Saturday, December 29, 2007

Why I still believe in America

Beyond the ridiculousness of social issues, presidential nitpicking, and partisanship, there are people like Mark Daily that inspire us to be better people and live to make the world a better place.

Honestly, I just could not see a person like him emerging from France, China, India, Russia, or any other country. It is a uniquely American personality.

Sure every country has its heroes.

But to be selfless and sacrificing, while ALSO rigorously challenging the moral basis for the sacrifice, requires a type of culture that values individual liberty over all other directives.

Friday, December 28, 2007


So, taking a break from all the bleak political turmoil, I checked out the movie Hitch which came out a few years ago and I've been meaning to see.

Roger Ebert said it best
"The premise is intriguing, and for a time it seems that the Date Doctor may indeed know things about women that most men in the movies are not allowed to know, but the third act goes on autopilot just when the Doctor should be in."

Just in case you haven't seen the movie, Will Smith may have been on to something. There is a speed dating scene in which Smith states that any guy CANNOT tell a girl that he likes her in order to get with her, and the rest of the guys agree. Then he blurts out that he gives nice guys a chance, the nice guys that women usually don't look at. And in the beginning, his advice is usually decent, and of course there has to be a token white guy/asian girl couple.

Of course, it collapses into absurdity when the usually coquettish Eva Mendez falls for the blubbering Smith, and the stocky and too nice Albert gets "Hitched" with Cole.

So, I don't know what modern dating and ubiquitous information will yield, whether the media will start to incorporate the insanity that is dating paradoxes, or they'll continue to show nice guys with no game getting laid.

I suppose that with the soon demise of commercials due to TIVO and Itunes, product placement will start to influence the movie scripts. Perhaps in order to sell more products, movies will avoid the alpha and evolutionary reality and instead stick to the traditional view that buying things for women will make them like you.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Who killed Bhutto?

I'm quite curious. As an Indian-American, my knowledge of Pakistan has been colored by growing up with very pro-Indian parents, and a concurrent severe dislike of Islam. Bhutto may have been a socialist, she may have been pro-Western, and she may be anti-extremist. But regardless of what she is, there are people in Pakistan who would lose out, ideologically, by her becoming Prime Minister.

Sure, no politician can appease everyone, which Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney seem to be trying to do.

The problem is, though, is that Pakistan is a country fundamentally lacking in any sort of national identity. The national language is split between Sindhi, Urdu, Punjabi, Pashtun, and English. The literacy rate is pitiful. There is a significant Shi'a minority, and a large extremist faction, along with the occasional Christian and Hindu. The population is just as racially diverse as India. And there is no burgeoning IT sector or call center business to take advantage of the global economy.

In short, Pakistan is the exact opposite of a country ripe for democracy.

The country was formed a mere 60 years ago. It's entire national identity is based upon the premise that Muslims in India would not be able to practice freely in India. But guess what? There are 140 million Muslims in India (freely practicing and Hajj subsidized), compared with Pakistan's population of 164 million. Not exactly the basis for a national identity.

So, on facebook or whatever, I see groups where Pakistani Americans say things like "Pakistan Zindabad."

Wtf are you talking about? It's a crap country. I don't even go around saying India is great because, damn it, my relatives migrated to the US and became citizens instead of staying in India. They did it for a reason.

But anyway, I understand that the Bush administration has to make a show of face by calling for democracy in Pakistan. But, the State Department should at least realize that this is a country where honor killings are a daily reality.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Proof that evolution has screwed up women

This whole women being attracted to the bad boy thing is now to some degree common knowledge. But this tops it.

God is laughing.

Pickup goes mainstream

While I usually think most of the dating articles on MSN or Yahoo are bs, a recent one on approaching had some decent points. Like:

Do not hesitate. They even mention the 3 second rule

And body language pointers, like don't fidget, and lean away from her.

What I don't understand, is the whole big deal over a woman catching a guy using lines she knows he learned on the internet or worse, TV show .

Basically, that tells her that the guy isn't as charismatic or interesting as she thinks. He is just faking it. In essence, he is using a fake fitness indicator to convey personality and social dominance while in fact he has none.

So, instead of enjoying the interaction, the girl discounts the guy because he revealed himself to not be the dominating charmer she thought initially. Even if the dominating charmer won't commit, won't do anything to help the world, and will likely leave her with a broken heart, she's powerless to resist him because of the way female sexual selection has evolved into modern day bimbo.

The thing that is most confusing, though, is that the woman are attracted to men BECAUSE of their aloof, interesting, funny, socially dominant personalities. So, what difference does it make to them where the guy learned it? I supposed the woman would prefer the genes of a natural rather than a keyboard jockey turned pickup artist. But still, it's not like she is going home with a guy because she thinks he's hot and then at home he takes of his mask to reveal the face of a monster.

But shouldn't women worry more about the fact that these asinine lines work in creating attraction, and that largely, their gender is devoid of anyone who can feel attracted to intelligence?

Warning: evolutionary psych makes people very disillusioned about the world. But at least we know the root of our problems. Ignorance can be bliss.

Can Rushton be proved more right?

Phillipe K. Rushton's view of human nature is, well, controversial, to say the least. However, it has been phenomenally useful in understanding the differences between races .

Japan is so far confirming his results along with africa .

Sunday, December 16, 2007

NYT Fallacies

So the letters are in on the Genes and IQ editorial which was easily debunked in the last entry.

Now I'll focus on some of the letters that bring out more bs:

"If we want intelligence tests, we need to devise new ones based on actual scientific theory rather than Victorian and Progressive Era puffery. Until then, at the very least, we should have a healthy agnosticism about who is smarter than whom."

Alright, back again to the rehashed debate on the validity of IQ tests. Look, IQ works better than ANY other demographic indicator in terms of correlation with income, crime, and health). And the army uses it religiously to determine who's going to be in the infantry and who's going to do logistics. It works, regardless of where/when it was conceived.

"Between the early 1970s and 2004, the reading and math scores of black children have risen faster than the scores for white children. Among 9-year-olds, black children have closed more than a third of the black-white gap that existed in the early 1970s. Progress has also been made by 13-year-olds and 17-year-olds."

This is just isolated incidents. The simple fact remains that the IQ gap between blacks and whites has remained a robust one standard deviation. Unless you're measuring the scores in terms of standard deviation, changes in test score gaps have no relevance. Black 13 year olds still read at an 10 year old level and the average 17 year old black reads at a 13 year old level. That's the sad truth.

"I.Q. tests are notoriously biased against anyone who is not white, male and middle class. Numerous studies have shown that it is not a valid measure of intelligence and, indeed, even white people who come from other cultures score poorly on the tests."

Uh, which explains why Asians tend to have 4 points higher on IQ tests than whites, right? And why male and female IQ scores are almost exactly equal, and only differ on the sub tests that measure either spacial reasoning or verbal ability.
Whites from other cultures score poorly on the test? International IQ scores beg to differ.

"The real point of interest is why people do this research in the first place. These studies tell us nothing about intelligence, black people, white people, genetics or environment. What they really show is the inherent racism of the ones doing the research."

You're kidding, right? The point of these studies is, as Watson said, that all our public policy is based on equal intelligence between races. And that is why economic development, and no child left behind have been abject failures.

"We now know enough about the fine structure of the brain, the proteins involved and the roles they play in learning, cognition, memory and other components of intelligence to understand that the DNA of genes are, generally, many steps removed from determining these capacities. Any study of the genetics of possible racial differences in intelligence must be based not on genes but on knowledge of the fine structure and proteins of the brain. These can provide objective, quantifiable measures."

This objection is more scientific in origin, but still out of touch with reality. Even within families, differences in intelligence between non-identical siblings can largely be traced to different sets of genes going to each kid. Why can't animals ever become as intelligent as humans? It's in the genes, dude. And I give guys like these maybe 10 or 15 years. After that, the genetics will be in and we'll know the truth. Complex interactions between genes and environment won't be so complex anymore.

"As heartening as I found Richard E. Nisbett’s arguments against a correlation between race and intelligence, I find it difficult to overlook the fact that one of the world’s most eminent scientists, James D. Watson, recently lost his job for taking the opposite position.

Under such circumstances, essays like Professor Nisbett’s take on the air of dogma. One is left to wonder what researchers might find or say if their careers and reputations weren’t threatened by academic McCarthyism."

I give credit where it's due. Even though the NY Times is supporting bunk opinions, at least they're willing to acknowledge the taboo atmosphere around such research.

"Perhaps Richard E. Nisbett’s report on studies that show the effect of environment on I.Q. scores has provided an answer to a question I have pondered for many years. When I was in high school, I scored 115 on an I.Q. test, but when I had another I.Q. test many years later, I scored over 130. Why the increase?

My skin color hadn’t changed, but my environment certainly had. I grew up in a small town with a father who had dropped out of school in the sixth grade and a mother who was the only one of six children who graduated from high school.

When I took the second I.Q. test some 30 years later, I was living in Baltimore because my husband was a tenured professor at Johns Hopkins University. I had just completed a master’s degree and was thinking of applying for admission to a doctoral program."

My god, what a scientific opinion! Does anyone know the difference between anecdotal evidence and scientific studies anymore, or has reality TV fried our brains too much? Look, almost all psychologists have agreed that, at least for whites, IQ is 70-80% genetic, based on twin studies in different countries. That's old news.

I thought that the editorial, since it didn't discount the notion of IQ or the genetic determination of it, was a step forward. Apparently people have the need to continually bring out already debunked arguments against IQ.

Got to keep up the fight. The starving kids in Africa and the innocent children getting shot daily in our inner cities suffer because we're to afraid to confront the truth.

Monday, December 10, 2007

More religious hypocrisy on tragedy

Regarding the terrible church shootings .

This woman, Jeanne, is a hero. But something she said I found very off:

This is what the security guard said:
"I give the credit to god and I mean that I did it very humbly and the whole time God was with me. This has got to be God."

This is along the same lines as what Mitt Romney said in his speech:
"Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God."

NO! Liberty is a gift of the men who died in the wars protecting America and the people fighting to make sure the government stays out of our lives at home.

God has NO role in this world. We, humanity, are to blame and congratulate for anything that happens.

If anything, be willing to admit that our founders had a distinctly deist perspective and realized that God wasn't going to save them if the revolution went bad.

After Virginia Tech we again saw the same religious posturing and I wrote about it before .

But again and again we always see religious nutjobs cite God as a reason for their survival while genocide occurs in the world and apparently God is too busy to do something about that. What a world we live in. Thousands of children die a day from malaria. But op! God and the religious apparently are more concerned with our beliefs on evolution instead of actual innocent children dying.

Sam Harris said it best:
"Only the atheist recognizes the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved. Only the atheist realizes how morally objectionable it is for survivors of a catastrophe to believe themselves spared by a loving God, while this same God drowned infants in their cribs."

What's infinitely frustrating about this is this woman should be lauded and praised. She RISKED HER LIFE to save the people in the church. She's a heroine, without question. And what does she do? She attributes it to God.

No, you, Jeanne Assam did it. You saved their lives. God wasn't there to save the two sisters:

"Two sisters were killed in the parking lot at New Life. Police identified them as Stephanie Works, 18, and Rachael Works, 16, both of Denver."

Now a dad has lost his daughters, while he survived. And in his mind, he is wondering: "What did I ever do that God allowed me to live while killing my daughters? Everyone else is alive and thanking God. All I have is death."

Jeanne, inspire others to follow you and be selfless if there is an opportunity to save lives. Don't let us think that our lives are in God's hands and we are powerless.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Race and IQ in NYT

So, the NYT continues in its coverage of the racial IQ gap in this editorial
So I'm gonna take a look at some of their arguments. Remember, I'll admit that I am not 100% certain of the racial gap in intelligence being genetic, but I believe in occam's razor: the simplest explanation is usually the best. So, here we go:

First of all, the quote about Watson forgot to mention:
"there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so."

Huge concept that the article did not even touch.

"For the poor, a group that includes a substantial proportion of minorities, heritability of I.Q. is very low, in the range of 10 percent to 20 percent, according to recent research by Eric Turkheimer at the University of Virginia. This means that for the poor, improvements in environment have great potential to bring about increases in I.Q."
As you can see here
The gap remains despite changes in SES (in which the high SES parents are most likely also high IQ). In fact, a black child at the top 10% of SES is barely at the 50% for whites.

Also, as Lynn notes in his book "In the 57 studies of general population samples in Africans in 17 african countries, all of the IQ's ly in the range between 59 and 88, and in the 14 Caribbean and Latin American countries it's between 60 and 80."

Africans in Britain, Netherlands, Brazil, and the US have significant differences in IQ from the white population.

"But the brain size difference between men and women is substantially greater than that between blacks and whites, yet men and women score the same, on average, on I.Q. tests."

Actually, correcting for body size there isn't a substantial difference in IQ between men and women. Lynn also cites studies that puts the brain size-IQ correlation at .4, which is huge. A study found that a rat's ability to solve a maze is positively correlated with brain size.

"Likewise, a group of people in a community in Ecuador have a genetic anomaly that produces extremely small head sizes — and hence brain sizes. Yet their intelligence is as high as that of their unaffected relatives."

This is anecdotal, not statistical evidence. And have their IQ's been tested? Or is this as useful as Jared Diamond's assertion that the Maoris are more intelligent than westerners because of their survival skills?

"About 25 percent of the genes in the American black population are European, meaning that the genes of any individual can range from 100 percent African to mostly European. If European intelligence genes are superior, then blacks who have relatively more European genes ought to have higher I.Q.’s than those who have more African genes. But it turns out that skin color and “negroidness” of features — both measures of the degree of a black person’s European ancestry — are only weakly associated with I.Q. (even though we might well expect a moderately high association due to the social advantages of such features)."

The article fails to mention the Weinberg Scarr study experiment, in which mixed race children (who had no idea they were mixed race) had an intermediate IQ between total black and total white children. Also, he claims
"There is a statistically significant association between light skin and intelligence."

"During World War II, both black and white American soldiers fathered children with German women. Thus some of these children had 100 percent European heritage and some had substantial African heritage. Tested in later childhood, the German children of the white fathers were found to have an average I.Q. of 97, and those of the black fathers had an average of 96.5, a trivial difference."

This is absolute bullshit. All the black fathers were IQ tested and only allowed in if they had IQ at the mid 90's level. So it's not an unbiased sample.

"But when a group of investigators sought out the very brightest black children in the Chicago school system and asked them about the race of their parents and grandparents, these children were found to have no greater degree of European ancestry than blacks in the population at large."

Are you serious? How is the kid going to know the degree of white ancestry of his parents? And most of the interbreeding happened during slavery.

"Most tellingly, blood-typing tests have been used to assess the degree to which black individuals have European genes. The blood group assays show no association between degree of European heritage and I.Q. Similarly, the blood groups most closely associated with high intellectual performance among blacks are no more European in origin than other blood groups."

I'll admit, this seems odd. But, given that we can now do geographic modeling of genes, blood type studies will become irrelevant.

"The closest thing to direct evidence that the hereditarians have is a study from the 1970s showing that black children who had been adopted by white parents had lower I.Q.’s than those of mixed-race children adopted by white parents. But, as the researchers acknowledged, the study had many flaws; for instance, the black children had been adopted at a substantially later age than the mixed-race children, and later age at adoption is associated with lower I.Q."

The difference is merely that of a year or less. Are the authors really implying that black environments are that poisonous? If that's the case, why are we letting black mothers raise their kids? I have seen many a moronic woman in NYC totally clueless on how to discipline their kids. I don't think this citation is a vindication of Africans.

"A superior adoption study — and one not discussed by the hereditarians — was carried out at Arizona State University by the psychologist Elsie Moore, who looked at black and mixed-race children adopted by middle-class families, either black or white, and found no difference in I.Q. between the black and mixed-race children. Most telling is Dr. Moore’s finding that children adopted by white families had I.Q.’s 13 points higher than those of children adopted by black families. The environments that even middle-class black children grow up in are not as favorable for the development of I.Q. as those of middle-class whites."
1) Were the kids tested as adults? Heritability increases with age, so this study is not quite valid.
2) There is a good possibility that this is not an unbiased sample, as there could have been many factors which made the white families pick certain black children over the others.

And of course, the Flynn effect argument. As Flynn even points out, the differences in IQ come about because of the change in the way we view relationships between objects. Arithmetic and vocabulary scores have remained constant over the years. And honestly, looking at the speeches of Roosevelt and John Adams, do we really think that people 200 years ago were as intelligent as the average African American? I doubt it. It's just that our way of looking at the world changed, allowing us to do better on IQ tests.

"In fact, we know that the I.Q. difference between black and white 12-year-olds has dropped to 9.5 points from 15 points in the last 30 years — a period that was more favorable for blacks in many ways than the preceding era. Black progress on the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows equivalent gains. Reading and math improvement has been modest for whites but substantial for blacks."

This ignores the fact that the IQ gap between blacks and whites remains one standard deviation. Also, griffe demonstrates how changes in gaps between blacks and whites could be more a reflection of the test becoming easier than a relative change in intelligence.

"And it should encourage us, as a society, to see that all children receive ample opportunity to develop their minds."
I agree, but head start has tried and failed to create long lasting IQ differences.
In fact:
"White children, who were the most disadvantaged, showed larger and longer lasting improvements than African-American children."

So yeah, what we have here is some serious obfuscation. But guess what? Alot of people are gonna check out the Saletan article or the infamous watson defense

The flood continues.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

NYT heart Atheists

Apparently Romney's speech annoyed the New York Times . I hope NYT's general readership will try to prevent the evangelicals from gaining too much power.

Ah, and it seems like the NYT is starting to embrace straight talk about Islam as well as race .

Good times for journalism.

Man it also pissed my off when he mentioned the Protestant faiths, Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam, but neglected Hinduism or Buddhism.

WHAT? You include the religion of honor killings, beheading, and jihad as admirable but not peaceful Hinduism or Buddhism? I hope this guy goes down in flames. It's upsetting and insulting. I hope on the next youtube debate or whatever he gets a question from an atheist. Shame on you, evangelicals. The founders would be sick.

BUT two fascinating and disturbing comments on half sigma blog.

If there is no God then there is no basis for individual liberty. The only law, if there is no God, is survival of the fittest. If the most fit can enslave the rest and thereby improve their own survival, so be it. There would be no basis for arguing otherwise.

The logical foundation of the U.S. Declaration of Independence is this opening line: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Remove that from the document and the rest of the argument falls apart. This was not an accident or just the opening sentence demanded by some religious zealots. The shift in political philosophy which ultimately resulted in the west embracing freedom, and our own revolution, was driven by and based upon Judeo-Christian thought. You cannot study the political philosophy of the period and come to any other conclusion. The arguments for individual dignity and liberty were all based on the idea that there is a God, and he loves each and every person. Your rights exist and are "rights", not privileges, because someone higher than any man, any ruler or king, gave them to you.

Our ideas of freedom and individual liberty are silly notions if there is no God. And there's no basis for judging any other system as wrong, bad, or worse if that's the case. The regime of North Korea is just as valid as our form of government so long as the most fit in their society survive. If there is no God, that is."

Unfortunately, I think this comment speaks alot of truth. While religion has been used to justify oppression and slavery, it is really the only think that's been used to justify the unique value of every individual human being.

And the counter:

"If you believe that without the existence of God the constitutional rights have no basis, that's your own personal conclusion. But that still doesn't prove the existence of God. This sounds like an extortion to me: believe in God or else our society is doomed. But you are not proving anything."

Again, trying not to dwell on it too much, but speeches like this always bring up the hand wringing issues of those who believe in race differences in intelligence , as well as no God . There is no higher authority to say that intelligent and stupid people are equal. Just our shared values.

Doesn't seem too strong of a leg to stand on.

Friday, December 7, 2007


From the speech of Mitt Romney.

"Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom."
Uh, so as an atheist I don't believe in freedom?

"No movement of conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the convictions of religious people."
(Primary reason why HBD-religion can yield scary results)

"They are attempting a new religion in America. The religion of secularism."
(Well our secularism is exactly what the terrorists attacked us for)

"The conviction of the inherent worth of every life is the most revolutionary political proposition ever advanced."
(IQ and HBD begs to differ)

"Americans acknowledge the liberty is a gift of God."
What the hell does this mean? Have you been to Saudi Arabia lately?

"We can be thankful that reason and religion are friends in the cause of liberty."
What happened to Sam Harris or Dawkins? Both bestsellers, mind you. Have you looked at levels of faith among scientists?

14.2% of Americans define themselves has being agnostic, atheist, or having no faith (CIA). I don't know where singularitarianism fits in, but probably not with Protestants.

Oh well.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Why the HBD movement scares me

Posts like these on vdare are disturbing when they begin to imply that the US is Christian, white nation and that's it.

"Cho was among the 864,000 Koreans here as a result of the Immigration Act of 1965, which threw the nation's doors open to the greatest invasion in history, an invasion opposed by a majority of our people. Thirty-six million, almost all from countries whose peoples have never fully assimilated in any Western country, now live in our midst."

My parents came over in that wave. I was born in the US and consider it my home and will die to protect it. Why do people destroy their cause by saying things like this?

I understand restricting mexican immigration because they do not have the skills necessary for our economy. I understand restricting Islamic immigration because they attacked us on 9/11. But saying that unless someone is a white Christian he won't fit in the US?


I think the teddy bear incident speaks for itself .

I find it quite humorous that people say certain things about Islam and peace in public but what people say on the internet of in private is quite different, which has much more mixed review.

At least we have our priorities straight.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The cult of virginity

I've railed against the cult of virginity and the "sex is bad" movement for some time. At least some validation .

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Flood Continues

At the times, an article discussing reactions to the Saletan piece.

Imagine what has been broiled up over the last month. I'd be very curious to see where we are in a year.

The problem with the debates

Is that, as any polisci100 person can tell you, is that in the primaries the candidates speak to the base, and in the general election, they move to the center.
So then it becomes very difficult for moderates to get elected.

So, why not a joint Republican-Dem debate in the primaries?
McCain, Romney, Guiliani, Ron Paul and maybe Huckabee
Hillary, Obama, Edwards, and Biden or Kucinich?

That would be real debate instead of democrats wrangling over when we're going to pull out of Iraq and Republicans getting off on increasing the military budget.

I've seen disturbingly little debated about the patriot act in any of the debates.