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.

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