does the Bible. I could go on and on and on. Is religion a scientific concept? Or is it based in beliefs?

    Finally, SG, I should note that Kerner’s saying that “your ability to rationalize is just amazing” isn’t actually an “ad hominem” argument (@142). He is criticizing your reasoning, not you as a person.

    Of course, if you believe — as Porcell does — that the validity of one’s reasoning is determined by who one is, or other personal qualities other than one’s actual argument, then maybe you won’t get that distinction.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG said (@139), “I got your myth right here.” And then pointed to “a public resource that will help researchers find genes associated with human disease and response to pharmaceuticals.”

    Does the HapMap mean something to you, SG? Is there a page on that Web site you can point to where they discuss the particular encodings for “being black”? Maybe I missed it.

    Surely you understood that, when Trotk said (@134) “the genetic is a myth”, he was not dismissing the whole of genetics, but rather the idea that race is something that can be pinpointed genetically, scientifically.

    As to your response (@130) to Stephen’s comment (“race, that thing we think is attached to our bodies and spirits, it does not exist”), I believe you missed the point.

    Stephen was (obviously) not saying that no one has ever believed in the concept of race. The examples you give — to say nothing of your comments here — are sufficient evidence of that. But that’s all your examples prove. That people believe in the idea of race. It doesn’t prove it has a scientific basis. And if you believe there is one, tell us what it is.

    What, scientifically, makes someone “white”? Or “black”? If a person is born to two black parents but has white skin (it happens), is he still “black”? And what is the scientific rationale behind the idea that the child of a “black” person and a white person is … “black”? Assuming that child went on to have a child with a “white” person, at what point, scientifically, would their offspring stop being “black”?

    You might as well claim that religion is genetically determined, as well. I’m pretty certain people collect statistics on that, too. And the Census asks about religion. And the Constitution mentions it, as does the Bible. I could go on and on and on. Is religion a scientific concept? Or is it based in beliefs?

    Finally, SG, I should note that Kerner’s saying that “your ability to rationalize is just amazing” isn’t actually an “ad hominem” argument (@142). He is criticizing your reasoning, not you as a person.

    Of course, if you believe — as Porcell does — that the validity of one’s reasoning is determined by who one is, or other personal qualities other than one’s actual argument, then maybe you won’t get that distinction.

  • Porcell

    Stephen, at 141, Thank you for the thoughtful response, though I quite disagree with your following remark: And I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, even though you cited repeatedly a source the veracity and weight of which has little or no credibility in ANY academic circles. I assume here that you’re referring to Murray and his book, The Bell Curve written with Herrnstein.

    While admittedly this book and field of research is controversial, in fact not a few serious and hardly racist academics write in the field and respect Murray’s book. For a cogent discussion of this see public statement, signed by 52 internationally known scholars, Mainstream Science on Intelligence.

    When one frankly discusses racial or ethnic matters, it doesn’t follow that some sort of veiled racism is involved. The horrible images of Auschwitz ought not to close minds regarding racial and ethnic realities.

  • Porcell

    Stephen, at 141, Thank you for the thoughtful response, though I quite disagree with your following remark: And I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, even though you cited repeatedly a source the veracity and weight of which has little or no credibility in ANY academic circles. I assume here that you’re referring to Murray and his book, The Bell Curve written with Herrnstein.

    While admittedly this book and field of research is controversial, in fact not a few serious and hardly racist academics write in the field and respect Murray’s book. For a cogent discussion of this see public statement, signed by 52 internationally known scholars, Mainstream Science on Intelligence.

    When one frankly discusses racial or ethnic matters, it doesn’t follow that some sort of veiled racism is involved. The horrible images of Auschwitz ought not to close minds regarding racial and ethnic realities.

  • Porcell

    Todd, I don’t really struggle with issues of group identity. Frankly, just as blacks are properly proud of their racial identity, I am proud of the legacy of mainly white Western civilization. I’m, also, proud of my Anglo Saxon heritage and particularly that of the Puritans who came to settle in New England. Of course, I understand that the history of these peoples is far from being without blemish. As a Christian, I, also, understand with Paul that at base there is neither Greek, nor Jew et al, though this doesn’t preclude discussion of racial and ethnic maters.

    Your suggestion to SG that her views about race don’t comport with the Christian religion is mistaken. A fundamental tenet of the Christian religion is Truth. Charles Murray, Daniel Moynihan, and other scholars who write on the subject of race and ethnicity basically strive after the truth.

    You, also, need to read The Closing of the American Mind by Alan Bloom who quite understood that the righteous Left with its political correctness is involved in an egregious assault on truthful exposition. For one thing, it might make you a bit more charitable when it comes to righteously smiting conservatives on this blog.

  • Porcell

    Todd, I don’t really struggle with issues of group identity. Frankly, just as blacks are properly proud of their racial identity, I am proud of the legacy of mainly white Western civilization. I’m, also, proud of my Anglo Saxon heritage and particularly that of the Puritans who came to settle in New England. Of course, I understand that the history of these peoples is far from being without blemish. As a Christian, I, also, understand with Paul that at base there is neither Greek, nor Jew et al, though this doesn’t preclude discussion of racial and ethnic maters.

    Your suggestion to SG that her views about race don’t comport with the Christian religion is mistaken. A fundamental tenet of the Christian religion is Truth. Charles Murray, Daniel Moynihan, and other scholars who write on the subject of race and ethnicity basically strive after the truth.

    You, also, need to read The Closing of the American Mind by Alan Bloom who quite understood that the righteous Left with its political correctness is involved in an egregious assault on truthful exposition. For one thing, it might make you a bit more charitable when it comes to righteously smiting conservatives on this blog.

  • trotk

    Porcell, I will summarize what you interjected yourself into, but you ought to reread 117 and 118.

    sg asked why it was wrong to consider yourself better than others (as long as you didn’t act upon it).
    tODD quoted Philippians 2, wherein we are commanded to consider others better than ourselves.
    sg acknowledged that a confessing Christian shouldn’t have this attitude.

  • trotk

    Porcell, I will summarize what you interjected yourself into, but you ought to reread 117 and 118.

    sg asked why it was wrong to consider yourself better than others (as long as you didn’t act upon it).
    tODD quoted Philippians 2, wherein we are commanded to consider others better than ourselves.
    sg acknowledged that a confessing Christian shouldn’t have this attitude.

  • Stephen

    Porcell

    Here’s “cogent” for you:

    http://www.slate.com/?id=2416

    See especially the links to the case studies. This is is just one example of the Bell Curve’s specious and hollow assertions. You’ve been manipulated, and as trotk has pointed out, you are wading into a racist viewpoint perhaps without realizing it.

  • Stephen

    Porcell

    Here’s “cogent” for you:

    http://www.slate.com/?id=2416

    See especially the links to the case studies. This is is just one example of the Bell Curve’s specious and hollow assertions. You’ve been manipulated, and as trotk has pointed out, you are wading into a racist viewpoint perhaps without realizing it.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell & sg – you never did answer my question at #109: What then is racism, in your definition?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell & sg – you never did answer my question at #109: What then is racism, in your definition?

  • trotk

    I am glad that tODD (at 147) bothered to click on sg’s link (at 139). I was completely at a loss as to what I should do with that information, other than chuckle.

    sg, let me explain. The reason why Louis didn’t want to talk race with you is because you ignore arguments and use statistical evidence to do what it cannot do.

    You assert (typically) that some group of statistics shows that whites and Asians outperform blacks, and thus that whites and Asians are more able than blacks, and then formulate the conclusion that this is because of the genetic differences between the groups.

    No one is really arguing with the statistics (although I would, for reasons I will explain if you want). Your primary conclusion is not really disputed, because the vast majority of statistical evidence does point to an achievement gap between the races.

    The dispute comes when you claim (explicitly or implicitly) that it is because of the race in an inheritable genetic sense.
    There are too many other factors (parental education, student motivation and discipline, courses taken by the student, courses offered to the student,teacher quality in the student’s classes, test day circumstances, student opinions about standardized and IQ testing, family structure, early childhood vocabulary levels [one of the biggest factors] to, economics, etc, etc) to draw this conclusion, even if race were something that could be studied genetically.

    But race isn’t a set of genetic differences, especially in terms of academic ability. Blacks don’t have a different brain than whites. There is no biological basis for saying that they are not as able. It is pseudo-science to claim otherwise. You need to do some research into the issue of race. They are made up categories based on appearance, linguistics, economics, country of origin, etc. And thus the only reasonable conclusion, in light of the statistical evidence, is that one of the other factors (parental education, student motivation and discipline, courses taken by the student, courses offered to the student,teacher quality in the student’s classes, test day circumstances, student opinions about standardized and IQ testing, family structure, early childhood vocabulary levels [one of the biggest factors] to, economics, etc, etc) is at fault.
    It is very true that certain racial cultures will do something as a whole that impacts nearly all of their kids’ scores and performance. But it is a cultural issue, not a biological/genetic one.

  • trotk

    I am glad that tODD (at 147) bothered to click on sg’s link (at 139). I was completely at a loss as to what I should do with that information, other than chuckle.

    sg, let me explain. The reason why Louis didn’t want to talk race with you is because you ignore arguments and use statistical evidence to do what it cannot do.

    You assert (typically) that some group of statistics shows that whites and Asians outperform blacks, and thus that whites and Asians are more able than blacks, and then formulate the conclusion that this is because of the genetic differences between the groups.

    No one is really arguing with the statistics (although I would, for reasons I will explain if you want). Your primary conclusion is not really disputed, because the vast majority of statistical evidence does point to an achievement gap between the races.

    The dispute comes when you claim (explicitly or implicitly) that it is because of the race in an inheritable genetic sense.
    There are too many other factors (parental education, student motivation and discipline, courses taken by the student, courses offered to the student,teacher quality in the student’s classes, test day circumstances, student opinions about standardized and IQ testing, family structure, early childhood vocabulary levels [one of the biggest factors] to, economics, etc, etc) to draw this conclusion, even if race were something that could be studied genetically.

    But race isn’t a set of genetic differences, especially in terms of academic ability. Blacks don’t have a different brain than whites. There is no biological basis for saying that they are not as able. It is pseudo-science to claim otherwise. You need to do some research into the issue of race. They are made up categories based on appearance, linguistics, economics, country of origin, etc. And thus the only reasonable conclusion, in light of the statistical evidence, is that one of the other factors (parental education, student motivation and discipline, courses taken by the student, courses offered to the student,teacher quality in the student’s classes, test day circumstances, student opinions about standardized and IQ testing, family structure, early childhood vocabulary levels [one of the biggest factors] to, economics, etc, etc) is at fault.
    It is very true that certain racial cultures will do something as a whole that impacts nearly all of their kids’ scores and performance. But it is a cultural issue, not a biological/genetic one.

  • Stephen

    sg, by saying that something is a myth does not mean it isn’t going to be used to make assessments or that people do not put a lot of stock in it. Just because “race” is used as a marker for data does not mean it isn’t by nature, in the way I described it, actually a false distinction. Your link to genetic data – do you even understand it? There are plenty of myths that people live by that may or may not be based in fact. To say that there is a fundamental distinction between people that is embedded in their flesh, and hence in their souls (and in the case of the Bell Curve – the mind) is the most racist assertion we have been living with in this country and in human history. There is nothing true about it. Science bears this out, and our Christian faith tells us that this is sin and evil. Todd’s citation is only one example of this. Believe it or not, if you go back far enough, you could just as well be genetically related to an Inuit or a tribesman in Ghana as you are to someone from Norway.
    And as evidenced by my lengthy replies, Porcell, I am not interested in cutting off the conversation, but in steering you and others away from the racism you either do not seem willing to admit to or do not seem to realize you are indulging in. It is that serious. It kills and subjugates people. I’m sure Louis can speak to that. It happened not far from me 12 years ago in a place called Jasper, Texas. It is happening right now to people fleeing poverty from a near failed state across our southern border. What you talk about in Germany is a problem of immigration. Problems over cultural differences and ethnicity are a symptom of an economic situation that Germany created for itself. Germany is a largely homogenous society that does not know how to deal with difference very well and never has. But much like the issue we have troubling our borders, ethnicity is not what makes it what it is. I do not pretend to have an answer, and certainly ethnicity is pepper in the stew. But pointing to that AS the problem with “those people” and looking for pseudo-scientific data to support it (or creating it like The Bell Curve did) is not unlike what happened in 1930 when the stakes were extremely high, tempers were very hot, and people were willing to do very desperate things to come up with a solution. They found what they thought was a solution in a charismatic leader who pointed at an ethnic population who seemed to embody all their problems. We all know what they did with that. They aimed their despair at a scapegoat. Kind of like the rabble turning on Christ.

    That’s all I have for today. sorry I can’t be more specific than this. If you feel I have misrepresented your position, I apologize. I think that what I have said does in fact back up every assertion I have made. This is not academia, and I am not in the habit of searching for bibliographies, so I am not sure what you are referring to in each case sg. this is the best I can do for now. Again, I apologize if I have offended you. I too have been offended, but I will not take it personally and I hope you do not either.

  • Stephen

    sg, by saying that something is a myth does not mean it isn’t going to be used to make assessments or that people do not put a lot of stock in it. Just because “race” is used as a marker for data does not mean it isn’t by nature, in the way I described it, actually a false distinction. Your link to genetic data – do you even understand it? There are plenty of myths that people live by that may or may not be based in fact. To say that there is a fundamental distinction between people that is embedded in their flesh, and hence in their souls (and in the case of the Bell Curve – the mind) is the most racist assertion we have been living with in this country and in human history. There is nothing true about it. Science bears this out, and our Christian faith tells us that this is sin and evil. Todd’s citation is only one example of this. Believe it or not, if you go back far enough, you could just as well be genetically related to an Inuit or a tribesman in Ghana as you are to someone from Norway.
    And as evidenced by my lengthy replies, Porcell, I am not interested in cutting off the conversation, but in steering you and others away from the racism you either do not seem willing to admit to or do not seem to realize you are indulging in. It is that serious. It kills and subjugates people. I’m sure Louis can speak to that. It happened not far from me 12 years ago in a place called Jasper, Texas. It is happening right now to people fleeing poverty from a near failed state across our southern border. What you talk about in Germany is a problem of immigration. Problems over cultural differences and ethnicity are a symptom of an economic situation that Germany created for itself. Germany is a largely homogenous society that does not know how to deal with difference very well and never has. But much like the issue we have troubling our borders, ethnicity is not what makes it what it is. I do not pretend to have an answer, and certainly ethnicity is pepper in the stew. But pointing to that AS the problem with “those people” and looking for pseudo-scientific data to support it (or creating it like The Bell Curve did) is not unlike what happened in 1930 when the stakes were extremely high, tempers were very hot, and people were willing to do very desperate things to come up with a solution. They found what they thought was a solution in a charismatic leader who pointed at an ethnic population who seemed to embody all their problems. We all know what they did with that. They aimed their despair at a scapegoat. Kind of like the rabble turning on Christ.

    That’s all I have for today. sorry I can’t be more specific than this. If you feel I have misrepresented your position, I apologize. I think that what I have said does in fact back up every assertion I have made. This is not academia, and I am not in the habit of searching for bibliographies, so I am not sure what you are referring to in each case sg. this is the best I can do for now. Again, I apologize if I have offended you. I too have been offended, but I will not take it personally and I hope you do not either.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Surely you understood that, when Trotk said (@134) “the genetic is a myth”, he was not dismissing the whole of genetics, but rather the idea that race is something that can be pinpointed genetically, scientifically.”

    It is more like gene frequency among groups. There are haplogroups that range in frequency across Eurasia. If you do a google search for haplogroup map and you will find lots of info. The groups in Sub saharan Africa are unique as are the native American and aboriginal Australian, I believe, generally attributed to lengthy isolation. And yes, a genetics lab can tell you your race(s) from a DNA sample.

    23 and Me is running a holiday special. :-)
    https://www.23andme.com/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Surely you understood that, when Trotk said (@134) “the genetic is a myth”, he was not dismissing the whole of genetics, but rather the idea that race is something that can be pinpointed genetically, scientifically.”

    It is more like gene frequency among groups. There are haplogroups that range in frequency across Eurasia. If you do a google search for haplogroup map and you will find lots of info. The groups in Sub saharan Africa are unique as are the native American and aboriginal Australian, I believe, generally attributed to lengthy isolation. And yes, a genetics lab can tell you your race(s) from a DNA sample.

    23 and Me is running a holiday special. :-)
    https://www.23andme.com/

  • trotk

    sg, not to be offensive, but you don’t know what you are talking about. The gene frequency you refer to is a myth. The Human Genome Project proved this.

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20010211&slug=race11m

  • trotk

    sg, not to be offensive, but you don’t know what you are talking about. The gene frequency you refer to is a myth. The Human Genome Project proved this.

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20010211&slug=race11m

  • kerner

    sg @142

    Examples of violent, dysfunctional, low functioning white societies:

    Begin with the most obvious: Afghans are white, so are Iranians and Kurds. (Iran and Aryan are the same word). Observe:

    http://pastmists.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/south-asia-iran-persiaiand-afghanistan/

    Persia was once a great, but pagan and violent) civilization. Afghanistan never was civilized and Afghans are some of the most violent, dishonest, sexually perverted people in the world. Ask my son who has been there. Or don’t take his word for it, check here:

    http://foxnews.com/politics.2010/01/28/afghan-men-struggle-sexual-identity-study-finds/

    http://www.rawa.org/wom-un.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_Afghanistan

    http://www.indexmundi.com.afghanistan/literacy.html

    Granted there is some asiatic dna in Afghans now, but probably about the same level as that of Italians, Spaniards or Yugoslavs.

    As for statistics on other countries, you might look at the murder rate for Russia (67% higher than Mexico, dispite Mexico’s unusually high rate due to current drug cartel wars) and than many former soviet republics are right behind Mexico, and that mongoloid asian Thailand is 14.

    http://nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-rate-murders-per-capita

    or, you might look at the UN statistics for human development indicators

    http://hdr.undp.org/en/stastics

    Note that of the 169 countries listed, those below the mean (84.5) include:

    Mongoloid Asians:

    China 89
    Thailand 92
    Philippines 97
    Mongolia 100
    Indonesia 108
    Vietnam 113
    Laos 122
    Cambodia 124
    Myanmar 132
    Nepal 138

    Mixtures of Mongoloid Asians and Caucasians:

    Turkmenistan 87
    Uzbekistan 102
    Kyrgyzstan 109
    Tadjikistan 112

    Non mongoloid Asians:

    Tonga 85
    Fiji 86
    Sri Lanka 91
    India 119
    Timor-Leste 120
    Pakistan 125
    Bangladesh 129

    Prdominantly Caucasian:

    Afghanistan 155

    All of these statistics, while useful, are not anything like conclusive, because they represent averages. And they can skew away from subjective factors. Example: Saudi Arabia ranks 55 (Better than Russia 65), is a homogenious culture, has a murder rate lower than Japan’s (high trust) and yet I have no desire to live there.

    Many Asian Nations now have a high literacy rate (China, North Korea, Mongolia) But this was not always so. As recently as 100 years ago the literacy rates in these countries was very low. Also you have to remember that “literacy” is defined in these studies as a 15 years or older person being able to write and understand a simple sentence.

    While your statistics demonstrate that Asians who come here do well academically, it does not account for how they have done in Asia. This suggests that there are other factors besides genetics at work here. Culture in asia probably has a great deal to do with the level of human trafficing in Asia. Also the levels of abortions and outright infanticide. Also, the Asians who come here may not be typical Asians in that they have developed the means and desire to come to the USA and participate in its system, which most Asians have not.

    Russia now has a high literacy rate as well, but 100 years ago, theirs was low as well. Their culture is a lot more Asian than European, because Russia was part of the Mongolian Empire for centuries. Again, culture trumps genetics. Afghanistan, surrounded as it is by mongoloid Asian, Indian and Semitic cultures, should be an obvious example of culture trumping genetics. Of course, American Indians, the component of Hispanics that scares you, are basically mongoloid asians. I could go on, but you see my point I’m sure.

    Group genetics are such a small piece of a very complicated puzzle, that depending on them as much as you do to support your position is specious.

  • kerner

    sg @142

    Examples of violent, dysfunctional, low functioning white societies:

    Begin with the most obvious: Afghans are white, so are Iranians and Kurds. (Iran and Aryan are the same word). Observe:

    http://pastmists.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/south-asia-iran-persiaiand-afghanistan/

    Persia was once a great, but pagan and violent) civilization. Afghanistan never was civilized and Afghans are some of the most violent, dishonest, sexually perverted people in the world. Ask my son who has been there. Or don’t take his word for it, check here:

    http://foxnews.com/politics.2010/01/28/afghan-men-struggle-sexual-identity-study-finds/

    http://www.rawa.org/wom-un.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_Afghanistan

    http://www.indexmundi.com.afghanistan/literacy.html

    Granted there is some asiatic dna in Afghans now, but probably about the same level as that of Italians, Spaniards or Yugoslavs.

    As for statistics on other countries, you might look at the murder rate for Russia (67% higher than Mexico, dispite Mexico’s unusually high rate due to current drug cartel wars) and than many former soviet republics are right behind Mexico, and that mongoloid asian Thailand is 14.

    http://nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-rate-murders-per-capita

    or, you might look at the UN statistics for human development indicators

    http://hdr.undp.org/en/stastics

    Note that of the 169 countries listed, those below the mean (84.5) include:

    Mongoloid Asians:

    China 89
    Thailand 92
    Philippines 97
    Mongolia 100
    Indonesia 108
    Vietnam 113
    Laos 122
    Cambodia 124
    Myanmar 132
    Nepal 138

    Mixtures of Mongoloid Asians and Caucasians:

    Turkmenistan 87
    Uzbekistan 102
    Kyrgyzstan 109
    Tadjikistan 112

    Non mongoloid Asians:

    Tonga 85
    Fiji 86
    Sri Lanka 91
    India 119
    Timor-Leste 120
    Pakistan 125
    Bangladesh 129

    Prdominantly Caucasian:

    Afghanistan 155

    All of these statistics, while useful, are not anything like conclusive, because they represent averages. And they can skew away from subjective factors. Example: Saudi Arabia ranks 55 (Better than Russia 65), is a homogenious culture, has a murder rate lower than Japan’s (high trust) and yet I have no desire to live there.

    Many Asian Nations now have a high literacy rate (China, North Korea, Mongolia) But this was not always so. As recently as 100 years ago the literacy rates in these countries was very low. Also you have to remember that “literacy” is defined in these studies as a 15 years or older person being able to write and understand a simple sentence.

    While your statistics demonstrate that Asians who come here do well academically, it does not account for how they have done in Asia. This suggests that there are other factors besides genetics at work here. Culture in asia probably has a great deal to do with the level of human trafficing in Asia. Also the levels of abortions and outright infanticide. Also, the Asians who come here may not be typical Asians in that they have developed the means and desire to come to the USA and participate in its system, which most Asians have not.

    Russia now has a high literacy rate as well, but 100 years ago, theirs was low as well. Their culture is a lot more Asian than European, because Russia was part of the Mongolian Empire for centuries. Again, culture trumps genetics. Afghanistan, surrounded as it is by mongoloid Asian, Indian and Semitic cultures, should be an obvious example of culture trumping genetics. Of course, American Indians, the component of Hispanics that scares you, are basically mongoloid asians. I could go on, but you see my point I’m sure.

    Group genetics are such a small piece of a very complicated puzzle, that depending on them as much as you do to support your position is specious.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The gene frequency you refer to is a myth.”

    Not.

    Science reporting in the popular press is often misleading. I don’t have time today to dig up the actual documents (as I have many other times for folks who comment here but don’t actually read the stuff they comment on) to which the Seattle Times article refers, but please, in the interest of intellectual honesty, go look it up, actually read the thing and let us know what it says, preferably with citations. Thanks.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The gene frequency you refer to is a myth.”

    Not.

    Science reporting in the popular press is often misleading. I don’t have time today to dig up the actual documents (as I have many other times for folks who comment here but don’t actually read the stuff they comment on) to which the Seattle Times article refers, but please, in the interest of intellectual honesty, go look it up, actually read the thing and let us know what it says, preferably with citations. Thanks.

  • kerner

    ok, my inability to post links (due no doubt to s a genetic flaw, is manifest.

    The first one has been updated, so once you get there you willsee the words “Through the mists of the pasts. Click on these for the updated version.

    For the second, type in Afghan men sexual identity in the box. Fox news will take you right to it.

    for the last, I’ll just try again:

    http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/

  • kerner

    ok, my inability to post links (due no doubt to s a genetic flaw, is manifest.

    The first one has been updated, so once you get there you willsee the words “Through the mists of the pasts. Click on these for the updated version.

    For the second, type in Afghan men sexual identity in the box. Fox news will take you right to it.

    for the last, I’ll just try again:

    http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Kerner, thanks for the link to murder statistics. Very interesting.

    “Group genetics are such a small piece of a very complicated puzzle, that depending on them as much as you do to support your position is specious.”

    Not.

    My position is that they exist.

    “Granted there is some asiatic dna in Afghans now, but probably about the same level as that of Italians, Spaniards or Yugoslavs.”

    Talk about specious. Don’t just make up stuff on the fly. Go look it up. FYI, you are way off on Afghan DNA. There are several different ethnic groups there. Some are mostly west Asian (a subgroup of caucasian), some mostly south Asian, and some about split east/west Asian.

    So, did you look at the Rindermann paper? It would help you understand the human development index.

    “Again, culture trumps genetics.”

    True in the sense that oppressed people underperform. Not true in the sense that any group can perform exactly the same as another given the same opportunity. Also, when you import folks, they bring their culture with them. So, even just based on the culture argument, low performing groups will have trouble because of their culture. Some folks are total misfits in the cultures they come from. As outliers, they are eager to dump the whole culture thing at the airport as the escape their native lands. The US has a significant fraction of these folks, generally referred to as selection bias.

    Anyway, the point isn’t that environment is not a factor, rather that heredity is also a significant factor. Also, the question, where does culture come from? It seems obvious that it comes from people. Different people create different cultures. Also, I refer to incidence rate, not universality. This distinction is constantly ignored.

    So, we have trotk and Stephen arguing the untenable, that genetic groups don’t exist.

    We have kerner arguing they exist but don’t matter.

    And maybe tODD, arguing they exist, matter, but we shouldn’t feel superior. If so, I am with tODD. If not, I am sure I will read about it! :-)

    Are these fair characterizations?

    Anyway, to get to a useful understanding, it seems reasonable, first to actually read a little of the research (not just popular press). Since we are all educated and have internet connections, that seems reasonable. Second, take what is learned and think of how it can be used to make things better for everyone. And above all take everything in the spirit of loving and serving neighbors no matter who they are or where they come from, and no matter what their talents or limitations. But, y’all knew that. :-)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Kerner, thanks for the link to murder statistics. Very interesting.

    “Group genetics are such a small piece of a very complicated puzzle, that depending on them as much as you do to support your position is specious.”

    Not.

    My position is that they exist.

    “Granted there is some asiatic dna in Afghans now, but probably about the same level as that of Italians, Spaniards or Yugoslavs.”

    Talk about specious. Don’t just make up stuff on the fly. Go look it up. FYI, you are way off on Afghan DNA. There are several different ethnic groups there. Some are mostly west Asian (a subgroup of caucasian), some mostly south Asian, and some about split east/west Asian.

    So, did you look at the Rindermann paper? It would help you understand the human development index.

    “Again, culture trumps genetics.”

    True in the sense that oppressed people underperform. Not true in the sense that any group can perform exactly the same as another given the same opportunity. Also, when you import folks, they bring their culture with them. So, even just based on the culture argument, low performing groups will have trouble because of their culture. Some folks are total misfits in the cultures they come from. As outliers, they are eager to dump the whole culture thing at the airport as the escape their native lands. The US has a significant fraction of these folks, generally referred to as selection bias.

    Anyway, the point isn’t that environment is not a factor, rather that heredity is also a significant factor. Also, the question, where does culture come from? It seems obvious that it comes from people. Different people create different cultures. Also, I refer to incidence rate, not universality. This distinction is constantly ignored.

    So, we have trotk and Stephen arguing the untenable, that genetic groups don’t exist.

    We have kerner arguing they exist but don’t matter.

    And maybe tODD, arguing they exist, matter, but we shouldn’t feel superior. If so, I am with tODD. If not, I am sure I will read about it! :-)

    Are these fair characterizations?

    Anyway, to get to a useful understanding, it seems reasonable, first to actually read a little of the research (not just popular press). Since we are all educated and have internet connections, that seems reasonable. Second, take what is learned and think of how it can be used to make things better for everyone. And above all take everything in the spirit of loving and serving neighbors no matter who they are or where they come from, and no matter what their talents or limitations. But, y’all knew that. :-)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Kerner, one last point on culture. Notice how well Barbados does under British rule. They are 95 % African but have good per capita GDP, reasonably low crime, reasonably good universal health care, etc. So, yes culture matters a lot. And let’s give the devil his due. Although the Brits were slavers in the past, they gave it up as a matter of conscience and at least in the Barbados example have run the place for the benefit of its citizens.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Kerner, one last point on culture. Notice how well Barbados does under British rule. They are 95 % African but have good per capita GDP, reasonably low crime, reasonably good universal health care, etc. So, yes culture matters a lot. And let’s give the devil his due. Although the Brits were slavers in the past, they gave it up as a matter of conscience and at least in the Barbados example have run the place for the benefit of its citizens.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg – btw, the Brits ended Slavery before the Americans. But I’m still really interested in your definition of racism.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg – btw, the Brits ended Slavery before the Americans. But I’m still really interested in your definition of racism.

  • Porcell

    Stephen, that fevered Lemann polemic against Murray and Herrnsrein’s Bell Curve is typical of what happened to the scholarly work of both Moynihan and Murray. Lemann is a journalist not a scholar. The fact that he headed the journalism school at Columbia doesn’t change this. Slate is a political journal, not a scholarly one. Instead of doing a balanced criticism of a legitimate dispute on IQ among psychometricians, this review takes a highly one-sided position. Lemann’s polemic is typical of one of those referred to as “heated and negative responses” to Murray’s book in the statement of the 52 scholars, Mainstream Science on Intelligence that I linked to at 148.

    The scholars had the following to say regarding the reaction to The Bell Curve:

    Since the publication of “The BELL CURVE,” many commentators have offered opinions about human intelligence that misstate current scientific evidence. Some conclusions dismissed in the media as discredited are actually firmly supported.

    This statement outlines conclusions regarded as mainstream among researchers on intelligence, in particular, on the nature, origins, and practical consequences of individual and group differences in intelligence. Its aim is to promote more reasoned discussion of the vexing phenomenon that the research has revealed in recent decades. The following conclusions are fully described in the major textbooks, professional journals and encyclopedias in intelligence.

    Lemann’s view that Murray and Herrnstein’s book was essentially a biased political screed is mistaken. While Murray’s politics tend to be conservative, his works are always done with scholarly care. He is not a Harvard College graduate with a PhD in political science from M.I.T for nothing.

    This thread would be a perfect example of what Bloom talked about in The Closing of the American Mind. He feared that the yahoos on the Left had taken over the universities in the sixties and seventies and that this would spread to the whole society. Even a Christian blog like this can’t have a discussion about racial and ethnic realities without people being accused of racism, veiled or otherwise.

  • Porcell

    Stephen, that fevered Lemann polemic against Murray and Herrnsrein’s Bell Curve is typical of what happened to the scholarly work of both Moynihan and Murray. Lemann is a journalist not a scholar. The fact that he headed the journalism school at Columbia doesn’t change this. Slate is a political journal, not a scholarly one. Instead of doing a balanced criticism of a legitimate dispute on IQ among psychometricians, this review takes a highly one-sided position. Lemann’s polemic is typical of one of those referred to as “heated and negative responses” to Murray’s book in the statement of the 52 scholars, Mainstream Science on Intelligence that I linked to at 148.

    The scholars had the following to say regarding the reaction to The Bell Curve:

    Since the publication of “The BELL CURVE,” many commentators have offered opinions about human intelligence that misstate current scientific evidence. Some conclusions dismissed in the media as discredited are actually firmly supported.

    This statement outlines conclusions regarded as mainstream among researchers on intelligence, in particular, on the nature, origins, and practical consequences of individual and group differences in intelligence. Its aim is to promote more reasoned discussion of the vexing phenomenon that the research has revealed in recent decades. The following conclusions are fully described in the major textbooks, professional journals and encyclopedias in intelligence.

    Lemann’s view that Murray and Herrnstein’s book was essentially a biased political screed is mistaken. While Murray’s politics tend to be conservative, his works are always done with scholarly care. He is not a Harvard College graduate with a PhD in political science from M.I.T for nothing.

    This thread would be a perfect example of what Bloom talked about in The Closing of the American Mind. He feared that the yahoos on the Left had taken over the universities in the sixties and seventies and that this would spread to the whole society. Even a Christian blog like this can’t have a discussion about racial and ethnic realities without people being accused of racism, veiled or otherwise.

  • trotk

    sg, I have done the reading. Thanks for your advice. I posted the link to the popular press piece because it was a good summary.

    There is far more genetic diversity within any given race than there is between races. There are no hard and fast genetic lines between groups.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC20754/?tool=pubmed

  • trotk

    sg, I have done the reading. Thanks for your advice. I posted the link to the popular press piece because it was a good summary.

    There is far more genetic diversity within any given race than there is between races. There are no hard and fast genetic lines between groups.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC20754/?tool=pubmed

  • trotk

    A good summary of some of the issues and some of the studies:

    http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/earthhistory/humanrace.html

    sg, I find it strange that the scientific world doesn’t agree with you, and yet that doesn’t matter to you.

    When geneticists say that divisions between races don’t exist genetically, does this not shake your view?

  • trotk

    A good summary of some of the issues and some of the studies:

    http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/earthhistory/humanrace.html

    sg, I find it strange that the scientific world doesn’t agree with you, and yet that doesn’t matter to you.

    When geneticists say that divisions between races don’t exist genetically, does this not shake your view?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    trotk – for that matter, one of the best examples of that diversity is the San (Bushmen) of the Kalahari in SA, Namibia & Botswana. Researchers have found more genetic variation between 2 adult men living 20km apart, than between two people of different races living at opposite ends of the planet. The genetic variation within the San is astounding – and interestingly enough, they might very well represent the oldest “Halo group” of all.

    During the aparhteid years the San were employed by the South African Army as trackers. Their families then stayed in military accomodation, and the children were taught by military teachers. The teachers found a marked aptitude for Maths among these youths – and remember, little more than 1 generation before they were effectively Stone Age hunter gatherers. Eventually the connection was made that the intense emphasis on tracking skills had developed aspects of their reasoning skills, thereby making them good at math. In that sense, a environmental/cultural/socio-econimc factor had a strong impact on at least one aspect of intellectual development.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    trotk – for that matter, one of the best examples of that diversity is the San (Bushmen) of the Kalahari in SA, Namibia & Botswana. Researchers have found more genetic variation between 2 adult men living 20km apart, than between two people of different races living at opposite ends of the planet. The genetic variation within the San is astounding – and interestingly enough, they might very well represent the oldest “Halo group” of all.

    During the aparhteid years the San were employed by the South African Army as trackers. Their families then stayed in military accomodation, and the children were taught by military teachers. The teachers found a marked aptitude for Maths among these youths – and remember, little more than 1 generation before they were effectively Stone Age hunter gatherers. Eventually the connection was made that the intense emphasis on tracking skills had developed aspects of their reasoning skills, thereby making them good at math. In that sense, a environmental/cultural/socio-econimc factor had a strong impact on at least one aspect of intellectual development.

  • Cincinnatus

    “When geneticists say that divisions between races don’t exist genetically…”

    I’ll chime in here with a hearty “hogwash.” The idea that races are not distinct genetically is total nonsense. Skin color itself is a genetic attribute that is maintained within specific races that have a propensity to breed with those of the same race (i.e., every race, due mostly to geographic circumstances). Blacks, for example, are more likely to suffer genetically from sickle-cell anemia. Northern Europeans are tremendously more likely to suffer a number of mental diseases. Certain indigenous tripes in the mountainous regions of South America are more likely to be born with a greater lung capacity than the average human. Why is it such a tremendous leap to assume that certain mental attributes–like “IQ,” assuming it is a valid measure of something–are communicable in genetic terms? Intelligence is at least partly genetic (i.e., not everyone can be an astrophysicist, no matter how much education they receive). Why might its presence not be, statistically speaking, more likely within some races/ethnic groups rather than others?

    Does this mean that I can assume that my black friends are dumber than I, a white person, am or that I am dumber than my Jewish friends? Absolutely not, but statistically speaking, it may be true, and this may, in fact, have ramifications for public policy, etc.

  • Cincinnatus

    “When geneticists say that divisions between races don’t exist genetically…”

    I’ll chime in here with a hearty “hogwash.” The idea that races are not distinct genetically is total nonsense. Skin color itself is a genetic attribute that is maintained within specific races that have a propensity to breed with those of the same race (i.e., every race, due mostly to geographic circumstances). Blacks, for example, are more likely to suffer genetically from sickle-cell anemia. Northern Europeans are tremendously more likely to suffer a number of mental diseases. Certain indigenous tripes in the mountainous regions of South America are more likely to be born with a greater lung capacity than the average human. Why is it such a tremendous leap to assume that certain mental attributes–like “IQ,” assuming it is a valid measure of something–are communicable in genetic terms? Intelligence is at least partly genetic (i.e., not everyone can be an astrophysicist, no matter how much education they receive). Why might its presence not be, statistically speaking, more likely within some races/ethnic groups rather than others?

    Does this mean that I can assume that my black friends are dumber than I, a white person, am or that I am dumber than my Jewish friends? Absolutely not, but statistically speaking, it may be true, and this may, in fact, have ramifications for public policy, etc.

  • trotk

    Porcell, defending Murray by claiming that everyone who opposes his book is a “yahoo on the left” is bad argumentation.

    For the record, the book has been discredited by a host of experts, but the simple analysis by the APA is easiest to quote:

    “There is not much direct evidence on this point, but what little there is fails to support the genetic hypothesis.”

    If your response is that the APA is made up of leftist yahoos, then it will be evident that no conversation can be had on the subject, because any expert who disagrees with you is excused based on their perceived agenda.

    Peter, perhaps you have the agenda?

  • trotk

    Porcell, defending Murray by claiming that everyone who opposes his book is a “yahoo on the left” is bad argumentation.

    For the record, the book has been discredited by a host of experts, but the simple analysis by the APA is easiest to quote:

    “There is not much direct evidence on this point, but what little there is fails to support the genetic hypothesis.”

    If your response is that the APA is made up of leftist yahoos, then it will be evident that no conversation can be had on the subject, because any expert who disagrees with you is excused based on their perceived agenda.

    Peter, perhaps you have the agenda?

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, there are tendencies genetically in certain areas, but they are concerned with the surface level stuff, like skin and eyes and hair. These aren’t confined to race, though. Is all of Africa one race?

    The problem comes in when people jump from genetic difference in hair/skin/eyes to genetic difference in intelligence. The evidence doesn’t exist, and it is a monumental jump to make without evidence.

    Read the studies at the link I provided at 165, or at least read the abstracts.

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, there are tendencies genetically in certain areas, but they are concerned with the surface level stuff, like skin and eyes and hair. These aren’t confined to race, though. Is all of Africa one race?

    The problem comes in when people jump from genetic difference in hair/skin/eyes to genetic difference in intelligence. The evidence doesn’t exist, and it is a monumental jump to make without evidence.

    Read the studies at the link I provided at 165, or at least read the abstracts.

  • Cincinnatus

    trotk: Did I say that Africa is all of one race? It isn’t even all of one color! What’s your point?

    I’m not going to get into a game of hurling links to studies at one another. There are studies that indicate genetic differences in intelligence and there are studies that claim the opposite. For my part, it doesn’t even make sense to claim that every part of the body except the brain can be influenced by genetic factors. That’s fundamentally, logically implausible. We all want to make this illogical claim because of our supreme devotion to absolute equality, but it just doesn’t make sense.

    The classic example is the Jewish race: they have been demonstrated to have higher IQs than the rest of us, on average. This is because, culturally speaking, they value intelligence,and thus they generally and intentionally seek intelligent spouses. Two intelligent parents are more likely to give birth to intrinsically intelligent children. I don’t see why this claim is at all dubious.

  • Cincinnatus

    trotk: Did I say that Africa is all of one race? It isn’t even all of one color! What’s your point?

    I’m not going to get into a game of hurling links to studies at one another. There are studies that indicate genetic differences in intelligence and there are studies that claim the opposite. For my part, it doesn’t even make sense to claim that every part of the body except the brain can be influenced by genetic factors. That’s fundamentally, logically implausible. We all want to make this illogical claim because of our supreme devotion to absolute equality, but it just doesn’t make sense.

    The classic example is the Jewish race: they have been demonstrated to have higher IQs than the rest of us, on average. This is because, culturally speaking, they value intelligence,and thus they generally and intentionally seek intelligent spouses. Two intelligent parents are more likely to give birth to intrinsically intelligent children. I don’t see why this claim is at all dubious.

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, I am not claiming that genetics doesn’t factor into intelligence. It probably does, although there is no conclusive study to prove this. There is also no conclusive study to prove that intelligence is inheritable.

    The example you cite of Jewish people rests on cultural factors. To claim that Jews have this culture because of their genes is a large claim without any scientific proof.

    Again, the vast majority (around 85%) of genetic differences are within races, not between them.

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, I am not claiming that genetics doesn’t factor into intelligence. It probably does, although there is no conclusive study to prove this. There is also no conclusive study to prove that intelligence is inheritable.

    The example you cite of Jewish people rests on cultural factors. To claim that Jews have this culture because of their genes is a large claim without any scientific proof.

    Again, the vast majority (around 85%) of genetic differences are within races, not between them.

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, sorry if I offended because of the Africa question.

    I was attempting to illustrate that the boundary lines between races are totally arbitrary, and thus end up being drawn on geographic, cultural, or linguistic grounds. There is too much genetic diversity within these groups and too little genetic diversity in the entire human population to justify sub-species, which is effectively what genetic races would be.

    Or, perhaps, if there are sub-species, we need to realize that they don’t coincide with cultural, linguistic, or geographic divisions.

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, sorry if I offended because of the Africa question.

    I was attempting to illustrate that the boundary lines between races are totally arbitrary, and thus end up being drawn on geographic, cultural, or linguistic grounds. There is too much genetic diversity within these groups and too little genetic diversity in the entire human population to justify sub-species, which is effectively what genetic races would be.

    Or, perhaps, if there are sub-species, we need to realize that they don’t coincide with cultural, linguistic, or geographic divisions.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, I’m defending Murray as a serious scholar whose work, The Bell Curve is taken seriously by many of those in the field of psychometrics. Read the statement by the scholars that I linked to at 148 for a serious analysis of the matter of mainstream science and intelligence. As to the APA, in my view it has gone political on the subjects of intelligence and race, as well as homosexuality

    While the comparative role of genetic and cultural influences on IQ are not clear, there can be little question that heritability of intelligence is real. The well documented Wiki article on the subjects states the following:

    Estimates in the academic research of the heritability of IQ have varied from below 0.5[4] to a high of 0.9.[7] A 1996 statement by the American Psychological Association gave about .45 for children and about .75 during and after adolescence.[8] A 2004 meta-analysis of reports in Current Directions in Psychological Science gave an overall estimate of around .85 for 18-year-olds and older.[9] The New York Times Magazine has listed about three quarters as a figure held by the majority of studies.[10]

    The reference to yahoos on the left was in relation to Alan Bloom’s concern about the closing of the American mind.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, I’m defending Murray as a serious scholar whose work, The Bell Curve is taken seriously by many of those in the field of psychometrics. Read the statement by the scholars that I linked to at 148 for a serious analysis of the matter of mainstream science and intelligence. As to the APA, in my view it has gone political on the subjects of intelligence and race, as well as homosexuality

    While the comparative role of genetic and cultural influences on IQ are not clear, there can be little question that heritability of intelligence is real. The well documented Wiki article on the subjects states the following:

    Estimates in the academic research of the heritability of IQ have varied from below 0.5[4] to a high of 0.9.[7] A 1996 statement by the American Psychological Association gave about .45 for children and about .75 during and after adolescence.[8] A 2004 meta-analysis of reports in Current Directions in Psychological Science gave an overall estimate of around .85 for 18-year-olds and older.[9] The New York Times Magazine has listed about three quarters as a figure held by the majority of studies.[10]

    The reference to yahoos on the left was in relation to Alan Bloom’s concern about the closing of the American mind.

  • DonS

    Sheesh. Yesterday, when I was last on this thread, we were in the early 100′s, and we were smiling and engaged in holiday cheer. Now, what are we doing? Talking about race again? Good luck with that, kids. It’s the ultimate “academic” discussion.

    How does this whole race study issue fit into a multi-racial society such as our’s? Let’s see — my kids are English, German, Irish, Mexican, and Apache, primarily, with a mish-mash of other races and nationalities no doubt thrown in. Which racial category do they fall into? My daughter married a native Hawaiian who is also half Chinese. So, my grandkids will also have Hawaiian and Asian genes. I’d say within two generations, at least here in the U.S. and Canada, this whole discussion will be entirely moot.

  • DonS

    Sheesh. Yesterday, when I was last on this thread, we were in the early 100′s, and we were smiling and engaged in holiday cheer. Now, what are we doing? Talking about race again? Good luck with that, kids. It’s the ultimate “academic” discussion.

    How does this whole race study issue fit into a multi-racial society such as our’s? Let’s see — my kids are English, German, Irish, Mexican, and Apache, primarily, with a mish-mash of other races and nationalities no doubt thrown in. Which racial category do they fall into? My daughter married a native Hawaiian who is also half Chinese. So, my grandkids will also have Hawaiian and Asian genes. I’d say within two generations, at least here in the U.S. and Canada, this whole discussion will be entirely moot.

  • DonS

    Oh, darn, I misspoke. My son-in-law is half Caucasian, 1/4 Chinese, and 1/4 native Hawaiian.

    Doesn’t change the point, however.

  • DonS

    Oh, darn, I misspoke. My son-in-law is half Caucasian, 1/4 Chinese, and 1/4 native Hawaiian.

    Doesn’t change the point, however.

  • Cincinnatus

    Hogwash. It has been proven that white Northern Europeans are statistically more likely to suffer from debilitating mental diseases that are transferred genetically (and only genetically). Blacks of sub-Saharan African extraction have been proven to be more likely to suffer from sickle-cell anemia. Come on, man! These are clear racial/ethnic boundaries. You missed my point about Jews: while the fact that they value intellect is a cultural property, the fact that they are more likely to give birth to intelligent children is genetic. They’ve (probably inadvertantly) isolated the genes that conduce toward strong intellects by selecting intelligent mates (the fact that it is a cultural choice is irrelevant). Because intelligence is partly a function of genetics, the Jews have helped insure that future Jewish generations are intelligent by making a general habit of choosing intelligent spouses. If they wholesale decided to marry morons instead (which is a thought experiment, not something that could or would happen in real life), their average IQ as an ethnic group would be certain to decline. It’s common sense! My children are more likely than average to suffer from ADD and/or bipolar disease because I recently married into a family in which those mental conditions are endemic; moreover, the family into which I married was more likely to suffer from those conditions in the first place because they are white and because their Northern European genes are more likely to contain the coding that results in such conditions. Why is this so difficult to grasp? Obviously, it can result in problematic or offensive conclusions if applied or interpreted incorrectly, but the fact itself seems rather indisputable. Now, can I say that blacks from certain portions of Africa (as opposed to Jews) have inadvertantly made IQ a less likely genetic outcome? As you say, studies on the subject are inconclusive, so I cannot (not that I want to do so). But the possibility can’t be foreclosed due to the very simple reality of genetic mechanisms.

    In other words, while you’ve quite readily admitted that physical attributes can be communicated genetically within races (as they obviously are, skin color being the most blatantly evident example), you haven’t provided a coherent argument as to why mental attributes (or just certain mental attributes, as you could probably agree that autism, for example, is genetic) can’t be. My suspicion is that there quite simply isn’t such an argument. It doesn’t make logical sense, particularly if you concede (as most scientists do) that “intelligence” broadly conceived is partly a function of genetics.

  • Cincinnatus

    Hogwash. It has been proven that white Northern Europeans are statistically more likely to suffer from debilitating mental diseases that are transferred genetically (and only genetically). Blacks of sub-Saharan African extraction have been proven to be more likely to suffer from sickle-cell anemia. Come on, man! These are clear racial/ethnic boundaries. You missed my point about Jews: while the fact that they value intellect is a cultural property, the fact that they are more likely to give birth to intelligent children is genetic. They’ve (probably inadvertantly) isolated the genes that conduce toward strong intellects by selecting intelligent mates (the fact that it is a cultural choice is irrelevant). Because intelligence is partly a function of genetics, the Jews have helped insure that future Jewish generations are intelligent by making a general habit of choosing intelligent spouses. If they wholesale decided to marry morons instead (which is a thought experiment, not something that could or would happen in real life), their average IQ as an ethnic group would be certain to decline. It’s common sense! My children are more likely than average to suffer from ADD and/or bipolar disease because I recently married into a family in which those mental conditions are endemic; moreover, the family into which I married was more likely to suffer from those conditions in the first place because they are white and because their Northern European genes are more likely to contain the coding that results in such conditions. Why is this so difficult to grasp? Obviously, it can result in problematic or offensive conclusions if applied or interpreted incorrectly, but the fact itself seems rather indisputable. Now, can I say that blacks from certain portions of Africa (as opposed to Jews) have inadvertantly made IQ a less likely genetic outcome? As you say, studies on the subject are inconclusive, so I cannot (not that I want to do so). But the possibility can’t be foreclosed due to the very simple reality of genetic mechanisms.

    In other words, while you’ve quite readily admitted that physical attributes can be communicated genetically within races (as they obviously are, skin color being the most blatantly evident example), you haven’t provided a coherent argument as to why mental attributes (or just certain mental attributes, as you could probably agree that autism, for example, is genetic) can’t be. My suspicion is that there quite simply isn’t such an argument. It doesn’t make logical sense, particularly if you concede (as most scientists do) that “intelligence” broadly conceived is partly a function of genetics.

  • Cincinnatus

    My “hogwash” and all succeeding verbiage was directed toward trotk@172

  • Cincinnatus

    My “hogwash” and all succeeding verbiage was directed toward trotk@172

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, does it bother you that geneticists disagree with you?

    “There are no genetic characteristics possessed by all Blacks but not by non- Blacks; similarly, there is no gene or cluster of genes common to all Whites but not to non-Whites. One’s race is not determined by a single gene or gene cluster, as is, for example, sickle cell anemia. Nor are races marked by important differences in gene frequencies, the rates of appearance of certain gene types. The data compiled by various scientists demonstrates, contrary to popular opinion, that intra-group differences exceed inter-group differences. That is, greater genetic variation exists within the populations typically labeled Black and White than between these populations. This finding refutes the supposition that racial divisions reflect fundamental genetic differences.”

    http://academic.udayton.edu/race/01race/race.htm

    Read the article, although you will probably dismiss it as having an agenda. There are gene clusters for various conditions, disorders, mutations, etc, but they are not bound by racial lines, unless you group humanity into three races, and three races alone. And then, you still have to deal with the fact that the greatest genetic differences are between the races.

    As to the inheritability of intelligence, this is far from proven. Most of the time it is far more easily explained by the culture that a child is brought up in. Ockham’s razor dictates you follow the easy evidence.

    Families who read to their kids and use large vocabularies and turn off the TV and study and converse and demand hard work and problem solve generally create intelligent children.
    Families who don’t generally don’t.

    I know you claim the Jewish population as an exception, but they, inasmuch as they create intelligent children, are doing the things that create intelligent children. Genetically, their blood is as muddled as any ethnic group and has as many divergences within it as any ethnic group.

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, does it bother you that geneticists disagree with you?

    “There are no genetic characteristics possessed by all Blacks but not by non- Blacks; similarly, there is no gene or cluster of genes common to all Whites but not to non-Whites. One’s race is not determined by a single gene or gene cluster, as is, for example, sickle cell anemia. Nor are races marked by important differences in gene frequencies, the rates of appearance of certain gene types. The data compiled by various scientists demonstrates, contrary to popular opinion, that intra-group differences exceed inter-group differences. That is, greater genetic variation exists within the populations typically labeled Black and White than between these populations. This finding refutes the supposition that racial divisions reflect fundamental genetic differences.”

    http://academic.udayton.edu/race/01race/race.htm

    Read the article, although you will probably dismiss it as having an agenda. There are gene clusters for various conditions, disorders, mutations, etc, but they are not bound by racial lines, unless you group humanity into three races, and three races alone. And then, you still have to deal with the fact that the greatest genetic differences are between the races.

    As to the inheritability of intelligence, this is far from proven. Most of the time it is far more easily explained by the culture that a child is brought up in. Ockham’s razor dictates you follow the easy evidence.

    Families who read to their kids and use large vocabularies and turn off the TV and study and converse and demand hard work and problem solve generally create intelligent children.
    Families who don’t generally don’t.

    I know you claim the Jewish population as an exception, but they, inasmuch as they create intelligent children, are doing the things that create intelligent children. Genetically, their blood is as muddled as any ethnic group and has as many divergences within it as any ethnic group.

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus, on the matter of Jewish intellectual ability, see Charles Murray’s brief article in Commentary, Jewish Genius, including his amusing summary paragraphs:

    This reasoning pushes me even farther into the realm of speculation. Insofar as I am suggesting that the Jews may have had some degree of unusual verbal skills going back to the time of Moses, I am naked before the evolutionary psychologists’ ultimate challenge. Why should one particular tribe at the time of Moses, living in the same environment as other nomadic and agricultural peoples of the Middle East, have already evolved elevated intelligence when the others did not?

    At this point, I take sanctuary in my remaining hypothesis, uniquely parsimonious and happily irrefutable. The Jews are God’s chosen people.

    One of Murray’s great qualities is that, notwithstanding a PhD in political science from M.I.T, he has a sense of humor and knows the limits of academic knowledge.

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus, on the matter of Jewish intellectual ability, see Charles Murray’s brief article in Commentary, Jewish Genius, including his amusing summary paragraphs:

    This reasoning pushes me even farther into the realm of speculation. Insofar as I am suggesting that the Jews may have had some degree of unusual verbal skills going back to the time of Moses, I am naked before the evolutionary psychologists’ ultimate challenge. Why should one particular tribe at the time of Moses, living in the same environment as other nomadic and agricultural peoples of the Middle East, have already evolved elevated intelligence when the others did not?

    At this point, I take sanctuary in my remaining hypothesis, uniquely parsimonious and happily irrefutable. The Jews are God’s chosen people.

    One of Murray’s great qualities is that, notwithstanding a PhD in political science from M.I.T, he has a sense of humor and knows the limits of academic knowledge.

  • Cincinnatus

    trotk: Now you’re just assaulting a straw man: of course no genetic attribute is “exclusive” to any race. White people can be born with sickle-cell anemia, Jews can be morons, and blacks can have schizophrenia (indeed, I know a black schizophrenic). In fact, it has even been demonstrated that two black parents can give birth to a white child (and, I imagine, vice versa). Moreover, no one ever asserted that races are static. Just now, DonS arrived to remind us that, in America in particular, racial boundaries are disappearing as massive inter-breeding occurs. Soon, no doubt, America will be home to an entirely new race yet unseen on the earth with an extraordinarily diverse genetic background.

    In case you haven’t noticed, we’re speaking in terms of statistical generalities. Non-Irish children can have red hair, but due to ethnically isolated genetic factors, Irish children are much more likely to have red hair than the average human being (or, say, a black person). I cannot assume, again, that my black friends are less intelligent than I precisely because genetic boundaries are porous; but I can believe in the theoretical possibility that one race is, on average, less intelligent than another race just as I can and should believe that white people are more likely to suffer from various mental diseases than are black people.

  • Cincinnatus

    trotk: Now you’re just assaulting a straw man: of course no genetic attribute is “exclusive” to any race. White people can be born with sickle-cell anemia, Jews can be morons, and blacks can have schizophrenia (indeed, I know a black schizophrenic). In fact, it has even been demonstrated that two black parents can give birth to a white child (and, I imagine, vice versa). Moreover, no one ever asserted that races are static. Just now, DonS arrived to remind us that, in America in particular, racial boundaries are disappearing as massive inter-breeding occurs. Soon, no doubt, America will be home to an entirely new race yet unseen on the earth with an extraordinarily diverse genetic background.

    In case you haven’t noticed, we’re speaking in terms of statistical generalities. Non-Irish children can have red hair, but due to ethnically isolated genetic factors, Irish children are much more likely to have red hair than the average human being (or, say, a black person). I cannot assume, again, that my black friends are less intelligent than I precisely because genetic boundaries are porous; but I can believe in the theoretical possibility that one race is, on average, less intelligent than another race just as I can and should believe that white people are more likely to suffer from various mental diseases than are black people.

  • trotk

    “Nor are races marked by important differences in gene frequencies, the rates of appearance of certain gene types. The data compiled by various scientists demonstrates, contrary to popular opinion, that intra-group differences exceed inter-group differences. That is, greater genetic variation exists within the populations typically labeled Black and White than between these populations. This finding refutes the supposition that racial divisions reflect fundamental genetic differences.”

    Cincinnatus, this is an argument against the “soft boundaries” that you are speaking of.

    We can talk all day about the “soft boundaries,” but the geneticist can’t find them. Which should lead us to the conclusion that the boundaries are primarily cultural, with a few exceptions, such as skin color, hair color, and the propensity to certain conditions, of which intelligence cannot be lumped, because there is no evidence for it.

    The fact that the majority of genetic differences are within groups, rather than between them puts the burden of proving that something (intelligence) is driven by genetic differences between groups on the one making that claim. For most issues, there just isn’t a genetic argument to be made that separates one group from another.

    It is interesting that the few examples you have of genetic differences aren’t about a particular racial group. They deal with whole swathes of racial groups. This is what prompts the questions about what race sub-Saharan Africa is. Or what race Northern Europe is. The fact that the races we think of don’t even follow the few genetic divisions we have is evidence of the fact that the races are justified by genetics.

  • trotk

    “Nor are races marked by important differences in gene frequencies, the rates of appearance of certain gene types. The data compiled by various scientists demonstrates, contrary to popular opinion, that intra-group differences exceed inter-group differences. That is, greater genetic variation exists within the populations typically labeled Black and White than between these populations. This finding refutes the supposition that racial divisions reflect fundamental genetic differences.”

    Cincinnatus, this is an argument against the “soft boundaries” that you are speaking of.

    We can talk all day about the “soft boundaries,” but the geneticist can’t find them. Which should lead us to the conclusion that the boundaries are primarily cultural, with a few exceptions, such as skin color, hair color, and the propensity to certain conditions, of which intelligence cannot be lumped, because there is no evidence for it.

    The fact that the majority of genetic differences are within groups, rather than between them puts the burden of proving that something (intelligence) is driven by genetic differences between groups on the one making that claim. For most issues, there just isn’t a genetic argument to be made that separates one group from another.

    It is interesting that the few examples you have of genetic differences aren’t about a particular racial group. They deal with whole swathes of racial groups. This is what prompts the questions about what race sub-Saharan Africa is. Or what race Northern Europe is. The fact that the races we think of don’t even follow the few genetic divisions we have is evidence of the fact that the races are justified by genetics.

  • trotk

    that the races are NOT justified by genetics.

  • trotk

    that the races are NOT justified by genetics.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Cin – as soon as you start speaking about statistical realities, you can no longer assume a single genetic cause. Thus the original point we were making, namely a cluster of factors, still stands.

    Peter – how about answering my question, namley, what then, in your definition, is racism?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Cin – as soon as you start speaking about statistical realities, you can no longer assume a single genetic cause. Thus the original point we were making, namely a cluster of factors, still stands.

    Peter – how about answering my question, namley, what then, in your definition, is racism?

  • Porcell

    Trotk, how then do you explain that statistically African related people, whatever their internal differences, score on IQ a standard deviation below Caucasian people and that Jews and East Asians score significantly above caucasians?

    Cincinnatus makes the salient point that, for example, not all Irishmen are redheads and not all Jews are bright, though that doesn’t in the slightest negate the relevance of general heritable factors.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, how then do you explain that statistically African related people, whatever their internal differences, score on IQ a standard deviation below Caucasian people and that Jews and East Asians score significantly above caucasians?

    Cincinnatus makes the salient point that, for example, not all Irishmen are redheads and not all Jews are bright, though that doesn’t in the slightest negate the relevance of general heritable factors.

  • Cincinnatus

    trotk, now you’ve just shifted the terms of discussion. Whereas before we were debating whether genetically heritable traits can be more pervasive in certain communities (e.g., ethnic groups) than in others, now you’re disclaiming the existence of races altogether.

    Surely you know that this is an entirely unrelated question. Once again, of course races are to some degree subjectively defined. When we speak of the “black race” do we mean everyone from Africa, only sub-Saharan Africans, or only Africans from certain tribes? When we say the “white race” do we mean all Caucasians (literally from Central Asia to Australia) or do we just mean those of Scandinavian/Germanic extraction or do we mean something else? Or are we saying something religious, cultural, etc.? Well, I wasn’t trying to answer that question. And regardless of one’s answer to that question, the point still stands. Are the boundaries of race porous and often artificially described? Sure, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Irish, for example, are a group of people who live on the island of Ireland; genetically, they are statistically more likely than someone from, say, the Congo to be white-skinned, red-haired, blue-eyed, and inclined to suffer from various mental debilitations.

    In other words, you’re falsely construing my argument to claim that I am arguing that race is purely genetic. Well, obviously not. That depends upon how we define race. But we can nevertheless distinguish people groups (and I was using ethnic rather than “racial” for this very reason) based upon certain attributes they have, including skin and hair color and other genetic predispositions. And there is no reason to suppose that some intellectual factors are equally genetic. If the Irish can inbreed themselves such that most of them have red hair, they can certainly inbreed themselves such that most of them are adept at, say, learning and synthesizing abstract concepts.

  • Cincinnatus

    trotk, now you’ve just shifted the terms of discussion. Whereas before we were debating whether genetically heritable traits can be more pervasive in certain communities (e.g., ethnic groups) than in others, now you’re disclaiming the existence of races altogether.

    Surely you know that this is an entirely unrelated question. Once again, of course races are to some degree subjectively defined. When we speak of the “black race” do we mean everyone from Africa, only sub-Saharan Africans, or only Africans from certain tribes? When we say the “white race” do we mean all Caucasians (literally from Central Asia to Australia) or do we just mean those of Scandinavian/Germanic extraction or do we mean something else? Or are we saying something religious, cultural, etc.? Well, I wasn’t trying to answer that question. And regardless of one’s answer to that question, the point still stands. Are the boundaries of race porous and often artificially described? Sure, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Irish, for example, are a group of people who live on the island of Ireland; genetically, they are statistically more likely than someone from, say, the Congo to be white-skinned, red-haired, blue-eyed, and inclined to suffer from various mental debilitations.

    In other words, you’re falsely construing my argument to claim that I am arguing that race is purely genetic. Well, obviously not. That depends upon how we define race. But we can nevertheless distinguish people groups (and I was using ethnic rather than “racial” for this very reason) based upon certain attributes they have, including skin and hair color and other genetic predispositions. And there is no reason to suppose that some intellectual factors are equally genetic. If the Irish can inbreed themselves such that most of them have red hair, they can certainly inbreed themselves such that most of them are adept at, say, learning and synthesizing abstract concepts.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “sg – btw, the Brits ended Slavery before the Americans.”

    Yes, a great story of the power of the Word of God to convict and transform.

    “But I’m still really interested in your definition of racism.”

    Louis, maybe I don’t understand what you are getting at. I thought I answered that @ 115.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “sg – btw, the Brits ended Slavery before the Americans.”

    Yes, a great story of the power of the Word of God to convict and transform.

    “But I’m still really interested in your definition of racism.”

    Louis, maybe I don’t understand what you are getting at. I thought I answered that @ 115.

  • Porcell

    Louis, at 183: Peter – how about answering my question, namley [sic], what then, in your definition, is racism?

    You are the one that used the term racist to describe my praise of the Jews and criticism of the Arabs. I normally don’t use the term, as it is a rather slippery Leftist term without substantial foundation.

    A better term is racial discrimination that the UN defines legally as follows:

    The term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.[5]

    Personally, while I understand the hard reality of racial and ethnic differences, I regard all races and ethnic groups in the Christian way as being on an equal footing of human rights including fundamental political, economic, social, and cultural freedoms.

    I should say that I abhor your blithe and rather righteous assumptions as to who is and isn’t a racist.

  • Porcell

    Louis, at 183: Peter – how about answering my question, namley [sic], what then, in your definition, is racism?

    You are the one that used the term racist to describe my praise of the Jews and criticism of the Arabs. I normally don’t use the term, as it is a rather slippery Leftist term without substantial foundation.

    A better term is racial discrimination that the UN defines legally as follows:

    The term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.[5]

    Personally, while I understand the hard reality of racial and ethnic differences, I regard all races and ethnic groups in the Christian way as being on an equal footing of human rights including fundamental political, economic, social, and cultural freedoms.

    I should say that I abhor your blithe and rather righteous assumptions as to who is and isn’t a racist.

  • trotk

    Porcell, you questions are loaded with errors, but I will attempt to answer them and correct the errors in thinking.

    First, “African related people” means nothing. Your question probably is about blacks in the United States, and so that is what I will answer.
    Second, the standard deviation (I assume this is from Murray’s cherry-picked data) is evident in certain places and not in others. What matters is what factors affect performances, and that is what I will attempt to answer.
    Third, “general heritable factors,” does not necessarily include intelligence. The scientists are split on this and there has yet to be a study that proves that intelligence is heritable. Thus, using hair color as an example for it forces you to commit a non-sequitur.

    But to the question:

    Why do certain groups, particularly black Americans, in general, score worse than other groups, particularly white Americans?

    First, a general answer:
    - There isn’t a genetic answer, because blacks and whites in America don’t have some definable genetic difference between them, and there isn’t a common gene set amongst blacks. Additionally, there probably isn’t an American black student whose family doesn’t include white ancestors.
    - There are a host of cultural factors that we know influence academic performance and intelligence.
    - Intelligence isn’t fixed, which means you can affect it through various means.

    All this lends itself to arguing about cultural changes and encouraging individual students. The statistics about whole populations should show us where to expend our energy, and that is all. It never proves that one group is more able or intelligent by nature.

    So what are the cultural factors? A few very important ones include:
    - vocabulary used by parents and family
    - amount of reading done at very early ages
    - sense of trust for the process of education given at very early age
    - parents who model enjoyment and excitement in reading and solving problems
    - being taught from an early age discipline and responsibility
    - a lack of media that causes one to become mentally passive (TV and video games)
    - an encouraged imagination

    We can discuss why these things don’t seem to exist in various cultural groups.

  • trotk

    Porcell, you questions are loaded with errors, but I will attempt to answer them and correct the errors in thinking.

    First, “African related people” means nothing. Your question probably is about blacks in the United States, and so that is what I will answer.
    Second, the standard deviation (I assume this is from Murray’s cherry-picked data) is evident in certain places and not in others. What matters is what factors affect performances, and that is what I will attempt to answer.
    Third, “general heritable factors,” does not necessarily include intelligence. The scientists are split on this and there has yet to be a study that proves that intelligence is heritable. Thus, using hair color as an example for it forces you to commit a non-sequitur.

    But to the question:

    Why do certain groups, particularly black Americans, in general, score worse than other groups, particularly white Americans?

    First, a general answer:
    - There isn’t a genetic answer, because blacks and whites in America don’t have some definable genetic difference between them, and there isn’t a common gene set amongst blacks. Additionally, there probably isn’t an American black student whose family doesn’t include white ancestors.
    - There are a host of cultural factors that we know influence academic performance and intelligence.
    - Intelligence isn’t fixed, which means you can affect it through various means.

    All this lends itself to arguing about cultural changes and encouraging individual students. The statistics about whole populations should show us where to expend our energy, and that is all. It never proves that one group is more able or intelligent by nature.

    So what are the cultural factors? A few very important ones include:
    - vocabulary used by parents and family
    - amount of reading done at very early ages
    - sense of trust for the process of education given at very early age
    - parents who model enjoyment and excitement in reading and solving problems
    - being taught from an early age discipline and responsibility
    - a lack of media that causes one to become mentally passive (TV and video games)
    - an encouraged imagination

    We can discuss why these things don’t seem to exist in various cultural groups.

  • trotk

    188 refers to 184

  • trotk

    188 refers to 184

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “There is far more genetic diversity within any given race than there is between races. There are no hard and fast genetic lines between groups.”

    Yes, of course. There is also more variation in the height of men and women than there is between them. Yet, the average is still significantly different.

    “sg, I find it strange that the scientific world doesn’t agree with you, and yet that doesn’t matter to you. When geneticists say that divisions between races don’t exist genetically, does this not shake your view?”

    It doesn’t disagree, because I got my info from the same sources you cite. Either you misread them or you don’t understand what I have said.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “There is far more genetic diversity within any given race than there is between races. There are no hard and fast genetic lines between groups.”

    Yes, of course. There is also more variation in the height of men and women than there is between them. Yet, the average is still significantly different.

    “sg, I find it strange that the scientific world doesn’t agree with you, and yet that doesn’t matter to you. When geneticists say that divisions between races don’t exist genetically, does this not shake your view?”

    It doesn’t disagree, because I got my info from the same sources you cite. Either you misread them or you don’t understand what I have said.

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus at 185, this is what the original argument was about. Race as a genetic grouping is a myth. That was the original claim.

    Here is the summary of what I am trying (poorly) to say:

    [There is an article that I linked above (@ 165) that has a link to the scientific study, but in case you don't feel like reading it, here is the important point.]

    The genes that we can see the affect of in hair, skin, etc, are the ones that are divided best by racial groupings. The others (that influence intelligence, etc) respect no racial boundaries.

    Thus it is a non-sequitur to use hair color as an example for academic ability.

    Race is not supported by genetics. There is too much variation within any given race and too much similarity between races genetically to gather meaningful conclusions. This is why geneticists don’t believe races exist.

    What we conceive of as races are actually cultural and linguistic boundaries.

    Thus, race is a creation of people, not an ontological, inherent, or heritable division.

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus at 185, this is what the original argument was about. Race as a genetic grouping is a myth. That was the original claim.

    Here is the summary of what I am trying (poorly) to say:

    [There is an article that I linked above (@ 165) that has a link to the scientific study, but in case you don't feel like reading it, here is the important point.]

    The genes that we can see the affect of in hair, skin, etc, are the ones that are divided best by racial groupings. The others (that influence intelligence, etc) respect no racial boundaries.

    Thus it is a non-sequitur to use hair color as an example for academic ability.

    Race is not supported by genetics. There is too much variation within any given race and too much similarity between races genetically to gather meaningful conclusions. This is why geneticists don’t believe races exist.

    What we conceive of as races are actually cultural and linguistic boundaries.

    Thus, race is a creation of people, not an ontological, inherent, or heritable division.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Researchers have found more genetic variation between 2 adult men living 20km apart, than between two people of different races living at opposite ends of the planet. The genetic variation within the San is astounding – and interestingly enough, they might very well represent the oldest “Halo group” of all.”

    Yeah, I read that paper in the journal, Nature, IIRC. Was that last year? Anyway, they had really interesting graphs showing genetic distance and how very little there was between Euros and East Asians, probably why it was possible for Africans living in close proximity to exceed it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Researchers have found more genetic variation between 2 adult men living 20km apart, than between two people of different races living at opposite ends of the planet. The genetic variation within the San is astounding – and interestingly enough, they might very well represent the oldest “Halo group” of all.”

    Yeah, I read that paper in the journal, Nature, IIRC. Was that last year? Anyway, they had really interesting graphs showing genetic distance and how very little there was between Euros and East Asians, probably why it was possible for Africans living in close proximity to exceed it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What we conceive of as races are actually cultural and linguistic boundaries.”

    Which is why you can look at someone and know what race they are.

    “Thus, race is a creation of people, not an ontological, inherent, or heritable division.”

    Which is why a DNA test can tell which race(s) you are.

    trotk, no one is arguing for racism or discrimination, but what you are saying is baloney.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What we conceive of as races are actually cultural and linguistic boundaries.”

    Which is why you can look at someone and know what race they are.

    “Thus, race is a creation of people, not an ontological, inherent, or heritable division.”

    Which is why a DNA test can tell which race(s) you are.

    trotk, no one is arguing for racism or discrimination, but what you are saying is baloney.

  • kerner

    “don’t make stuff up on the fly”

    I didn’t. Look, it doesn’t take a geneticist to figure out that the southern areas of Europe, that have been at one time or another been conquered by African or Asiatic peoples, have some dna from those peoples present in their populations today, which is why Spaniards, Italians, Yugoslavs, Portugese, etc. physically resemble there former conquerors more than northern Europeans. But there have been studies tracking genetic markers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moors

    And I’m not way off on Afghans. While people in some Afghan regions may be mixtures of caucasians and south or east (mongoloid) asians, the Pashtuns, Niristani and Hazarra are basicly caucasian. Which is why Europoid phenotypes (exhibiting blue or green eyes, light hair, fair skin, freckles, generally european looking facial features are more pronounced there than you might see in Sicily.

    Besides, if whites and Asians are so genetically superior, why aren’t the caucasian/mongoloid asian mixed people of central asia a race of geniuses instead of the primitives they are?

    On an earlier thread, I pointed out that Marco Rubio was a good example of an Hispanic contributing positively to America. You, sg, responded that Marco Rubio is white. At that time, physical appearance was enough for you. But when I point out tat many (possibly most) Afghans are as “white” as you or I, we need a detailed genetic analysis? Please.

    “we have kerner arguing that (genetic groups) exist, but don’t matter.”

    Not exactly. They may exist, but the manner and the degree in which they may matter is unknown and unknowable, so they are pretty useless as a basis for public policy.

    Take for example the human development indicators used by the UN to rate various countries. Mexico 56, is well above the mean (84.5), while China 89 is below the mean. So I guess we should be admitting relatively high performing Mexican immigrants and keeping out the low performing Chinese? Oh wait, you want to do the opposite.

    And let’s take the Chinese. In 1850 they were like the Japanese. Isolated from the rest of the world, homognious, thought they were better than others. Yet their literacy rate was shockingly low and their social structure was medieval. Only after a period of being dominated by Europeans have they emerged an economic power. I believe that their isolation contributed greatly to their stagnation, while contact with competing cultures drove them to excel. Isolation from other cultures, comfortable as that may be, is therefore not to be desired as it leads to stagnation.

    The example of Japan is not frozen in time either. When Japan came into contact with other European cultures (circa 1500 or so) its reaction was to keep them out, which it did. This lasted until the 19th century, when Japan feared it would be colonized like India and China. Japan then decided to emulate European colonial empires, which worked for awhile until Japan tried to conquer its own colonial empire. This only led Japan into a war so disastrous that it holds the dubious distinction of being the only country to have been the target of nuclear weapons. Today Japan is a strong economic power, but it is completely dependent upon others for its defense. This is a mixed record.

    You say your point is only that this data exists, and if that were really your only point, I wouldn’t be arguing like this. But you routinely use your data to support policies that the data itself does not support.

    Good point about Barbados. See also Hong Kong China, which does better using human development indicators than China proper. And also credit British rule for this. Specifically, credit the British governor general who instituted a laissez faire capitalist system in Hong Kong at a time when Great Britain itself was becoming more and more soci@list. But this simply proves that certain economic principles work and can be learned in Asia as well as America, not that the Hong Kong Chinese are genetically superior.

    This is probably true of Barbados as well. I doubt that Barbadans are genetically superior to peoples further down the list (including the many African nations near the bottom). The difference is that Barbadans have been exposed to and accepted better ideas for running their society. This is learned behavior, and it is probable that almost any “group” is capable of learning it. The question is, what prevents people from learning? I see no evidence that genetic/racial inferiority is the problem. More likely oppression or cultural issues are the cause.

  • kerner

    “don’t make stuff up on the fly”

    I didn’t. Look, it doesn’t take a geneticist to figure out that the southern areas of Europe, that have been at one time or another been conquered by African or Asiatic peoples, have some dna from those peoples present in their populations today, which is why Spaniards, Italians, Yugoslavs, Portugese, etc. physically resemble there former conquerors more than northern Europeans. But there have been studies tracking genetic markers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moors

    And I’m not way off on Afghans. While people in some Afghan regions may be mixtures of caucasians and south or east (mongoloid) asians, the Pashtuns, Niristani and Hazarra are basicly caucasian. Which is why Europoid phenotypes (exhibiting blue or green eyes, light hair, fair skin, freckles, generally european looking facial features are more pronounced there than you might see in Sicily.

    Besides, if whites and Asians are so genetically superior, why aren’t the caucasian/mongoloid asian mixed people of central asia a race of geniuses instead of the primitives they are?

    On an earlier thread, I pointed out that Marco Rubio was a good example of an Hispanic contributing positively to America. You, sg, responded that Marco Rubio is white. At that time, physical appearance was enough for you. But when I point out tat many (possibly most) Afghans are as “white” as you or I, we need a detailed genetic analysis? Please.

    “we have kerner arguing that (genetic groups) exist, but don’t matter.”

    Not exactly. They may exist, but the manner and the degree in which they may matter is unknown and unknowable, so they are pretty useless as a basis for public policy.

    Take for example the human development indicators used by the UN to rate various countries. Mexico 56, is well above the mean (84.5), while China 89 is below the mean. So I guess we should be admitting relatively high performing Mexican immigrants and keeping out the low performing Chinese? Oh wait, you want to do the opposite.

    And let’s take the Chinese. In 1850 they were like the Japanese. Isolated from the rest of the world, homognious, thought they were better than others. Yet their literacy rate was shockingly low and their social structure was medieval. Only after a period of being dominated by Europeans have they emerged an economic power. I believe that their isolation contributed greatly to their stagnation, while contact with competing cultures drove them to excel. Isolation from other cultures, comfortable as that may be, is therefore not to be desired as it leads to stagnation.

    The example of Japan is not frozen in time either. When Japan came into contact with other European cultures (circa 1500 or so) its reaction was to keep them out, which it did. This lasted until the 19th century, when Japan feared it would be colonized like India and China. Japan then decided to emulate European colonial empires, which worked for awhile until Japan tried to conquer its own colonial empire. This only led Japan into a war so disastrous that it holds the dubious distinction of being the only country to have been the target of nuclear weapons. Today Japan is a strong economic power, but it is completely dependent upon others for its defense. This is a mixed record.

    You say your point is only that this data exists, and if that were really your only point, I wouldn’t be arguing like this. But you routinely use your data to support policies that the data itself does not support.

    Good point about Barbados. See also Hong Kong China, which does better using human development indicators than China proper. And also credit British rule for this. Specifically, credit the British governor general who instituted a laissez faire capitalist system in Hong Kong at a time when Great Britain itself was becoming more and more soci@list. But this simply proves that certain economic principles work and can be learned in Asia as well as America, not that the Hong Kong Chinese are genetically superior.

    This is probably true of Barbados as well. I doubt that Barbadans are genetically superior to peoples further down the list (including the many African nations near the bottom). The difference is that Barbadans have been exposed to and accepted better ideas for running their society. This is learned behavior, and it is probable that almost any “group” is capable of learning it. The question is, what prevents people from learning? I see no evidence that genetic/racial inferiority is the problem. More likely oppression or cultural issues are the cause.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell @ 187: “I should say that I abhor your blithe and rather righteous assumptions as to who is and isn’t a racist.”

    And where did I make that assumption? Note that in the original discussions which led to these arguments, suggestions was made that immigration policy should be tailored to racial categories, based on the (shown to be spurious) differences between races – Grace had negative things to say about Latino’s back then (aggression etc), African intelligence (that might have been sg, can’t remember) etc. Thus the (original) context of the debate would fit very well with your “racial discrimination” defintion earlier. I cannot however remember that I labelled anybody as racist per se.

    sg @ 186: I missed that answer, but you discussed the topic, not give a defintion like Porcell did at 187.

    sg @ 192: The Khoisan are not just mere “Africans”. The paper wasn’t referring to “Africans” per se, when discussing the variation, but the the ethnic grouping called the San. The paper is here – http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7283/full/nature08795.html

    Note that the Khoisan are distinct from the other inhabitants of the continent of Africa. That distinction is genetic, with the extra-ordianry variation noted. In essence, they appear, genetically, to be the “grandfathers” of us all, or closer to that than any other racial group on the planet.

    The given precis of the paper is:

    The genetic structure of the indigenous hunter-gatherer peoples of southern Africa, the oldest known lineage of modern human, is important for understanding human diversity. Studies based on mitochondrial1 and small sets of nuclear markers2 have shown that these hunter-gatherers, known as Khoisan, San, or Bushmen, are genetically divergent from other humans1, 3. However, until now, fully sequenced human genomes have been limited to recently diverged populations4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Here we present the complete genome sequences of an indigenous hunter-gatherer from the Kalahari Desert and a Bantu from southern Africa, as well as protein-coding regions from an additional three hunter-gatherers from disparate regions of the Kalahari. We characterize the extent of whole-genome and exome diversity among the five men, reporting 1.3 million novel DNA differences genome-wide, including 13,146 novel amino acid variants. In terms of nucleotide substitutions, the Bushmen seem to be, on average, more different from each other than, for example, a European and an Asian. Observed genomic differences between the hunter-gatherers and others may help to pinpoint genetic adaptations to an agricultural lifestyle. Adding the described variants to current databases will facilitate inclusion of southern Africans in medical research efforts, particularly when family and medical histories can be correlated with genome-wide data.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell @ 187: “I should say that I abhor your blithe and rather righteous assumptions as to who is and isn’t a racist.”

    And where did I make that assumption? Note that in the original discussions which led to these arguments, suggestions was made that immigration policy should be tailored to racial categories, based on the (shown to be spurious) differences between races – Grace had negative things to say about Latino’s back then (aggression etc), African intelligence (that might have been sg, can’t remember) etc. Thus the (original) context of the debate would fit very well with your “racial discrimination” defintion earlier. I cannot however remember that I labelled anybody as racist per se.

    sg @ 186: I missed that answer, but you discussed the topic, not give a defintion like Porcell did at 187.

    sg @ 192: The Khoisan are not just mere “Africans”. The paper wasn’t referring to “Africans” per se, when discussing the variation, but the the ethnic grouping called the San. The paper is here – http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7283/full/nature08795.html

    Note that the Khoisan are distinct from the other inhabitants of the continent of Africa. That distinction is genetic, with the extra-ordianry variation noted. In essence, they appear, genetically, to be the “grandfathers” of us all, or closer to that than any other racial group on the planet.

    The given precis of the paper is:

    The genetic structure of the indigenous hunter-gatherer peoples of southern Africa, the oldest known lineage of modern human, is important for understanding human diversity. Studies based on mitochondrial1 and small sets of nuclear markers2 have shown that these hunter-gatherers, known as Khoisan, San, or Bushmen, are genetically divergent from other humans1, 3. However, until now, fully sequenced human genomes have been limited to recently diverged populations4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Here we present the complete genome sequences of an indigenous hunter-gatherer from the Kalahari Desert and a Bantu from southern Africa, as well as protein-coding regions from an additional three hunter-gatherers from disparate regions of the Kalahari. We characterize the extent of whole-genome and exome diversity among the five men, reporting 1.3 million novel DNA differences genome-wide, including 13,146 novel amino acid variants. In terms of nucleotide substitutions, the Bushmen seem to be, on average, more different from each other than, for example, a European and an Asian. Observed genomic differences between the hunter-gatherers and others may help to pinpoint genetic adaptations to an agricultural lifestyle. Adding the described variants to current databases will facilitate inclusion of southern Africans in medical research efforts, particularly when family and medical histories can be correlated with genome-wide data.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, at 188,

    Having not read or studied Murray’s book, how can you remark that he “cherry-picked” the data?

    Given the evidence cited by the New York Times that on average studies of the heritably of intelligence show that the correlation is .75, how can you say that cultural factors predominate in academic performance and Intelligence?

    The truth is that you refuse to consider that intelligence has been in considerable part proved to be heritable. One may regret not having the intelligence of, say, an Einstein, though one would be naive to say that the Lord doesn’t have a reason to provide variable genetic gifts of intelligence to individuals and groups. I learned in both school and college that I had at best middling intelligence, though I hardly interpreted this as a result some sort of cultural influence that you suggest.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, at 188,

    Having not read or studied Murray’s book, how can you remark that he “cherry-picked” the data?

    Given the evidence cited by the New York Times that on average studies of the heritably of intelligence show that the correlation is .75, how can you say that cultural factors predominate in academic performance and Intelligence?

    The truth is that you refuse to consider that intelligence has been in considerable part proved to be heritable. One may regret not having the intelligence of, say, an Einstein, though one would be naive to say that the Lord doesn’t have a reason to provide variable genetic gifts of intelligence to individuals and groups. I learned in both school and college that I had at best middling intelligence, though I hardly interpreted this as a result some sort of cultural influence that you suggest.

  • trotk

    DNA tests for race are the thing you should be skeptical of. They depend on the criteria the testers put in. There are profoundly oversimplified and problematic. Start reading about the results people have gotten from them and how the tests are created.

    sg, I know you aren’t arguing for racism (in the sense of action), but you are holding on to an archaic, disproven theory. Race isn’t genetic. There isn’t any science that I can find anywhere that supports this.

    Another article, if you have time:

    http://harvardmagazine.com/2008/05/race-in-a-genetic-world.html

  • trotk

    DNA tests for race are the thing you should be skeptical of. They depend on the criteria the testers put in. There are profoundly oversimplified and problematic. Start reading about the results people have gotten from them and how the tests are created.

    sg, I know you aren’t arguing for racism (in the sense of action), but you are holding on to an archaic, disproven theory. Race isn’t genetic. There isn’t any science that I can find anywhere that supports this.

    Another article, if you have time:

    http://harvardmagazine.com/2008/05/race-in-a-genetic-world.html

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So what are the cultural factors? A few very important ones include:
    - vocabulary used by parents and family
    - amount of reading done at very early ages
    - sense of trust for the process of education given at very early age
    - parents who model enjoyment and excitement in reading and solving problems
    - being taught from an early age discipline and responsibility
    - a lack of media that causes one to become mentally passive (TV and video games)
    - an encouraged imagination

    “We can discuss why these things don’t seem to exist in various cultural groups.”

    Okay, why?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “So what are the cultural factors? A few very important ones include:
    - vocabulary used by parents and family
    - amount of reading done at very early ages
    - sense of trust for the process of education given at very early age
    - parents who model enjoyment and excitement in reading and solving problems
    - being taught from an early age discipline and responsibility
    - a lack of media that causes one to become mentally passive (TV and video games)
    - an encouraged imagination

    “We can discuss why these things don’t seem to exist in various cultural groups.”

    Okay, why?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    trotk, did you even read that article?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    trotk, did you even read that article?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg @ 198, I really want to end this, but I’ll give you one personal story.

    My parents are members of a sect, that live within a kibbutz-like community. This is a multiracial community, majority Zulu, significant numbers of Afrikaner, English, German, Sotho, Pedi and other groups (even Russian and Australian).

    A friend of my mom was a young Tswana woman, who married a Zulu fellow. Now while nature had any college degrees, they were both intelligent, articulate etc. This girl was asked to teach/supervise a early-kindergarten/creche class. After a while, she came to my mom, and said she had a question. She had observed that while all children arrived at the crech/kindergarten close to equally developed, the young white ones soon outstripped the young black ones. Remember they all live in one comunity, no racism etc. My mother, in her wisdom, then said that she thinks the difference is that the European parents speak to their children, read books and stories to them, discuss the world outside, etc etc. Zulu parents (the community bordered on Zulu Tribal lands, and as such the traditional zulu culture was very strong), on the other hand, followed a seen and not heard policy, to the nth degree. So, this girl went back (she had two small boys), and started talking to them more, reading books to them etc – and in a short while, these boys outstripped the other children just like their white conterparts.

    That is an illustration of cultural influence on the learning process and academic achievement. I think you also underestimate the enourmous influence of collective cultural ,practices, the nature of the community, both now and in the past, affects people. After all, being American, your perspective is more individualist (that is not a judgement, btw, just an observation). Not all cultures are like that. And if your cultural group (and till recently, cultural group implied shared language and ethnicity) is more “primitive” than others (say recent stone-age / iron-age levels), or if your culture has been denied access to learning, whether by others (as in slavery or racial/ethnic discrimination), by religion, or even just through geography, the collective change will take a long time to occur, to catch up.

    That is why one of the best things missionaries could do, after proclaiming the Gospel, is to build schools and hospitals.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    sg @ 198, I really want to end this, but I’ll give you one personal story.

    My parents are members of a sect, that live within a kibbutz-like community. This is a multiracial community, majority Zulu, significant numbers of Afrikaner, English, German, Sotho, Pedi and other groups (even Russian and Australian).

    A friend of my mom was a young Tswana woman, who married a Zulu fellow. Now while nature had any college degrees, they were both intelligent, articulate etc. This girl was asked to teach/supervise a early-kindergarten/creche class. After a while, she came to my mom, and said she had a question. She had observed that while all children arrived at the crech/kindergarten close to equally developed, the young white ones soon outstripped the young black ones. Remember they all live in one comunity, no racism etc. My mother, in her wisdom, then said that she thinks the difference is that the European parents speak to their children, read books and stories to them, discuss the world outside, etc etc. Zulu parents (the community bordered on Zulu Tribal lands, and as such the traditional zulu culture was very strong), on the other hand, followed a seen and not heard policy, to the nth degree. So, this girl went back (she had two small boys), and started talking to them more, reading books to them etc – and in a short while, these boys outstripped the other children just like their white conterparts.

    That is an illustration of cultural influence on the learning process and academic achievement. I think you also underestimate the enourmous influence of collective cultural ,practices, the nature of the community, both now and in the past, affects people. After all, being American, your perspective is more individualist (that is not a judgement, btw, just an observation). Not all cultures are like that. And if your cultural group (and till recently, cultural group implied shared language and ethnicity) is more “primitive” than others (say recent stone-age / iron-age levels), or if your culture has been denied access to learning, whether by others (as in slavery or racial/ethnic discrimination), by religion, or even just through geography, the collective change will take a long time to occur, to catch up.

    That is why one of the best things missionaries could do, after proclaiming the Gospel, is to build schools and hospitals.

  • trotk

    Yes, why?

  • trotk

    Yes, why?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    BTW, before my birth, my parents were missionaries and teachers at a mission school in Eastern Zambia. The same observations held true there. My father spent most of his life educating “black” Africa, including divergent ethno-linguistic groups: Nyanja-speaking people from Eastern Zambia, Basotho, AmaZulu and various other ethnicities.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    BTW, before my birth, my parents were missionaries and teachers at a mission school in Eastern Zambia. The same observations held true there. My father spent most of his life educating “black” Africa, including divergent ethno-linguistic groups: Nyanja-speaking people from Eastern Zambia, Basotho, AmaZulu and various other ethnicities.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You say your point is only that this data exists, and if that were really your only point, I wouldn’t be arguing like this. But you routinely use your data to support policies that the data itself does not support.”

    Well, kerner, it seems you consistently restate what I argue as something different.

    My argument, again, is that we should not blame teachers and schools and curriculum when different groups are given comparable teachers, schools, and curriculum but get different results on average. We should treat people equally and give them equal opportunity. If they don’t perform equally, we should not label teachers, schools, curriculum and society as racist. It is not like the lower performing groups are doing better somewhere else, in fact they do far worse on average in their homelands. Likewise groups that do well elsewhere, do well here, too.

    Group genetic differences exist. Historically these were labeled “race”. If people feel that word is too emotionally charged and that calling them groups, fine. Maybe that would diffuse emotion and promote understanding.

    Certain traits, including psychological traits, are demonstrably heritable.

    As for policies based on data, do you mean immigration policy?
    Well, heck yeah, I think we should control immigration by at least screening out criminals and having a policy that does not disproportionally invite more low performing individuals than high performers. And yes, Dept. of Justice stats are an objective measure of how groups actually perform in the US with regard to criminal behavior. That is not racism. It is rational.

    Arguing that a beautiful, sophisticated, peaceful culture like contemporary Japan has every right to refuse to allow non-Japanese immigration if that is what they choose is just respect for their human and democratic rights as free people.

    I think the arguments that you attribute to me actually are your own misrepresentations.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You say your point is only that this data exists, and if that were really your only point, I wouldn’t be arguing like this. But you routinely use your data to support policies that the data itself does not support.”

    Well, kerner, it seems you consistently restate what I argue as something different.

    My argument, again, is that we should not blame teachers and schools and curriculum when different groups are given comparable teachers, schools, and curriculum but get different results on average. We should treat people equally and give them equal opportunity. If they don’t perform equally, we should not label teachers, schools, curriculum and society as racist. It is not like the lower performing groups are doing better somewhere else, in fact they do far worse on average in their homelands. Likewise groups that do well elsewhere, do well here, too.

    Group genetic differences exist. Historically these were labeled “race”. If people feel that word is too emotionally charged and that calling them groups, fine. Maybe that would diffuse emotion and promote understanding.

    Certain traits, including psychological traits, are demonstrably heritable.

    As for policies based on data, do you mean immigration policy?
    Well, heck yeah, I think we should control immigration by at least screening out criminals and having a policy that does not disproportionally invite more low performing individuals than high performers. And yes, Dept. of Justice stats are an objective measure of how groups actually perform in the US with regard to criminal behavior. That is not racism. It is rational.

    Arguing that a beautiful, sophisticated, peaceful culture like contemporary Japan has every right to refuse to allow non-Japanese immigration if that is what they choose is just respect for their human and democratic rights as free people.

    I think the arguments that you attribute to me actually are your own misrepresentations.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Louis @ 200. Great story. Love it. Totally agree. It all starts and ends with Jesus. AΩ

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Louis @ 200. Great story. Love it. Totally agree. It all starts and ends with Jesus. AΩ

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    trotk @ 201

    Oops, I asked you two questions. Now I don’t know which one you are answering. Sorry. I’ll assume you are answering that you read the article. Okay, the author states humans are 99.9% identical. Makes sense, probably the same for other species, too. Then she states that 85% of variation is within groups and 15% is between groups. Clearly, 15% is not zero. So, that is an outright statement that there are measured group differences.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    trotk @ 201

    Oops, I asked you two questions. Now I don’t know which one you are answering. Sorry. I’ll assume you are answering that you read the article. Okay, the author states humans are 99.9% identical. Makes sense, probably the same for other species, too. Then she states that 85% of variation is within groups and 15% is between groups. Clearly, 15% is not zero. So, that is an outright statement that there are measured group differences.

  • Porcell

    Louis, your personal story at 200 is indeed touching and, perhaps, true. Undoubtedly parental and cultural influence make a difference, though somehow, as Murray and others suggest, cultural traits make their way into genes with consequences that teachers in the real world, of necessity, must take account..

    I note that you apparently have no response to my post at 187.

  • Porcell

    Louis, your personal story at 200 is indeed touching and, perhaps, true. Undoubtedly parental and cultural influence make a difference, though somehow, as Murray and others suggest, cultural traits make their way into genes with consequences that teachers in the real world, of necessity, must take account..

    I note that you apparently have no response to my post at 187.

  • trotk

    sg, your response to Louis’ story reveals what I have understood about you, which is that you care for the individual and who do whatever it took to see the individual succeed, and that more importantly, you don’t see the gospel bounded by the divisions of race. For that I am grateful, because you and I have common ground on the most important issue.

    I do disagree with you on the heritability of most traits. Louis’ story demonstrates that most academic achievement is far from heritable.

    To answer your question at 205, and yes, you understood me correctly, 15% of .1% is something. However (and I don’t know the statistics, because most of the articles and studies I have read have just said “most” or “nearly all”), this is primarily about the visible differences, such as skin color, and not about things like academic ability.
    Most studies point to the fact that academic ability and intelligence are mutable and not heritable (in the long run, because what we do with our native intelligence determines our intelligence and ability far more than the intelligence we are born with).

    I know that you believe equal opportunity exists in America, and so I won’t argue this point with you, because it will just be a back and forth with no end, but I don’t see it. I work in a private school, and I look at too many transcripts of black kids who are applying. In general, they are funneled into non-college tracks long before they know enough to protest. The white kids, on the other hand, are funneled into college tracks almost universally. Maybe it is just my state, but I have read to much that corresponds to what I have seen to believe this. My wife used to teach in the public system, and she also saw tons of this tracking

    I don’t want unnecessary disagreement with you, but I don’t see the good in talking about how certain groups can’t do certain things. It doesn’t help the kids, and that is my chief concern.

    We can, and should, as a culture, talk about how to change the cultural factors, which are real. If black children believe that the schools are a white institution, it will impact their learning, and this is awful. If parents allow TVs to raise their kids, our next generation will suffer.

  • trotk

    sg, your response to Louis’ story reveals what I have understood about you, which is that you care for the individual and who do whatever it took to see the individual succeed, and that more importantly, you don’t see the gospel bounded by the divisions of race. For that I am grateful, because you and I have common ground on the most important issue.

    I do disagree with you on the heritability of most traits. Louis’ story demonstrates that most academic achievement is far from heritable.

    To answer your question at 205, and yes, you understood me correctly, 15% of .1% is something. However (and I don’t know the statistics, because most of the articles and studies I have read have just said “most” or “nearly all”), this is primarily about the visible differences, such as skin color, and not about things like academic ability.
    Most studies point to the fact that academic ability and intelligence are mutable and not heritable (in the long run, because what we do with our native intelligence determines our intelligence and ability far more than the intelligence we are born with).

    I know that you believe equal opportunity exists in America, and so I won’t argue this point with you, because it will just be a back and forth with no end, but I don’t see it. I work in a private school, and I look at too many transcripts of black kids who are applying. In general, they are funneled into non-college tracks long before they know enough to protest. The white kids, on the other hand, are funneled into college tracks almost universally. Maybe it is just my state, but I have read to much that corresponds to what I have seen to believe this. My wife used to teach in the public system, and she also saw tons of this tracking

    I don’t want unnecessary disagreement with you, but I don’t see the good in talking about how certain groups can’t do certain things. It doesn’t help the kids, and that is my chief concern.

    We can, and should, as a culture, talk about how to change the cultural factors, which are real. If black children believe that the schools are a white institution, it will impact their learning, and this is awful. If parents allow TVs to raise their kids, our next generation will suffer.

  • trotk

    Peter, Murray’s book was a shoddy piece of work with an agenda. I know you don’t believe this, but please read the criticism by Stephen Jay Gould, the APA, Melvin Konner, and Joseph Graves. He cherry-picked his data and made it prove things it could not. Just because you read it and it was formative for you doesn’t make it correct.

  • trotk

    Peter, Murray’s book was a shoddy piece of work with an agenda. I know you don’t believe this, but please read the criticism by Stephen Jay Gould, the APA, Melvin Konner, and Joseph Graves. He cherry-picked his data and made it prove things it could not. Just because you read it and it was formative for you doesn’t make it correct.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, at 208, for someone who has not read and studied Murray;s works, I should suggest that at least you have a look at his Commentary article, The Inequality Taboo including:

    Even to begin listing the topics that could be enriched by an inquiry into the nature of group differences is to reveal how stifled today’s conversation is. Besides liberating that conversation, an open and undefensive discussion would puncture the irrational fear of the male-female and black-white differences I have surveyed here. We would be free to talk about other sexual and racial differences as well, many of which favor women and blacks, and none of which is large enough to frighten anyone who looks at them dispassionately.
    Talking about group differences does not require any of us to change our politics. For every implication that the Right might seize upon (affirmative-action quotas are ill-conceived), another gives fodder to the Left (innate group differences help rationalize compensatory redistribution by the state). (81) But if we do not need to change our politics, talking about group differences obligates all of us to renew our commitment to the ideal of equality that Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he wrote as a self-evident truth that all men are created equal. Steven Pinker put that ideal in today’s language in The Blank Slate, writing that “Equality is not the empirical claim that all groups of humans are interchangeable; it is the moral principle that individuals should not be judged or constrained by the average properties of their group.” (82)

    The truth is that you make assumptions about Murray based on, at best, cursory and secondary knowledge of him. One is hardly impressed by your vague reference to Gould, et al. I learned in college that a parade of citations without regard to substance is at best dubious.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, at 208, for someone who has not read and studied Murray;s works, I should suggest that at least you have a look at his Commentary article, The Inequality Taboo including:

    Even to begin listing the topics that could be enriched by an inquiry into the nature of group differences is to reveal how stifled today’s conversation is. Besides liberating that conversation, an open and undefensive discussion would puncture the irrational fear of the male-female and black-white differences I have surveyed here. We would be free to talk about other sexual and racial differences as well, many of which favor women and blacks, and none of which is large enough to frighten anyone who looks at them dispassionately.
    Talking about group differences does not require any of us to change our politics. For every implication that the Right might seize upon (affirmative-action quotas are ill-conceived), another gives fodder to the Left (innate group differences help rationalize compensatory redistribution by the state). (81) But if we do not need to change our politics, talking about group differences obligates all of us to renew our commitment to the ideal of equality that Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he wrote as a self-evident truth that all men are created equal. Steven Pinker put that ideal in today’s language in The Blank Slate, writing that “Equality is not the empirical claim that all groups of humans are interchangeable; it is the moral principle that individuals should not be judged or constrained by the average properties of their group.” (82)

    The truth is that you make assumptions about Murray based on, at best, cursory and secondary knowledge of him. One is hardly impressed by your vague reference to Gould, et al. I learned in college that a parade of citations without regard to substance is at best dubious.

  • trotk

    Porcell, indeed, a parade of citations without regard to substance is at best dubious. Perhaps this is why you cannot write a post without citing someone?

    I don’t need to read Murray. I have read the criticisms and bits and pieces of the work. I have read his assumptions that the work is based on, and those are easily rejectable. I noted of a few of the assumptions at 135. I did not reject him without substance. If you need it rehashed let me know, but basically, the methods are bad (I know this because I read about his methodology) the conclusions don’t follow from the data (I know this from the critiques – no one in the field agrees with his conclusions), and the assumptions that the whole work is based on are faulty (I know this because logic and my daily work enable me to see it). I also find it interesting that he is careful to say in the introduction to chapter 13 that he has not proven what you think he has (and what he thinks he has) proven. What a caveat!

    I find this quote interesting:

    “Equality is not the empirical claim that all groups of humans are interchangeable; it is the moral principle that individuals should not be judged or constrained by the average properties of their group.”

    This is exactly what you are using him to do! So who is wrong? You, or Murray?

    It is interesting to note that

  • trotk

    Porcell, indeed, a parade of citations without regard to substance is at best dubious. Perhaps this is why you cannot write a post without citing someone?

    I don’t need to read Murray. I have read the criticisms and bits and pieces of the work. I have read his assumptions that the work is based on, and those are easily rejectable. I noted of a few of the assumptions at 135. I did not reject him without substance. If you need it rehashed let me know, but basically, the methods are bad (I know this because I read about his methodology) the conclusions don’t follow from the data (I know this from the critiques – no one in the field agrees with his conclusions), and the assumptions that the whole work is based on are faulty (I know this because logic and my daily work enable me to see it). I also find it interesting that he is careful to say in the introduction to chapter 13 that he has not proven what you think he has (and what he thinks he has) proven. What a caveat!

    I find this quote interesting:

    “Equality is not the empirical claim that all groups of humans are interchangeable; it is the moral principle that individuals should not be judged or constrained by the average properties of their group.”

    This is exactly what you are using him to do! So who is wrong? You, or Murray?

    It is interesting to note that

  • Porcell

    Trotk, at 210, so the author of the article, The Inequality Taboo is selectively quoted at Chap. 13 of a work not cited and not fully read, making a qualifying statement about equality refutes his main thesis. Give us a break. I thought you were some sort of a legitimate scholar.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, at 210, so the author of the article, The Inequality Taboo is selectively quoted at Chap. 13 of a work not cited and not fully read, making a qualifying statement about equality refutes his main thesis. Give us a break. I thought you were some sort of a legitimate scholar.

  • trotk

    Peter, if I continue, I will end up descending into sarcasm. Sorry for the jab at 210.

    There isn’t much point in discussing it. I have read the criticism, and trust it, and you have read the book, and trust it. There we’re stuck.

  • trotk

    Peter, if I continue, I will end up descending into sarcasm. Sorry for the jab at 210.

    There isn’t much point in discussing it. I have read the criticism, and trust it, and you have read the book, and trust it. There we’re stuck.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “sg, your response to Louis’ story reveals what I have understood about you,”

    It’s not about me, but thanks for the kind words.

    “Most studies point to the fact that academic ability and intelligence are mutable and not heritable…”

    mutable and heritable

    “I don’t want unnecessary disagreement with you, but I don’t see the good in talking about how certain groups can’t do certain things.”

    No one is saying they can’t. It is just that they haven’t. More resources have been expended by folks earnestly trying to help them than any such effort in history and the results just haven’t materialized. We should continue to provide opportunities without blaming the folks who are making that honest effort to help kids.

    As for tracking holding kids back, I am skeptical. Blacks and hispanics who take AP tests were tracked into college prep programs and on average perform poorly on the AP tests according to college board data. So, it is good to give students opportunity, but weaker students are probably better off learning something that makes a good living without having to incur the expense and opportunity cost of four years in college and maybe not even graduating or ever recouping their costs.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “sg, your response to Louis’ story reveals what I have understood about you,”

    It’s not about me, but thanks for the kind words.

    “Most studies point to the fact that academic ability and intelligence are mutable and not heritable…”

    mutable and heritable

    “I don’t want unnecessary disagreement with you, but I don’t see the good in talking about how certain groups can’t do certain things.”

    No one is saying they can’t. It is just that they haven’t. More resources have been expended by folks earnestly trying to help them than any such effort in history and the results just haven’t materialized. We should continue to provide opportunities without blaming the folks who are making that honest effort to help kids.

    As for tracking holding kids back, I am skeptical. Blacks and hispanics who take AP tests were tracked into college prep programs and on average perform poorly on the AP tests according to college board data. So, it is good to give students opportunity, but weaker students are probably better off learning something that makes a good living without having to incur the expense and opportunity cost of four years in college and maybe not even graduating or ever recouping their costs.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “We can, and should, as a culture, talk about how to change the cultural factors, which are real.”

    Christian home and school culture is what will affect change. Faith in Christ at home and in the school. All people everywhere and at all times need the Word of God.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “We can, and should, as a culture, talk about how to change the cultural factors, which are real.”

    Christian home and school culture is what will affect change. Faith in Christ at home and in the school. All people everywhere and at all times need the Word of God.

  • Stephen

    Which leads me to my final point (thanks everyone for playing!)

    Many economic and political factors were at stake when slavery was challenged in this country. But there was one thing that was truly the heart and soul of the matter, the thing that literally brought Americans to their knees knowing that it had to change. Without it, it may never have happened. Evangelical Christianity.

    When white Americans began preaching the gospel to freed blacks and to slaves they could no longer see them as unequal and subhuman. They were brothers and sisters in the eyes of God. How could they see them differently? The same thing happened with Civil Rights. That was a movement of the Holy Spirit. In both cases, a fundamental overturning of an accepted anthropology, one that had lived in the social order of civilization forever, was taken on and largely overcome. But it would seem like Old Adam it clings to us. Why can’t we let it go?

    We claim one Lord over all creation who takes away the sin of the world. He made us all from the dust of the earth, and we are all his children each of us implicated in Original Sin (St. Augustine, a North African) and redeemed by grace through faith, not of works – or “race” or intelligence or culture or anything else we’d like to impose between each other so that we might boast. (Ephesians 2:8 would be my citation for that claim in case anyone wants to dispute it.)

    I’ve heard a lot of talk about concerns over abortion on this blog. What kind of anthropology does permitting that to go on imply? It seems to me it posits the value of one life over another, perhaps on some kind of economic viability scale based on things that certainly have to do with the potential for intelligence and success. How does supporting the idea that some “races” are smarter than others feed into that I wonder?

    I ask this because to my mind the only chance Christians have of influencing the abortion debate is by influencing the fundamental anthropology that undergirds the entire social, economic and political realities driving it. In order for a society to willingly agree to pass legislation, as we have already done, to allow euthanasia to happen, a radical step has already been taken in the minds of Americans toward the idea that human beings are fundamentally “products” of only passing significance rather than people eternally loved by God. We may never get all the way back to the latter, but we once at least thought humans had a soul or spirit that was united in some way with a greater force. Somehow, this has to be changed the way abolitionists and a black Baptist pastor leading an army of non-violent protestors changed the thinking of what it meant to be a human being in this country.

    When we size each other up and group one another accordingly in terms of the kinds of values that have more to do with their usefulness to others rather than intrinsic worth as human beings, we objectify each other. In one aspect, this is the law of markets applied to people. Imagine doing this to your child, and yet it is being done to them all the time – born and unborn. It does not matter if we ascribe the most glowing attributes to a certain set, we make them into bearers of goods rather than people. And this is evil. And it surrounds us in our culture.

    So when people lose this usefulness, what then? Some already will cut them off at the very beginning. And if you furthermore want to tell them that they are less worthy because they are genetically predisposed to inequality and subjugation, then I suppose the work is half done. Is that a truly Christian way to see our fellow person, one for whom Christ shed his holy and precious blood?

    Why do you think God saves us and does not want our works? Why is love and mercy so central to who God has revealed himself to be in Jesus Christ?

    sg and Porcell, why is this racial distinction so important to defend? And I will add Cinncinatus to the next two questions – Of what benefit is it to make these kinds of “genetic” distinctions regarding intelligence to seeing them as people? And furthermore, knowing that there are black Christians who truly are your brothers and sisters, do you think it is the way Christ would have you see them? I think you know what my answer is. But I’m interested in why you so stridently defend your position from a theological/biblical/faith perspective. I have not heard any of that, and since I started this more or less, and tried to make it about that, I’d like to bring it back there if possible.

    The Prosecution rests.

  • Stephen

    Which leads me to my final point (thanks everyone for playing!)

    Many economic and political factors were at stake when slavery was challenged in this country. But there was one thing that was truly the heart and soul of the matter, the thing that literally brought Americans to their knees knowing that it had to change. Without it, it may never have happened. Evangelical Christianity.

    When white Americans began preaching the gospel to freed blacks and to slaves they could no longer see them as unequal and subhuman. They were brothers and sisters in the eyes of God. How could they see them differently? The same thing happened with Civil Rights. That was a movement of the Holy Spirit. In both cases, a fundamental overturning of an accepted anthropology, one that had lived in the social order of civilization forever, was taken on and largely overcome. But it would seem like Old Adam it clings to us. Why can’t we let it go?

    We claim one Lord over all creation who takes away the sin of the world. He made us all from the dust of the earth, and we are all his children each of us implicated in Original Sin (St. Augustine, a North African) and redeemed by grace through faith, not of works – or “race” or intelligence or culture or anything else we’d like to impose between each other so that we might boast. (Ephesians 2:8 would be my citation for that claim in case anyone wants to dispute it.)

    I’ve heard a lot of talk about concerns over abortion on this blog. What kind of anthropology does permitting that to go on imply? It seems to me it posits the value of one life over another, perhaps on some kind of economic viability scale based on things that certainly have to do with the potential for intelligence and success. How does supporting the idea that some “races” are smarter than others feed into that I wonder?

    I ask this because to my mind the only chance Christians have of influencing the abortion debate is by influencing the fundamental anthropology that undergirds the entire social, economic and political realities driving it. In order for a society to willingly agree to pass legislation, as we have already done, to allow euthanasia to happen, a radical step has already been taken in the minds of Americans toward the idea that human beings are fundamentally “products” of only passing significance rather than people eternally loved by God. We may never get all the way back to the latter, but we once at least thought humans had a soul or spirit that was united in some way with a greater force. Somehow, this has to be changed the way abolitionists and a black Baptist pastor leading an army of non-violent protestors changed the thinking of what it meant to be a human being in this country.

    When we size each other up and group one another accordingly in terms of the kinds of values that have more to do with their usefulness to others rather than intrinsic worth as human beings, we objectify each other. In one aspect, this is the law of markets applied to people. Imagine doing this to your child, and yet it is being done to them all the time – born and unborn. It does not matter if we ascribe the most glowing attributes to a certain set, we make them into bearers of goods rather than people. And this is evil. And it surrounds us in our culture.

    So when people lose this usefulness, what then? Some already will cut them off at the very beginning. And if you furthermore want to tell them that they are less worthy because they are genetically predisposed to inequality and subjugation, then I suppose the work is half done. Is that a truly Christian way to see our fellow person, one for whom Christ shed his holy and precious blood?

    Why do you think God saves us and does not want our works? Why is love and mercy so central to who God has revealed himself to be in Jesus Christ?

    sg and Porcell, why is this racial distinction so important to defend? And I will add Cinncinatus to the next two questions – Of what benefit is it to make these kinds of “genetic” distinctions regarding intelligence to seeing them as people? And furthermore, knowing that there are black Christians who truly are your brothers and sisters, do you think it is the way Christ would have you see them? I think you know what my answer is. But I’m interested in why you so stridently defend your position from a theological/biblical/faith perspective. I have not heard any of that, and since I started this more or less, and tried to make it about that, I’d like to bring it back there if possible.

    The Prosecution rests.

  • Cincinnatus

    trotk: You do know you’re citing a bunch of insane leftists (Gould et al.) to counter an insane member of the (presumed) right (Murray)? How is your case any better?

    Stephen, you proclaim/inquire the following:

    “And I will add Cinncinatus to the next two questions – Of what benefit is it to make these kinds of “genetic” distinctions regarding intelligence to seeing them as people? And furthermore, knowing that there are black Christians who truly are your brothers and sisters, do you think it is the way Christ would have you see them? I think you know what my answer is. But I’m interested in why you so stridently defend your position from a theological/biblical/faith perspective. I have not heard any of that, and since I started this more or less, and tried to make it about that, I’d like to bring it back there if possible.”

    These questions could not be more irrelevant. Nothing that I (or sg or Porcell, for that matter) have said has anything to do with how we view, assess, and love (or pre-assess) any given human being. We’re trying to make a scientific point. At this point, it’s mostly academic: trotk and others insist that intelligent is not heritable within races; sg and myself insist otherwise. It’s a matter of empirical, not theoretical, truth. It can, however, have policy consequences. Guess what: not everyone can be educated.

  • Cincinnatus

    trotk: You do know you’re citing a bunch of insane leftists (Gould et al.) to counter an insane member of the (presumed) right (Murray)? How is your case any better?

    Stephen, you proclaim/inquire the following:

    “And I will add Cinncinatus to the next two questions – Of what benefit is it to make these kinds of “genetic” distinctions regarding intelligence to seeing them as people? And furthermore, knowing that there are black Christians who truly are your brothers and sisters, do you think it is the way Christ would have you see them? I think you know what my answer is. But I’m interested in why you so stridently defend your position from a theological/biblical/faith perspective. I have not heard any of that, and since I started this more or less, and tried to make it about that, I’d like to bring it back there if possible.”

    These questions could not be more irrelevant. Nothing that I (or sg or Porcell, for that matter) have said has anything to do with how we view, assess, and love (or pre-assess) any given human being. We’re trying to make a scientific point. At this point, it’s mostly academic: trotk and others insist that intelligent is not heritable within races; sg and myself insist otherwise. It’s a matter of empirical, not theoretical, truth. It can, however, have policy consequences. Guess what: not everyone can be educated.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus @216

    Well if there are policy consequences then there certainly are theological ones. Care to set any of those out now that you’ve stated your anthropology? How does it fit with your faith? It’s hardly the clear distinction you want to make it out to be. The genetic case for race that is being attempted here has never been made. Yet it keeps coming up, and among Christians, and that’s what baffles me. And yet since you are so fond of it, I’d love to see you or anyone else try to and build a Christian theology on it. Go for it and see where that leads.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus @216

    Well if there are policy consequences then there certainly are theological ones. Care to set any of those out now that you’ve stated your anthropology? How does it fit with your faith? It’s hardly the clear distinction you want to make it out to be. The genetic case for race that is being attempted here has never been made. Yet it keeps coming up, and among Christians, and that’s what baffles me. And yet since you are so fond of it, I’d love to see you or anyone else try to and build a Christian theology on it. Go for it and see where that leads.

  • Cincinnatus

    Why do there have to be theological consequences? There would only be “theological” consequences if I were saying that race is an immutable category that is essential to the human person. I am not. A human being is a human being. Why do you insist on reading things into my comments that simply aren’t there? I’m not “fond” of my thesis as if some fundamental tenet of my “theology” depends upon some indelible racial distinction. And who said I was making a “clear” distinction in the first place? Over and over again sg and I have made clear that various characteristics are only statistically typical of various races, and that those races are porous and mutable in the first place. What exactly is your point? I don’t have an agenda here, just a distaste for radical egalitarianism, particularly when it does not comport with facts (or at least when it is indisposed to be open to conclusion other than those it has predetermined for itself).

  • Cincinnatus

    Why do there have to be theological consequences? There would only be “theological” consequences if I were saying that race is an immutable category that is essential to the human person. I am not. A human being is a human being. Why do you insist on reading things into my comments that simply aren’t there? I’m not “fond” of my thesis as if some fundamental tenet of my “theology” depends upon some indelible racial distinction. And who said I was making a “clear” distinction in the first place? Over and over again sg and I have made clear that various characteristics are only statistically typical of various races, and that those races are porous and mutable in the first place. What exactly is your point? I don’t have an agenda here, just a distaste for radical egalitarianism, particularly when it does not comport with facts (or at least when it is indisposed to be open to conclusion other than those it has predetermined for itself).

  • Porcell

    Stephen, Murray claims that he was aware that many people speculate and make assumptions about the intelligence of various races and ethnic groups. He attempted to rigorously put an empirical foundation under this.

    One of his findings was that among blacks over time there has been a slow but sure IQ convergence with other racial and ethnic groups. He, also, thought it cruel, given that there is a one standard deviation difference in IQ, to place back children in competitive school situations with other groups, though he well understands that no one should be judged solely on IQ.

    Having read several of Murray’s works, I think the guy is a serious social scientist with a curiosity about human achievement, which he likes to study quantitatively. His best work is Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 Before writing this, he thought the Asian civilizations produced the most geniuses, though it turns out that Christendom wins that laurel. The following is an excerpt from an interview with Murray by Steve Sailer:

    Q. You argue that one big reason that most of humanity’s highest achievers came from what used to be called Christendom was … Christianity. Did you expect to reach that conclusion?

    A. Michael Novak foretold I would come to that conclusion, but I didn’t agree at the time. I didn’t think you needed anything except the Greek heritage and some secular social and economic trends to explain the Renaissance.

  • Porcell

    Stephen, Murray claims that he was aware that many people speculate and make assumptions about the intelligence of various races and ethnic groups. He attempted to rigorously put an empirical foundation under this.

    One of his findings was that among blacks over time there has been a slow but sure IQ convergence with other racial and ethnic groups. He, also, thought it cruel, given that there is a one standard deviation difference in IQ, to place back children in competitive school situations with other groups, though he well understands that no one should be judged solely on IQ.

    Having read several of Murray’s works, I think the guy is a serious social scientist with a curiosity about human achievement, which he likes to study quantitatively. His best work is Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 Before writing this, he thought the Asian civilizations produced the most geniuses, though it turns out that Christendom wins that laurel. The following is an excerpt from an interview with Murray by Steve Sailer:

    Q. You argue that one big reason that most of humanity’s highest achievers came from what used to be called Christendom was … Christianity. Did you expect to reach that conclusion?

    A. Michael Novak foretold I would come to that conclusion, but I didn’t agree at the time. I didn’t think you needed anything except the Greek heritage and some secular social and economic trends to explain the Renaissance.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus @ 218

    My point is that this reliance on genetics to tell us who we are in some fundamental way (porous, give or take, yeah, yeah – give yourself an out) is basically advocating for a materialistic view of the human person, with the most extreme outcomes being the subjugation, enslavement and genocide of these people of lesser material “empirical” quality. It fully does not comport with Christian faith. This is clear from the things I have already written, but if not, then I am not the person to spell this out for you. I have told you what I think a biblical, Christian anthropology is, why it matters, but which you pejoratively label as “egalitarian” and you want to assert something else, classing people into racial groups based on material qualities that you seem to think are objectively verifiable – “objective” being the operative word here. People as objects with qualities we can see. sg has said as much. And I’m guessing you won’t build a theology on it because you can’t, because you sense it will lead you places you do not want to go. I’m not asking you to do something “theoretical” like some scholastic dancing angels on the head of a pin. Theology touches everything. People live and die by it. Your desire to set it in some category apart from this “empirical” discussion doesn’t wash for me. It matters a great deal for our theology how we see others, empirically or otherwise.

    In the very beginning you base your thesis on comparing mental illness in Europeans to sickle cell in Africans and think this says something significant. Surely the pathologies of those two things are vastly different – one very, very broad and culturally and environmentally conditioned, and the other quite specific and precisely, observably an inherited genetic trait. Making that comparison may only say one thing – that you have an extremely limited view of the human mind and spirit. I don’t think you would want to defend that narrow an idea, would you?

    What kind of geniuses are we talking about anyway? Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis, or Albert Einstein and Max Planck? It’s a silly distinction. What is the place of wisdom in all these quality assessments of racial sets based on genetics? As people of faith we ought to at least, at base, recognize that whatever genius or intelligence is, it is a gift of God’s grace. I’m a fairly talented artist and always have been and I can’t even tell you how I pull stuff off. I work at it and work at it and then, somehow, it happens. But quite often, it doesn’t.

    Oh well, I really don’t think you have a limited sense of the human mind Cinncinatus. I don’t even know you. You are obviously really smart and more wonky on a lot of stuff than me. I just think this is horribly misguided and damaging, and I really wish all of you would see the error of this line of thinking and give it up. I believe that is what our faith teaches is the wise and faithful thing to do. That is my point.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus @ 218

    My point is that this reliance on genetics to tell us who we are in some fundamental way (porous, give or take, yeah, yeah – give yourself an out) is basically advocating for a materialistic view of the human person, with the most extreme outcomes being the subjugation, enslavement and genocide of these people of lesser material “empirical” quality. It fully does not comport with Christian faith. This is clear from the things I have already written, but if not, then I am not the person to spell this out for you. I have told you what I think a biblical, Christian anthropology is, why it matters, but which you pejoratively label as “egalitarian” and you want to assert something else, classing people into racial groups based on material qualities that you seem to think are objectively verifiable – “objective” being the operative word here. People as objects with qualities we can see. sg has said as much. And I’m guessing you won’t build a theology on it because you can’t, because you sense it will lead you places you do not want to go. I’m not asking you to do something “theoretical” like some scholastic dancing angels on the head of a pin. Theology touches everything. People live and die by it. Your desire to set it in some category apart from this “empirical” discussion doesn’t wash for me. It matters a great deal for our theology how we see others, empirically or otherwise.

    In the very beginning you base your thesis on comparing mental illness in Europeans to sickle cell in Africans and think this says something significant. Surely the pathologies of those two things are vastly different – one very, very broad and culturally and environmentally conditioned, and the other quite specific and precisely, observably an inherited genetic trait. Making that comparison may only say one thing – that you have an extremely limited view of the human mind and spirit. I don’t think you would want to defend that narrow an idea, would you?

    What kind of geniuses are we talking about anyway? Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis, or Albert Einstein and Max Planck? It’s a silly distinction. What is the place of wisdom in all these quality assessments of racial sets based on genetics? As people of faith we ought to at least, at base, recognize that whatever genius or intelligence is, it is a gift of God’s grace. I’m a fairly talented artist and always have been and I can’t even tell you how I pull stuff off. I work at it and work at it and then, somehow, it happens. But quite often, it doesn’t.

    Oh well, I really don’t think you have a limited sense of the human mind Cinncinatus. I don’t even know you. You are obviously really smart and more wonky on a lot of stuff than me. I just think this is horribly misguided and damaging, and I really wish all of you would see the error of this line of thinking and give it up. I believe that is what our faith teaches is the wise and faithful thing to do. That is my point.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell, no I think we can agree on your use odf “racial discrimination” in 187. That is how I would use the word “racism” in general, anyway.

    What bothers me is that bi implication, not intent (necessarily), many of the arguments sg and others trot out in this debate is but one step away from falling into / causing one to fall into activities that would fit that definition of racial discrimination. Also, and maybe I’m oversensitive due to personal experience, but generalist arguments like the one you used about the Arabs vs. the Jews come to close to Superior vs Inferioir, implying a genetic relationship. I think, because of sensitivities around these issues, one should be careful not to open oneself to such charges, real or spurious. Also, especially if aone is from a grouping that has never/not recently experienced major racial discrimination, one tends to not grasp the enourmous influence such discrimination has over the psyche. It is difficult to put into words. That is the Reality. And we would do well to remember that.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell, no I think we can agree on your use odf “racial discrimination” in 187. That is how I would use the word “racism” in general, anyway.

    What bothers me is that bi implication, not intent (necessarily), many of the arguments sg and others trot out in this debate is but one step away from falling into / causing one to fall into activities that would fit that definition of racial discrimination. Also, and maybe I’m oversensitive due to personal experience, but generalist arguments like the one you used about the Arabs vs. the Jews come to close to Superior vs Inferioir, implying a genetic relationship. I think, because of sensitivities around these issues, one should be careful not to open oneself to such charges, real or spurious. Also, especially if aone is from a grouping that has never/not recently experienced major racial discrimination, one tends to not grasp the enourmous influence such discrimination has over the psyche. It is difficult to put into words. That is the Reality. And we would do well to remember that.

  • trotk

    Stephen and Louis, well said.

    What is interesting is that the view expressed by sg, Cincinnatus, and Porcell doesn’t fit with biblical theology (Stephen expressed this well at 220) and it isn’t believed by the materialists who do the scientific work. No one accepts it, except…

    It is an old view that grew up in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries to justify horrifically racist acts, like slavery and genocide.

    Believing that some races are genetically more intelligent can only lead to believing that some races are genetically superior, and (contrary to sg’s notion that we can believe something without acting on it) we act on what we believe.

    This should not scare us from having the conversation about how culture impacts intelligence and performance. It does, and Louis’ story at 200 is a great example of how important it is to examine those practices.

  • trotk

    Stephen and Louis, well said.

    What is interesting is that the view expressed by sg, Cincinnatus, and Porcell doesn’t fit with biblical theology (Stephen expressed this well at 220) and it isn’t believed by the materialists who do the scientific work. No one accepts it, except…

    It is an old view that grew up in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries to justify horrifically racist acts, like slavery and genocide.

    Believing that some races are genetically more intelligent can only lead to believing that some races are genetically superior, and (contrary to sg’s notion that we can believe something without acting on it) we act on what we believe.

    This should not scare us from having the conversation about how culture impacts intelligence and performance. It does, and Louis’ story at 200 is a great example of how important it is to examine those practices.

  • Cincinnatus

    *sigh*

  • Cincinnatus

    *sigh*

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus@ 223

    “*sigh*”

    I see you point. What scripture are you quoting?

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus@ 223

    “*sigh*”

    I see you point. What scripture are you quoting?

  • Cincinnatus

    Well, Stephen, Louis, and trotk, I’m glad to see that you’ve resorted to the argumentum ad Hitlerum. That really does credit to your arguments.

    Look, you all act (particularly Stephen) as if my claim is a fundamental tenet of my political theory, theology, and philosophical anthropology. It is not. The only reason I entered this discussion was to serve as a counterweight to the lot of you, who were trotting out tired egalitarian arguments that have no basis in logical or empirical reality. All I was trying to do was to propose the common sensical supposition that, since intelligence is partly a function of genetics (but only a part; even sg admits that “cultural factors” play a much larger role than genetics), it is not unreasonable to suppose that its expression might be more evident in some ethnic groups or local cultures than others, just as is the case with every single other attribute that is genetically heritable (like skin color, eye color, hair color, predispositions to certain cancers or innumerable other diseases, schizophrenia, learning disabilities, etc.). To employ a crude example, recall to your mind domestic dogs–a single species with many “breeds”: standard poodles are on average much more intelligent than chihuahuas, and Labrador retrievers are much more likely to suffer from hip dysplasia than both. Intelligence and hip dysplasia are both genetically heritable (in part!) and they express themselves more regularly within certain “races” of dogs. That doesn’t mean there can’t be dumb poodles and Labradors with perfect joints; moreover, dog breeds are mutable and porous. Obviously and fortunately, human beings, with the exception of certain royal families, haven’t been as selectively bred as dogs, but the example should point to an obvious possibility (indeed, a fact in dogs). Personally, I don’t believe the heritability of intelligence is terribly relevant in theological or political praxis–not at the moment. I just have an investment in countering mindless egalitarianism and one-sidedenss.

    Stephen in particular keeps demanding Scriptural references. Why? There are none relevant. The Gospel is for all men. In other words, all three of you are ascribing to me several tremendously uncharitable premises that I am emphatically not making. Here is my argument:

    1. You know, it’s actually scientifically plausible to suppose that native intelligence, since it is genetically heritable, could be more prevalent in some ethnic groups than others.

    You all take it upon yourself to add the following to “my” argument”:

    2. Genetics are a huge factor in a person’s intelligence, perhaps trumping educational and cultural stimuli.
    3. Intelligent people are better than other people. It logically follows that if one race is more likely to have a greater proportion of members with above-average intelligence, then that race is better than other “less intelligent” races.
    4. Genocide.

    Thanks for completing my argument for me. Not. Really, if you’re going to assert that I’m practically arguing for the Holocaust, then I see no reason to continue this debate.

  • Cincinnatus

    Well, Stephen, Louis, and trotk, I’m glad to see that you’ve resorted to the argumentum ad Hitlerum. That really does credit to your arguments.

    Look, you all act (particularly Stephen) as if my claim is a fundamental tenet of my political theory, theology, and philosophical anthropology. It is not. The only reason I entered this discussion was to serve as a counterweight to the lot of you, who were trotting out tired egalitarian arguments that have no basis in logical or empirical reality. All I was trying to do was to propose the common sensical supposition that, since intelligence is partly a function of genetics (but only a part; even sg admits that “cultural factors” play a much larger role than genetics), it is not unreasonable to suppose that its expression might be more evident in some ethnic groups or local cultures than others, just as is the case with every single other attribute that is genetically heritable (like skin color, eye color, hair color, predispositions to certain cancers or innumerable other diseases, schizophrenia, learning disabilities, etc.). To employ a crude example, recall to your mind domestic dogs–a single species with many “breeds”: standard poodles are on average much more intelligent than chihuahuas, and Labrador retrievers are much more likely to suffer from hip dysplasia than both. Intelligence and hip dysplasia are both genetically heritable (in part!) and they express themselves more regularly within certain “races” of dogs. That doesn’t mean there can’t be dumb poodles and Labradors with perfect joints; moreover, dog breeds are mutable and porous. Obviously and fortunately, human beings, with the exception of certain royal families, haven’t been as selectively bred as dogs, but the example should point to an obvious possibility (indeed, a fact in dogs). Personally, I don’t believe the heritability of intelligence is terribly relevant in theological or political praxis–not at the moment. I just have an investment in countering mindless egalitarianism and one-sidedenss.

    Stephen in particular keeps demanding Scriptural references. Why? There are none relevant. The Gospel is for all men. In other words, all three of you are ascribing to me several tremendously uncharitable premises that I am emphatically not making. Here is my argument:

    1. You know, it’s actually scientifically plausible to suppose that native intelligence, since it is genetically heritable, could be more prevalent in some ethnic groups than others.

    You all take it upon yourself to add the following to “my” argument”:

    2. Genetics are a huge factor in a person’s intelligence, perhaps trumping educational and cultural stimuli.
    3. Intelligent people are better than other people. It logically follows that if one race is more likely to have a greater proportion of members with above-average intelligence, then that race is better than other “less intelligent” races.
    4. Genocide.

    Thanks for completing my argument for me. Not. Really, if you’re going to assert that I’m practically arguing for the Holocaust, then I see no reason to continue this debate.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Cincinnatus, I’m sure there’s word for it, but you are accusing me of accusing you… and I’m not exactly sure why you think I indulge in “argumentum ad Hitlerum”. Read my comment to Porcell in 221 again. As well as my story at 200.

    I think what confuses you is that when it is said that such arguments can be used as a basis for other horrible things, and since these arguments are of questionable scientific basis, we would do well to avoid indulging in them. That is not to the same as comparing you, or sg, or Porcell, to that hound Hitler. That is how I would read it.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Cincinnatus, I’m sure there’s word for it, but you are accusing me of accusing you… and I’m not exactly sure why you think I indulge in “argumentum ad Hitlerum”. Read my comment to Porcell in 221 again. As well as my story at 200.

    I think what confuses you is that when it is said that such arguments can be used as a basis for other horrible things, and since these arguments are of questionable scientific basis, we would do well to avoid indulging in them. That is not to the same as comparing you, or sg, or Porcell, to that hound Hitler. That is how I would read it.

  • Cincinnatus

    Louis: Stephen did, in fact, hint at genocidal conclusions. But I don’t understand your last point here. Because an argument is potentially dangerous if it were to “fall into the wrong hands” it ought not be discussed?

  • Cincinnatus

    Louis: Stephen did, in fact, hint at genocidal conclusions. But I don’t understand your last point here. Because an argument is potentially dangerous if it were to “fall into the wrong hands” it ought not be discussed?

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, you believe that evidence and logic are on your side.

    Can you give me one bit of evidence that proves that intelligence is heritable? I know that it seems this way, but intelligent families do intelligent things, and it is impossible to prove scientifically. It is an assumption that you are making.

    Even if intelligence were heritable, what evidence is there that it follows genetic racial boundaries, which, by the way, geneticists don’t believe exist? The geneticists who argue that intelligence is heritable believe it exists (genetically) pretty equally in all races/cultures, but some just practice different things that make it spring worth.

    Cincinnatus, you have made it clear that you think evidence is on your side, and that the other is just an ideological argument. But the scientists (the masters of the evidence, at least theoretically) disagree with you.

    What evidence do you have for your position?
    Red hair is not evidence.
    Dogs are not evidence.
    Sickle cell anemia is not evidence.
    Mental disorders are not evidence.
    These are all arguments by example, which is different. Arguments by example rest on whether or not the example is like the thing discussed. Is red hair like intelligence? Really?

    On the other hand, the genetic evidence is silent on the issue of the heritability of intelligence and against the division of human beings into biological races.

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, you believe that evidence and logic are on your side.

    Can you give me one bit of evidence that proves that intelligence is heritable? I know that it seems this way, but intelligent families do intelligent things, and it is impossible to prove scientifically. It is an assumption that you are making.

    Even if intelligence were heritable, what evidence is there that it follows genetic racial boundaries, which, by the way, geneticists don’t believe exist? The geneticists who argue that intelligence is heritable believe it exists (genetically) pretty equally in all races/cultures, but some just practice different things that make it spring worth.

    Cincinnatus, you have made it clear that you think evidence is on your side, and that the other is just an ideological argument. But the scientists (the masters of the evidence, at least theoretically) disagree with you.

    What evidence do you have for your position?
    Red hair is not evidence.
    Dogs are not evidence.
    Sickle cell anemia is not evidence.
    Mental disorders are not evidence.
    These are all arguments by example, which is different. Arguments by example rest on whether or not the example is like the thing discussed. Is red hair like intelligence? Really?

    On the other hand, the genetic evidence is silent on the issue of the heritability of intelligence and against the division of human beings into biological races.

  • Stephen

    And now humans are like Labradors? That is scientific materialism at its core. If you haven’t noticed, we are discussing it. It’ s not Christian, and the worst outcomes are the ones I noted. I also fail to to see the how it is helpful. What is the point of hammering away at it? I also question its claim to truth based on the broad assumptions being made. They are suspect in every way and ask us to accept as a premise the most narrow vision of the human person, one that, I think, ultimately leads to seeing them as unspiritual and expendable. But I suppose that’s not unlike a dog one can euthanize, or a baby you can throw in the trash.

  • Stephen

    And now humans are like Labradors? That is scientific materialism at its core. If you haven’t noticed, we are discussing it. It’ s not Christian, and the worst outcomes are the ones I noted. I also fail to to see the how it is helpful. What is the point of hammering away at it? I also question its claim to truth based on the broad assumptions being made. They are suspect in every way and ask us to accept as a premise the most narrow vision of the human person, one that, I think, ultimately leads to seeing them as unspiritual and expendable. But I suppose that’s not unlike a dog one can euthanize, or a baby you can throw in the trash.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen: I am not a scientific materialist, whatever that means. Stop concocting arguments for me and making offensive accusations. Stop drawing the worst possible conclusions from my arguments. I haven’t and won’t do the same to your arguments, so I sincerely request that you cease doing it to me. Making a comparison between dog genetics and human genetics at the biological level (not spiritual, etc.) does not make me a “scientific materialist.” I’m not going to address your arguments further as you’ve made none except to claim that I am a rather un-Christian fellow who covertly makes arguments for materialism and genocide.

    trotk: You’re quite right. There is no scientific study that “proves” my argument. Nor is there scientific evidence that “proves” your argument. The data is inconclusive. So that’s your point?

    I also agree that I shouldn’t have gotten involved here, as I’m not terribly committed to my argument. I do think that it makes logical sense, but my Weltanschauung neither stands nor falls upon this uncertain premise. Unfortunately, now everyone apparently believes that I am a “materialist,” a fascist, a racist, or some other charitable category.

    But on that note, did anyone actually read what I have argued (see item “1″ in my last comment). I am not making definitive statements, only propositions that are just as inconclusive scientifically as are yours.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen: I am not a scientific materialist, whatever that means. Stop concocting arguments for me and making offensive accusations. Stop drawing the worst possible conclusions from my arguments. I haven’t and won’t do the same to your arguments, so I sincerely request that you cease doing it to me. Making a comparison between dog genetics and human genetics at the biological level (not spiritual, etc.) does not make me a “scientific materialist.” I’m not going to address your arguments further as you’ve made none except to claim that I am a rather un-Christian fellow who covertly makes arguments for materialism and genocide.

    trotk: You’re quite right. There is no scientific study that “proves” my argument. Nor is there scientific evidence that “proves” your argument. The data is inconclusive. So that’s your point?

    I also agree that I shouldn’t have gotten involved here, as I’m not terribly committed to my argument. I do think that it makes logical sense, but my Weltanschauung neither stands nor falls upon this uncertain premise. Unfortunately, now everyone apparently believes that I am a “materialist,” a fascist, a racist, or some other charitable category.

    But on that note, did anyone actually read what I have argued (see item “1″ in my last comment). I am not making definitive statements, only propositions that are just as inconclusive scientifically as are yours.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Cincinnattus -my point had more to do with the first part of my sentence, than the second, ie, certain topics are explosive, and so prone to misuse, that the wise thing is to let them be. I think your experience in this thread, as noted in your comments, bears that out.

    For the record, I don’t think there is any evidence to connect intelligence with race, and that a normal distribution of intelligence etc is normative within all races. Just to reiterate.

    Also, I cannot understand why some folks (not you, Cincinnatus) return to this argument again and again.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Cincinnattus -my point had more to do with the first part of my sentence, than the second, ie, certain topics are explosive, and so prone to misuse, that the wise thing is to let them be. I think your experience in this thread, as noted in your comments, bears that out.

    For the record, I don’t think there is any evidence to connect intelligence with race, and that a normal distribution of intelligence etc is normative within all races. Just to reiterate.

    Also, I cannot understand why some folks (not you, Cincinnatus) return to this argument again and again.

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, for what it is worth, I don’t think that you are a materialist, fascist, racist, etc.

    Your argument is the product of racism. It is what was invented to justify slavery and genocide over the last few hundred years. I honestly believed that you didn’t know this, and I believe that you weren’t taking your argument to those conclusions. I see those conclusions as inevitable in general, even if any given individual (like yourself) doesn’t go that direction.

    My frustration is that you seem to believe that both views are equally plausible, and the scientific evidence doesn’t agree with that. I would challenge you to read some of the studies that I linked above.

    Even if humans had once been genetically distinct (in races), the mixing of groups since then has made your whole argument moot. Besides, the common ancestry that both Genesis and evolution claims makes genetically distinct races nonsensical.

    I hope that you don’t harbor too many hard feelings. I find myself agreeing with you and appreciating your voice in nearly every other area, and I did not ascribe any ill motives to you in this thread.

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, for what it is worth, I don’t think that you are a materialist, fascist, racist, etc.

    Your argument is the product of racism. It is what was invented to justify slavery and genocide over the last few hundred years. I honestly believed that you didn’t know this, and I believe that you weren’t taking your argument to those conclusions. I see those conclusions as inevitable in general, even if any given individual (like yourself) doesn’t go that direction.

    My frustration is that you seem to believe that both views are equally plausible, and the scientific evidence doesn’t agree with that. I would challenge you to read some of the studies that I linked above.

    Even if humans had once been genetically distinct (in races), the mixing of groups since then has made your whole argument moot. Besides, the common ancestry that both Genesis and evolution claims makes genetically distinct races nonsensical.

    I hope that you don’t harbor too many hard feelings. I find myself agreeing with you and appreciating your voice in nearly every other area, and I did not ascribe any ill motives to you in this thread.

  • Cincinnatus

    No hard feelings, of course.

    The argument I am making is not the product of racism, though it obviously was popular during a rather racist epoch. I am not the once citing Murray. I am making a logical point, and over and over again I’ve disclaimed the existence of “genetically distinct” races. Assuming you mean by “genetically distinct” the idea races are permanent and indelible, there is obviously no such thing. Races are mutable. But they do exist, obviously. There are different ethnic groups and they have different genetic attributes due to the way they have locally “bred” themselves and adapted to their circumstances. I don’t even know why that idea would be controversial. Science does agree with me there. As for the canard of intellect, all of us are just positing various theories with little evidence behind them because no conclusive evidence exists. I “believe” that intelligence is at least partially heritable and may be more “common” in certain ethnic groups than others (though I’m not inordinately attached to the latter premise). Louis “believes” (his own words) that intelligence is normally distributed in every race. Who knows? There isn’t conclusive evidence for either idea at this moment in history. Maybe someday there will be, but then again, given the continual and accelerated flux in which traditional races find themselves, such research would probably be a waste of time.

    Anyway, all of this isn’t terribly relevant–certainly not to the original topic of this thread and, in my case, to the “grand scheme of things.”

  • Cincinnatus

    No hard feelings, of course.

    The argument I am making is not the product of racism, though it obviously was popular during a rather racist epoch. I am not the once citing Murray. I am making a logical point, and over and over again I’ve disclaimed the existence of “genetically distinct” races. Assuming you mean by “genetically distinct” the idea races are permanent and indelible, there is obviously no such thing. Races are mutable. But they do exist, obviously. There are different ethnic groups and they have different genetic attributes due to the way they have locally “bred” themselves and adapted to their circumstances. I don’t even know why that idea would be controversial. Science does agree with me there. As for the canard of intellect, all of us are just positing various theories with little evidence behind them because no conclusive evidence exists. I “believe” that intelligence is at least partially heritable and may be more “common” in certain ethnic groups than others (though I’m not inordinately attached to the latter premise). Louis “believes” (his own words) that intelligence is normally distributed in every race. Who knows? There isn’t conclusive evidence for either idea at this moment in history. Maybe someday there will be, but then again, given the continual and accelerated flux in which traditional races find themselves, such research would probably be a waste of time.

    Anyway, all of this isn’t terribly relevant–certainly not to the original topic of this thread and, in my case, to the “grand scheme of things.”

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus

    trotk says:

    “Your argument is the product of racism. It is what was invented to justify slavery and genocide over the last few hundred years. I honestly believed that you didn’t know this, and I believe that you weren’t taking your argument to those conclusions. I see those conclusions as inevitable in general, even if any given individual (like yourself) doesn’t go that direction.”

    I think this is perhaps a calmer way of saying something of what I have been driving at all along, that without realizing it, these arguments that want to see in genetics some causal think to intelligence (or some other attractive/less attractive trait) among races is, or has been construed, toward racist ends by many, and at base, is an un-Christian way to view our fellow human beings.

    Now, I apologize that I seem to be attacking you personally. I attempted to be careful in my language and not do that, to talk about what the argument was and take it apart. I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt. But in my desire to make my own, one about which I obviously have a lot invested, I rolled over you personally. I regret that and I apologize.

    On another note, one that goes to theology – we are people of the Word, the One who and which has created us and redeems us. Arguments from nature are secondary in my view as to how we see and understand people as people. I was also trying to bring this into the foreground where I think it belongs. And so my question remains – how is thinking like this helpful to a Christian view of people? We can ask how it informs theology, can’t we? If we remember that our Lord himself took on human flesh, I think it goes to the very heart of what we say about just about everything.

    Again, I apologize if I made you out to be a neo-facist or something like that. that was not my intention. I take issue with what is being proposed. And I find it hard to believe that christians would even carry on an idea that has had its day where “no conclusive evidence exists.” I still find the argument as you have construed it, with all its variables, ugly on the face of it and a worthless and potentially damaging exercise with consequences like those extremes I have gone on and on about. So for me, whether or not someone holds this kind of perspective on their fellow human beings IS incredibly relevant in the grand scheme of things. Otherwise, I would not get so worked up about it.

    Again, I apologize for offending you personally.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus

    trotk says:

    “Your argument is the product of racism. It is what was invented to justify slavery and genocide over the last few hundred years. I honestly believed that you didn’t know this, and I believe that you weren’t taking your argument to those conclusions. I see those conclusions as inevitable in general, even if any given individual (like yourself) doesn’t go that direction.”

    I think this is perhaps a calmer way of saying something of what I have been driving at all along, that without realizing it, these arguments that want to see in genetics some causal think to intelligence (or some other attractive/less attractive trait) among races is, or has been construed, toward racist ends by many, and at base, is an un-Christian way to view our fellow human beings.

    Now, I apologize that I seem to be attacking you personally. I attempted to be careful in my language and not do that, to talk about what the argument was and take it apart. I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt. But in my desire to make my own, one about which I obviously have a lot invested, I rolled over you personally. I regret that and I apologize.

    On another note, one that goes to theology – we are people of the Word, the One who and which has created us and redeems us. Arguments from nature are secondary in my view as to how we see and understand people as people. I was also trying to bring this into the foreground where I think it belongs. And so my question remains – how is thinking like this helpful to a Christian view of people? We can ask how it informs theology, can’t we? If we remember that our Lord himself took on human flesh, I think it goes to the very heart of what we say about just about everything.

    Again, I apologize if I made you out to be a neo-facist or something like that. that was not my intention. I take issue with what is being proposed. And I find it hard to believe that christians would even carry on an idea that has had its day where “no conclusive evidence exists.” I still find the argument as you have construed it, with all its variables, ugly on the face of it and a worthless and potentially damaging exercise with consequences like those extremes I have gone on and on about. So for me, whether or not someone holds this kind of perspective on their fellow human beings IS incredibly relevant in the grand scheme of things. Otherwise, I would not get so worked up about it.

    Again, I apologize for offending you personally.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus, Porcell and sg

    Okay, so I have probably blown what you guys are saying way out of proportion by bringing up the extreme possibilities I see out there. Well, I thought about it some more, and at the risk of digging myself in deeper, maybe it boils down to this:

    You all are sort of saying this is a worthy thought experiment that we ought to be able to have. I’m saying you are playing with fire and others have been burned by a fire that looks and awful lot like the one you guys seem to be playing with. It may not burn you, but it might burn someone else. That is at least a possibility. It certainly has before.

    So, where in all this is the love of neighbor? That is my theological point. I think that is what we have to look at when we go down these roads or adopt, even in part, these kinds of ideas. Consider the implications. Where do they lead? Where have they lead in the past? St Paul says this:

    “8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

    Does speculation of this sort take one down this road or not? I say emphatically “no, it does not” and I have used the most forceful images I can think of to make that point. Having done so, I have inadvertently alienated the people I most wanted to influence. So I failed.

    I’m sorry Porcell for anything personal you have taken away from this. And to you sg, I hoped you might see that we agree on some things with the utmost seriousness. I apologize to you as well if you feel personally attacked. And Cinncinatus, I hope you heard my apology and take it for what it was – sincere. I hope everyone has good Christmas.

    Peace be with you. I mean that.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus, Porcell and sg

    Okay, so I have probably blown what you guys are saying way out of proportion by bringing up the extreme possibilities I see out there. Well, I thought about it some more, and at the risk of digging myself in deeper, maybe it boils down to this:

    You all are sort of saying this is a worthy thought experiment that we ought to be able to have. I’m saying you are playing with fire and others have been burned by a fire that looks and awful lot like the one you guys seem to be playing with. It may not burn you, but it might burn someone else. That is at least a possibility. It certainly has before.

    So, where in all this is the love of neighbor? That is my theological point. I think that is what we have to look at when we go down these roads or adopt, even in part, these kinds of ideas. Consider the implications. Where do they lead? Where have they lead in the past? St Paul says this:

    “8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

    Does speculation of this sort take one down this road or not? I say emphatically “no, it does not” and I have used the most forceful images I can think of to make that point. Having done so, I have inadvertently alienated the people I most wanted to influence. So I failed.

    I’m sorry Porcell for anything personal you have taken away from this. And to you sg, I hoped you might see that we agree on some things with the utmost seriousness. I apologize to you as well if you feel personally attacked. And Cinncinatus, I hope you heard my apology and take it for what it was – sincere. I hope everyone has good Christmas.

    Peace be with you. I mean that.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, at 232 in response to Cincinnatus: Can you give me one bit of evidence that proves that intelligence is heritable?

    Among scholars of heredity and intelligence, virtually all of them have concluded that heredity plays a substantial role. Murray in his article in Jewish genius remarks as follows:

    I begin with the assumption that elevated Jewish intelligence is grounded in genetics. It is no longer seriously disputed that intelligence in Homo sapiens is substantially heritable. In the last two decades, it has also been established that obvious environmental factors such as high income, books in the house, and parental reading to children are not as potent as one might expect. A “good enough” environment is important for the nurture of intellectual potential, but the requirements for “good enough” are not high. Even the very best home environments add only a few points, if that, to a merely okay environment. It is also known that children adopted at birth do not achieve the IQ’s predicted by their parents’ IQ.

    To put it another way, we have good reason to think that Gentile children raised in Jewish families do not acquire Jewish intelligence. Hence my view that something in the genes explains elevated Jewish IQ. That conclusion is not logically necessary but, given what we know about heritability and environmental effects on intelligence in humans as a species, it is extremely plausible. Bear in mind that Murray has voluminous empirical data to support his views,

    As to Stephen’s legitimate concern regarding the religious aspect of this, I should say that God had a reason in his Creation to create human beings with variable intellectual potential, though He made them all equally responsible for their moral behavior.

    Trotk may reject the thesis that heredity plays a substantial role in achievement among the arts and sciences, though so far he has offered no compelling evidence for his position.

  • Porcell

    Trotk, at 232 in response to Cincinnatus: Can you give me one bit of evidence that proves that intelligence is heritable?

    Among scholars of heredity and intelligence, virtually all of them have concluded that heredity plays a substantial role. Murray in his article in Jewish genius remarks as follows:

    I begin with the assumption that elevated Jewish intelligence is grounded in genetics. It is no longer seriously disputed that intelligence in Homo sapiens is substantially heritable. In the last two decades, it has also been established that obvious environmental factors such as high income, books in the house, and parental reading to children are not as potent as one might expect. A “good enough” environment is important for the nurture of intellectual potential, but the requirements for “good enough” are not high. Even the very best home environments add only a few points, if that, to a merely okay environment. It is also known that children adopted at birth do not achieve the IQ’s predicted by their parents’ IQ.

    To put it another way, we have good reason to think that Gentile children raised in Jewish families do not acquire Jewish intelligence. Hence my view that something in the genes explains elevated Jewish IQ. That conclusion is not logically necessary but, given what we know about heritability and environmental effects on intelligence in humans as a species, it is extremely plausible. Bear in mind that Murray has voluminous empirical data to support his views,

    As to Stephen’s legitimate concern regarding the religious aspect of this, I should say that God had a reason in his Creation to create human beings with variable intellectual potential, though He made them all equally responsible for their moral behavior.

    Trotk may reject the thesis that heredity plays a substantial role in achievement among the arts and sciences, though so far he has offered no compelling evidence for his position.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I haven’t commented here in almost 100 comments, and I just don’t have it in me to say much in detail about where this conversation has gone since I last said anything (though I will note that the main drivers of this topic — here and in other threads — appear to have dropped out of late, though they will likely bring up their arguments again in future discussions).

    But I do think that some of the discussion was created due to the inexact (or sloppy) use of the word “race”. Part of this can be blamed on the word itself, which has a large number of similar but distinct meanings.

    Quite a few times, people here have used “race” as if it were synonymous with “ethnic group”. And, again, that certainly is a possible meaning. But it seems to me that, once we are talking about The Bell Curve and genetics and intelligence, race tends to refer to the traditional divisions of humanity into a handful of groups. You know: white, black, Asian, etc. There’s not a standard division.

    It is this meaning of “race” that I believe was being used when people said the idea of race “doesn’t exist” — or at least doesn’t have any genetic basis. After all, what makes a person “black”? Is there a strict definition, much less a scientific one? If it’s based solely on skin color, then why are albino black people still “black”? If it’s a genetic quality, why is the child of a black person and a white person almost always “black”?

    So yes, the idea of race exists. But the question is what we really mean by it, and if it has any rational basis. I don’t think we really ever established that. Of course, one could ask similar questions about ethnic groups. Yes, they exist, but do they have strict definitions? And are those definitions at all based in genetics, or in other things?

    One final note. I got the impression that not a few of the counter-arguments in this thread are based on the idea that you simply can’t label someone with certain labels. Most notably, “racist” (though, of course, comparisons to Hitler suffer the same fate). This is, on average, a somewhat reasonable response, because such labels are often signs of hyperbole or desperation, especially in Internet conversations. Of course, racism and Hitler-like ideas still exist in the world, but they are a few of the things that are nearly universally agreed upon as bad, so almost no one will cop to them. Which is unfortunate, because then it just becomes a game of semantics. Ideas are what they are, for good or bad, no matter what label one may apply or complain about. Ironically, those who often decry the application of the label “racist” are those who will also complain about “political correctness” (not necessarily those here) and its rules about what words one can and can’t use.

    Anyhow, just throwing this out there for the next time we have this conversation. Which we will.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I haven’t commented here in almost 100 comments, and I just don’t have it in me to say much in detail about where this conversation has gone since I last said anything (though I will note that the main drivers of this topic — here and in other threads — appear to have dropped out of late, though they will likely bring up their arguments again in future discussions).

    But I do think that some of the discussion was created due to the inexact (or sloppy) use of the word “race”. Part of this can be blamed on the word itself, which has a large number of similar but distinct meanings.

    Quite a few times, people here have used “race” as if it were synonymous with “ethnic group”. And, again, that certainly is a possible meaning. But it seems to me that, once we are talking about The Bell Curve and genetics and intelligence, race tends to refer to the traditional divisions of humanity into a handful of groups. You know: white, black, Asian, etc. There’s not a standard division.

    It is this meaning of “race” that I believe was being used when people said the idea of race “doesn’t exist” — or at least doesn’t have any genetic basis. After all, what makes a person “black”? Is there a strict definition, much less a scientific one? If it’s based solely on skin color, then why are albino black people still “black”? If it’s a genetic quality, why is the child of a black person and a white person almost always “black”?

    So yes, the idea of race exists. But the question is what we really mean by it, and if it has any rational basis. I don’t think we really ever established that. Of course, one could ask similar questions about ethnic groups. Yes, they exist, but do they have strict definitions? And are those definitions at all based in genetics, or in other things?

    One final note. I got the impression that not a few of the counter-arguments in this thread are based on the idea that you simply can’t label someone with certain labels. Most notably, “racist” (though, of course, comparisons to Hitler suffer the same fate). This is, on average, a somewhat reasonable response, because such labels are often signs of hyperbole or desperation, especially in Internet conversations. Of course, racism and Hitler-like ideas still exist in the world, but they are a few of the things that are nearly universally agreed upon as bad, so almost no one will cop to them. Which is unfortunate, because then it just becomes a game of semantics. Ideas are what they are, for good or bad, no matter what label one may apply or complain about. Ironically, those who often decry the application of the label “racist” are those who will also complain about “political correctness” (not necessarily those here) and its rules about what words one can and can’t use.

    Anyhow, just throwing this out there for the next time we have this conversation. Which we will.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ah, spoke too soon.

    Porcell (@236), can I offer you a debating tip? Is it not obvious that the people you are wishing to persuade do not find your continued and numerous allusions to Murray and his work to be credible? They’ve said so fairly explicitly.

    And yet you continue to refer to and quote from that book as if they would be swayed by it. When it’s fairly obvious that the only people swayed by that book are those who agree with its premise. Please note that it is possible for people to find a work credible even if they disagree with it. But the criticism’s of Murray’s work are at a very fundamental level, even if you happen to disagree with them.

    The thing is, if you and Murray are so correct, there must be other research out there you can point to. Research that has not been — and could not be — so thoroughly criticized. But you don’t refer to it. (Please note that this comment does not apply to SG, who has more than one source she refers to).

    My point being: your quoting from Murray over and over is unlikely to add anything to the conversation. It truly is pointless. And it leads me to conclude that that book is pretty much everything you know about the topic, which would imply that your knowledge is very shallow, and very easily influenced by things other than the science at hand. For, if the science was something you knew about or were at least very interested in, you’d have read more on the topic, and could actually rebut the criticisms of Murray’s work, or even accept them and still explain your position. Or cite other works that are not subject to the same criticisms.

    Or you could just say it’s all a vast liberal, “politically correct” conspiracy against which Murray and few others have dared to stand. But that’s not really a response. Nor does it sound very rational. That’s how conspiracy theories are, after all.

    That’s how it appears to me.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ah, spoke too soon.

    Porcell (@236), can I offer you a debating tip? Is it not obvious that the people you are wishing to persuade do not find your continued and numerous allusions to Murray and his work to be credible? They’ve said so fairly explicitly.

    And yet you continue to refer to and quote from that book as if they would be swayed by it. When it’s fairly obvious that the only people swayed by that book are those who agree with its premise. Please note that it is possible for people to find a work credible even if they disagree with it. But the criticism’s of Murray’s work are at a very fundamental level, even if you happen to disagree with them.

    The thing is, if you and Murray are so correct, there must be other research out there you can point to. Research that has not been — and could not be — so thoroughly criticized. But you don’t refer to it. (Please note that this comment does not apply to SG, who has more than one source she refers to).

    My point being: your quoting from Murray over and over is unlikely to add anything to the conversation. It truly is pointless. And it leads me to conclude that that book is pretty much everything you know about the topic, which would imply that your knowledge is very shallow, and very easily influenced by things other than the science at hand. For, if the science was something you knew about or were at least very interested in, you’d have read more on the topic, and could actually rebut the criticisms of Murray’s work, or even accept them and still explain your position. Or cite other works that are not subject to the same criticisms.

    Or you could just say it’s all a vast liberal, “politically correct” conspiracy against which Murray and few others have dared to stand. But that’s not really a response. Nor does it sound very rational. That’s how conspiracy theories are, after all.

    That’s how it appears to me.

  • Stephen

    Porcell@236

    “As to Stephen’s legitimate concern regarding the religious aspect of this, I should say that God had a reason in his Creation to create human beings with variable intellectual potential, though He made them all equally responsible for their moral behavior.”

    Sure God has his reasons for doing what he does. Are you and Murray actually teasing them out? C’mon! I have not heard one wit about how this “thesis” is on concert with a Christian view of the human person. Flesh that out for me will you please!

    And as for our culpability, well, what you’ve said is not exactly correct. As far as being ‘morally responsible” it depends on which direction you aim that sense of responsibility. We are responsible to each other, and that’s why I think this conversation matters. But as far as our responsibility to God goes, Christ alone is our righteousness. That’s the glorious good news. Thank God that in both cases we have his mercy to carry us.

    “Trotk may reject the thesis that heredity plays a substantial role in achievement among the arts and sciences, though so far he has offered no compelling evidence for his position.”

    That’s not how logic works. The onus is on you to prove your assertion, and you haven’t done that. He is not required to offer any evidence to the contrary. It makes perfectly logical sense to reject it as the spurious and shaky set of assumptions being put forth as some kind of “truth” that you claim it is. One highly suspect book that has been ripped to shreds here and elsewhere is not an ironclad “thesis” of anything of real substance. All that book ever was in both content and planning was an attempt to play on the fears and prejudices already embedded in certain people’s minds.

    Everything else I’ve heard has been “I’m saying this, but I’m not REALLY saying this, but looky here, it really is true that white people are better” and/or covering it all with “it’s just an innocent thought experiment and we should be able to talk about it.” No one has said anything about how this line of thought is beneficial to anyone, claiming on the one hand that it is important, maybe even vital for policy purposes, to talk about these things, and then back-pedaling and claiming it is completely harmless to do so.

  • Stephen

    Porcell@236

    “As to Stephen’s legitimate concern regarding the religious aspect of this, I should say that God had a reason in his Creation to create human beings with variable intellectual potential, though He made them all equally responsible for their moral behavior.”

    Sure God has his reasons for doing what he does. Are you and Murray actually teasing them out? C’mon! I have not heard one wit about how this “thesis” is on concert with a Christian view of the human person. Flesh that out for me will you please!

    And as for our culpability, well, what you’ve said is not exactly correct. As far as being ‘morally responsible” it depends on which direction you aim that sense of responsibility. We are responsible to each other, and that’s why I think this conversation matters. But as far as our responsibility to God goes, Christ alone is our righteousness. That’s the glorious good news. Thank God that in both cases we have his mercy to carry us.

    “Trotk may reject the thesis that heredity plays a substantial role in achievement among the arts and sciences, though so far he has offered no compelling evidence for his position.”

    That’s not how logic works. The onus is on you to prove your assertion, and you haven’t done that. He is not required to offer any evidence to the contrary. It makes perfectly logical sense to reject it as the spurious and shaky set of assumptions being put forth as some kind of “truth” that you claim it is. One highly suspect book that has been ripped to shreds here and elsewhere is not an ironclad “thesis” of anything of real substance. All that book ever was in both content and planning was an attempt to play on the fears and prejudices already embedded in certain people’s minds.

    Everything else I’ve heard has been “I’m saying this, but I’m not REALLY saying this, but looky here, it really is true that white people are better” and/or covering it all with “it’s just an innocent thought experiment and we should be able to talk about it.” No one has said anything about how this line of thought is beneficial to anyone, claiming on the one hand that it is important, maybe even vital for policy purposes, to talk about these things, and then back-pedaling and claiming it is completely harmless to do so.

  • Porcell

    Todd: The thing is, if you and Murray are so correct, there must be other research out there you can point to. Research that has not been — and could not be — so thoroughly criticized. But you don’t refer to it.

    Actuallly, at 148, I referred to the statement of 52 internationally respected scholars in the field of intelligence and heredity who supported Murray against his critics including:

    Group Differences
    7. Members of all racial-ethnic groups can
    be found at every IQ level. The bell curves
    of different groups overlap considerably, but
    groups often differ in where their members
    tend to cluster along the IQ line. The bell
    curves for some groups (Jews and East
    Asians) are centered somewhat higher than
    for whites in general. Other groups (blacks
    and Hispanics) are centered somewhat lower
    than non-Hispanic whites.

    Murray is merely one of most scholars in the field of heredity and intelligence who favor the view that heredity is substantially related to intelligence. Murray in my view happens to be the most articulate of them. H

    I should suggest that you read the scholar’s statement and, should you be serious about the topic, Murray’s book, which is regarded as the classic statement of the topic, however controversial it is among ideological egalitarians.

    Before helicoptering in at the end of a rather complex thread, I should suggest that you carefully read the assorted posts.

  • Porcell

    Todd: The thing is, if you and Murray are so correct, there must be other research out there you can point to. Research that has not been — and could not be — so thoroughly criticized. But you don’t refer to it.

    Actuallly, at 148, I referred to the statement of 52 internationally respected scholars in the field of intelligence and heredity who supported Murray against his critics including:

    Group Differences
    7. Members of all racial-ethnic groups can
    be found at every IQ level. The bell curves
    of different groups overlap considerably, but
    groups often differ in where their members
    tend to cluster along the IQ line. The bell
    curves for some groups (Jews and East
    Asians) are centered somewhat higher than
    for whites in general. Other groups (blacks
    and Hispanics) are centered somewhat lower
    than non-Hispanic whites.

    Murray is merely one of most scholars in the field of heredity and intelligence who favor the view that heredity is substantially related to intelligence. Murray in my view happens to be the most articulate of them. H

    I should suggest that you read the scholar’s statement and, should you be serious about the topic, Murray’s book, which is regarded as the classic statement of the topic, however controversial it is among ideological egalitarians.

    Before helicoptering in at the end of a rather complex thread, I should suggest that you carefully read the assorted posts.

  • kerner

    The last time I commented on this thread I said something to the effect that the the extent to which, and the manner in which, heredity impacts on intelligence is unknown and unknowable. I believe that to be true at present. Maybe someday we will be capable of tracking genetic factors well enough to figure it out.

    And I have to stick up for my friend Cincinnatus here. I am positive that Cincinnatus is not pushing any agenda that is remotely racist.

    But I understand Stephen’s concerns as well. The side of this debate that asserts a link between heredity and intelligence (or any other positive trait) asserts a proposition with no legitimate purpose.

    I know a little about animal breeding. One of the things I know about it is that animal breeders sometimes breed their animals with the goal of enhancing the intelligence of some particular animal breed. And sometimes they breed for what they call “temperment”. By temperment, they mean they are trying to produce animals with certain (what we would call in humans) personality characteristics.

    By this I mean that breeders not only want the labrador to be able to hunt and retrieve, they want him to enjoy it. They want it to come naturally and for the dog to be gentle enough to not eat the duck. Likewise, breeders want German Shepherds to be intelligent and protective. A German Shepherd should have an instinct for protecting animals or people in its care from enemies. It should also have a “herding instinct”; i.e. a desire to guide slower, stupider, defenseless animals to safety. Whether they can really do so or not, animal breeders believe that they can, in fact, breed for temperment.

    But the trouble with discussing the possibility of something similar occurring among human beings is that there is no legitimate place this takes us. We can’t treat people like animals, or even think of them that way. While we may not intend anything of the sort, the Eugenics movement took the belief in heretible intelligence and personality traits in humans to some very dark places.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics

  • kerner

    The last time I commented on this thread I said something to the effect that the the extent to which, and the manner in which, heredity impacts on intelligence is unknown and unknowable. I believe that to be true at present. Maybe someday we will be capable of tracking genetic factors well enough to figure it out.

    And I have to stick up for my friend Cincinnatus here. I am positive that Cincinnatus is not pushing any agenda that is remotely racist.

    But I understand Stephen’s concerns as well. The side of this debate that asserts a link between heredity and intelligence (or any other positive trait) asserts a proposition with no legitimate purpose.

    I know a little about animal breeding. One of the things I know about it is that animal breeders sometimes breed their animals with the goal of enhancing the intelligence of some particular animal breed. And sometimes they breed for what they call “temperment”. By temperment, they mean they are trying to produce animals with certain (what we would call in humans) personality characteristics.

    By this I mean that breeders not only want the labrador to be able to hunt and retrieve, they want him to enjoy it. They want it to come naturally and for the dog to be gentle enough to not eat the duck. Likewise, breeders want German Shepherds to be intelligent and protective. A German Shepherd should have an instinct for protecting animals or people in its care from enemies. It should also have a “herding instinct”; i.e. a desire to guide slower, stupider, defenseless animals to safety. Whether they can really do so or not, animal breeders believe that they can, in fact, breed for temperment.

    But the trouble with discussing the possibility of something similar occurring among human beings is that there is no legitimate place this takes us. We can’t treat people like animals, or even think of them that way. While we may not intend anything of the sort, the Eugenics movement took the belief in heretible intelligence and personality traits in humans to some very dark places.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics

  • Porcell

    Kerner, I understand your and Stephen’s concern that an undue concern about intelligence could lead to another bout of the dreadful eugenics movement.

    My sense from readingMurray and others is that they re genuinely interested in trying to realistically sort out heritable and cultural matters on the subject of intelligence. In the case of Murray, I’ve read most of his brilliant works and found not a whiff of interest in eugenics.

    The contemporary movement toward playing with eugenics through designer babies is deeply lamentable, though at no point has Murray expressed an interest in it.

    BTW, at the risk of pride going before the fall, prepare yourself for the Pats to skunk the Packers on Sunday. Somehow, Belichick has
    worked his magic on this young team. He apparently received great football genes and culture from his father. I’d place him on a knowledge level with Lombardi, though he lacks Lombardi’s great spirit and emotion for the game and fierce desire to win. He takes losses much too philosophically.

  • Porcell

    Kerner, I understand your and Stephen’s concern that an undue concern about intelligence could lead to another bout of the dreadful eugenics movement.

    My sense from readingMurray and others is that they re genuinely interested in trying to realistically sort out heritable and cultural matters on the subject of intelligence. In the case of Murray, I’ve read most of his brilliant works and found not a whiff of interest in eugenics.

    The contemporary movement toward playing with eugenics through designer babies is deeply lamentable, though at no point has Murray expressed an interest in it.

    BTW, at the risk of pride going before the fall, prepare yourself for the Pats to skunk the Packers on Sunday. Somehow, Belichick has
    worked his magic on this young team. He apparently received great football genes and culture from his father. I’d place him on a knowledge level with Lombardi, though he lacks Lombardi’s great spirit and emotion for the game and fierce desire to win. He takes losses much too philosophically.

  • kerner

    ARGH!!! That’s right, rub it in. Aaron Rodgers, having suffered his 2nd concussion of the season, probably won’t even play, not to mention the fact that even our second tier of defensive players is being decimated by injuries. But the Packers will make a game of it none the less. I hope the Pats relax in overconfidence.

    I don’t care what the owners think, the NFL season is too long already. Human bodies have their limits, and these men take too much punishment now.

  • kerner

    ARGH!!! That’s right, rub it in. Aaron Rodgers, having suffered his 2nd concussion of the season, probably won’t even play, not to mention the fact that even our second tier of defensive players is being decimated by injuries. But the Packers will make a game of it none the less. I hope the Pats relax in overconfidence.

    I don’t care what the owners think, the NFL season is too long already. Human bodies have their limits, and these men take too much punishment now.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “sg and Porcell, why is this racial distinction so important to defend?”

    There is no defense of racial distinction per se. There is only the citation of evidence to objectively characterize the situation. When the average performance of various groups vs. the others always varies by the same amount on every test when converted to standard units, despite different region, curriculum, expenditure and culture, then we have run out of variables to analyze. Maybe NAEP and SAT should disaggregate based on father’s church attendance. That would be interesting.

    It is rather tiresome to continually be blamed for every failure of every group just because we are successful. If any non-white person ever does anything commendable, cool or great, there is this attitude that they did it despite “oppression” of evil white/Euro dudes. Yeah, those guys who eradicated polio smallpox. The evidence is cited to point out that despite heroic efforts on the part, mostly of white Christians to help others, well, the results are modest within some groups but hey, we ain’t God. We don’t know how to make other people as successful as we are. We can love and serve, but we are only fallen humans, too. When you do everything you can to help people but they still blame you when they fail and despise you when they succeed, well, you just get tired. Personally, I would be pleased if our efforts were appreciated to the extent that folks would see the good works and praise our Father in heaven, but hey that may be too much to ask in a fallen world.

    Only Christ can sustain us.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “sg and Porcell, why is this racial distinction so important to defend?”

    There is no defense of racial distinction per se. There is only the citation of evidence to objectively characterize the situation. When the average performance of various groups vs. the others always varies by the same amount on every test when converted to standard units, despite different region, curriculum, expenditure and culture, then we have run out of variables to analyze. Maybe NAEP and SAT should disaggregate based on father’s church attendance. That would be interesting.

    It is rather tiresome to continually be blamed for every failure of every group just because we are successful. If any non-white person ever does anything commendable, cool or great, there is this attitude that they did it despite “oppression” of evil white/Euro dudes. Yeah, those guys who eradicated polio smallpox. The evidence is cited to point out that despite heroic efforts on the part, mostly of white Christians to help others, well, the results are modest within some groups but hey, we ain’t God. We don’t know how to make other people as successful as we are. We can love and serve, but we are only fallen humans, too. When you do everything you can to help people but they still blame you when they fail and despise you when they succeed, well, you just get tired. Personally, I would be pleased if our efforts were appreciated to the extent that folks would see the good works and praise our Father in heaven, but hey that may be too much to ask in a fallen world.

    Only Christ can sustain us.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “For the record, I don’t think there is any evidence to connect intelligence with race, and that a normal distribution of intelligence etc is normative within all races. Just to reiterate.”

    This is the problem. There are mountains of evidence. The SAT, NAEP, Stanford-Binet, Iowa, Stanford, ACT, and every state administered test in every state on every school child or professional certificate seeker.

    The results are virtually identical every time the tests are administered. The variation in measured performance always varies by the same standard deviation between groups. What else could account for such stubborn consistency in the data?

    I don’t relish this situation, but there is no evil in characterizing it honestly and working together to benefit everyone.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “For the record, I don’t think there is any evidence to connect intelligence with race, and that a normal distribution of intelligence etc is normative within all races. Just to reiterate.”

    This is the problem. There are mountains of evidence. The SAT, NAEP, Stanford-Binet, Iowa, Stanford, ACT, and every state administered test in every state on every school child or professional certificate seeker.

    The results are virtually identical every time the tests are administered. The variation in measured performance always varies by the same standard deviation between groups. What else could account for such stubborn consistency in the data?

    I don’t relish this situation, but there is no evil in characterizing it honestly and working together to benefit everyone.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Of what benefit is it to make these kinds of “genetic” distinctions regarding intelligence to seeing them as people?”

    Because the world judges and rewards people based everything from height to weight to intelligence. The very fact that we can accept group differences in height, but not intelligence is due to the conditions created by intelligence, part of which is productivity which leads to wealth. (Love of money, anyone) Humans are hierarchical and organize themselves accordingly. When everybody in a society is part of the same ethnic “family”, then there are class stratifications, but not ethnic. When both are present the different incidence rate at which different ethnicities comprise different classes causes tensions and even blame, suspicion and loss of social cohesion due to the loss of trust between groups.

    “These questions could not be more irrelevant. Nothing that I (or sg or Porcell, for that matter) have said has anything to do with how we view, assess, and love (or pre-assess) any given human being.”

    We should not pre judge individuals because no one is representative of his group average. These questions are relevant because on average performance determines lifestyle and people are very competitive.

    We need to deal with things honestly rather than just denying any unwelcome facts.

    To switch gears, I get the same indignant defense of current popular folk wisdom, when I remind folks that probably the single most devastating health risks taken in this culture is delaying childbirth past about age 21. The facts are all there and the risks are huge and the consequences real and devastating for the people affected. But we love our current status quo more than we love women apparently, so young women are never really told how much risk is really there. It reminds me of the 1950′s when smoking was promoted as healthy!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Of what benefit is it to make these kinds of “genetic” distinctions regarding intelligence to seeing them as people?”

    Because the world judges and rewards people based everything from height to weight to intelligence. The very fact that we can accept group differences in height, but not intelligence is due to the conditions created by intelligence, part of which is productivity which leads to wealth. (Love of money, anyone) Humans are hierarchical and organize themselves accordingly. When everybody in a society is part of the same ethnic “family”, then there are class stratifications, but not ethnic. When both are present the different incidence rate at which different ethnicities comprise different classes causes tensions and even blame, suspicion and loss of social cohesion due to the loss of trust between groups.

    “These questions could not be more irrelevant. Nothing that I (or sg or Porcell, for that matter) have said has anything to do with how we view, assess, and love (or pre-assess) any given human being.”

    We should not pre judge individuals because no one is representative of his group average. These questions are relevant because on average performance determines lifestyle and people are very competitive.

    We need to deal with things honestly rather than just denying any unwelcome facts.

    To switch gears, I get the same indignant defense of current popular folk wisdom, when I remind folks that probably the single most devastating health risks taken in this culture is delaying childbirth past about age 21. The facts are all there and the risks are huge and the consequences real and devastating for the people affected. But we love our current status quo more than we love women apparently, so young women are never really told how much risk is really there. It reminds me of the 1950′s when smoking was promoted as healthy!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    :D

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    :D

  • kerner

    sg:

    I completely agree that the current culture of victimhood is incompatable with reality. For some “people of color” it seems they think:

    “If I do poorly in school, if I am poor, if I have no job, if I catch cold, or if I plan a picnic and it rains that day, somewhere somehow there is a white man who is to blame…so give me all your money, I deserve it.”

    I am as frustrated as you are by this attitude. But an attitude is all it is. Like all attitudes, it is primarily a product of socio-political culture, not genetic predisposition. When you look at your “mountains of data”, most of which are gathered inthe socio-political environment of the United States, has it occured to you that the subcultures that exihibit this attitude of victimhood are the ones who perform the worst in direct proportion to the degree to which the victim attitude prevails in their subculture?

    In other words, I am suggesting that these people are not geneticly predisposed to fail. I am suggesting that much of their failure is the product of learned behavior that THE LEFT WING POLITICIANS have taught them. I am suggesting that if we teach our underperforming subcultures that they can improve, they will. If we continue to teach them that they are victims whose only option is to be supported by the productive, they will continue to fail.

    I don’t know how much closer this would drive their “bell curves” to those of other subcultures, nor do I care. I do not believe that high academic performance is as close to practical success as you do. I also seem to place greater value on humbler skills than you do (to me, a really good drywaller, even if he is not much of an academic, is not a low functioning person).

    But I think attempts to attribute group underperfornance to genetic defects is not only wrong (as your “mountains” of data are really tiny molehills that fail to take so very much into account), they play right into the hands of the left wing purveyors of the victimization attitude, as in:

    “See! The white oppressors think you are inferior genetic stock and they are only trying to avoid giving you your rightful piece of the pie! When you try to join the white oppressor’s world, they try to keep you out by claiming that you are too stupid and dangerous to ever do well in their world! So, don’t try to join the white oppressors, beat them!”

    We are better off trying to change the socio-political culture in this country than to waste our efforts trying to establish genetic explanations for group statistics.

  • kerner

    sg:

    I completely agree that the current culture of victimhood is incompatable with reality. For some “people of color” it seems they think:

    “If I do poorly in school, if I am poor, if I have no job, if I catch cold, or if I plan a picnic and it rains that day, somewhere somehow there is a white man who is to blame…so give me all your money, I deserve it.”

    I am as frustrated as you are by this attitude. But an attitude is all it is. Like all attitudes, it is primarily a product of socio-political culture, not genetic predisposition. When you look at your “mountains of data”, most of which are gathered inthe socio-political environment of the United States, has it occured to you that the subcultures that exihibit this attitude of victimhood are the ones who perform the worst in direct proportion to the degree to which the victim attitude prevails in their subculture?

    In other words, I am suggesting that these people are not geneticly predisposed to fail. I am suggesting that much of their failure is the product of learned behavior that THE LEFT WING POLITICIANS have taught them. I am suggesting that if we teach our underperforming subcultures that they can improve, they will. If we continue to teach them that they are victims whose only option is to be supported by the productive, they will continue to fail.

    I don’t know how much closer this would drive their “bell curves” to those of other subcultures, nor do I care. I do not believe that high academic performance is as close to practical success as you do. I also seem to place greater value on humbler skills than you do (to me, a really good drywaller, even if he is not much of an academic, is not a low functioning person).

    But I think attempts to attribute group underperfornance to genetic defects is not only wrong (as your “mountains” of data are really tiny molehills that fail to take so very much into account), they play right into the hands of the left wing purveyors of the victimization attitude, as in:

    “See! The white oppressors think you are inferior genetic stock and they are only trying to avoid giving you your rightful piece of the pie! When you try to join the white oppressor’s world, they try to keep you out by claiming that you are too stupid and dangerous to ever do well in their world! So, don’t try to join the white oppressors, beat them!”

    We are better off trying to change the socio-political culture in this country than to waste our efforts trying to establish genetic explanations for group statistics.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    *<:-)

    Merry Christmas

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    *<:-)

    Merry Christmas

  • Porcell

    Stephen, I was thinking about a response to your question as to what the benefit is to making these distinctions among groups. Since sg has provided a first-rate answer, I’ll pass. She has a more sophisticated understanding of the statistical analyses than I.

    I might add that Murray thinks it important for policy makers, especially educational ones, to understand the realities of IQ as it relates to groups. The moralists who criticize Murray and others for studying these matters are, as usual, treating reasonable academic and political policy matters as moral issues.

  • Porcell

    Stephen, I was thinking about a response to your question as to what the benefit is to making these distinctions among groups. Since sg has provided a first-rate answer, I’ll pass. She has a more sophisticated understanding of the statistical analyses than I.

    I might add that Murray thinks it important for policy makers, especially educational ones, to understand the realities of IQ as it relates to groups. The moralists who criticize Murray and others for studying these matters are, as usual, treating reasonable academic and political policy matters as moral issues.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “In other words, I am suggesting that these people are not geneticly predisposed to fail. I am suggesting that much of their failure is the product of learned behavior that THE LEFT WING POLITICIANS have taught them. I am suggesting that if we teach our underperforming subcultures that they can improve, they will. If we continue to teach them that they are victims whose only option is to be supported by the productive, they will continue to fail.”

    Look, I never talk about proof, just evidence. Evidence is not proof. It just shows you where to look. That is why there is a GSS, so hypothetical trends can be checked to see if they exist and how many different kinds of influences correlate, or don’t.

    I don’t think it is as simple as attitude, but attitude matters. For example, on NAEP, blacks in Texas and Massachusetts do about as well as whites in West Virginia. Now that is an interesting data point. From the hereditarian side, you might say that WV has less opportunity than the rest of America, so it is a place smart folks leave, and Texas and MA are places smart folks go. The culture side of the coin could ask about home life, curriculum, teachers, social incentives etc. The one standard deviation difference holds. This kind of data is what shows researchers where to look. Texas may be more generalizable than MA because TX is more diverse, and has a larger population sample. In TX, life is pretty affordable and folks are really open to everyone with a good attitude willing to work. There isn’t much of an exclusive old guard here. More important perhaps is how little enabling/crippling state subsidies there are. If you don’t want to make in on your own, then you can get more in freebies elsewhere. I think Texas also has the highest performing hispanics as well. The interesting thing is that in liberal MA, whites outscore the rest of the nation, but in more traditional Texas, the minorities outscore their co ethnics in almost all the other states. So, what conditions are actually more helpful, or is Texas just attracting higher performing individuals? But in both MA and TX, it sure would be nice if the testing agencies collected data on how frequently dad attended church with his kids, you know, because environment matters. All of this is still correlative, however.

    “I do not believe that high academic performance is as close to practical success as you do.”

    I don’t believe that at all, maybe you confused my position with trotk’s. Plenty of folks go to college for credentials not education and end up with more debt than knowledge or skills. I raise my cup to the proficient workman and craftsman. These vocations are far too demeaned. The thing is those jobs can provide good income and always provide value to the customer and even fulfillment to the worker, unlike many low level office jobs that aren’t in profit centers.

    Mercifully folks needn’t agree on all of their hypotheses or suppositions before they can work together for the better.

    “waste our efforts trying to establish genetic explanations for group statistics.”

    For the umpteenth time, I am not trying to establish it. I just note that the evidence exists. It is plausible. There is evidence of genetic differences. There is evidence of performance differences. Does that prove cause? Well, no it doesn’t. But asking the question is not absurd. And no other variables are as correlative, so there you are. One is highly correlative and the others, even in conjunction, not so much. So the obvious, but not proven, conclusion is yeah, there is a connection.

    I reject folks blaming outcomes on society and those working to help people.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “In other words, I am suggesting that these people are not geneticly predisposed to fail. I am suggesting that much of their failure is the product of learned behavior that THE LEFT WING POLITICIANS have taught them. I am suggesting that if we teach our underperforming subcultures that they can improve, they will. If we continue to teach them that they are victims whose only option is to be supported by the productive, they will continue to fail.”

    Look, I never talk about proof, just evidence. Evidence is not proof. It just shows you where to look. That is why there is a GSS, so hypothetical trends can be checked to see if they exist and how many different kinds of influences correlate, or don’t.

    I don’t think it is as simple as attitude, but attitude matters. For example, on NAEP, blacks in Texas and Massachusetts do about as well as whites in West Virginia. Now that is an interesting data point. From the hereditarian side, you might say that WV has less opportunity than the rest of America, so it is a place smart folks leave, and Texas and MA are places smart folks go. The culture side of the coin could ask about home life, curriculum, teachers, social incentives etc. The one standard deviation difference holds. This kind of data is what shows researchers where to look. Texas may be more generalizable than MA because TX is more diverse, and has a larger population sample. In TX, life is pretty affordable and folks are really open to everyone with a good attitude willing to work. There isn’t much of an exclusive old guard here. More important perhaps is how little enabling/crippling state subsidies there are. If you don’t want to make in on your own, then you can get more in freebies elsewhere. I think Texas also has the highest performing hispanics as well. The interesting thing is that in liberal MA, whites outscore the rest of the nation, but in more traditional Texas, the minorities outscore their co ethnics in almost all the other states. So, what conditions are actually more helpful, or is Texas just attracting higher performing individuals? But in both MA and TX, it sure would be nice if the testing agencies collected data on how frequently dad attended church with his kids, you know, because environment matters. All of this is still correlative, however.

    “I do not believe that high academic performance is as close to practical success as you do.”

    I don’t believe that at all, maybe you confused my position with trotk’s. Plenty of folks go to college for credentials not education and end up with more debt than knowledge or skills. I raise my cup to the proficient workman and craftsman. These vocations are far too demeaned. The thing is those jobs can provide good income and always provide value to the customer and even fulfillment to the worker, unlike many low level office jobs that aren’t in profit centers.

    Mercifully folks needn’t agree on all of their hypotheses or suppositions before they can work together for the better.

    “waste our efforts trying to establish genetic explanations for group statistics.”

    For the umpteenth time, I am not trying to establish it. I just note that the evidence exists. It is plausible. There is evidence of genetic differences. There is evidence of performance differences. Does that prove cause? Well, no it doesn’t. But asking the question is not absurd. And no other variables are as correlative, so there you are. One is highly correlative and the others, even in conjunction, not so much. So the obvious, but not proven, conclusion is yeah, there is a connection.

    I reject folks blaming outcomes on society and those working to help people.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    A question for folks. Please understand the is about concepts/ideas not any particular person.

    Why are we willing to believe that cultural factors are causative when only a weak connection exists in correlative data, but are not willing to believe genetic explanations that correlate much more durably?

    Is our attitude a product of culture, history, fear, decency, religion, ______?

    Can we put a good construction on the folks who ask the questions?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    A question for folks. Please understand the is about concepts/ideas not any particular person.

    Why are we willing to believe that cultural factors are causative when only a weak connection exists in correlative data, but are not willing to believe genetic explanations that correlate much more durably?

    Is our attitude a product of culture, history, fear, decency, religion, ______?

    Can we put a good construction on the folks who ask the questions?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    tODD @ 258,

    I don’t cite it because I haven’t read Murray and Herrnstein’s The Bell Curve, as I prefer original source raw data generally anyway, but I think it is a meta analysis of many studies, and data sources. So, in effect, they did what you are asking Porcell to do. If they hadn’t no one would be defending them if for no other reason than that they foolishly ignored best research practices.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    tODD @ 258,

    I don’t cite it because I haven’t read Murray and Herrnstein’s The Bell Curve, as I prefer original source raw data generally anyway, but I think it is a meta analysis of many studies, and data sources. So, in effect, they did what you are asking Porcell to do. If they hadn’t no one would be defending them if for no other reason than that they foolishly ignored best research practices.

  • kerner

    “Can we put the best construction on the folks who ask the questions?”

    Sure we can, and often we do. But sometimes people are suspicious that questions are asked to drive an agenda. Maybe people shouldn’t worry as much about that as they do on this subject.

    Look, I’m not saying that genetics have no impact on group performance, I’m just saying that all the studies we have are not near enough to give us a clear picture of what that impact may be or how it matters.

    So much of the data cited here has to do with the population of the United States, which probaly is not representative of those ethnic groups as a whole. You never answered my question as to why central Asian peoples who are mainly caucasian, or who are clearly a mixture of caucasian and east asian gene pools (e.g. Afghans, Uygurs) live in such primitive conditions or have such dysfunctional societies. I think the reason you did not is that there are no statistics on that point. But if the statistics you usually rely on really indicate a genetic higher intelligence among caucasians and east Asians, then these should be advanced groups, not primitive and/or dysfunctional.

    Another unexplained anomoly is the Hmong people, who lived primitively, and who never developed a written alphabet until westerners developed one for them using Roman characters.

    Or, how about the fact that even refined Asian cultures like China and Japan remained mired in medieval technology (with a medieval literacy rate) when Europe (which had theretofore been in a 1,000 year long dark age) suddenly developed the renaissance and the industrial revolution? If East Asians are (as a group) really smarter than Euro-causasians, why did the Euro-caucasians produce the great technological advances of the last 500 years?

    These questions do not arise from the same kind of data you cite, but from readily observable present and historical phenomena. But what these phenomena do show is that SAT results in the United States are not a predictor of how the entire mongoloid Asian race is going to perform world wide in real life. Hence, we cannot draw very many useful conclusions from the “data” found in American SAT scores about a genetic propensity towards intelligence in the mongoloid Asian race as a whole.

    Even as we assess the data on African Americans, we have to remember that they spent the first 300 years of their existence as a sub culture being oppressed as slaves. They spent the following 100 years being oppressed by Jim Crow laws. And now they have spent the last 50 years in a political structure that has rejected integration into the more successful dominant culture in favor of (for political reasons) remaining in a subculture of segregated victimhood. I think you can actually support my theory on the effect of the left wing African socio-political structure by checking the statistics on marriage and illegitimate births among African Americans in 1950 vs. 2010. I think you will find that over that period marriage has significantly declined while illegitimate births are way up. I think a valid conclusion is that the socio-political structure that exists for African Americans today may have a whole lot more to do with the academic performance of their group than does group genetics.

    And about those group genetics. I don’t have time to research this but I seem to remember reading that the African-American gene pool is about 25-30% European after all this time. You’d think you would see some beneficial effect from that if we were really all that much smarter.

  • kerner

    “Can we put the best construction on the folks who ask the questions?”

    Sure we can, and often we do. But sometimes people are suspicious that questions are asked to drive an agenda. Maybe people shouldn’t worry as much about that as they do on this subject.

    Look, I’m not saying that genetics have no impact on group performance, I’m just saying that all the studies we have are not near enough to give us a clear picture of what that impact may be or how it matters.

    So much of the data cited here has to do with the population of the United States, which probaly is not representative of those ethnic groups as a whole. You never answered my question as to why central Asian peoples who are mainly caucasian, or who are clearly a mixture of caucasian and east asian gene pools (e.g. Afghans, Uygurs) live in such primitive conditions or have such dysfunctional societies. I think the reason you did not is that there are no statistics on that point. But if the statistics you usually rely on really indicate a genetic higher intelligence among caucasians and east Asians, then these should be advanced groups, not primitive and/or dysfunctional.

    Another unexplained anomoly is the Hmong people, who lived primitively, and who never developed a written alphabet until westerners developed one for them using Roman characters.

    Or, how about the fact that even refined Asian cultures like China and Japan remained mired in medieval technology (with a medieval literacy rate) when Europe (which had theretofore been in a 1,000 year long dark age) suddenly developed the renaissance and the industrial revolution? If East Asians are (as a group) really smarter than Euro-causasians, why did the Euro-caucasians produce the great technological advances of the last 500 years?

    These questions do not arise from the same kind of data you cite, but from readily observable present and historical phenomena. But what these phenomena do show is that SAT results in the United States are not a predictor of how the entire mongoloid Asian race is going to perform world wide in real life. Hence, we cannot draw very many useful conclusions from the “data” found in American SAT scores about a genetic propensity towards intelligence in the mongoloid Asian race as a whole.

    Even as we assess the data on African Americans, we have to remember that they spent the first 300 years of their existence as a sub culture being oppressed as slaves. They spent the following 100 years being oppressed by Jim Crow laws. And now they have spent the last 50 years in a political structure that has rejected integration into the more successful dominant culture in favor of (for political reasons) remaining in a subculture of segregated victimhood. I think you can actually support my theory on the effect of the left wing African socio-political structure by checking the statistics on marriage and illegitimate births among African Americans in 1950 vs. 2010. I think you will find that over that period marriage has significantly declined while illegitimate births are way up. I think a valid conclusion is that the socio-political structure that exists for African Americans today may have a whole lot more to do with the academic performance of their group than does group genetics.

    And about those group genetics. I don’t have time to research this but I seem to remember reading that the African-American gene pool is about 25-30% European after all this time. You’d think you would see some beneficial effect from that if we were really all that much smarter.

  • kerner

    Oh, and sg @251:

    God bless Texas. :)

  • kerner

    Oh, and sg @251:

    God bless Texas. :)

  • Stephen

    Did someone say “God bless Texas?” Well yer dang right!

    Other than that, in the brave words of Cinncinatus “*sigh*” Still no theology.

  • Stephen

    Did someone say “God bless Texas?” Well yer dang right!

    Other than that, in the brave words of Cinncinatus “*sigh*” Still no theology.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Look, I’m not saying that genetics have no impact on group performance, ”

    Look, that is what I am saying, too.

    “I’m just saying that all the studies we have are not near enough to give us a clear picture of what that impact may be or how it matters.”

    Dubious. They correlate with other outcomes like income.

    “But what these phenomena do show is that SAT results in the United States are not a predictor of how the entire mongoloid Asian race is going to perform world wide in real life.”

    Everyone already agrees with that. Overgeneralizing is the ecological fallacy.

    “Even as we assess the data on African Americans, we have to remember that they spent the first 300 years of their existence as a sub culture being oppressed as slaves. ”

    We also have to remember that they weren’t necessarily representative of all Africans, rather the unfortunates who were unable to defend themselves against their fellow Africans who rounded them up for sale off the continent. An interesting question is who selected them, and what was the criteria? Why were they willing to sell them and not others? Were there multiple criteria? Would they also be willing to sell off miscreants from the local villages? Was is just strong vs. weak? Or would a suspected/convicted criminal also be likely to be sold off for profit rather than executed or enslaved locally? I mean why try to get value out of an incorrigible over time, when you can get something now? Just asking, don’t get bent.

    “And about those group genetics. I don’t have time to research this but I seem to remember reading that the African-American gene pool is about 25-30% European after all this time. You’d think you would see some beneficial effect from that if we were really all that much smarter.”

    Yeah, you would and we do. They score far better than Africans. They also have more and better educational opportunity, so…

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Look, I’m not saying that genetics have no impact on group performance, ”

    Look, that is what I am saying, too.

    “I’m just saying that all the studies we have are not near enough to give us a clear picture of what that impact may be or how it matters.”

    Dubious. They correlate with other outcomes like income.

    “But what these phenomena do show is that SAT results in the United States are not a predictor of how the entire mongoloid Asian race is going to perform world wide in real life.”

    Everyone already agrees with that. Overgeneralizing is the ecological fallacy.

    “Even as we assess the data on African Americans, we have to remember that they spent the first 300 years of their existence as a sub culture being oppressed as slaves. ”

    We also have to remember that they weren’t necessarily representative of all Africans, rather the unfortunates who were unable to defend themselves against their fellow Africans who rounded them up for sale off the continent. An interesting question is who selected them, and what was the criteria? Why were they willing to sell them and not others? Were there multiple criteria? Would they also be willing to sell off miscreants from the local villages? Was is just strong vs. weak? Or would a suspected/convicted criminal also be likely to be sold off for profit rather than executed or enslaved locally? I mean why try to get value out of an incorrigible over time, when you can get something now? Just asking, don’t get bent.

    “And about those group genetics. I don’t have time to research this but I seem to remember reading that the African-American gene pool is about 25-30% European after all this time. You’d think you would see some beneficial effect from that if we were really all that much smarter.”

    Yeah, you would and we do. They score far better than Africans. They also have more and better educational opportunity, so…

  • Porcell

    sg, your right that the The Bell Curve is essentially a meta-annalysis. This is something that Murray does well with rigorous respect for differing views on the interpretation of the data. To boot, he writes with a certain elegance about complex empirical data.

    However, as with Moynihan, he was viciously attacked by the ideological left for both his analysis and conclusions.

  • Porcell

    sg, your right that the The Bell Curve is essentially a meta-annalysis. This is something that Murray does well with rigorous respect for differing views on the interpretation of the data. To boot, he writes with a certain elegance about complex empirical data.

    However, as with Moynihan, he was viciously attacked by the ideological left for both his analysis and conclusions.

  • Stephen

    sg and Porcell,

    I think you two need to listen to some better music. Can I make some suggestions?

    And kerner, thanks for what you’ve been saying. I think this stuff is used for ALL the wrong reasons and not a single good one. Again, nothing good is forthcoming here. Certainly no Christian worldview based on this quasi-naturalistic view of hierarchical human beings “objectively” verified with data. Shifting sand.

  • Stephen

    sg and Porcell,

    I think you two need to listen to some better music. Can I make some suggestions?

    And kerner, thanks for what you’ve been saying. I think this stuff is used for ALL the wrong reasons and not a single good one. Again, nothing good is forthcoming here. Certainly no Christian worldview based on this quasi-naturalistic view of hierarchical human beings “objectively” verified with data. Shifting sand.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You never answered my question as to why central Asian peoples who are mainly caucasian, or who are clearly a mixture of caucasian and east asian gene pools (e.g. Afghans, Uygurs) live in such primitive conditions or have such dysfunctional societies.”

    Cuz, I don’t know and don’t pretend to. Anyway, caucasian is a big group with much variation in it as well.

    “I think the reason you did not is that there are no statistics on that point. But if the statistics you usually rely on really indicate a genetic higher intelligence among caucasians and east Asians, then these should be advanced groups, not primitive and/or dysfunctional.”

    Probably a feature of trying to work backwards, since no genes for intelligence have been identified that I know of. We start with the outcomes and try to find the cause using correlation as a starting point. Whatever correlates most, gets the most investigation.

    Most of what I have cited is about the US, so the whites are mostly Europeans. Here goes back to what people talk about with race categories. I am not an ideologue on race by any means. These categories are not that clear cut as many have noted. However, the other extreme that there are no rational categories is also false. Okay, Afghans. We already noted that the country is pretty diverse. Maybe google Afghanistan haplogroups to get some idea of who those folks are genetically, and no, there is not much overlap in haplogroups of Afghans, which have west Asian, east Asian and south Asian haplogroups and Spaniards or Portuguese which have mostly south Euro, and north Euro haplogroups with a little north African. But check it out yourself.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You never answered my question as to why central Asian peoples who are mainly caucasian, or who are clearly a mixture of caucasian and east asian gene pools (e.g. Afghans, Uygurs) live in such primitive conditions or have such dysfunctional societies.”

    Cuz, I don’t know and don’t pretend to. Anyway, caucasian is a big group with much variation in it as well.

    “I think the reason you did not is that there are no statistics on that point. But if the statistics you usually rely on really indicate a genetic higher intelligence among caucasians and east Asians, then these should be advanced groups, not primitive and/or dysfunctional.”

    Probably a feature of trying to work backwards, since no genes for intelligence have been identified that I know of. We start with the outcomes and try to find the cause using correlation as a starting point. Whatever correlates most, gets the most investigation.

    Most of what I have cited is about the US, so the whites are mostly Europeans. Here goes back to what people talk about with race categories. I am not an ideologue on race by any means. These categories are not that clear cut as many have noted. However, the other extreme that there are no rational categories is also false. Okay, Afghans. We already noted that the country is pretty diverse. Maybe google Afghanistan haplogroups to get some idea of who those folks are genetically, and no, there is not much overlap in haplogroups of Afghans, which have west Asian, east Asian and south Asian haplogroups and Spaniards or Portuguese which have mostly south Euro, and north Euro haplogroups with a little north African. But check it out yourself.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    You know, Stephen, some people are just curious. That can be a good thing. Also, it is generally edifying to ask, “Why?” no matter what you are doing. Folks who can’t, won’t but anyhow, don’t do that are just different from the curious. I have never been able to stop asking, “Why?”

    Maybe it is genetic. :D

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    You know, Stephen, some people are just curious. That can be a good thing. Also, it is generally edifying to ask, “Why?” no matter what you are doing. Folks who can’t, won’t but anyhow, don’t do that are just different from the curious. I have never been able to stop asking, “Why?”

    Maybe it is genetic. :D

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You never answered my question as to why central Asian peoples who are mainly caucasian, or who are clearly a mixture of caucasian and east asian gene pools (e.g. Afghans, Uygurs) live in such primitive conditions or have such dysfunctional societies.”

    FYI this is an example of the ecological fallacy. Not all caucasians or Asians have to be high performing just because on average they are.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You never answered my question as to why central Asian peoples who are mainly caucasian, or who are clearly a mixture of caucasian and east asian gene pools (e.g. Afghans, Uygurs) live in such primitive conditions or have such dysfunctional societies.”

    FYI this is an example of the ecological fallacy. Not all caucasians or Asians have to be high performing just because on average they are.

  • Stephen

    sg – I truly hope that is all it is. And I also hope you are not a cat. While felines can be quite lovely, I am allergic. I get it from my dad. ; )

  • Stephen

    sg – I truly hope that is all it is. And I also hope you are not a cat. While felines can be quite lovely, I am allergic. I get it from my dad. ; )

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I think this stuff is used for ALL the wrong reasons and not a single good one.”

    So, trying to help people without blaming those who try to help is not a “good” aim?

    “Again, nothing good is forthcoming here. Certainly no Christian worldview based on this quasi-naturalistic view of hierarchical human beings “objectively” verified with data.”

    Really? Honest, open discussion based on data and objective criteria has no place in a Christian worldview?
    I disagree.

    Your constant use of innuendo is tiring. Insinuating that everyone who wants to discuss a topic should stop talking is not part of a functioning thoughtful discussion group. We know that this is a sensitive topic, but it is foolish, even cowardly to think that everything will be better if we just don’t talk about the situation or talk about it while ignoring the data that inform the discussion. Get out those danger vision goggles.

    “Shifting sand.”

    Whatever.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I think this stuff is used for ALL the wrong reasons and not a single good one.”

    So, trying to help people without blaming those who try to help is not a “good” aim?

    “Again, nothing good is forthcoming here. Certainly no Christian worldview based on this quasi-naturalistic view of hierarchical human beings “objectively” verified with data.”

    Really? Honest, open discussion based on data and objective criteria has no place in a Christian worldview?
    I disagree.

    Your constant use of innuendo is tiring. Insinuating that everyone who wants to discuss a topic should stop talking is not part of a functioning thoughtful discussion group. We know that this is a sensitive topic, but it is foolish, even cowardly to think that everything will be better if we just don’t talk about the situation or talk about it while ignoring the data that inform the discussion. Get out those danger vision goggles.

    “Shifting sand.”

    Whatever.

  • Stephen

    sg

    Nice to talk to you. I thought you were ignoring me. My last comment was an attempt at humor. Guess I missed there too.

    “So, trying to help people without blaming those who try to help is not a “good” aim?”

    I don’t see how to pull this out of the things you all are talking about in terms of race and genetics. That’s different than talking about cultural or economic disparities and how to help others with them. On that score and from my perspective, I don’t see that white culture has been falling all over itself to help out people unlike them, but has been resistant all along the way. But I think that moves in another direction than the issue at hand – trying to prove some kind of innate “class system” embedded in our genes (my characterization, I realize, for the purposes of being brief and to the point – do with it what you will).

    “Really? Honest, open discussion based on data and objective criteria has no place in a Christian worldview?
    I disagree.”

    That’s not what I said. I asked if anyone was going to try and build some kind of theological anthropology out of this “objective” reality, because, as I said, I do not believe it is in sync at all with what the bible teaches about people, our faith, etc. As yet, no one has done that. So if it is so valuable and beneficial to God’s precious and beloved creatures for whom he has come and put on that same flesh and died for, then by all means, please show me how it can inform your Christian theology, how it agrees with Original Sin for instance, or what it means that we are justified by grace through faith using this as your anthropology. It seems it would have enormous implications. If you are so all fired sure it is valuable, as you seem to be since you’ve gone to all this trouble to gather data that is “objective” then please work out a theology of some kind, even a little piece of one.

    “Your constant use of innuendo is tiring. Insinuating that everyone who wants to discuss a topic should stop talking is not part of a functioning thoughtful discussion group. We know that this is a sensitive topic, but it is foolish, even cowardly to think that everything will be better if we just don’t talk about the situation or talk about it while ignoring the data that inform the discussion. Get out those danger vision goggles.”

    I believe that right after you accused me of slandering you, you proceeded to call me a fool and a coward. I’ve got my danger vision goggles on, and they tell me you are in deep trying to prove something about your fellow human beings for purposes that you have not clearly established to any good and loving purpose at all. Keep talking all you want if you think it helps. But I still don’t see how clinging to an idea like this is beneficial for the sake of others. If it is actually counter to scripture or the antithesis of the way God sees His creatures, then you decide whether to continue. But science won’t tell you that. Your faith will. And you won’t know that until you ask those kinds of questions. You are having a conversation, but it refuses to go in whole lot of places as far as I can tell. Why is that?

    Listen, I’m sorry I pissed you off. I appreciate that you are curious. I see and appreciate that, and ideas have consequences as I’m sure you know. That’s is the point of that little saying I quoted in my last post. But for Christians, words are at the heart of who we are. We believe that they actually form us and truly do what they say. Natural and/or scientific explanations can be helpful, but they are not constitutive of who and what we are. We are made in God’s image by his word and redeemed by His promise, His Word – literally breathed by a word into being by God. That is our faith, yours and mine. I do not see room in it for this “perspective” or whatever you want to call it, the same way I do not see a place for a lot of other things. To me, it is not loving.

  • Stephen

    sg

    Nice to talk to you. I thought you were ignoring me. My last comment was an attempt at humor. Guess I missed there too.

    “So, trying to help people without blaming those who try to help is not a “good” aim?”

    I don’t see how to pull this out of the things you all are talking about in terms of race and genetics. That’s different than talking about cultural or economic disparities and how to help others with them. On that score and from my perspective, I don’t see that white culture has been falling all over itself to help out people unlike them, but has been resistant all along the way. But I think that moves in another direction than the issue at hand – trying to prove some kind of innate “class system” embedded in our genes (my characterization, I realize, for the purposes of being brief and to the point – do with it what you will).

    “Really? Honest, open discussion based on data and objective criteria has no place in a Christian worldview?
    I disagree.”

    That’s not what I said. I asked if anyone was going to try and build some kind of theological anthropology out of this “objective” reality, because, as I said, I do not believe it is in sync at all with what the bible teaches about people, our faith, etc. As yet, no one has done that. So if it is so valuable and beneficial to God’s precious and beloved creatures for whom he has come and put on that same flesh and died for, then by all means, please show me how it can inform your Christian theology, how it agrees with Original Sin for instance, or what it means that we are justified by grace through faith using this as your anthropology. It seems it would have enormous implications. If you are so all fired sure it is valuable, as you seem to be since you’ve gone to all this trouble to gather data that is “objective” then please work out a theology of some kind, even a little piece of one.

    “Your constant use of innuendo is tiring. Insinuating that everyone who wants to discuss a topic should stop talking is not part of a functioning thoughtful discussion group. We know that this is a sensitive topic, but it is foolish, even cowardly to think that everything will be better if we just don’t talk about the situation or talk about it while ignoring the data that inform the discussion. Get out those danger vision goggles.”

    I believe that right after you accused me of slandering you, you proceeded to call me a fool and a coward. I’ve got my danger vision goggles on, and they tell me you are in deep trying to prove something about your fellow human beings for purposes that you have not clearly established to any good and loving purpose at all. Keep talking all you want if you think it helps. But I still don’t see how clinging to an idea like this is beneficial for the sake of others. If it is actually counter to scripture or the antithesis of the way God sees His creatures, then you decide whether to continue. But science won’t tell you that. Your faith will. And you won’t know that until you ask those kinds of questions. You are having a conversation, but it refuses to go in whole lot of places as far as I can tell. Why is that?

    Listen, I’m sorry I pissed you off. I appreciate that you are curious. I see and appreciate that, and ideas have consequences as I’m sure you know. That’s is the point of that little saying I quoted in my last post. But for Christians, words are at the heart of who we are. We believe that they actually form us and truly do what they say. Natural and/or scientific explanations can be helpful, but they are not constitutive of who and what we are. We are made in God’s image by his word and redeemed by His promise, His Word – literally breathed by a word into being by God. That is our faith, yours and mine. I do not see room in it for this “perspective” or whatever you want to call it, the same way I do not see a place for a lot of other things. To me, it is not loving.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I don’t see that white culture has been falling all over itself to help out people unlike them, but has been resistant all along the way.”

    Really, how about the civil war where thousands of white Christians died to end slavery? Has one group ever done that for a totally different group in the history of the world? No.
    Whites are the majority. So if they solidly opposed civil rights for minorities, then minorities wouldn’t have civil rights in law.
    Whites (and Asians) make more money and we have a progressive tax system which means that we pay for stuff like public schools and welfare and the rest of it, which is why minorities can get an education unlike in their home countries. And we demand teachers be credentialed and schools to meet curriculum and safety standards and free lunches for the poor kids. And who voted for all of this? Whites. Now, of course you know all this, which makes stating it truly absurd.

    “you accused me of slandering you,”

    Did not.

    ” you proceeded to call me a fool and a coward.”

    Did not.

    “I’ve got my danger vision goggles on, and they tell me you are in deep trying to prove something about your fellow human beings for purposes that you have not clearly established to any good and loving purpose at all.”

    Okay, maybe you missed the reference to peril-sensitive glasses from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. The point is to ignore anything that might be scary.

    I stated my position @ 203

    “Keep talking all you want if you think it helps. But I still don’t see how clinging to an idea like this is beneficial for the sake of others.”

    And how is it beneficial to blame teachers, schools and society when the differences persist? How is it so great to vilify innocent folks? How is your position beneficial to anyone?

    “If it is actually counter to scripture or the antithesis of the way God sees His creatures, then you decide whether to continue.”

    I don’t follow this.

    “But science won’t tell you that. Your faith will. And you won’t know that until you ask those kinds of questions. You are having a conversation, but it refuses to go in whole lot of places as far as I can tell. Why is that?”

    I don’t follow this either.

    I mean does God want me to believe that anyone can be an Olympic athlete? If so, why? It is obviously not true. Different folks have different talents. If I have enough faith will members of all groups have the same average height and height distribution? No. Should we have bureaucrats regulate the diets of people to see if we can get all groups to have the same height and weight distribution? This whole thing is goofy.

    If people already have equal value to God, why do we fallen people demand that they prove they are equal on tests? Why do we blame one another for differences in outcomes?

    If there weren’t legions of folks blaming whites for the problems of others, then there wouldn’t be folks asking for a closer look at what the causes may actually be. It is possible for people to sit in the same classes with the same books and teachers and not do exactly the same on tests. Really. So, even with identical input, there are different outcomes and it’s not the fault of society, the teacher, the book, the school, etc.

    I guess I am asking for an explanation of the mechanism of action for a change in the status quo based on your notion that it is somehow wrong to notice that there sure is a solid trend of differential achievement. Like if we stop looking at the evidence will it go away?

    What I get from you is a lot of shaming language designed to get me to accede to your view or stop talking. Only I am not that weak minded. So, it doesn’t work.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I don’t see that white culture has been falling all over itself to help out people unlike them, but has been resistant all along the way.”

    Really, how about the civil war where thousands of white Christians died to end slavery? Has one group ever done that for a totally different group in the history of the world? No.
    Whites are the majority. So if they solidly opposed civil rights for minorities, then minorities wouldn’t have civil rights in law.
    Whites (and Asians) make more money and we have a progressive tax system which means that we pay for stuff like public schools and welfare and the rest of it, which is why minorities can get an education unlike in their home countries. And we demand teachers be credentialed and schools to meet curriculum and safety standards and free lunches for the poor kids. And who voted for all of this? Whites. Now, of course you know all this, which makes stating it truly absurd.

    “you accused me of slandering you,”

    Did not.

    ” you proceeded to call me a fool and a coward.”

    Did not.

    “I’ve got my danger vision goggles on, and they tell me you are in deep trying to prove something about your fellow human beings for purposes that you have not clearly established to any good and loving purpose at all.”

    Okay, maybe you missed the reference to peril-sensitive glasses from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. The point is to ignore anything that might be scary.

    I stated my position @ 203

    “Keep talking all you want if you think it helps. But I still don’t see how clinging to an idea like this is beneficial for the sake of others.”

    And how is it beneficial to blame teachers, schools and society when the differences persist? How is it so great to vilify innocent folks? How is your position beneficial to anyone?

    “If it is actually counter to scripture or the antithesis of the way God sees His creatures, then you decide whether to continue.”

    I don’t follow this.

    “But science won’t tell you that. Your faith will. And you won’t know that until you ask those kinds of questions. You are having a conversation, but it refuses to go in whole lot of places as far as I can tell. Why is that?”

    I don’t follow this either.

    I mean does God want me to believe that anyone can be an Olympic athlete? If so, why? It is obviously not true. Different folks have different talents. If I have enough faith will members of all groups have the same average height and height distribution? No. Should we have bureaucrats regulate the diets of people to see if we can get all groups to have the same height and weight distribution? This whole thing is goofy.

    If people already have equal value to God, why do we fallen people demand that they prove they are equal on tests? Why do we blame one another for differences in outcomes?

    If there weren’t legions of folks blaming whites for the problems of others, then there wouldn’t be folks asking for a closer look at what the causes may actually be. It is possible for people to sit in the same classes with the same books and teachers and not do exactly the same on tests. Really. So, even with identical input, there are different outcomes and it’s not the fault of society, the teacher, the book, the school, etc.

    I guess I am asking for an explanation of the mechanism of action for a change in the status quo based on your notion that it is somehow wrong to notice that there sure is a solid trend of differential achievement. Like if we stop looking at the evidence will it go away?

    What I get from you is a lot of shaming language designed to get me to accede to your view or stop talking. Only I am not that weak minded. So, it doesn’t work.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You are having a conversation, but it refuses to go in whole lot of places as far as I can tell.”

    Like where? Can you explain?

    “Why is that?”

    Maybe because it is stated in the form, “I think, therefore it’s true.”

    Maybe you could start with some well founded premises and go from there. Others do that and it facilitates working toward mutual understanding if not total agreement. Much of what you say is so vague, I am not sure what you are actually talking about. Be specific. FYI, I don’t concede just because someone is rude or insults me. I can be persuaded by evidence.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You are having a conversation, but it refuses to go in whole lot of places as far as I can tell.”

    Like where? Can you explain?

    “Why is that?”

    Maybe because it is stated in the form, “I think, therefore it’s true.”

    Maybe you could start with some well founded premises and go from there. Others do that and it facilitates working toward mutual understanding if not total agreement. Much of what you say is so vague, I am not sure what you are actually talking about. Be specific. FYI, I don’t concede just because someone is rude or insults me. I can be persuaded by evidence.

  • Stephen

    Then I’ll stop.

  • Stephen

    Then I’ll stop.

  • kerner

    sg@262:

    Again you ignore the gaps in the evidence. You cannot conclude that Asians are on average smarter, because not all Asians have been tested. Specifically, most of the Asians living in Asia have never been tested to my best knowledge. Certainly those living in privitive areas have never been tested. If they were tested they might perform on the tests in a manner consistent with their performance in real life. And this would bring the test score “average” down. Don’t ya get it sg? Your data about asian intelligence has not tested nearly enough actual asians to be a valid sample. It includes mostly asians who have been smart enough and motivated enough to move to the USA and leaves out the poorly performing masses of Asians in Asia. Your data gives us no clue at all as to how smart “on average” Asians are, because only a small and isolated fraction of Asians have been tested. Take it from somebody who knows something about the concept of evidence. The incomplete statistics available are NOT evidence of the average intelligence of Asians as a world wide race.

  • kerner

    sg@262:

    Again you ignore the gaps in the evidence. You cannot conclude that Asians are on average smarter, because not all Asians have been tested. Specifically, most of the Asians living in Asia have never been tested to my best knowledge. Certainly those living in privitive areas have never been tested. If they were tested they might perform on the tests in a manner consistent with their performance in real life. And this would bring the test score “average” down. Don’t ya get it sg? Your data about asian intelligence has not tested nearly enough actual asians to be a valid sample. It includes mostly asians who have been smart enough and motivated enough to move to the USA and leaves out the poorly performing masses of Asians in Asia. Your data gives us no clue at all as to how smart “on average” Asians are, because only a small and isolated fraction of Asians have been tested. Take it from somebody who knows something about the concept of evidence. The incomplete statistics available are NOT evidence of the average intelligence of Asians as a world wide race.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    An exhaustive study is not required to establish a trend. A representative sample is the usual standard.

    Google ecological fallacy and statistical sampling.

    Educational performance data sets are some of the most comprehensive data sets that exist which is why they are both valid and reliable. Sure, there is always margin of error, so we can’t know certain things with absolute certainty, but we can try to get a picture of the general situation. I would generally agree that the Asians who come here are probably closer to their top than bottom, and that is probably true for other groups that come from overseas. It also makes sense that the highest performers are more likely to be measured. Still, those doing the studies try to get representative samples. Anyway, if someone is emotionally invested in believing something else, it isn’t going to matter if the schools and researchers test everyone on the planet, he still won’t accept anything besides what he believes. Hey, it’s a free country. Folks can believe what they will. It doesn’t make it objective reality, of course. But not everyone wants that necessarily. Natural phenomena are quantifiable, so I look at the numbers to understand. I think that is reasonable. That is our western tradition in science, reproducible results. If the results are consistent, then the effect is real.

    Anyway, try that Rindermann paper I linked. It addresses the concept of smart fraction, which is a very interesting idea. :-)

    Smart Fraction

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    An exhaustive study is not required to establish a trend. A representative sample is the usual standard.

    Google ecological fallacy and statistical sampling.

    Educational performance data sets are some of the most comprehensive data sets that exist which is why they are both valid and reliable. Sure, there is always margin of error, so we can’t know certain things with absolute certainty, but we can try to get a picture of the general situation. I would generally agree that the Asians who come here are probably closer to their top than bottom, and that is probably true for other groups that come from overseas. It also makes sense that the highest performers are more likely to be measured. Still, those doing the studies try to get representative samples. Anyway, if someone is emotionally invested in believing something else, it isn’t going to matter if the schools and researchers test everyone on the planet, he still won’t accept anything besides what he believes. Hey, it’s a free country. Folks can believe what they will. It doesn’t make it objective reality, of course. But not everyone wants that necessarily. Natural phenomena are quantifiable, so I look at the numbers to understand. I think that is reasonable. That is our western tradition in science, reproducible results. If the results are consistent, then the effect is real.

    Anyway, try that Rindermann paper I linked. It addresses the concept of smart fraction, which is a very interesting idea. :-)

    Smart Fraction

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You cannot conclude that Asians are on average smarter,”

    Well, you can. It might not be correct. The point is that the evidence exists, therefore there is a strong possibility based on evidence. That evidence will be more persuasive to some than others. For me, evidence is more persuasive than hypotheticals. But obviously some folks prefer hypotheticals maybe because they offer more possibilities. Looking at the data, we don’t have a rational basis for expecting different results because the trends are so stable. Even if cultural attitudes were the only determining factor, we would have no rational basis for believing things will change because social capital indicators are deteriorating not improving. Every year a higher percentage of kids, especially black and hispanic are born illegitimate. Society is polarizing by income, and affiliation. So, where is the basis for thinking that improving cultural factors will improve academic performance?

    Okay, a really nice sociology blog.

    http://socialcapital.wordpress.com/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You cannot conclude that Asians are on average smarter,”

    Well, you can. It might not be correct. The point is that the evidence exists, therefore there is a strong possibility based on evidence. That evidence will be more persuasive to some than others. For me, evidence is more persuasive than hypotheticals. But obviously some folks prefer hypotheticals maybe because they offer more possibilities. Looking at the data, we don’t have a rational basis for expecting different results because the trends are so stable. Even if cultural attitudes were the only determining factor, we would have no rational basis for believing things will change because social capital indicators are deteriorating not improving. Every year a higher percentage of kids, especially black and hispanic are born illegitimate. Society is polarizing by income, and affiliation. So, where is the basis for thinking that improving cultural factors will improve academic performance?

    Okay, a really nice sociology blog.

    http://socialcapital.wordpress.com/

  • kerner

    I finally had a chance to read the Rintelman paper, and I was interested to find that Khazakstanis were smarter than Israelis (although Israeli politicians were smarter). I didn’t have time to read the paper as carefully as I wanted to, but it admits the significance of factors other than those tested. I’ll probably read it more and maybe discuss it further in a thread that somebody is still reading.

  • kerner

    I finally had a chance to read the Rintelman paper, and I was interested to find that Khazakstanis were smarter than Israelis (although Israeli politicians were smarter). I didn’t have time to read the paper as carefully as I wanted to, but it admits the significance of factors other than those tested. I’ll probably read it more and maybe discuss it further in a thread that somebody is still reading.

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