August 9, 2010

In Defense of the Social Sciences

Allow me to refer once again to Jim Manzi's article in City Journal:
What Social Science Does—and Doesn’t—Know
Our scientific ignorance of the human condition remains profound

Manzi complains that the social sciences never come up with anything useful and "nonintuitive" compared to physics and other hard sciences. That's because, according to Manzi, social scientists don't use the right methodology: experimentation. (By the way, Manzi's company, Applied Predictive Technologies, will sell you the right methodology. Just dial 1-877-400-2559.)

And, indeed, physicists get a lot of respect, especially since they built the atomic bomb. (Nothing makes people respect you more than the ability to vaporize them en masse.)

In reality, though, the social sciences have uncovered a huge amount of useful knowledge about humanity. The vast field of cognitive testing, for example, which has, for better or worse, greatly altered American life over the last century, is a triumph of the social sciences.

Or consider hydrogen bomb-designer Stanislaw Ulam's challenge to economist Paul Samuelson: Tell me something you econ fellows have come up with that is both true and non-trivial. Samuelson puzzled over that one for years, then finally came up with Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage. But Spearman's g-Factor theory of 1904 is worth comparing to comparative advantage in  nontriviality.

What social scientists can't do is the same thing as physicists can't do: the impossible.

Just as social scientists have failed to figure out how to eliminate many social and racial disparities, physicists have failed to make possible many desirable technologies lovingly imagined in the science fiction novels of my youth.

Where's my teleporter? Where's my faster-than-light starship? Where's my anti-gravity device? Where's my time machine? 

C'mon, physicists, there must be something wrong with your methodologies!

82 comments:

Anonymous said...

The soft sciences lose so badly in a pissing contest. Why on earth do you want to start one?

B Lode said...

Why on earth do you want to start one?

"Start"? You mean "participate in"?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said..."The soft sciences lose so badly in a pissing contest. Why on earth do you want to start one?"

I don't believe Steve wants to start a pissing contest. I took something quite different from his remarks, something like this:

"Just as we can't expect the hard sciences to do the impossible in their realm (e.g., invent time machines, anti-gravity devices, etc.), we can't expect the social sciences to do the impossible in their realm, either (e.g., close racial and gender gaps in intelligence and abilities, etc.) We don't expect a Buck Rogers/H.G. Welles futuristic sci-fi utopia from the hard sciences so why do we expect some sort of idealistic, egalitarian brotherhood-of-man utopia from the soft sciences?"

No one does off-hand laid-back So-Cal wit better than Steve. No one.

And I'm right about that even if I'm wrong about what he meant here.

Someguy said...

Bullshit!

Supply and demand seems pretty important. Mind/body materialism is of huge importance. So forth.

One problem is that one could retort that these are obvious and therefore trivial. But they have not always been seen as obvious and as a matter of fact the opposite has been pretty much accepted as much as a flat earth.

The other major problem is that people don't want to accept the truth and therefore say the social sciences are all whooey. What percentage of people believe the most basic and most important finding in psychology of materialism? The vast majority of folks hold some sort of religious/spiritual view of the soul.

Thursday said...

Well, I don't know if you would call it social science, but Mystery (Eric von Markovik) did crack the code of how to attract and keep females. Now Markovik didn't do this completely on his own, he was part of an online community that pooled their experiences and provided him with more data to work with than just his own personal experiences, but nonetheless the theoretical breakthroughs were mostly his (along with a few others' insights, like those of Owen Cook, Neil Strauss and Eben Pagen). He actually found an answer to Sigmund Freud's baffled question, "What do women want?" and all of a sudden, women's behaviour, something which has baffled the greatest writers, thinkers, and scientists from forever, wasn't all that mysterious anymore. I think we seriously underestimate his achievement.

As for the usefulness of this information, I'd say it's been damn useful, at least in that it has radically improved my dating life.

French Connection said...

Paradox. Physics is the more demanding discipline that happens to attract many more super geniuses than social sciences do, yet nothing is as complex and difficult to understand as man.

Study of motions of billiard balls is physics. Study of billiard players is social sciences. Which are more complex? Billiard balls or billiard players?
Yet the science of billiard balls is far more advanced and complex than the science of billiard players.
But it all makes sense. It's easier to closely study simpler things than very complex things. One can be more EXACT with the former than with the latter. Thus, more advanced studies in physics are possible than in social sciences, where we still have yet to understand the basic essence of man.

Of course, to an extent, all sciences are a subset of physics. Chemistry is really about an aspect of physics, and biology is a subset of chemistry, and sociology and psychology are subsets of biology. At their root, they are all about objects in motion.
It's just that it's easier to measure the motion of single atoms and molecules than a creature made up of zillions of molecules.

Even so, much can be understood about society by considering the rules of physics and chemistry in a metaphorical sense. Concept of critical mass is one of them.
Also, notice how different chemical mixes lead to radically different results. Some don't mix at all, some don't mix well, others mix and produce noxious odors, others mix well and create something remarkable. If we take a chemistristic approach to diversity, it should be apparent that the issue isn't so much diversity-is-always-good nor diversity-is-always-bad but depends on the measurements and nature of the elements. Thus far, it would be safe to say Canada's demographic chemistry pertaining to immigration has been smarter than ours.

Anonymous said...

The Whiskey-esque he man women haters who congregate on HBD boards are way too impressed with Mystery and "game." Some female friends of mine from work were at a bar when the man they called "that douchebag with goggles" came in with his entourage and started using game on them. They laughed in his face. The problem with essentially fooling people into thinking you're someone you're not is that they eventually get wise and develop countermeasures.

Kylie said...

Oops. I signed in as "Kylie" but apparently lost my identity when I edited my comment.

I'm the Anonymous who replied to this..."The soft sciences lose so badly in a pissing contest. Why on earth do you want to start one?" by saying, "I don't believe Steve wants to start a pissing contest...."

Sorry about that.

Thursday said...

Game can't be reduced to wearing aviator goggles and such.

Anyway, from Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power:

Law 30

Make your Accomplishments Seem Effortless

Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease. All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed. When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more. Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work – it only raises questions. Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.


In other words, don't be a try hard. Come in under the radar. Don't dress too outrageously unless you have a reason for it, like, in Mystery's case, actually being a stage magician. In general, you only want to be slightly more colourful and more interesting than the people around you. Otherwise you just look like you are trying too hard to attract attention. Smoothness and subtlety are essential parts of the game.

Anonymous said...

No one does off-hand laid-back So-Cal wit better than Steve. No one.

I thought the same when I read this post.

Whiskey said...

Oh no, Game completely works. The same women laughing at Mystery would go home in a heartbeat with a guy who had "Game" more attuned to their SES.

Or, "Different Douche bags for different Chicks."

You can even apply it to PC punishments. Michael Richards, or Don Imus, etc., guys no woman wants to have sex with, get punished for PC heresies. Now, MEL GIBSON, well he's Alpha enough (women want to have sex with him) that nothing really he says or does, merits PC heresy trials. Even Whoopi Goldberg defends Mel Gibson.

Game's Social Science applications go far beyond pickups in bars or coffee shops. It goes to how women vote, purchase goods/services, and indeed live their lives.

Gender realism is at least as shocking and useful as race realism.

Anonymous said...

Off Topic:

Someone answer a question for me.

I've been reading iSteve for a year and I've learned a lot. What puzzles me, however, is the thinking of the white liberal immigration enthusiast. At some point, like many cities already, the NAM population will reach a tipping point where even the liberal won't want to send his kids to the local schools. Does he not realize that mass third world migration is creating a balkanized country, with more and more areas off limits to whites? Huge swaths of L.A., Houston and Miami no longer resemble the United States from 20-30 years, not just in skin color but, more importantly, in English speakers. This kind of immigration is not a benefit we hear our leaders in Washington talk about, but rather it is being done to us. I don't understand the blind spot these liberals have and, like many, I have begun to believe that their goal is the destruction of this nation, which they view as irredeemably imperialist. But do they not see that their grandchildren will have to live with what they did to this country? A great republic turned into a giant Rio de Janeiro in two generations, balkanized, violent, and poor -- with waring ethnic groups replacing what once was a fairly harmonious culture.

Mr. Pessimistic

Anonymous said...

I dunno - I think the mathematics of IQ, or "g", is kinda interesting.

The greatest criticism of the social sciences is that they have nothing measurable to measure, in the way that physicists attempt to measure things like distance, time, potential energy, kinetic energy, temperature, caloric content [heat potential], etc etc etc.

The interesting thing about intelligence studies, though, is that you use the Central Limit Theorem [or the ideas behind the Central Limit Theorem] to give the definition of the "parameterization" of "g": The parameterization [...IQ 98, IQ 99, IQ 100, IQ 101, IQ 102...] is defined [in the case of Caucasian Americans] to be precisely that gradation which produces a Gaussian of mean 100 and standard deviation of 15.

Then the really difficult problem in applied psychology is to consistently discover novel questions [which can't be easily Princeton Review'ed or Stanley Kaplan'ed] that allow for the exams to provide some constancy to the parameterization over time.

So that, e.g., a Caucasian IQ of 100 in 1960 corresponds fairly well to the "same" intelligence as a Caucasian IQ of 100 in 2010, half a century later [and, of course, dittoes with the standard deviations - where we should note that the overriding importance of standard deviation is something which La Griffe du Lion keeps emphasizing in essay after essay after essay].

Murray has indicated that the American Caucasian mean appears to be holding steady, but he has some pretty terrifying data about the ongoing collapse in the American Black mean [cf Steve's Is America headed for Idiocracy? and Murray's Footnote #44].

And I don't know that anyone has sufficiently good data to say how the standard deviations might be varying over time - maybe the folks at ETS, or at the AFQT, but I don't know that [or how often] they publicize their proprietary secrets [their obvious problem being that once they publicize them, their proprietary secrets aren't secret anymore].

Anonymous said...

Whiskey: Game's Social Science applications go far beyond pickups in bars or coffee shops. It goes to how women vote, purchase goods/services, and indeed live their lives.

Gender realism is at least as shocking and useful as race realism.


I know it's popular to give Whiskey all sorts of grief on this board, but I gotta second his sentiments here.

And it's especially true of single mothers, who don't have a husband in their lives to constantly remind them of the difference between right and wrong.

The J**s have capitalized on this weakness for centuries now, and have been relentless in using it to turn women against their own culture, starting with Marx & Engels and their attacks on the family, and then continuing through Freud and the Frankfurt School, with its theories of polymorphous perversity.

tanabear said...

Didn't William Shockley consider his contributions to eugenics more important than the invention of the transistor? A very rare case indeed in which a highly accomplished physicist ranks his contributions to the social sciences as more important.

Maybe we should classify eugenics as applied sociology.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Pessimistic: I don't understand the blind spot these liberals have and, like many, I have begun to believe that their goal is the destruction of this nation

Well then hurry up and get past the beginning of the belief, and into the belief itself, and then beyond the belief altogether and into the horror of the reality of it all.

Because the clock is ticking - we're rapidly approaching the point at which all of this destruction becomes irreversible.


But do they not see that their grandchildren will have to live with what they did to this country?

They're nihilists - they're not making any children at all [much less any children who would grow up to give them grandchildren].

Agustín de Iturbide said...

Several fatal weaknesses of the "social sciences" vs "sciences" (what, hard/real?) are:

* sciences have a respectable minimum intelligence requirement that become very high as one progresses toward the right tail

* social sciences have only a minimum intelligence threshold which is usually so low these fields become the default for people who fail out of other fields, who lack fundamental thinking thinking skills like math or even statistics, or who wouldn't even be in college, grad schools or academics under more historically meaningful criteria of academics (eg 1SD for undergrad students).

In addition, there is a much weaker correlation between intelligence and achievement in the social sciences. There is likely an anti-correlation at the far right tail where the current anti-intellectual PC atmosphere heavily censures, punishes and kills unorthodox free thought at the undergrad/grad school level in favor of mindless PC cant.

* sciences are intrinsically quantitative, objective, reproducible and free from externally imposed biases.

* social sciences tend to be very non-quantitative and subjective. They are often perverted by movements that use them to propagandize their ideology as "science" to legitimize even patently absurd, untrue and nonscientific agendas.

This is not to say that social sciences are not without value. They certainly have broad appeal by their very nature and accessibility.

It's just that in our dark ages of PC anti-intellectualism today, hardcore ideologues have exploited the main inherent weaknesses of the social sciences to render them universally suspect, full of noise and sometimes even a font of untruths.

An important qualifier to the "interesting and non-obvious" challenge is that it assumes a far right science talent, not some daytime talkshow host. "Supply and demand" or "mind/body materialism" may make for an interesting piece on Oprah, but I don't think it would demand many cycles for Ulam or others of his caliber.

Anonymous said...

social science is to science as social justice is to justice

Black Sea said...

"We are unknown, we knowers, to ourselves . . . Of necessity we remain strangers to ourselves, we understand ourselves not, in our selves we are bound to be mistaken, for each of us holds good to all eternity the motto, "Each is the farthest away from himself"--as far as ourselves are concerned we are not knowers."
--Nietzsche

tanabear said...

Anon: "What puzzles me, however, is the thinking of the white liberal immigration enthusiast.... I don't understand the blind spot these liberals have and..."

They would respond that you have a blind spot. All we need to do is spend more on education...wait let Malcolm Muggeridge finish my thought...

"On radio and television panels, on which I have spent more time than I care to remember, to questions such as: What does the panel think should be done about the rising rate of juvenile delinquency? The answer invariably offered is: more education...not only should there be more education, but more and better education. It gives us all a glow of righteousness and high purpose. More and better education - that’s the way to get rid of juvenile delinquency, and adult delinquency, for that matter, all other delinquencies. If we try hard enough, and are prepared to pay enough, we can surely educate ourselves out of all our miseries and troubles, and into the happiness we seek and deserve."

The liberal mind hasn't changed much in the last 40 years.

call me ishmael said...

He actually found an answer to Sigmund Freud's baffled question, "What do women want?" and all of a sudden, women's behaviour, something which has baffled the greatest writers, thinkers, and scientists from forever, wasn't all that mysterious anymore.

"He had had such things said to him so many times that none of them had any freshness for him. Emma was like all his other mistresses; and as the charm of novelty gradually slipped from her like a piece of her clothing, he saw revealed in all its nakedness the eternal monotony of passion, which always assumes the same forms and always speaks the same language... Whereas the truth is that fullness of soul can sometimes overflow in utter vapidity of language, for none of us can ever express the exact measure of his needs or his thoughts or his sorrows; and human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars."

Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

Anonymous said...

The problem with the social sciences is that the 'best' social science merely provides numbers to confirm what most reasonable people with experience in the world know - and there is little of this and lots of the political crap dreamed up by unscrupulous frauds.

Anonymous said...

Law 30

Make your Accomplishments Seem Effortless

Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease. All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed. When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more. Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work – it only raises questions. Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.


Dude. He got this from watching James Bond movies. It's nothing new; essentially, it's the English toff mentality, or used to be.

Cicero said...

Mr. Pessimistic: "I don't understand the blind spot these liberals have and, like many, I have begun to believe that their goal is the destruction of this nation

Well then hurry up and get past the beginning of the belief, and into the belief itself, and then beyond the belief altogether and into the horror of the reality of it all.

Because the clock is ticking - we're rapidly approaching the point at which all of this destruction becomes irreversible.


But do they not see that their grandchildren will have to live with what they did to this country?"

Lucius hiding his identity: "They're nihilists - they're not making any children at all [much less any children who would grow up to give them grandchildren]."

You just couldn't resist replying to him Lucius, could you? Always on message, like a Schopenhauerian version of Whiskey. I assure you most of these people will be have children, and grandchildren, and will be lording over our descendents (if we have any) long after we're dead and buried.

Let me take a crack at this. Mr. P cannot understand why rich liberals want to destroy this country through demographic transition, comparing the U.S. to Rio.

My answer is this: There are rich liberals in Rio too.

Our elites have figured out the game. Elites are elites no matter what country they live in, and they can achieve the life of luxury they want no matter how many of us peons are consigned to squalor. Rich liberals/leftists have done well for themselves in Brazil, the rest of Latin America, India, Japan, parts of West Asia, and most of Europe. The Chinese elite is quickly transitioning to this model as well. They already have a good chunck of the power, and by balkanizing and dumbing down the masses, they gain that much more of it. After all, who is going to take care of those dummies/comrades/citizens/consumers? Change their diapers and give them the bread and circuses they crave? Why the great, good, and moral of the new (or is that old?) 'socialist' aristocracy of course.

So now that we've established the elites are doing just fine for themselves, let me ask a question:

What are we prepared to do about it besides whining on Steve's site? I'll be interested to hear your response.

Truth said...

"Study of motions of billiard balls is physics. Study of billiard players is social sciences. Which are more complex? Billiard balls or billiard players?"

The young man makes an excellent point.

Lucius Vorenus said...

You just couldn't resist replying to him Lucius, could you? Always on message, like a Schopenhauerian version of Whiskey. I assure you most of these people will be have children, and grandchildren, and will be lording over our descendents (if we have any) long after we're dead and buried.

No, actually they aren't making any children, and we could avoid the looming civil ["hot" shooting] war by merely out-living them.

[And, in the interim, by homeschooling so that they don't turn our own children against us.]

That would be the best of all possible outcomes for our looming disaster.

I'm just worried that - before all is said and done - they might want to exit the stage in a flurry of violence.

[There's one particular scenario which really troubles me, but I don't want to give them any ideas by publicizing it.]

PS: I agree very strongly with what Whiskey said about "Gender realism".

Not only is it true, but our "elites" know all about that stuff, and they have been actively taking advantage of it for a century or more, in a very persistent and aggressive campaign to turn our women against us.

jack strocchi said...

Steve S. said:

Or consider hydrogen bomb-designer Stanislaw Ulam's challenge to economist Paul Samuelson: Tell me something you econ fellows have come up with that is both true and non-trivial.

Ulam's challenge is easy to rise to. Cripes, I can do better than Paul Samuelson off the top of my head, and in PS's chosen field: economics. Keynes macro-economic theory of fiscal policy - raise the deficit when aggregate demand slumps - is exactly the opposite of what intuition suggests, which is to cut government spending in order to balance the budget.

Its kind of equivalent to Chuck Yeager's pushing the throttle forward as the aircraft starts to get buffeted near Mach 1. Smooth flying thereafter.

Lots of stuff in modern social science is counter-intuitive. Hobbes theory of political sovereignty - giving the state all power over civil society - actually increases the individual citizens liberty.

But its true that, as JNW Watkins once observed, natural science explains the behaviour of the known macro objects (eg sun) by reference to unknown micro objects (eg atoms). Whereas social science explains the behaviour of unknown macro objects (eg states) by reference to known micro objects (individuals).

IN that sense social science tends to prove that water runs downhill ("Frank Knight") and that most of the great social scientific discoveries see. to generate the "Aha"..."how stupid of me not to see that" reaction.

Anonymous said...

No.Here's where you are wrong Steve.
The point is that the *body* of theory from the hard sciences is generally accepted and undisputed.
No one doubts the existence of Oxygen, for example, or how life depends on it, a fact we take for granted but only discovered in the 1780s, which really isn't very long ago.Similarly the existence of bacteria and other harmful microbes is taken for granted by us as much as we take for granted the existence of George W. Bush.
Until Leeuenhoek built his microscope in the 1600s, bacteria were not even suspected.The germ theory of disease, and thus the vast range of anti-biotic therapies that have saved millions upon millions of lives is barely 150 years old - just a few generations ago.
Similarly quantum theory, that stranga nd unintuitive field, no more than 100 years old has proved to be one of the most succesful scientific theories ever, explainig all manner of phenomena from the power of the sun to the conductivity of metals.
Perhaps the best example of the power of real science is medicine.Compare and contrast today's medicine and therapies to the days before 1700, wen the scientific method played no part in medicine.
The examples go on and on.
So the technologists haven't built a teleporter for you yet Steve?, aren't you content with the powerof your humble lap-top, the potential of which would have been beyond the imagiantion of your grand-parents?
If the scientific theory behind 'teleportation' was ever discovered (if its indeed possible), then I have no doubt the technology would be mastered.

Compare and contrast to 'economic'.The body of theory other than a few tautological observations (ie supply and demand)
is not based on uncontested, acknowledged 'facts'.Basially it's just an ideology an edifice of sophistry in which the political opinions of the 'theorist' play the major role.
No two economiste ever agree on anything.What does that tell you Steve? Either the economists are no good or the theory is no good.Which is it?

Anonymous said...

One thing I'm pretty sure of.If the whole 'science' of economics was never devised in the first place and no economics text books were ever written, I'm certain that their would be absolutely no difference in living standards either of Americans or globally (in fact I stand corrected, American living standards would probably higher!).
It must be remembered that the Chinese and Europeans ran efficent societies with efficent markets (allowing for the low productivity of the times)before any economics text book was ever written!
There were efficent cash economies, markets international trade on a big scale, capital formation, major public works, taxation, a fully functioning banking system, stock markets, issue of government debt, private enterpise etc etc.

dearieme said...

The penny drops.

"Social Science is a perpetual commotion machine."

Not bad, eh?

Svigor said...

And, indeed, physicists get a lot of respect, especially since they built the atomic bomb. (Nothing makes people respect you more than the ability to vaporize them en masse.)

I think Chemistry gets short shrift. I'm only going by my own observations, which are not extensive, but doesn't Chemistry just dwarf Physics in terms of the good done for humanity?

dearieme said...

"Didn't William Shockley consider his contributions to eugenics more important than the invention of the transistor?" As well he might; if Wikipedia is to be believed, he didn't invent it - he nicked it from a Canadian.

ITriedtobeaCynic said...

I think the big mistake is in the title - "social sciences" are not sciences and shouldn't pretend to be. That's what repels me about psychometrists - they're like charmless children who dress up in white coats and write numbers in notebooks aqnd say "look at me I'm a Scientist too" without understanding the essence of science. Science depends, among other things, on the principle of objectivity - ie nature does not have a purpose. I hope most of the structures studied by social scholars do have a purpose.
Social studies should give up pretending to be sciences (physics envy) and use methods appropriate to their field.

l said...

Physicists realized their greatest accomplishment 65 years ago. They've been coasting since then. Most physicists working today have not added anything to humanity's wealth of knowledge. They have become a sort of priest class - preserving and hyping (what is for most people) an arcane science. Not very impressive, considering all the gov't grant money university physics deptartments get.

Anonymous said...

Good point, Thursday. People should recognise important theoretical developments, wherever they come from. "Game" has illuminated female psychology is a profound way. If it works, and in my experience of a long marriage, it does, that is quite a recommendation for a piece of sociological observation.

I have always said that the problem with sociology is not the subject, it is the practioners, who are, it need hardly be said, too wedded to the "blank slate" approach. The social scientists are the problem, not the subject itself.

David C

spacehabitats said...

The problem is not social scientists running uncontrolled experiments. The problem is politicians running uncontrolled social engineering based on the pseudo-scientific premises of political correctness.

Not only do the political insiders fail to establish controls for their social experiments, they work relentlessly to eliminate the very possibility of a control group.

The reason that "states rights" is such an anathema to the PC crowd is its potential for creating pockets of sanity with which to compare their failed policies.

Heaven forbid that an Arizona might actually PROSPER by reducing their share of immigrants. Some might even begin to question the unmixed "blessings" of diversity.

Anonymous said...

If the key advances of the industrial revolution (ie the steam engine, the smelting of iron using coke,done by such men as Newcomen, Watt, Darby etc), had never occurred then at least half of today's global population wouldn't be here, as the Earth's carrying cpacity would be that much lower due to unavailability of artificial fertilizers (which use great pressure and temperature in their manufacture) and the inability to actually transport food to where it's needed.Likewise no metropolis could have existed without the pumps needed to supply drinking water and void sewage.
Watt, Newcomen and Darby were all technologists, practical men of 18th century Britain, who didn't have science degrees, but were keenly interested in thhe scientific method.
If each and every economist since the time of Adam Smith had never existed, I doubt it would have made damndest difference to our present material circumstances.

Severn said...

Sorry, but I don't want social scientists to be able to predict peoples actions as accurately as the physical scientists do the actions of atoms. That's a project which cannot end well.

Anonymous said...

Economists often decry the 'fact' that their subject is 'so intensely confounded' by the 'literally millions upon millions of individual decisions made by relevant actors', that prediction is rendered virtually impossibly.
To that I say 'Balderdash'.
All financial transactions are merely little human decisions about 'Shall I spend that $5 on groceries or not?' - Nothing profound or deep there , just basic, workdaday mundane decisions that are as trivial as most people themselves.
On the other hand real scientist try to ponder the mysteries of the cell and the universe.Both 'arose' billions of years before such a thing as human consciousness or human logic ever came to be - both appear, at root, to be beyond the capabilities of human consciousness and logic to understand.

Anonymous said...

Jack Strocchi, the trouble is that at least half the economics profession loathe and revile Keynes.
Who is right?, Keynes or his enemies?
If there is any truth in economics, one half of the profession must have it absolutely, totally and completely wrong.
This could not happen in a science actually based on incontestable, non-trivial axioms.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Keynes macro-economic theory of fiscal policy - raise the deficit when aggregate demand slumps - is exactly the opposite of what intuition suggests, which is to cut government spending in order to balance the budget.

I've got an even better one: eliminate malinvestment by having a central committee of wise and good planners allocate capital according to need rather than consumer demand. Then we'll have the Soviet Union--er, heaven on earth.

If you didn't know already, Keynesian economics is following Marxist economics in to the maw of history. That common intuition the gnostic elites hold in such contempt has been evolving for millions of years--you should heed it.

Speaking of which, @ Mr. Pessimistic: it's called gnosticism. The liberal gnostic cult must always deny, subvert and endlessly attempt to deconstruct reality and its iron laws of physics, biology and economics in its quest for gnosis. The physical form, the material world are obstacles to be blown up en route to heaven on earth. Thus, for example, racial and gender differences, the law of scarcity, when, ultimately, they cannot be denied, must be condemned as artificial constructs blocking the path to perfect, ethereal gnosis. This animates their hatred for evil conservatives like Sailer who's always thinking forbidden thoughts like HBD, the supply-demand curve, etc. Solution: enact an open borders immigration policy, in which evil conservative Americans (Other White People) are replaced by a new people.

Anonymous said...

Just ever-so-slightly off-topic, but I was thinking about these two stories in the news last week:


Personality Set for Life By 1st Grade, Study Suggests
livescience.com – Fri Aug 6, 5:25 pm ET
news.yahoo.com

Our personalities stay pretty much the same throughout our lives, from our early childhood years to after we're over the hill, according to a new study. ... Using data from a 1960s study of approximately 2,400 ethnically diverse schoolchildren (grades 1 - 6) in Hawaii, researchers compared teacher personality ratings of the students with videotaped interviews of 144 of those individuals 40 years later...

Another Obama puzzle: 3rd grade in 2 countries?
Photo at Hawaii school doesn't line up with State Department info, registration
By Jerome R. Corsi
Posted: August 07, 2010 10:35 pm Eastern
wnd.com

The release of two sets of State Department documents through a Freedom of Information Act request has given new life to the puzzle of how Barack Obama could have attended third grade in Hawaii, as claimed by a classmate, while he has stated he was living in Indonesia at the time. The indication Obama attended third grade in 1969 at Noelani Elementary School in Honolulu comes from an old photograph made public by classmate Scott Inoue. The informal photo shows Obama and Inoue against a background of what appears to be Christmas drawings by schoolchildren posted on a classroom bulletin board... The State Department Freedom of Information Act documents establish Obama must have accompanied his mother in October 1967 when she flew on Japan Airlines to Jakarta, Indonesia... "In Indonesia, I had spent two years at a Muslim school, two years at the Catholic school, "Obama wrote on page 154 of his autobiography "Dreams from My Father," establishing he had been in Indonesia from 1968 to 1971, from the age of 6 until 10. Obama also wrote on pages 53-54 of "Dreams from My Father" that he traveled back from Indonesia alone late in 1971 to arrive in Honolulu before his father was scheduled to visit during Christmas and New Year's 1971.


And it dawned on me: Wouldn't it be fascinating if there were an extant "personality rating", with a young BHO II, either in late summer/early autumn of 1967, or, as Jerome Corsi indicates, sometime around Christmas of 1969?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the responses. What am I prepared to do besides whine here? Other than moving to Portland and sending my children to a private school?

I am a former Hillary Democrat. I don't claim to have any answers, but the Sailer Strategy and an immigration moratorium makes sense as a start. The ending of a racial spoils system is another. How do we get there? That I do not know.

Mr. Pessimistic

Anonymous said...

BTW, last week also saw the emergence of another very interesting new tidbit about little Barry Soetoro Dunham - in writing Dreams, not only was the 1969 visit to Hawaii omitted, but apparently William Ayers also forgot to mention that there was a third child in the Dunham household:

"Lia" Obama's Adopted Sister Died Suddenly
Posted on August 7, 2010 by bridgetteb
wtpotus.wordpress.com
freerepublic.com

You haven't heard of Lia? Neither had we. The unknown, until now, adopted sister of Barack Hussein Obama died unexpectedly February 26, 2010. The USA media didn't cover the story of this woman nor was her name found until the last few days...

More information from the article said that Lia stayed at the home of Lolo Soetoro (Obama's stepfather) and Ann Dunham Soetoro. If I understood the translation, one morning in 1966, Lia, age 7, ran away from home. She ended up at the house owned by Mrs. Siti Bogor. It happened that Mrs. Bogor was a maid who worked for Lolo Soetoro and Stanley Ann Dunham in Jakarta. At some point, Stanley Ann Dunham asked Mrs. Bogor if she could adopt Lia. The answer was yes.

She said she called Lolo and Ann, Mr. and Mrs Lolo Eny. In return, they called Lia "Non" a nickname for Nona. She said, "I was always called Non, but Barry called me Ma'am Non." When Lia lived with the Soetoros Maya hadn't been born yet, and Barry was living with his grandmother in Hawaii.

After living with Lolo and Ann for awhile, "Eny" [Annie] promised to give her a sister who would keep her company. Ann told her, "Stay well, I'll pick up your brother Barry." Two years later, Barry left Hawaii and went to Indonesia to live with Lolo, his mother, and Lia. Lia remembered that Obama was four years younger than she. She said that he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, August 4, 1961. Lia stated that Barry Obama went to school and got a basic education in Jakarta.

According to Lia, she and Barry were always together; they played, slept and bathed together. They traveled on vacations as a family as well. Several times they went to the summit, Yogyakarta, Bali, to the Land of Toraja (Sulawesi South), and the Bogor Botanical Gardens. They loved to travel...

D H Smith said...

We were promised jetpacks

Anonymous said...

On the science versus social science issue - just read the comment by Augustin de Iturbide (all true). Then consider some aspects of climatology. First of all it has until recently paid the least of the "hard" sciences and was the least hard - in the sense of requiring quantitative skills. Michael Mann himself admits he is not good with numbers. Old timers in these fields complain that the new kids entering these fields are just ideologues rather than scholars.

One way to understand global warming is to recognize that climatology is rapidly turning from being a science into being a social science. Climatologists, who like to exclude everyone who lacks their particular credentials from the debate, are rapidly becoming like those expert witnesses in the courtroom who have studied psychoanalysis or psycho-cybernetics or general semantics or a host of other pseudosciences. We know that global warming is a hot topic because what science there is, is going from hard towards soft.

For example the infamous hockey stick graph is a simple error obvious to anyone who looks at the formula for Principal Component Analysis. Wegman, the dean of American statisticians, testified before the US Congress that Mann had used the wrong formula. But the newspapers never print the math - simple as it is. Only soft sciences make good copy.

On the Schockley issue - don't trust anything he said around race. Unlike Jensen or Rushton he was not a serious researcher. He had a wicked sense of humor and loved to annoy the public. He was not a nice man either.

Finally what's with all this "game" nonsense. It seems to revolve around picking up women in bars. I drink but I never go to bars and never have. Yet I am pretty sure that I have had more women than anyone who posts here. All this discussion seems predicated on the fallacy that you can only meet women in a bar. Could this loony notion have been begun by bar owners?

In Italy they have some so called American bars, but not many. How did all those Italians reproduce for all those millennia without any bars? Do the Chinese have bars?

When I lived in San Francisco on Russian Hill there were the two biggest pick-up bars in the City just two blocks away. I tried them out but it was clear that they were very poor venues for the single man looking for action. The bar scene is a subset of a subset of places to meet women.

Getting a woman in a typical bar is like entering one of those "tough man" competitions - a poor way to act masculine.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Also slightly off-topic: A few days ago, I was speculating that Omar Thornton probably had an IQ no higher than about 90, but in his many different Teamsters jobs, was being asked to perform tasks which required an IQ out towards 105 or 110.

And today, the WSJ is running the following piece:


Some Firms Struggle to Hire Despite High Unemployment
by Mark Whitehouse
Monday, August 9, 2010
finance.yahoo.com
[original WSJ article here; Google News HTTP referrer here]

In Bloomington, Ill., machine shop Mechanical Devices can't find the workers it needs to handle a sharp jump in business. Job fairs run by airline Emirates attract fewer applicants in the U.S. than in other countries. Truck-stop operator Pilot Flying J says job postings don't elicit many more applicants than they did when the unemployment rate was below 5%.

With a 9.5% jobless rate and some 15 million Americans looking for work, many employers are inundated with applicants. But a surprising number say they are getting an underwhelming response, and many are having trouble filling open positions.

"This is as bad now as at the height of business back in the 1990s," says Dan Cunningham, chief executive of the Long-Stanton Manufacturing Co., a maker of stamped-metal parts in West Chester, Ohio, that has been struggling to hire a few toolmakers. "It's bizarre. We are just not getting applicants"...

Longer-term trends are at play. For one, the U.S. education system hasn't been producing enough people with the highly specialized skills that many companies, particularly in manufacturing, require to keep driving productivity gains. "There are a lot of people who are unemployed, but those aren't necessarily the people employers are looking for," says David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology...

Manufacturers of high-precision products such as automobile and aircraft parts are in a particularly tough spot. Global competition keeps them from raising wages much. But they need workers with the combination of math skills, intuition and stamina required to operate the computer-controlled metalworking machines that now dominate the factory floor.



Anyway, it sounds like the Chamber of Commerce is now discovering the folly of trying to replace athletic, IQ 110-120, skilled Caucasian workers with short, fat, IQ 75-85 unskilled illegal aliens.

Anonymous said...

I forgot who said it, but it really is true that the economist is a handmaiden of the state.

It is no coincidence that the massive surge in the popularity of economics coincided with the rise of welfare-statism, totalitarianism, and government engineering on an unprecedented scale witnessed during the 20th century.

concerned netizen said...

"That's because, according to Manzi, social scientists don't use the right methodology: experimentation."

No? Seems to me we've done nothing but experiment on human subjects in the last 60 years. Take home ownership. Take same-sex marriage.....

We Americans have a magical belief that an institution can change essential behavior patterns.

Just as George Bush believed that home ownership would change feckless people's behavior patterns, liberals believe that same-sex marriage will change the behavior of randy gay men.

As Harvey Milk said to Dan White, when White said to him that two men can't reproduce, "But that won't stop us from trying!"

Anonymous said...

Is Spearman's G-Factor theory really that non-trivial? In a way, most people are already aware of the fact that in general smarter people tend to be better at a host of cognitive tasks, just as more athletic people in general tend to be better at host of athletic endeavors

Noah said...

Where's my teleporter? Where's my faster-than-light starship? Where's my anti-gravity device? Where's my time machine?

Whine whine whine.

Your teleporter and your faster-than-light starship are too expensive. Your time machine was always impossible, we told you that.

As for your antigravity device, we're working on it, but you wouldn't want to use it because it would cause you to be flung out of the Earth's orbit.

Come on, man, we gave you lasers, pain rays, moon rockets, flying cars (if the govt. would let you buy one), jet packs, and absurdly good data storage, not to mention the aforementioned city-vaporizing asskickery. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT???

Anonymous said...

"social sciences tend to be very non-quantitative and subjective."

"Social" as a modifier is a negation, e.g.:

"social work" = not work
"social justice" = not justice

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the best example of the power of real science is medicine.Compare and contrast today's medicine and therapies to the days before 1700, wen the scientific method played no part in medicine.

----------

Modern medicine, aside from a few exceptions like childbirth, antibiotics and a limited number of surgical procedures, does much more harm than good. That includes virtually all drugs, which interfere and destroy biochemical pathways and most surgical procedures, most of which are useless. John Adams lived to be 91.

nooffensebut said...

I sort of like the sentiment of Steve, but I prefer the E.O. Wilson Armageddon that hard science will swallow all soft science. I am really excited about and plan to write a blog-essay about the January Beaver et al study on genetic black violence, which is a much more hard-science-available subject than the elusive genetics of IQ. They came up with a genetic index based on just 5 genes that achieved better statistical significance than childhood mother-son relationships in predicting adult male violence. Imagine an assortment of complex behaviors somewhat accurately predicted by a series of progressively complex genetic algorithms. Twin studies will be like Pong.

helene edwards said...

In the U.S., there's really only one question - race. But social science hasn't even attempted to ask, let alone answer, the important questions: Isn't it possible that everyone got over color qua color somewhere around 1980? Ever think of modifying your speech patterns and "cool" presentation? Why not? Why does there have to be an "authentic" and inauthentic way of "being black." Isn't it true that you weren't stopped by the cops yesterday, or last week, or last month, or anytime last year? Why do we have to keep pretending about this? C'mon SS, it's real easy.

Truth(er) said...

Manufacturers of high-precision products such as automobile and aircraft parts are in a particularly tough spot. Global competition keeps them from raising wages much. But they need workers with the combination of math skills, intuition and stamina required to operate the computer-controlled metalworking machines that now dominate the factory floor.

Right. They can't find anyone to work for the $10/hr.

Anonymous said...

I've heard about that exchange myself several times, the first time was it was Stanislaw Ulam challenging the integrity of economics and social sciences in general, the second time I heard it it was theoretical physicist Steve Weinberg.

Anyway, I doubt anyone outside of the "London School" of psychometrics would be touting the G-factor, most American social scientists and psychologists in general want nothing to do with it because well that's just not a nice way to view "diversity". Sad to say but I wonder if that particular viewpoint will even still be around in 25-30 years. Social science has become increasingly ideologically hidebound over the last few decades.

Edward said...

Commentators seem to think the only social science subject that exists is economics.

Yet economics must be the most difficult social science to trace regularities because technological inventions keep altering the institutional actors, the scale of action, and rate at which phenomena occur, all of which are affected by randomness, such as wars, environmental limits, and Acts of God.

Nobody has mentioned laws that may exist in other social sciences. How about political science?

1. The Law of Partisan Inheritance: 80% of children grow up to vote for the same political party their parents did?

2. Putnam's Law: Multicultural communities are lower trust than monocultural communities.

3. When resources are distributed equally among actors outcomes are more unpredictable when resources are monopolised.

How about history? The insights of Ibn Khaldun and Spengler. Kipling!

How about geography? The geopolitics of Mackinder and Thayer Mayhan.

There are regularities everywhere. Someone with a little imagination could come up with a more extensive list.

Truth(er) said...

Physics works because it is simple (not simplistic.) It is a lucky accident of nature that the entire universe seems to operate as an expression of a small number of independent variables. This simplicity is what gives the hard sciences their hardness.

In contrast, the social sciences have to deal with dozens or hundreds of variables that all get in the way of each other in unpredictable ways. It's a much more difficult problem.

greenrivervalleyman said...


I've got an even better one: eliminate malinvestment by having a central committee of wise and good planners allocate capital according to need rather than consumer demand. Then we'll have the Soviet Union--er, heaven on earth.


Anti-Gnostic beats me to the punch. I watched Reds again recently, which got me nostalgic about Communism and the Cold War, which then prompted me to download Betrand Russell's The Theory and Practice of Bolshevism, written live from Russia as the revolution was unfolding. While Russell ultimately disavows Bolshevism, Mr. Principia Mathmetica is absolutely convinced that the rational planning methods of socialism will lead to greater prosperity than capitalism, which obviously wastes scare resources through the creation of redundant competing products.

Or how about:

Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong. -- Ronald Reagan

(And if that doesn't pass non-obvious muster, take a look at all the foreign policy editorials in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 1980-1991. Quick- what has 10 legs, an IQ of 800, and 0 correct national security positions... )

Big Red One said...

Any science that comes under political and ideological pressure turns less scientific, even fraudulent. Physics under Nazis wouldn't allow 'Jewish physics'. Biology under Stalinism led to Lysenkoism.
If we had to live under Fundamentalist Christian theocracy, we'd have creationism for life sciences.
There was a time when even saying the Earth revolved around the sun could get one in big trouble. But with the ebbing away of religious power, there was greater freedom for hard sciences.

The secular religion of the modern age is egalitarianism. For some, it is a nice ideal, not necessarily a fact, but for dogmatists it must be a fact. Instead of trying to accomodate the ideal into the real world, they try to squeeze and fit the real world into the ideal.

But there have also been far-rightist social sciences along neo-Nazi lines where everything is determined by race or biology, usually with one race being superior to others in everything. Notice that we still have white supremacist types who insist that whites are smarter than blacks but will never admit blacks are better athletes. Or they'll say Jewish power and wealth are entirely owing to social networking and higher Jewish IQ. So, there's bullshit to be found all around.

Generally speaking though, an egalitarian who wants all people to be seen and treated equally comes across as a nobler, friendlier, nicer, more generous, fair-minded, pleasant and confident person than someone who espouses racial differences. Those who say 'my race can beat up or outwit your race' come across as arrogant, hostile, and mean-spirited while those who say 'your race can outwit and beat up my race' comes across as resentful, inadequate, and lacking in confidence.
From a young age, we are told to be confident but not to show off. Those who speak of racial differences often appear either lacking in confidence or as being haughty/arrogant OR BOTH--oftentimes, supremacism is a mask for inferioritism. Notice the worst elements of the black community gravitate to Nation of Islam, and your average neo-Nazi is a white loser looking something to cling to for pride.

Of course, equality is a falsehood in real terms, but it's a myth we all like to cling to, if only to get along in public.
I'm sure that even HBD people would not want to discuss racial differences at a party full of people. Suppose you're talking with Jewish parents, Asian parents, and black parents. Do you wanna say "Hey Jew, I'll bet your kid has a better chance of going Harvard than the kids of that black guy. But, don't worry, Mr. Negro, because your kid could probably kick ass in school and succeed in sports. You Asians work hard but lack charisma, so you'll do fine as an office drone but don't expect to be a leader."

Big Red One said...

It's much nicer to talk about how wonderful everyone's kid is and how they all have a good chance at success in life. And in multi-racial schools, teachers have to pretend as though all kids could do well if they try hard enough. No teacher, even a HBD one, has the guts to say--even if there were no PC repercussions--something like, "okay, let's face facts. Studies show that most of you black and brown kids aint gonna amount to much due to low IQ. So, unless you happen to be exceptionally bright, don't waste too much trying to go to law school if you're black or brown."
It may be true but it just doesn't sound nice, and we don't hurt people's feelings. It's like we look down on good-looking women who say to ugly ones, "I'm beautiful and guys love me, you're ugly and no one wants you." It may be 100% true, but it's mean. We like to praise the superior but we don't wanna make a big deal about the inferior. Rather, we wanna tell the inferior--most people--that they or their children can also aspire to be part of the superior. It makes everyone feel good, and capitalism is about selling happiness, not truth. If a fat ugly woman goes to a beauty salon and has no chance of looking any better, the beautician isn't gonna say, 'Gosh, you're ugly-mugly. No amount of work is gonna make you look any better, girlfriend'. No, she's gonna say, 'oh, look at your hair now. Isn't that lovely?' I should know as I used to work at a beauty salon.

Outside ideological dogmatism, there is the matter of PERSONAL PRIDE among scientists, indeed all of them. The difference is there can be enough evidence in hard science that FORCES the scientists with false theories to swallow their hurtful pride whereas there's SO MUCH data in social sciences that even people with wrong theories--and enraged pride and personal grudges--can indefinitely look for OTHER reasons and explanations.
You can prove that the universe is not filled with ether, and even scientists angered by this finding--and disgraced by the discovery--will have to accept the hard data. But, one can always find more data and different correlations in social sciences and thus continue assuage one's hurt pride.
As in debates and games, competition in sciences often comes down not so much to WHAT but WHO is right. It becomes PERSONAL.
Even in hard sciences, before the smoking gun evidence finally came forth to force detractors to accept, much of the discourse is bitter, angry, and personal.

http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/personal-cold-fusion-reactor-invention-lenr/Content?oid=2165464

Lot of distrust, vitriol, intolerance, and even paranoia among hard sciences in the article above.

So, it's not much that social scientists are worse or more ignoble than hard scientists. It's that they have more to lean on, distort, and manipulate when their theories don't work. If you tell a Marxist that communism failed, he will say it wasn't real communism in Russia and China. He will say Marx's prophecy will come true in the future.
Of course, it must be said that since social sciences are often political and moral, there is bound to be more personal bias.
But competition of any kind is bound to be personal. There is nothing political or moral about whether Coke is better than Pepsi or vice versa or which team will win the Superbowl or World Series, but everyone gets all worked up. Whenever people wanna outdo others and lay claim to something great, it becomes personal.

David said...

Education is the solution to everything.

And yet, looking at the world today, we see that education has not brought us to utopia as yet.

Therefore, there must be something wrong with our current teaching methodologies. And racism is probably undermining same!

An analogy would be this: We know that communism is the solution to everything.

And yet, collective agriculture has not delivered us from famine as yet.

Therefore, there must be something wrong with our current agricultural theories. And wreckers (or seventy years of bad weather) are probably undermining same!

No one consequential (even the people publicized as iconoclasts) often questions the first premises of the social sciences.

Maybe communism doesn't work.

Maybe education doesn't solve everything.

But to challenge the "starting point" is to mess with most people's religions, faiths, and emotional (aka "moral") commitments.

Now let me propose (well, repeat) something "premise-challenging." In the bowels of Christ, as they used to say, please consider this possibility.

What if stupid can't be fixed and the surest way of improvement is not education, but eugenics?

These days this speculation is, of course, always drowned in the bathtub before it utters a cry.

Oh well, let's sink another x billion dollars into Education!

James Kabala said...

I think One-Note Whiskey proves that Sailer's Theory of Female Journalists applies to some men as well.

Also, it's hilarious how he finds one leftist female celebrity who defends Mel Gibson and concludes that this one comment somehow negates the heaps of invective dumped on Gibson from all directions.

Severn said...

Notice that we still have white supremacist types who insist that whites are smarter than blacks but will never admit blacks are better athletes. Or they'll say Jewish power and wealth are entirely owing to social networking and higher Jewish IQ.



Uh .. so what are Jewish power and wealth actually owing to then?

Severn said...

There was a time when even saying the Earth revolved around the sun could get one in big trouble.


Oh? Can you you elaborate on this?

It's remarkable how long-lasting memes can be. This particular bit of nonsense got started back when the Protestants were engaged in their propaganda war with the Catholics, several centuries ago. The myth of the Spanish Inquisition being exceptionally bloodthirsty and barbaric got started at the same time and is still going strong today.

There's a field for the social scientists to study.

Anonymous said...

"The Whiskey-esque he man women haters who congregate on HBD boards are way too impressed with Mystery and "game." Some female friends of mine from work were at a bar when the man they called "that douchebag with goggles" came in with his entourage and started using game on them. They laughed in his face. The problem with essentially fooling people into thinking you're someone you're not is that they eventually get wise and develop countermeasures."


Exactly.....normal girls laugh in these weirdos' faces.... I've seen it and been embarrassed for them.... although some of the concepts can help pussy boys keep their girls

Dan in DC

Isabel said...

"They came up with a genetic index based on just 5 genes that achieved better statistical significance than childhood mother-son relationships in predicting adult male violence."

WTF? How is this impressive? You're blaming male violence on women now?

Truth said...

How about a new take on the "game" debate:

If a man spends five years intensively studying something; be it basketball, guitar, physics, ballroom dancing, etc., spends money at seminars, subscribes to newsletters, reads books and practices, won't he be better than he was when he started?

i am the walrus said...

Any science that comes under political and ideological pressure turns less scientific, even fraudulent.

Which, of course, means all science. Dostoyevsky predicted, as early as 1872, that the Enlightenment would inevitably lead to the Demonic 20th century. You got to give Dostoyevsky a point or two for getting that prediction correct, because it turned out to be a century full of death and destruction.

ATBOTL said...

"Some Firms Struggle to Hire Despite High Unemployment"

We constantly see articles like this in the media, especially the "business" media. They are nothing more than propaganda put out by industry to facilitate lower wages, immigration and outsourcing.

nooffensebut said...

Isabel said:

"WTF? How is this impressive? You're blaming male violence on women now?"

How is it not impressive to predict behavior with gene combinations? The most significant finding was that the combination of a genetic index and the quality of mother-son relationships predicted violence. I knew that lesbianism was a feminist posture, but I had no idea that feminism had progressed to the point of discounting motherhood, too.

Anonymous said...

But Truth, you've been reading Steve for five years, and you still haven't learned a damned thing.

Anonymous said...

Anti-Gnostic: Voegelin didn't have a clue what actual Gnostics believed, and his attempt to foist the word on to modern political movements is a rhetorical clusterf_ck.

"Immanentizing the eschaton" is PRECISELY the one thing no historical (ie, real, actual) Gnostic would ever try to do, because it could not be done by definition (which is why Gnostics did not believe that Christ was a real, in the flesh, person, on earth).

It was the literalist (anti-Gnostic) hylic Christians who were/are always in danger of falling into Joachimitism or Millenarianism, not the Gnostics, who by definition did not believe it was possible to do any of this kind of literalist "heaven on earth" nonsense.

Modern secular leftists are trying to "immanentizing the eschaton" because they are following modern secular forms of Millenarianism, and NOT Gnosticism. If they were Gnostic the last thing they would bother with was politics! This is why the real Gnostics were wiped out by the hylic Church: the Gnostics weren't willing to do evil in order to gain power in an evil world. Doing so would have demonstrated that their gnosis was false and that they were creatures of this world, and not able to escape from it, which was their real goal.

Gnostics trying to escape from this world to the true, higher realm of God had no interest in trying to bring heaven down to earth - that was a hylic obsession; no true Gnostic would abide such a notion as that!

Voegelin's "gnostic" is a completely useless category, a mere swear word not much better than "fascist" or "communist"; from the wiki:

***He defined gnosis as "a purported direct, immediate apprehension or vision of truth without the need for critical reflection; the special gift of a spiritual and cognitive elite."[2]***

This sounds EXACTLY like the Catholic/Orthodox Church, and its claims. It's precisely the claim made by every prophet and holy man that ever lived. There's nothing in that definition that is specific to Gnosticism, at all.

More from same:

***Gnosticism is a "type of thinking that claims absolute cognitive mastery of reality. Relying as it does on a claim to gnosis, gnosticism considers its knowledge not subject to criticism.***

Well, that sounds EXACTLY like every form of fundamentalist religion I've ever heard of. Not a very useful definition, at all.

More:

***Gnosticism may take transcendentalizing (as in the case of the Gnostic movement of late antiquity) or immanentizing forms (as in the case of Marxism)."[3]***

So even Voegelin realized (but not admit) that his bullsh!t definition of "gnosticism" has no actual relationship, at all, to actual, historic gnosticism. He's simply trying to tie the two together on the "all of my enemies are alike" school of thought. So, Gnosticism is all about "immanentizing the eschaton" EXCEPT for actual, historical, REAL Gnosticism, which was nothing of the kind - the exact opposite, in fact.

Voegelin: learned idiot. Just because he didn't like ancient Gnosticism for religious reasons does not mean that Gnosticism is in any way tied to modern political movements.

There has always been a very strong (but usually unacknowledged) desire to "immanentize the eschaton" in mainstream, historical, orthodox, catholic Christianity which has nothing to do with Gnosticism, and never did.

This Christian Millenarian tendency has evolved into a secular religion in many forms today; its millenarian impulse is the exact opposite impulse of ancient Gnosticism. These secular religions are a disease of Christendom, and have nothing to do with Gnosticism.

Anonymous said...

"Physicists realized their greatest accomplishment 65 years ago. They've been coasting since then. Most physicists working today have not added anything to humanity's wealth of knowledge."

You're a tool. Go and read up on what physicists have been doing for the past 65 years. I assure you it's a lot more than you think. I mean, seriously: anyone watching PBS science programs knows better than that. Cosmic background radiation? Black holes? Black matter? Black energy? Cosmic hyper-expansion? Cosmic inflation? Hello? Hello? Bueller?

Anonymous said...

"There was a time when even saying the Earth revolved around the sun could get one in big trouble.


Oh? Can you you elaborate on this?"


Ah, you really must stop believing in all the tripe the Catholic propagandists feed you.

Why do you think Copernicus didn't publish while he was alive? Because he wanted to STAY alive.

And please don't give us that tired old Catholic apologetic crap that Galileo wasn't punished for heliocentrism; Al Capone was jailed for tax evasion, not gangsterism, but we all know that there is more than one way to skin a cat, and there were plenty of powerful Churchmen at the time who wanted to suppress heliocentrism - directly or indirectly, as the politics of the time permitted.

"It's remarkable how long-lasting memes can be. This particular bit of nonsense got started back when the Protestants were engaged in their propaganda war with the Catholics, several centuries ago."

Just because Protestants said it does not mean it wasn't true. You can learn all of a religion's bad points by asking someone of a rival religion. They keep score on each other.

"The myth of the Spanish Inquisition being exceptionally bloodthirsty and barbaric got started at the same time and is still going strong today."

Myth? How do you define 'exceptionally bloodthirsty and barbaric'? Compared to what? The Inquisition was par for the course in Christian history up to that time, yes, but that's setting the bar exceptionally LOW.

"There's a field for the social scientists to study."

Yes the lies Christians tell about each other is an interesting topic. The truths they tell about each other - even more interesting.

Anonymous said...

"Which, of course, means all science. Dostoyevsky predicted, as early as 1872, that the Enlightenment would inevitably lead to the Demonic 20th century. You got to give Dostoyevsky a point or two for getting that prediction correct, because it turned out to be a century full of death and destruction."

Uh, the 20th century may have been "demonic", but its science was certainly not less scientific or fraudulent. Its science worked all too well. The death toll would have been a lot lower had the science been significantly stunted by politics.

Of course, life was a lot better in the 20th century, too, thanks to that science. Everyone is welcome to join Dostoyevsky in cursing the Enlightenment and rolling around in the mud and muck of "faith" if they like, but few I think will choose to join him in practice (whatever they may say in terms of their beliefs).

James Kabala said...

Copernicus dedicated his book to the Pope. He expected criticism, but there is no sign he feared prosecution for heresy. Although it is true that he did not publish until shortly before his death, he had openly discussed the work with friends and colleagues, who included many priests and even one of the previous Popes.

After publication, both Catholics and Protestants read his book with interest and occasionally criticized it, but there was no organized movement against it until after Galileo.

Svigor said...

"Which, of course, means all science. Dostoyevsky predicted, as early as 1872, that the Enlightenment would inevitably lead to the Demonic 20th century [...] a century full of death and destruction."

Uh, the 20th century may have been "demonic", but its science was certainly not less scientific or fraudulent. Its science worked all too well. The death toll would have been a lot lower had the science been significantly stunted by politics.


The trend for some time has been toward increasing lethality of weaponry and decreasing lethality of conflict. At least, according to what I read. Higher tech means better offense, defense, and more precision.

l said...

You're a tool. Go and read up on what physicists have been doing for the past 65 years. I assure you it's a lot more than you think. I mean, seriously: anyone watching PBS science programs knows better than that. Cosmic background radiation? Black holes? Black matter? Black energy? Cosmic hyper-expansion? Cosmic inflation? Hello? Hello? Bueller?

Nova fan boy cites a bunch of fantasy stuff. Anything of any real importance?

ITriedtobeaCynic said...

"The Inquisition was par for the course in Christian history up to that time, yes, but that's setting the bar exceptionally LOW."

I like your position but the Christian churches could always be worse than you thought. The SI was a pretty bad scene, but it was a sideshow compared to the European witch-mania of the same period. We've all heard of the Salem witch hunt, but that was small-time compared with what happened in Europe, or parts of it. It was uneven across Europe. England hanged, but not very many, while Scotland burned more. The Netherlands and Ireland had no witch mania, while the Swiss were quite keen, as was France. I don't know of it in Orthodox countries, and of course there was none in the Ottoman empire.I don't see any pattern there myself.
Now to see how PC we are about European nations: which country, not then a single nation-state, burned more people as witches, by a factor of between 10 and 100, than all the rest of Europe put together? Which people would you guess, based on their more recent history?

CuChulainn said...

A big problem with social sciences (ignoring the blatantly obvious descent into PC/communist hell, to their everlasting shame), is that the social sciences are often limited to observations and correlational studies instead of the true experimental studies that can be carried out in the hard sciences. A biologist has the freedom to do nearly everything under the sun to study a physiological response in fruit flies, but a psychologist is not free to inflict extreme duress day in and day out to a child while it is growing up to see what can induce schizophrenia. He is often (but not always) limited to relying on ways to get his data like self-reports, which can be incredibly biased and may be limited in how representative a sample he can get for observations, compared to the fruit fly biologist.