Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Book and Islam

I just finished the Bell Curve. A social science classic from 1996 that changed the way we look at social problems and intelligence. It highlighted the role that IQ plays in crime, parenting problems, future economic success, and marriage success. For its controverial claims, notably that the Black-White IQ gap is genetic, or the determinism of an IQ score, the book received significant criticism.

In its defense, fifty-two professors, including researchers in the study of intelligence and related fields, signed a statement titled "Mainstream Science on Intelligence"[7] Here are some quotes from it

Intelligence, so defined, can be measured, and intelligence tests measure it well. They are among the most accurate (in technical terms, reliable and valid) of all psychological tests and assessments. They do not measure creativity, character, personality, or other important differences among individuals, nor are they intended to.

While there are different types of intelligence tests, they all measure the same intelligence. Some use words or numbers and require specific cultural knowledge (like vocabulary). Others do not, and instead use shapes or designs and require knowledge of only simple, universal concepts (many/few, open/closed, up/down).

Intelligence tests are not culturally biased against American blacks or other native-born, English-speaking peoples in the U.S. Rather, IQ scores predict equally accurately for all such Americans, regardless of race and social class. Individuals who do not understand English well can be given either a nonverbal test or one in their native language.

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.

The BELL CURVE for whites is centered roughly around IQ 100; the BELL CURVE for American blacks roughly around 85; and those for different subgroups of Hispanics roughly midway between those for whites and blacks. The evidence is less definitive for exactly where above IQ 100 the BELL CURVES for Jews and Asians are centered.

IQ is strongly related, probably more so than any other single measurable human trait, to many important educational, occupational, economic, and social outcomes. Its relation to the welfare and performance of individuals is very strong in some arenas in life (education, military training), moderate but robust in others (social competence), and modest but consistent in others (law-abidingness). Whatever IQ tests measure, it is of great practical and social importance.

There is no persuasive evidence that the IQ BELL CURVES for different racial-ethnic groups are converging. Surveys in some years show that gaps in academic achievement have narrowed a bit for some races, ages, school subjects and skill levels, but this picture seems too mixed to reflect a general shift in IQ levels themselves.

What a bummer! What are the implications for educational standards in schools? Dysgenic fertility rates? The "hard work" ethic of American capitalism? The one man/one vote for democracy? Immigration?

As we learn more and more about how our genes determine who we are, it will be increasingly difficult to argue the environmental effects on group differences in behavior. At that point, I have no idea what will happen in our society. That's partly the reason why I am writing this blog, to create a discussion of these issues that will determine the future.

On a totally unrelated note, here is a quote from the NYT on a capture in Britain:

"LONDON, Jan. 31 — The British police conducted a series of raids on Wednesday, arresting nine suspects on terrorism charges in what appeared to be a shift in the tactics of terrorism in Britain. The suspects are accused of devising a plot that included plans to kidnap, torture and behead a British Muslim soldier and broadcast video images of his killing on the Internet."

That's pretty messed up.

"Such events have deepened Muslim anxieties.

“There is a fear about who is next,” said Mohammed Naseem, the chairman of Birmingham’s Central Mosque, in a telephone interview. “People will need to know the facts, but there is a longstanding perception that this climate of terrorism is being maintained to further the political aims of the government.”

Indeed, Salma Yaqoob, a member of the Birmingham City Council representing the antiwar Respect Party, said: “There’s a shock and disbelief that these arrests are being made in such a high-profile manner. People are very concerned about the social backlash.”

Farooq Haroon, a Birmingham social worker, said that after the raids last year that ended with the suspects being freed without charge, “people are very cynical about these raids.”

The Ministry of Defense said there were only about 330 Muslims out of the 180,000 troops in Britain’s armed forces. Last July, one British Muslim soldier, Lance Cpl. Jabron Hashmi, was killed in Afghanistan."

Are you kidding me? Is the first reaction of the Muslim community to suspect the government and worry about the backlash? Is there no introspection (especially after 7/7) about:

Why the hell are our boys so messed up?

According to the CIA Factbook, Muslims make up 2.7% of UK's population. That means that out of an army of 180,000, they should number about 4,860 troops in the army. There are only 300 of them in the army. Is that not grounds for society's suspicion of Muslim loyalty?

What should have been the response of the Muslim community after 9/11 and 7/7 is "What can we do for our country to prove that we are loyal?"
Instead, it was
"How do we convince them that we should not get lumped in with the terrorists"

What a selfish religion.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bell Curves

Well, I was thinking about the nature of stereotypes. These are methods of classification that, despite being quite effective as thin slicing people, nevertheless are universally vilified by liberals. So, do stereotypes matter? Yes and no. For the AVERAGE person in each group- Islamists or African Americans, their belief set or level of intelligence is terrible. However, if we look at the outliers within Islam, you will find some very violent characters, many more than in any other religion. So, just as the moderates say: most Muslims are not terrorists. Fine, I grant that point. However, looking on the bell curve spectrum of beliefs within Islam, because the mean is more tolerant of violence (such as Palestinian suicide bombings or Kashmiri terrorists) the outliers are willing to support terrorism (9/11).
This also lends itself to race. The average black IQ (85) is a level that can be found among many white people. However, looking at outliers, such as people with violent tendencies, you are much more likely to find blacks (relative to their population percentage). This is simply because the AVERAGE black person has more testosterone. This does not mean that all, or even a majority of blacks are violent. What it does mean is that they will be disproportionately represented among the criminals and misfits in society.
The opposite reasoning would point to the means by which there are a lack of high achieving blacks in society, even if there are plenty of functioning blacks. The bell curve is a fantastic way of looking at all stereotypes.
The tragedy is in the dialogue. While racists want to repress all the blacks and anally probe muslims, the liberals believe that race and religion mean nothing, by pointing to the majority of law abiding blacks and “peace loving” (though Palestinian condoning) muslims. However, racially profiling blacks, and being suspect of letting Muslims into the country is perfectly reasonable. Yeah, it sucks, but how does one prevent crime without relying on statistical correlations?

Even with regard to American stereotypes, it also works out. What’s the stereotype? We want to dominate the world? Well, the average American loves his country, just as the average person in the rest of the world loves their country. However, the average American is more patriotic than the average European. Therefore, among the outliers, we are much more likely to find American imperialists rather than Frenchman who want to bring back the days of Napoleon. TO some extent, I fall in that conservative group. I definitely think our way of life is superior and just to most people in the world.

Anyway, on a completely different note, I saw this in the New York Times editorial:

“Humans are not especially good at noticing horses, but Barbaro was easy to notice. And if his life caused us to pay attention to the possibilities of all horses, his death should cause us to pay attention to the tragedy inherent in the end of so many horses. Barbaro’s death was tragic not because it was measured against the races he might have won or even against the effort to save his life. It was tragic because of what every horse is.

You would have to look a long, long time to find a dishonest or cruel horse. And the odds are that if you did find one, it was made cruel or dishonest by the company it kept with humans. It is no exaggeration to say that nearly every horse — Barbaro included — is pure of heart. Some are faster, some slower. Some wind up in the winner’s circle. But they should all evoke in us the generosity of conscience — a human quality, after all — that was expended in the effort to save this one horse.”

Humans are incredibly cruel, especially to being that are viewed for their entertainment value and not as sentient beings. Which is why I won’t go to horse racing or bet on them. Regardless though, if we are willing to display so much grief at the sight of a horse dying, it is because we relate to him as a LIVING BEING. The more in common we see between an animal and us, the more room for consideration. And so, we grieve the horse while eating our steak because we never interacted with the cow. What a terrible world.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Electronic Music

So last night I went out again, to an electronic music set by a popular DJ in the trance community. The music was quite good. What I found interesting, though, was the race dynamic. Basically, in the room playing electronic music, it was 95% FOB asians and meatheads from Staten Island and Long Island-the guys who slick their hair up and look pretty. What was really interesting is that even though white people are one of the worst dancers when it comes to hip hop, they were pretty phenomenal when it came to raving and break dancing. Same with the Asians-though they didn't dance AS well, their moves were much, much better than what I usually see at a club (like I club I went to last weekend that was all asian). The black guys on the dance floor could not even compete.

Anyway, the whole night I saw one asian guy dance with a white chick. I saw plenty of white guys dancing with asian girls. Once, when I was next to one of the hottest white chicks in the club, she was dancing and looking pretty with a bitchy air about her. This asian dude in front of her was getting really excited and accidentally danced close to her. She shoves him away. He falls forward, looks back at her, and starts dancing farther away. A minute later he apologized to her, and she barely looks at him. Now, 10 minutes later, some white dude is dancing in front of her. He comes in front of her and tries to grind into her. She pats him on the back, indicating she's not interested. He shrugs it off and stops dancing with her. She leaves 30 seconds later.

But oh yeah I forgot. Women are oppressed, right? And the economically successful and law abiding asian males are the oppressors in the US, right?

Go towards the center of the dance floor, where the DJ is playing, and it is 85% white. Go to the outer left side of the dance floor, and it is almost totally asians, with a 2-1 male/female ratio. With a few white guys trying to pick off some asian chicks.

Go to the top room in the club, where hip hop is playing. There you will see very few asians, and primarily blacks and hispanics.

So, tell me race doesn't exist, fine. Then, after some alcohol then we'll see whether you'll act in a race blind manner.

Friday, January 26, 2007


What is love? This is an age old question.

Many, even in the posthuman, existentialist, atheist, or the religious, for that matter, believe that life ultimately comes down to love. But what kind of love? In my life, I have seen love as a pure mechanism. I have seen it as a means by which to view someone who has fullfilled a psychological need. A woman who loves a man because he is the father figure she never had. A cavewoman who loves her caveman because he brings home the kill every night. The bimbo who loves her boyfriend because all of her other girlfriends are jealous of her. The intelligent man who loves the girl who laughs just so because a kind nurse in the delivery room had the same laugh.

If it is a mechanism that fulfills a need. If it is a feeling that can be simulated by eating chocolate. Then, how can it be true love? But at the same time, if you love someone so much that you that believe nothing will change that love, and then you hit your head on the ground, knocking out the empathy center in your brain, and you no longer love them, then was it ever true love?

If you ever had girls who have told you "I love you," while in the back of your head knowing something is wrong, knowing that you just were toying with their emotions to get them into bed, and the tricks you used to spread her legs are also filling her head with attachment emotions and dopamine, then can you really believe she loves you?

It's a cynical path that this line of thinking goes down. And, ultimately, our neuroscience will mechanize all the emotions that give life meaning. At that point, our lives will be pointless. And then we will be posthuman.

Sounds like a lovely future, no?

There MUST be something else worth living for beyond the human emotions that define us today. I can't shut down future technologies thinking that they will remove meaning from our lives. I can't define the point of life based solely on our emotions today.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Night Out

Racism. What comes to mind when one thinks about it?

Allright. This weekend I went out on the town. On Friday, I ended up at an "Asian party," in which I had to sneak in to gain entry. However, once in, the girls were only interested in asian guys. So, I was treated to an incident of rude ethnic isolation in pursuit of love. It's not the first time. Anyway, the funniest part of the night was when we asked girls if they were rascist. They freaked out and staunchly denied it. Usually, people get most upset when they hear something that approximates the truth.

What an even more interesting issue is dating disparities between the races. A movie I saw recently, Rush Hour 2, had a scene that I will never forget. In it, Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker go into a nightclub looking for some gangster. I don't know the details, but western music begins playing, and we find Tucker dancing on the stage, surrounded by the Chinese girls, smiling and dancing with him, while all the Asian males sit at the tables and seeth in envy. It's a scene that I see depicted quite often in nightclubs. The white guys are dancing with the Asian chicks, the Asian men seeth, the black guys dance with the white chicks, and the black women seeth (and end up being quite friendly towards a intoxicated lad like me). Regardless, we can understand the rationale for an Asian party: without being blatantly rascist, it is a means by which Asian men can pursue their women without competition from other males.

And this is the great tragedy of sexual competition in a multiracial society like the US: just as various groups have different economic abilities, different races have different sexual appeals. Now, why are Asian men less desired? It's quite simple: lower testosterone levels. Testosterone has been PROVED to have significant effects on aggression levels. Explain this different to people who believe all racial differences in behavior are the result of societal conditioning and stereotypes.

Racial disparities in testosterone-> Genetic
Racial disparities in aggression -> Genetic

This is borne out in statistics. In the 1990 Census, 72 percent of black - white couples consisted of a black husband and a white wife. In contrast, white - Asian pairs showed the reverse: 72 percent consisted of a white husband and an Asian wife.

So where is the problem? We tell our young men that they have to do well in school and play by the rules and they'll succeed in life. Well, that does NOT mean success with women. Asian men are the 'model minority,' yet they consistently get screwed in the dating world. No pun intended. Fair? There are alot of nerds out there not spreading their genes of intelligence to the next generation.

And Saturday night. I'm in a bar, looking for a place to sit. A hispanic woman is sitting at one end of the table. We ask whether a seat on the other side is taken. She says no. My friend asks if the other seat is taken. She flips out. Her big brother comes and starts yelling and harassing us for talking to his sister. We walk away. Later in the night, he corners us in the bathroom. He says that my friend is fine, but he says he didn't like the way I was looking at him. Even though it was my friend that was doing the asking, this guy ended up harassing me and threatening me that he would kill me. My friend is white. I am east Indian. I think that Hispanics are rascist against Indians. You see plenty of hispanic men dating Indian women (or even Asian men in general), but few Indian (or asian) men dating hispanic women.

Perhaps, could it be because Indians are the race that look the most similiar to Hispanics, yet have opposite success levels? You can't claim color discrimination in the case of hispanics and Indians-they look the same. Yet, Indians are well above the mean in household income, while the opposite can be said of Hispanics. That's enough to create animosity between the groups. Indians make hispanics look bad. Anyway, the testosterone disparity can probably be a big source of the crime disparity between Indians and Hispanics.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

My First Post

Who knows who will read this blog. Hopefully at least one person, other than me. That person will pass it on, and when people hear the truth they will read.

Anyway, I like to say that this blog is about the "truth." Who really knows what the truth is? I don't know if such a thing exists. However, what you will get is a blog that observes events from a set of very unconventional perspectives. Notably:

1) Biology matters. Whether with regard to racial differences (in physical or mental characteristics), gender differences (in behavior or physiology) or chemical determinants of human behavior, we cannot deny the role that our genetics plays in determining who were are. I believe the environmentalist movement has hijacked most discussion of important issues.

2) Biology should not matter. Even if it is our genetics that creates our destiny, ultimately, humanity should not be at the mercy of our genes. I do not believe that we should limit ourselves to what is "natural." We should pursue human enhancement and be prepared for the inevitability of the ascendance of artificial intelligence. I do not believe that the concept of 'humanity,' is so sacred that we should not tamper with it.

which leads me to

3) Religion is a poison. What religion has done for the majority of our time as a species has provided explanations for natural occurrences that has scientific explanations. People use religion to justify terrible actions, or even oppression, in the world. What we need is a morality grounded in this world. Live a good life because it is the right thing to do, not because of the reward in the afterlife. Justify your actions based on the good it will do in the world, not on whether you received a message from God. Islam, especially, is a religion that accepts nothing but complete obedience. Its unwillingness to accept the beliefs of others as legitimate, as well as the violent record of Muhammed, leads to its violent tendencies, more so than any other religion.

4) Consumerism is a drag on our society. Essentially, marketers and advertisers have, for centuries, been trying ton convince people that they should buy goods in order to feel good about themselves. This has morphed into the consumption of status symbols that people purchase to gain approval from others. When we deeply look into our actions, we realize how much of what we do is designed to gain approval from others, or to feel better than others. Living in this way creates a void that can only be filled by religion. It's a difficult cycle to break. The system is empty, so embrace God. Makes things convenient, doesn't it? You can be a tool of and embrace two ideologies at the same time!

And finally, a more benign perspective:

5) We have all heard of The World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman. Read that book. Geography is ceasing to exist as a means by which to understand the world. The nature of property will change. Goods on online games will be more valuable than goods in real life. Nerds can live a more fulfilling life through World of Warcraft than by being an average, boring citizen in our world. We can meet people from around the world. Travel is less fullfilling.

So, how do these beliefs play out in real world beliefs?

I oppose the invasion of Iraq. Not because I don't believe in pre-emptive invasion, but because the Iraqi people did not have enough high-IQ individuals to create a nuclear bomb, given their economic level. Also, a secular dictatorship is preferrable to an Islamic dictatorship (Islam and democracy are NOT compatible).

Global warming is real, I don't deny it. The US should do more to prevent it and make its population use more green energy.

I believe that ultimately, humanity's objective is to spread through the universe and reach the Omega Point, in which we essentially become Gods. All very long term goals have to keep that in mind. Basically, we don't want to impose artificial limits on humanity.

These are some labels that I am, with hesitation, willing to take on: Xenophobe, fascist, agnostic, singularitarian, materialist, Patriot, Skeptic, Idealist, Vegetarian, Gay Sympathizer, Anti-Muslim, Bush Hater, and so on. More to come.

As issues in the news come out, I will post links and make comments. My beliefs will mature and hopefully, so will yours. Good reading.