Are Some Ideas Too Dangerous to Discuss?

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In a fascinating op/ed, Harvard cognitive scientist, Steven Pinker, lists a number of taboo ideas that have been soundly denounced by various people. To wit:

Do women, on average, have a different profile of aptitudes and emotions than men?

Were the events in the Bible fictitious—not just the miracles, but those involving kings and empires?

Has the state of the environment improved in the last 50 years?

Do most victims of sexual abuse suffer no lifelong damage?

Did Native Americans engage in genocide and despoil the landscape?

Do men have an innate tendency to rape?

Did the crime rate go down in the 1990s because two decades earlier poor women aborted children who would have been prone to violence?

Are suicide terrorists well-educated, mentally healthy and morally driven?

Would the incidence of rape go down if prostitution were legalized?

Do African-American men have higher levels of testosterone, on average, than white men?

Is morality just a product of the evolution of our brains, with no inherent reality?

Would society be better off if heroin and cocaine were legalized?

Is homosexuality the symptom of an infectious disease?

Would it be consistent with our moral principles to give parents the option of euthanizing newborns with birth defects that would consign them to a life of pain and disability?

Do parents have any effect on the character or intelligence of their children?

Have religions killed a greater proportion of people than Nazism?

Would damage from terrorism be reduced if the police could torture suspects in special circumstances?

Would Africa have a better chance of rising out of poverty if it hosted more polluting industries or accepted Europe's nuclear waste?

Is the average intelligence of Western nations declining because duller people are having more children than smarter people?

Would unwanted children be better off if there were a market in adoption rights, with babies going to the highest bidder?

Would lives be saved if we instituted a free market in organs for transplantation?

Should people have the right to clone themselves, or enhance the genetic traits of their children?

Pinker suggests that many readers will be appalled by some of these questions. I personally find most of them interesting. He continues:

By "dangerous ideas" I don't have in mind harmful technologies, like those behind weapons of mass destruction, or evil ideologies, like those of racist, fascist or other fanatical cults. I have in mind statements of fact or policy that are defended with evidence and argument by serious scientists and thinkers but which are felt to challenge the collective decency of an age. The ideas listed above, and the moral panic that each one of them has incited during the past quarter century, are examples. Writers who have raised ideas like these have been vilified, censored, fired, threatened and in some cases physically assaulted.

While people of good will can disagree, I believe that there are no dangerous truths. It is always better to know than to remain ignorant. For the sake of argument, Pinker entertains the notion that some ideas may, indeed, be too dangerous to air publicly. Why? Perhaps because malevolent people may seize on the ideas to justify harming other people or groups. He also properly urges us to be "suspicious when the danger in a dangerous idea is to someone other than its advocate."

But in the end, Pinker concludes:

Though I am more sympathetic to the argument that important ideas be aired than to the argument that they should sometimes be suppressed, I think it is a debate we need to have. Whether we like it or not, science has a habit of turning up discomfiting thoughts, and the Internet has a habit of blowing their cover.

I am very proud to say that reason does not shy away from taboo topics such as, organ transplant markets, legalizing drugs, the improving natural environment, economic development in Africa, and genetic enhancement, to name a few. 

Whole Pinker op/ed here. reason's 2002 interview with Pinker here.

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  1. How about this one I had with some coworkers:

    What interest does the state have in prosecuting Michael Vick? Are dogs property that people should be allowed to do as they please with (assuming no one else is harmed)?

  2. He forgot, “Is sounding with cinammon toothpicks is a healthy pleasure?” I forgive him though.

  3. Would damage from terrorism be reduced if the police could torture suspects in special circumstances?

    This is a taboo question? 80% of self-identifying Republicans argue for it. Publicly. On blogs and shit.

  4. Reading that list, it seems to me that almost all of those questions have been discussed in the public realm, although admittedly many of them would not be questions you’d ask in polite company.

    Ironically, however, Pinker avoids truly taboo questions in favor of somewhat taboo ones.

    And while Mr. Bailey is correct that Reason admirably is willing to confront sticky issues, try suggesting around here that communism is better than capitalism or that the government has a moral duty to help people who don’t want to be helped.

  5. For a Playboy fan site heavily influenced by Pinker, click here.

    Or is blogwhoring taboo here?

  6. ideas that have been soundly denounced by various people.

    Well there’s certainly nothing wrong with denoucing ideas. The problem comes when we prohibit discussing certain ideas. I’m all the way free speech on this one. I reject the assertion that there are ideas that are “too dangerouse”. Though I will concede that most of my fellow humans are educated somewhat less than your average squirrel, and do quite a bit of damage with the ideas they have. As always the answer to bad speech is more speech.

  7. Dan,

    Isn’t that cross getting a little heavy?

  8. Edit: I missed this quote when I posted my first comment:

    By “dangerous ideas” I don’t have in mind harmful technologies, like those behind weapons of mass destruction, or evil ideologies, like those of racist, fascist or other fanatical cults.

    In other words, Pinker is admitting that some ideas are too dangerous to consider. He’s just wondering why we don’t all agree with him as to what those are.

  9. x y,as an avid hunter and dog trainer I would have to say yes dogs are property.Many a time I have sent my labs on birds that were wounded by a shot and killed them by field dressing while they were alive.I don’t condone and am sickened by dog fighting yet still I believe animals have no rights.I have sent my dogs into bone chilling water and dangerous situations fo the sake of a goose for dinner.

  10. try suggesting around here that communism is better than capitalism or that the government has a moral duty to help people who don’t want to be helped.

    When non-trolls do this, we give them a reading list.

    “Shut up you fucking troll” is not the same as prohibiting a line of discussion.

  11. 9/11 was an inside job.

  12. Should freedom of speech be suspended because I don’t like what you have to say?

  13. My “Upper Level Writing Requirement Paper” (I really wish my law school would just say dissertation) argued in favor of a free market or reduced regulation in organ transplantation and, rather than being vilified or censored, I received an above average grade from professors who work in health care. It seems it is not a forbidden topic.

    I took far more grief for arguing that “drug addicts” can, in fact, control their use if they so choose.

  14. try suggesting around here that communism is better than capitalism or that the government has a moral duty to help people who don’t want to be helped.

    When non-trolls do this, we give them a reading list.

    “Shut up you fucking troll” is not the same as prohibiting a line of discussion.

    I couldn’t have scripted that one any better.

  15. How can an open, liberal culture maintain itself in the face of a growing populace of immigrants or converts who oppose openness and liberalism? (The “Pim Fortuyn” question.)

    Is polyamory/polygamy a threat to peace? (The theory being, in a polygamous society, some men get “more than their share” of women, leaving other men frustrated and single — and these men become more prone to violence.)

    Improved medical treatment allows people with severe genetic disorders to survive and reproduce. So what?

    It appears that there’s a strong genetic predilection to addictive behavior: if you’re not the sort of person who’s capable of becoming a drug addict, then even if you took cocaine or heroin, you won’t become an addict. So, why ban even “hard” drugs? Junkies are junkies by nature: if they didn’t do heroin they would become drunks — and a heroin junkie is less dangerous and more capable of working than a wino is.

  16. [i]Reading that list, it seems to me that almost all of those questions have been discussed in the public realm, although admittedly many of them would not be questions you’d ask in polite company.[/i]

    Errrr… that would be the definition of taboo.

    [I]Ironically, however, Pinker avoids truly taboo questions in favor of somewhat taboo ones.[/I]

    You don’t out much, do you? Suggest that Jesus didn’t raise Lazarus from the dead or that prostitution ought to be legal, you’re going to be branded a pariah; no ifs, ands, or buts.

    [i]And while Mr. Bailey is correct that Reason
    admirably is willing to confront sticky issues, try suggesting around here that communism is better than capitalism or that the government has a moral duty to help people who don’t want to be helped.[/i]

    Tu quoque much?

  17. The argument that the crime rate went down in the 1990s because abortions were more readily available has been discussed briefly on the Fourth Turning forums. They note that crime rates historically have peaked as the equivalent in period of the sex-drugs-rock’n’roll generation’s last wave comes of age, and then starts declining. Long story as to the mechanisms involved, but it’s happened before and will again regardless of laws unique to this period. Child rearing practices play a large part in this. Not to mention that the rates of common crime have dropped during our three huge Crisis wars: the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II. You tell me.

    However, maybe it’s a taboo subject and maybe not, but it was a chapter in “Freakonomics” which has had fairly successful sales. Taboo all the way to the bank?

  18. I asked my coworkers what the moral distinction between foie gras (how it’s made) and dog fighting was. Neither had a good answer.

  19. Answers, please!
    Mr Bailey, I expect answers!

    Brian Sorgatz (if that is your real name),
    Blog-whoring is perfectly acceptable here. At URKOBOLD, your one stop shop for trolling, a sort of “Troll Central,” on the other hand, we reward/punish it with “The Works.” (The Works includes a taint bleaching and taint chomping, order to be determined.)

    That’s URKOBOLD, urkobold.blogspot.com.

    Visit us today!

    Bookmark it!

  20. try suggesting around here that communism is better than capitalism…

    Go ahead and try, Dan. Go right the fuck ahead. You’ll be laughed at, spit on, and perhaps even referred to the megatons of historical evidence that soundly excoriates such a fucking stupid idea. And you might even get a few stories about how communism has killed hundreds of millions of people, not to mention impoverished the ones lucky enough to survive.
    And then, after your ass is bleeding, you’ll be asked to apologize to the victims of communism all over the world.

  21. So, Pinker is saying that we need to debate what ideas we’re allowed to debate? And we’re debating whether we should debate on that idea?

    My head hurts.

  22. Is homosexuality the symptom of an infectious disease?

    Huh??

    Hey ma i got the flu…so i am gay now.

    This i weird…not taboo…but you know the others ones i have actually heard about.

  23. “try suggesting around here that communism is better than capitalism”

    I know some guys had a peer-reviewed, 74-year study to try to figure that out. Anybody catch how it turned out?


  24. Errrr… that would be the definition of taboo.

    Right, and I acknowledged that his questions were somewhat taboo, but hardly unmentionable.


    You don’t out much, do you? Suggest that Jesus didn’t raise Lazarus from the dead or that prostitution ought to be legal, you’re going to be branded a pariah; no ifs, ands, or buts.

    It depends on the audience I suppose. But holding unpopular opinions generally doesn’t get you thrown into the leper colony – at least not these kinds of unpopular ones.

  25. Niedermann’s Quandary clearly states that the taboo question under discussion is rendered, by the discussion – indeed through logical extension of its constituent parts – to the taboo-ness of the subject, whereby the speech acts committed by the conversants taking part in the taboo discussion transcend the actual very nature of the grammatical programming of the situation.

  26. Go ahead and try, Dan. Go right the fuck ahead. You’ll be laughed at, spit on, and perhaps even referred to the megatons of historical evidence that soundly excoriates such a fucking stupid idea. And you might even get a few stories about how communism has killed hundreds of millions of people, not to mention impoverished the ones lucky enough to survive.
    And then, after your ass is bleeding, you’ll be asked to apologize to the victims of communism all over the world.

    Ah, but you’re guilty two fallacies: assuming that the game is over when it’s just begun and assuming that poor implentation of an idea is the same as a bad idea.

  27. Niedermann’s Quandary clearly states that the taboo question under discussion is rendered, by the discussion – indeed through logical extension of its constituent parts – to the taboo-ness of the subject, whereby the speech acts committed by the conversants taking part in the taboo discussion transcend the actual very nature of the grammatical programming of the situation.

    I’ve got to meet this Neidermann guy…

  28. This just in…

    Pinker has never read The National Review, nor watched FOX news.

  29. try suggesting around here that communism is better than capitalism or that the government has a moral duty to help people who don’t want to be helped.

    In Dan T’s eyes any decent from these “truths” is the equivalent of censorship.

    I really don’t see how discussing these vary subjects in nearly every article equates to taboo subjects.

  30. … assuming that the poor implementation of an idea is the same as a bad idea

    Name one successful “implementation” of communist ideology.
    I’ll be over here with my Slinky.

  31. “I believe animals have no rights.I have sent my dogs into bone chilling water and dangerous situations for the sake of a goose for dinner.”

    What does that have to do with anything?

    I don’t see what’s so unreasonable about according more intelligent and social animals some limited rights against wanton physical and psychological abuse. And I don’t see why the fact that you’ll willingly dole it out is relevant to the question. All that proves is what you are personally willing to do, not what should or shouldn’t be legal.

  32. highnumber,

    Can you tell me more about this Urkobold of which you speak?

  33. Let’s take a moment of silence for all of those who deliberately raise provocative questions, only to have people loudly disagree with them.

    Trolls, you are not forgotten!

  34. Niedermann was quite the fellow.

    As you probably know, Schr?der’s Dilemma was the original “ur spring” of his impressive body of work.

    When he began exploring corollaries to the lemma, he discovered, as was clearly outlined in his treatise Romana Casa di Screed that led to the impressive Deine Mutti ist eine schmutzige Schlampe.

    Here he expounds in a didactic, yet unopposing manner, the exact nominal frictions under which the taboo generates its awkward shunning power.

  35. I wish there was a site of some sort where aspiring trolls, such as those who frequent Hit & Run, could visit in order to hone their trolling skills.

    Anybody know of such a place?

  36. How does it feel to be an asshole, Neidermann?
    Oops, that’s Neidermeyer.

  37. Shut the hell up, joe!

  38. In Dan T’s eyes any decent from these “truths” is the equivalent of censorship.

    I really don’t see how discussing these vary subjects in nearly every article equates to taboo subjects.

    Who’s saying anything about censorship? I’m just pointing out that what’s taboo tends to depend on the audience – we all have certain viewpoints that are so strongly held that we refuse to even consider that the alternative view has any merit.

    I should know – you learn a lot by trolling.

  39. “Is homosexuality the symptom of an infectious disease?”

    I’ve never heard of this before.

  40. Are you sure you don’t mean URKELBOLD?

  41. I wish there was a site of some sort where aspiring trolls, such as those who frequent Hit & Run, could visit in order to hone their trolling skills.

    Anybody know of such a place?

    You could always learn straight from the master

  42. In other words, Pinker is admitting that some ideas are too dangerous to consider. He’s just wondering why we don’t all agree with him as to what those are.

    You are right. (Is that breaking a taboo?)

  43. Men do have a tendancy to rape, but our morality changes this urge for sexual reporduction into a forced act upon a female. Animal species ‘rape’ each other all in the name of procreation. I believe we are just following the same path.

  44. Does corn syrup cause diabetes more than cane sugar?

    Does the sun rotate around the Earth just as much as the Earth rotates around the sun?

    Are oligopolies substantially as bad as monopolies?

    Is HIV a passenger virus?

    Was flight 93 shot down or WTC7 intentional demolished?

  45. And while Mr. Bailey is correct that Reason admirably is willing to confront sticky issues, try suggesting around here that communism is better than capitalism

    Is this really an attempt to make some kind of point?? You’re kidding right? As long as you’re grasping, why not try this one,

    “And while Mr. Bailey is correct that Reason admirably is willing to confront sticky issues, try suggesting around here that slavery was better than emancipation”

    Or how about,

    “And while Mr. Bailey is correct that Reason admirably is willing to confront sticky issues, try suggesting around here that Hitler wasn’t really all that bad.”

    I suspect given the moral philosophy of most of those around here, and the empirical evidence, if you made any of those claims you’d rightly be denounced as an idiot or a troll (or likely both).

    The difference that your pathetic attempt to score a cheap point misses is that the kind of idea Pinker is talking about has at least some supporting evidence from a non-crackpot advocate. However, the claim (not that is is necessarily true, of course) is such that discussing it tends to be shunned by many people for reasons not related to the actual research or facts. In your ridiculous example, not only is there no serious support for the idea, the opposition you are likely to find from almost everyone here is most certainly directly related to the facts and evidence offered in support of such a claim, and is not simply an emotional refusal to consider the possibility.

    So, if you have some serious evidence to support your claim, by all means, let’s hear it. If not, then throwing that out there does nothing but further cement your status as a troll, more interested in feeding an infantile need of attention by getting a rise out of people than in seriously thinking about an issue. For anyone who actually took more than a second to think about your example would have seen that it bore no relation at all to Pinker’s examples.

  46. Shut the hell up, joe!,/i>

    Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system. Come see the violence inherent in the system! Help! I’m being repressed!

  47. But Brian, if the idea that communism might be better than capitalism is such an incredibly indefensible position, why would it raise such an emotional response in people? If I suggested that 1+1=3, would anybody bother to respond?

    And as shocking as you might find it, there are plenty of scholars, philosophers, and just plain regular folks across the globe that would agree with the proposition about communism and capitalism (at least to some degree).

    The main point, though, is that Mr. Bailey and others here should not be so self-congratulatory about their lack of personal taboos. Because this thread has proven that they certainly are there.

  48. …backs slowly away from kevin… obviously takes The Fountainhead a little too seriously…

    DanT: taboo as a social construct – that which is taboo some places isn’t in other places. What about more general ones, e.g., incest, etc.

    Now, hier you find all things that for the love of zog and all things unholy.

  49. 1+1 CAN EQUAL 3, IF YOU DO IT RIGHT, Dan T.

  50. try suggesting around here that communism is better than capitalism

    I can think of some evidence from an a 40+ year long experiment held in central Europe: Trabant vs BMW.

    Ah, but you’re guilty two fallacies: assuming that the game is over when it’s just begun and assuming that poor implentation of an idea is the same as a bad idea.

    I work with a self proclaimed socialist and he also says communism was poorly implemented and that true socialism has never been tried.

    My taboo question for socialists everywhere is “Why has communism been ‘poorly implemented’ over and over again during these past 80 years?

  51. 1+1 = 10

    There’s no room for debate there. It’s a true/false, binary issue.

  52. plunge,You talking about rights,not the responciblity.I believe we should treat animals fairly yet they are property.Look at the Chicogo cattle and pork futures,that’s private enterprise.Is a pig smarter than a horse or dog,some say yes.Yet we can legally eat a pig and not a horse or dog.why?If you get tried of or can’t take care of a dog or cat you can take it to the vet and have it put down.I would think the first right would be to life.I know many trainers that use shock collars to train dogs.I think there cruel and give poor results.I trained my last lab in my pool while drinking beer in the evenings.My dog slept on a pillow near a wood stove,theirs in a pen outside.Why,because their property.

  53. There are 10 kinds of people in the world…

  54. OH, AND PLEASE VISIT MY BLOG,
    OR I WILL SEND A MOOSE TO CHOMP YOUR TAINT (AGAIN).

  55. I had a student miss one question on a 10 point quiz. I marked “F” on the page.

    It’s hex, bitch!

  56. You’ve been marginalized!

  57. Radiohead fans know that 2+2 always equals 5.

  58. Link to Wikipedia article on infection theory of homosexuality. Spoiler: just a theory

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathogenic_hypothesis_of_homosexuality

  59. I am your king!

  60. I work with a self proclaimed socialist and he also says communism was poorly implemented and that true socialism has never been tried.

    My taboo question for socialists everywhere is “Why has communism been ‘poorly implemented’ over and over again during these past 80 years?

    It’s worth noting that a pure captialist society has never succeeded, either. Almost all modern economic/polical systems are a mixture of capitalism and socialism.

  61. /././././././././././././././././././.

  62. Did Native Americans engage in genocide and despoil the landscape?

    Despoiling the landscape is a matter of aesthetics.

    Hit & Run commenters weren’t too happy when I suggested “Europaen-Americans” did not commit genocide against the indigenous people.

  63. I’m sorry, thoreau, but base 13 has clearly been established here at Hit & Run. Please refigure your posts, accordingly.

  64. Actually, if you do your arithmetic with the field F2 (google it), 1+1=0.

  65. Brian Courts

    And while Mr. Bailey is correct that Reason admirably is willing to confront sticky issues, try suggesting around here that communism is better than capitalism

    Is this really an attempt to make some kind of point?? You’re kidding right? As long as you’re grasping, why not try this one,

    “And while Mr. Bailey is correct that Reason admirably is willing to confront sticky issues, try suggesting around here that slavery was better than emancipation”

    Or how about,

    “And while Mr. Bailey is correct that Reason admirably is willing to confront sticky issues, try suggesting around here that Hitler wasn’t really all that bad.”

    I don’t think he was suggesting that communism was better than capitalism, but instead he was just illustrating that certain topics are considered so taboo (the theme of the post) that many will not even discuss it.

    For example, consider the idea that it is the Earth rotates around the Sun, instead of the other way around. That idea was taboo a long time ago because it flew in the face of the church, but that doesn’t mean it should be suppressed by society.

    Of course, this has nothing to do with government regulation of speech, but society can suppress speech as well (albeit not as effectively without the use of force). Consider a person giving a speech whose event is disrupted by a noisy mob simply because they are putting forth taboo ideas.

  66. It’s worth noting that a pure captialist society has never succeeded, either.

    It’s never been allowed to succeed because too many people don’t like the results that it gives. But just because it’s unstable and disliked at it approaches its purest form, that doesn’t mean it won’t work!

    OK, seriously, your point is taken. There is a spectrum of economic systems out there, I’ll grant that, and the most successful ones have been of a mixed character. Still, the most successful ones have tended to be a hell of a lot closer to one side of the spectrum than the other.

  67. Getting the 69th comment in a thread is over-rated.

    Is that idea too dangerous to discuss?

  68. Plunge,

    I don’t see what’s so unreasonable about according more intelligent and social animals some limited rights against wanton physical and psychological abuse

    Are chickens in the “more intelligent and social” category ? If not, do you support legal cockfighting?

    ( not that I consider traditional animal sports to be “abuse” )

  69. “Would damage from terrorism be reduced if the police could torture suspects in special circumstances?”

    “This is a taboo question? 80% of self-identifying Republicans argue for it. Publicly. On blogs and shit.”

    Even the Clintons support that position.

  70. I had a student miss one question on a 10 point quiz. I marked “F” on the page.

    It’s hex, bitch!
    So, his base 10 score was 15?
    Doesn’t seem fair.

  71. My “Upper Level Writing Requirement Paper” (I really wish my law school would just say dissertation)

    Anyone who’s written a real dissertation (or even a master’s thesis) in any academic field more rigorous than gender studies would find it laughable to hear that lawyers think their Upper Level Writing Requirement is equivalent.

    Actually, strike the qualification I put in that last sentence. While gender studies may have little or no real substance, getting the jargon right would make writing a thesis or dissertation way more work than I’d be willing to put in.

  72. It’s worth noting that a pure captialist society has never succeeded, either. Almost all modern economic/polical systems are a mixture of capitalism and socialism.

    Dan, your original taboo question was ‘…that communism is better than capitalism’, although that wasn’t exactly in the form of a question. I assumed that by communism vs capitalism you were comparing the economies of the U.S. and Western Europe vs the Soviet Union, North Korea, and Cuba.

    So if neither pure communsim nor pure capitalism have never been tried, isn’t your question moot?

    Finally, care to answer my question as to why so many implementations of (not so pure) communism have been done so ‘poorly’?

  73. I would have expected a grade of 5A.

  74. Binary humour shall henceforth be taboo!

  75. ooh, I am going to post those questions on my next myspace survey.

  76. Lurker Kurt
    Finally, care to answer my question as to why so many implementations of (not so pure) communism have been done so ‘poorly’?

    I’m not well versed in Marx, but I would guess because they all had a state. Marxist ideology is that the goal would be a stateless society, much like the “primitive communism” of early man (before governments were created). In the transition to the stateless society, there must be some type of “transition government.” I may be wrong about this, but I think the problem in the eyes of communists is that they never got to the final stage but instead got stuck in a perpetual “transition government.”

  77. Kurt: as brian stated above, I really was not saying that communism was better, just pointing out that it’s a question that is hardly settled. Yet within certain circles (like this one) it will simply not get fair consideration.

    In fact, people will get quite offended that you even bring it up!

  78. “It’s worth noting that a pure captialist society has never succeeded, either.”

    A pure capitalist system has never been tried.

  79. but I think the problem in the eyes of communists is that they never got to the final stage but instead got stuck in a perpetual “transition government.”

    So I guess my follow up question is why do the keep getting ‘stuck’?

    Different countries, same police state and same stagnant economies.

  80. I think many of you have no idea what the difference between “taboo” and “widely disagreed with/considered laughable” is.

  81. REINMOOSE IS HEREBY CONSIDERED LAUGHABLE

  82. Rattlesnake Jake | July 20, 2007, 3:12pm | #

    “It’s worth noting that a pure captialist society has never succeeded, either.”

    A pure capitalist system has never been tried.

    I think that’s what he’s saying: Neither a pure capitalist nor a pure communist system has ever been tried.

  83. “I’m not well versed in Marx, but I would guess because they all had a state. Marxist ideology is that the goal would be a stateless society, much like the “primitive communism” of early man (before governments were created). In the transition to the stateless society, there must be some type of “transition government.” I may be wrong about this, but I think the problem in the eyes of communists is that they never got to the final stage but instead got stuck in a perpetual “transition government.”

    I’m not so sure that it was ever Lenin’s attention to ever bring about pure communism in the Soviet Union. I think communism was a good tool for him to gain and keep control over the country.

  84. We discuss many TabooTopics that Reason is afraid to. Learn the RealTruth about JoeStrummer, NewWaveSaturday, MonkeyTuesday, ThePlanetoftheApes, HaggisFritters and many other topics the hacks at Reason won’t touch by clicking the link in my name.

  85. Lurker Kurt

    So I guess my follow up question is why do the keep getting ‘stuck’?

    Different countries, same police state and same stagnant economies.

    Oh, if you’re asking me, I don’t know. I haven’t studied communist theory enough to compare the ideal with the actual since I don’t really know exactly what the ideal consists of, other than what I said.

    Maybe wiki? Try here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism

  86. This op-ed looks like a recycled version of Pinker’s intro to “What is Your Dangerous Idea?”, a print version of the Edge’s annual question.

    Amazon link: http://tinyurl.com/ysrrep

  87. Rattlesnake Jake

    I’m not so sure that it was ever Lenin’s attention to ever bring about pure communism in the Soviet Union. I think communism was a good tool for him to gain and keep control over the country.

    I’m sure you’re right. But I think there were probably some true-blue (red?) communists who really believed he would.

  88. I always thought 1+1=11.

    Dan T,
    You may indeed discuss the thought that communism is better than capitalism.

    1. What do you mean by ‘better’?

    2. What are the incentives in each system to make it work?

    3. What is it about communism that might make it better than capitalism?

    4. What would a properly implemented communist system look like?

    5. How would this system actually be implemented?

    6. What aspect of human nature is its working dependent upon?

  89. Ooooh something fun to make H&R readers’ heads asplode:

    Libertarian Communism:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_communism

    At a quick glance, it looks like anarcho-capitalism without the capitalism part.

  90. just pointing out that it’s a question that is hardly settled

    In fact, people will get quite offended that you even bring it up!

    I’m not offended, just incredulous. As Thoreau said, the needle points a lot closer to one side of the scale than to the other.

    Ok, here is my cliff notes version of why capitalist(style) economies are better than socialist(style) economies:

    1) The Apollo Program
    2) Hot and Cold running water: as much as you want.
    3) Doggie Insulin

    The Apollo Program – An example of the technical superiority (and its spin-off consumer technologies) produced by a capitalist economy

    2) Hot and Cold running water: as much as you want – The infrastructure that results from the wealth produced by the capitalist system.

    3) Doggie Insulin – This may seem like a strange, but bear with me. Diseases like heart disease and diabetes are diseases of affluence. Basically you eat too much and excercise too little. Too much rich, fatty, sweet foods and too many lifestyles where had, physical excercise isn’t necessary. Well, life is so easy in America and food is in such abundance, even our pets suffer from diseases of affluence.

  91. BTW, I am a practicing communist, I live in a commune called a family. Membership is highly restricted.

    I do not wish to be a member of an involuntary national commune. That’s why it won’t work.

  92. try suggesting around here that communism is better than capitalism or that the government has a moral duty to help people who don’t want to be helped.

    The idea of straightforward co-operation with unequal contributions but equal share-out, regulated only by self-restraint supported by social censure, is an interesting idea. That’s communism. I often debate it. I would think many Reason people would be interested in discussing it.

    The idea that this sort of communism should be established by violent revolution, land-holders and capital-owners expropriated and shot or starved, and then the whole thing controlled by a central authority . . . hmmm, I wonder why anyone would take umbrage at THAT.

    I know a lot of libertarians who want to help people who don’t want to be helped, and even force help on those people. We call those people “shooting enemies,” and we want to help them out of their gun nests.

  93. “Libertarian Communism:”

    Is that another name for left wing anarchism which is what I think pure communism would be.

  94. I believe the main difference is the state ownership of capital and industry.The US Post Office is an example.We know how that works.Here in the states we have subsidies for buisnesses[farms,sports teams,ect].Some may call that socialism,I call it theft.

  95. How did you all take a potentially really interesting thread and turn it into a run-of-the-mill discussion about communism/capitalism? There will be plenty of threads where you can discuss that, why this one with so much potential?

    Maybe because that topic isn’t really “taboo” by any definition, and therefore you feel comfortable discussing it? If we really found a taboo subject (to ourselves), would we discuss it like this?

  96. What sick bastard would deliberately field dress another sentient creature while it was still alive?

    Think about doing that to your lab, or your child for that matter, because it produces the same amount of pain. I’m not a frothing PETA zealot, but good grief.

    Sorry, folks, I know that was off topic, but seriously, I’m gonna have nightmares.

  97. “I am very proud to say that reason does not shy away from taboo topics such as, organ transplant markets, legalizing drugs, the improving natural environment, economic development in Africa, and genetic enhancement, to name a few.”

    Not shying away from “dangerous” ideas that don’t challenge the premises of one’s own ideology is a facile source of pride.

  98. Well Dan, as far as advocating actual communism goes, I regard it like advocating creationism. In both cases, while neither can conclusively be “proved” wrong to the standards of their dedicated proponents, if you’ve been paying any attention to developments over the last 150 years you’d have noticed the strong empirical and theoretical cases against them. Theres a limit to how seriously one can take people who insist that dinosaur bones across various strata were the product of a single mass extinction caused by a global flood; ditto those who believe that complete government control of the means of production is a practical form of economic organization.

    There is a difference between a topic being taboo and the opinion on a topic favoring one side in a group. We can observe this difference in how various forms of trolling a treated at H&R. Racism, for example, is taboo here, so on the occasions where obviously racist trolls show up, there is rarely any effort to engage their ideas, even to refute them, since they’re considered not only self-evidently wrong, but morally suspect. Contrast this to the reaction you get, where multiple commenters will frequently engage your arguments even if they don’t find them persuasive, even while you constantly accuse people who disagree with you of being closed minded for failing to explain in detail the reasons they’re not socialists 8 times a day.

  99. Reinmoose

    If we really found a taboo subject (to ourselves), would we discuss it like this?

    If we’re discussing it, it must not be taboo. Therefore, we can never discuss a taboo topic. Isn’t the circular logic? Maybe it is, simply due to some definition of the word “taboo.”

  100. How about letting kids vote?

    Transgenerational consensual sex?

    Acknowledging the existence of the Ron Paul campaign in major medai?

  101. Learn the RealTruth and many other topics the hacks at Reason won’t touch
    by clicking the link in my name.

    No.

  102. My understanding is that communism is where all property is held in common by the public. Socialism is where the government owns all property. Under the latter interpretation, you could say that the Soviet Union was really a socialist state. After all it was called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic. Economic fascism is where private ownership is allowed, but controlled by the government. That system comes closest to Musilini’s Italy and Nazi Germany even though Hitler called it National Socialism. Our system and the systems of Western Europe are a mixture of the free market, fascism, and socialism with Western Europe leaning more in the direction of socialism than us.

  103. Matt:

    Racism, for example, is taboo here, so on the occasions where obviously racist trolls show up, there is rarely any effort to engage their ideas, even to refute them, since they’re considered not only self-evidently wrong, but morally suspect

    Good post, but just because the poster is racist does not mean that his ideas are incorrect; many great thinkers of the past were racist. Shouldn’t we still entertain the ideas and determine whether or not they are correct, rather than dismissing them outright because they are “taboo?”

  104. “How did you all take a potentially really interesting thread and turn it into a run-of-the-mill discussion about communism/capitalism?”

    It’s all Dan T’s fault. He brought the subject up.

  105. thoreau: I had a student miss one question on a 10 point quiz. I marked “F” on the page.

    Eric Atkinson: So, his base 10 score was 15? Doesn’t seem fair.

    Seems fair to me – 10 point quiz, missed a one point question: 10 – 1 = F.

  106. brian –
    thanks, that was the point I was trying to make, sorta. For example, the mere fact that they are discussing it means that it disproves Dan T’s assertion that it’s taboo here. And if that topic isn’t taboo here, I’m not sure there are many places it would be taboo.

    Reason typically blogs about a lot of topics that are taboo so a larger portion of society, which I think is how you have to look at it. No subject that I can think of is taboo to the entire human race, because nobody would have thought of it.

    Communism is not one of these widely taboo subjects.

  107. “What sick bastard would deliberately field dress another sentient creature while it was still alive?”

    The Japanese eat a fish that’s still living. They fry it slightly while alive, all the while keeping it alive and then eat it while it’s still breathing.

  108. I’m not well versed in Marx, but I would guess because they all had a state. Marxist ideology is that the goal would be a stateless society, much like the “primitive communism” of early man (before governments were created). In the transition to the stateless society, there must be some type of “transition government.” I may be wrong about this, but I think the problem in the eyes of communists is that they never got to the final stage but instead got stuck in a perpetual “transition government.”

    Right. But keep in mind that Marx predicted the state would just whither away. He believed this prediction was inevitable, and based on science. I think it’s more akin to the prediction that one day the righteous among us will fall down dead in one swoop and have their souls carried off to heaven.

    Communism/socialism won’t work because it can’t be implemented in its “true form” as Marx envisioned it. States are enormous bureaucracies and bureaucracies (especially those with a legal monopoly on the means of violence) do not allow themselves to whither away.

  109. You field dress birds that that way because its the quickest way to kill them and save the meat.You can’t shoot again up close and wringing the neck doesn’t work.Fresh fish and frogs are alive when you clean them.Being a carnivore is not for the weak of heart.Unless you get your meat wrapped at the store.

  110. “I believe that there are no dangerous truths. It is always better to know than to remain ignorant. ”

    Doesn’t that question the Fourth Amendment or the related right to exclude evidence wrongly obtained?

  111. Reinmoose
    brian –
    thanks, that was the point I was trying to make, sorta. For example, the mere fact that they are discussing it means that it disproves Dan T’s assertion that it’s taboo here

    But wouldn’t that argument imply that the only way to prove that something is taboo is by showing that people don’t talk about it? If so, then one could argue that the 9/11 conspiracy is a taboo topic because no one talked about zap brannigan’s post above
    which said “9/11 was an inside job.”

    Or, as an even better example, no one responded to uncle sam’s post asking about:

    How about letting kids vote?
    Transgenerational consensual sex?
    Acknowledging the existence of the Ron Paul campaign in major medai?

    Therefore, those issues are taboo.

    Of course, the mere lack of discussion does not mean a topic is taboo, since we also didn’t discuss the price of tea in China in this thread, but that isn’t really taboo.
    So does that mean it is impossible to prove that something is taboo?

    /feel free to ignore my rambling…

  112. There are only 10 types of people in the world. Those who use binary, and those who don’t.

  113. “but just because the poster is racist does not mean that his ideas are incorrect; many great thinkers of the past were racist. Shouldn’t we still entertain the ideas and determine whether or not they are correct, rather than dismissing them outright because they are “taboo?”

    When is racism ever correct?

  114. matthew hogan | July 20, 2007, 3:57pm | #

    “I believe that there are no dangerous truths. It is always better to know than to remain ignorant. ”

    Doesn’t that question the Fourth Amendment or the related right to exclude evidence wrongly obtained?

    I thought that right was used as an incentive for police to not illegally obtain evidence, as it wouldn’t be able to be used at trial. The whole protecting civil liberties thing by using incentives.

  115. Rattlesnake Jake

    When is racism ever correct?

    Well, who gets to define what’s racist. Lets say for the sake of argument that men and women have different neurological charcteristics that make them respectively better at different things. Now lets say that a scientist discovers this and argues this fact. Many would dismiss him as sexist, and therefore his argument must be incorrect. So people dismiss his argument because they label him sexist, even though he is factually correct.

    Let’s say there’s a similar result with race (I don’t know anything about research in this area). Just because people label those presenting the argument as “racist” doesn’t mean they are wrong. It also doesn’t mean they are actually racist. We still owe it to ourselves to look at the facts and the argument.

  116. Here’s another question:

    Does government at all levels take more individual wealth and kill more people than all of the potential criminals in the world would in the absence of any government?

    Or how about this one:

    Would we be better off with competing national governments in the same geographic area, such that your vote actually determined the laws and tax rates you lived under, with crimes against a person or property prosecuted under the laws of the victim’s government, with for instance, the Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Greens setting up separate national governments?

  117. “You field dress birds that that way because its the quickest way to kill them and save the meat.You can’t shoot again up close and wringing the neck doesn’t work.Fresh fish and frogs are alive when you clean them.Being a carnivore is not for the weak of heart.Unless you get your meat wrapped at the store.”

    Muslims bleed their animals to death. This leaves less blood in the meat and makes it more tender. They call it halal.

  118. Bah! I demand more base x jokes!

    Why do programmers celebrate Christmas on Halloween?

    Because Dec 25 = Oct 31.

    An just to throw it out there, another taboo question. If Homosexuality is based on genetics, wouldn’t it have disappeared since the carriers would not be reproducing?

    Nephilium

  119. Dan, Isn’t that cross getting a little heavy?

    Every time I read your posts I don’t understand
    Why so many of these threads get so out of hand
    We’d have learned much better if you’d only had it planned
    Why’d you choose folks who worship supply and demand?

    If only you could reach the whole Reason Foundation
    But arguing online is difficult communication

    Dan T./Christ! Dan T./Christ!
    What topics have the libertoids made you sacrifice?
    Dan T./Christ! Blogging star!
    Do we think you’re as smart as you say you are?

  120. BINARY IS FOR PUSSIES. THE URKOBOLD USES BASE 2.5.

  121. brian –
    lol. I was thinking of my rebuttal for your comment as I was reading it and then you said it yourself.

    I meant that people were discussing communism/capitalism civally, not by shouting “omg, I can’t believe you just said that” or “you’d better shut up before I…” and the like.

  122. Ellie,

    You only want to know.

  123. Would we be better off with competing national governments in the same geographic area, such that your vote actually determined the laws and tax rates you lived under, with crimes against a person or property prosecuted under the laws of the victim’s government, with for instance, the Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Greens setting up separate national governments?

    Interesting. Let’s consider that.
    Under this system…

    People vote for what taxes they would have to pay and what services they could receive (there are public good problems with this, where services such as police protection cannot be withheld from those who are not part of that government).

    People are not voting for what laws they wish to follow; instead they vote for what laws others must follow with respect to them (for example, if I join the government with strict penalties for robbery, and someone robs me, they incurr stiff fines. But if I rob someone else who is part of a government with lax fines, I pay little for the crime, despite being part of the strict government myself).

    I’ll keep thinking…

  124. With the implementation of socialized medicine, should we encourage those with short-term terminal diseases and those in comas to not seek treatment such that those who, with prompt treatment, have a better chance of surviving and living a normal life can receive that treatment?

  125. “Let’s say there’s a similar result with race (I don’t know anything about research in this area). Just because people label those presenting the argument as “racist” doesn’t mean they are wrong. It also doesn’t mean they are actually racist. We still owe it to ourselves to look at the facts and the argument.”

    I think I get your point. If somebody says that all black men have large penises, we could call him a racist because we assume he’s generalizing on the basis of a stereotype. But if he says he has scientific data to back him up, it behooves us to check out his source.

  126. There is a reason these things can’t be talked about. People are too stupid. For example, my discussion on this blog with an area citizen is instructive.

  127. Someone has suggested that government intervention to ease the transition to a global economy may be necessary to stave of a populist backlash that would impose protectionism and kill the hen that lays the golden egg. Does the government need to intervene to save global capitalism? I’ll bet this is a taboo topic here that will spark a mindless anti-troll reaction complete with sarcastic comments. Go ahead, I can take it.

  128. Edward:
    are you referring to the difference between what happened in Russia with what’s happening in China? (more or less)
    I think that’s the most constructive comment you’ve ever made.

  129. “An just to throw it out there, another taboo question. If Homosexuality is based on genetics, wouldn’t it have disappeared since the carriers would not be reproducing?”

    Not necessarily. Imagine a parent has a recessive gene for homosexuality. This parent has two children. Say one of the offspring becomes homosexual, but the other doesn’t but still carries the recessive gene in which he or she can pass off to offspring.

  130. Edward

    Someone has suggested that government intervention to ease the transition to a global economy may be necessary to stave of a populist backlash that would impose protectionism and kill the hen that lays the golden egg. Does the government need to intervene to save global capitalism? I’ll bet this is a taboo topic here that will spark a mindless anti-troll reaction complete with sarcastic comments. Go ahead, I can take it.

    Many have made a similar argument with respect to progressive taxation and wealth redistribution. That is, there are winners and losers of a liberalized economy, and if the losers push anti-market agendas, does that suggest that redistributing wealth to the losers can prevent the destructive path to socialism?

  131. Wait a minute. For Pinker, isn’t intelligent desing a dangerous idea in the biology classroom? I certainly think is fosters scientific ignorance.

  132. D. Greene:
    I bet that man voted for George W.
    What a freakin’ idiot he was. I liked your reasoned, rational responses as well.

  133. D. Greene,
    “gene” is not stupid. He was the head of the class in the Urkobold School of Trolling!

    Find more Urkobold merchandise when you visit Urkobold’s blog!

  134. Sorry, “design.”

  135. When is racism ever correct?

    Should a restaurant owner be permitted to exclude blacks from his restaurant?

  136. The Japanese eat a fish that’s still living. They fry it slightly while alive, all the while keeping it alive and then eat it while it’s still breathing.

    the joos do the same thing with goyish babies.

    is that taboo to mention?

  137. “if the losers push anti-market agendas, does that suggest that redistributing wealth to the losers can prevent the destructive path to socialism?”

    This is pretty much what Bismark did in Germany. Kind of like starting a controlled grass fire to keep an out of control fire from taking over.

  138. “If Homosexuality is based on genetics, wouldn’t it have disappeared since the carriers would not be reproducing?”

    I don’t think that subject is taboo. It’s an empirical question that evolutionary biologists are grappling with. In general, I think it is mostly important to people who have a strong interest in evolution such as evolutionary biologists/psychologists/anthropologists/sociologists.

    In my experience, gay people don’t try to prevent it from being discussed. From what I have observed, they tend to a) dismiss it as irrelevant because they don’t really understand evolutionary biology, or b) view it as an empirical question that will one day be resolved. Then they put the question aside and go on about their lives.

    Sometimes they argue based on the concept of inclusive fitness that gay people benefit their families as a whole because they are less likely to have kids and thus more likely to use their personal resources to ensure the survival of their relatives’ offspring.

    Yes, it’s a bad argument but most gay people experience homosexuality as inborn to the degree that they just can’t believe it’s not genetic no matter what science has to say about it. They don’t fear the answer to the question so it’s not taboo.

  139. I thought Cabin Boy was hilarious.

    Is that taboo to mention?

  140. “Should a restaurant owner be permitted to exclude blacks from his restaurant?”

    Yes, because it’s his property and he should be able to do with his property as he chooses even though the rest of us may be disgusted with his position.

  141. Anybody wanna buy a monkey?

  142. Okay, well I guess you’ve outed the vegetarian in the crowd.

    Thanks for the sociology lessons, everyone.

    Frankly, I think eating meat is just poor table manners, but to each his own.

  143. BINARY IS FOR PUSSIES. THE URKOBOLD USES BASE 2.5.

    Heh. THE URKOBOLD’s delusions of superiority from such child’s play amuses The Brian. All real, rational bases are for pussies. The Brian uses base i&pi.

  144. “the joos do the same thing with goyish babies.”

    My wife grew up in Iran. Her mother taught her to stay away from Jews because they suck your blood.

  145. Oops… and it looks like The Brian needs to work on his html… that should be base i&pi

  146. Sometimes they argue based on the concept of inclusive fitness that gay people benefit their families as a whole because they are less likely to have kids and thus more likely to use their personal resources to ensure the survival of their relatives’ offspring.

    Until very recently I would think that many if not most homosexuals would have opposite sex spouses and kids. It was practically a societal requirement.

  147. Yes, it’s a bad argument but most gay people experience homosexuality as inborn to the degree that they just can’t believe it’s not genetic no matter what science has to say about it. They don’t fear the answer to the question so it’s not taboo.

    There’s also a theory that homosexuality itself is not genetic, but that it is caused by a series of factors that trace back to genetics.

    It’s nicknamed the “exotic becomes erotic” theory, and it goes like this:

    Children tend to engender a sexual attraction to what is considered “exotic.” Males tend to associate with males, so females are exotic, and develop an attraction to that. Females tend to associate with females, so males are exotic and become the object of their attraction.

    However, some males associate with females as a child, making males exotic, leading them to be attracted to other males. And if effeminate males are more likely to associate with females, then they are more likely to be attracted to males.

    So if effeminancy is caused by a gene, it can lead to association with females, which leads to attraction to other males.

    In this theory, no gene specfically causes homosexuality, but it leads to other factors which cause it.

  148. Like the shirt says,

    There are 10 types of people understand binary.

    Those who do, and those who don’t.

  149. As a barber I’ve always enjoyed when others in my buisness discriminated.Some won’t cut women,some kids,some ethnic hair.I take all shapes and sizes.More for me.

  150. Do the theories of David Icke count?

  151. My wife grew up in Iran. Her mother taught her to stay away from Jews because they suck your blood.

    silly lady. it’s rare that we’re hungry enough to drink iranian babies’ blood when there’s so much delicious aryan blood out there, just waiting.

  152. What about the down low, i.e. that black dudes occasionally like to have sex with other black dudes? What’s up with that evolutionary-wise?

  153. I have read that it has been found that the pineal gland in the brains of homosexual men are the same size as pineal glands in the brains of women, smaller than heterosexual males.

  154. DID THE URKOBOLD SAY BASE 2.5? THAT WAS A TYPO. HE MEANT TO SAY BASE ?.

  155. Well we have to drink the blood of infant goyim.
    You can’t expect us to drink out of the wells we poisoned.

  156. ….most gay people experience homosexuality as inborn to the degree that they just can’t believe it’s not genetic….

    Why don’t high heel (and other) fetishists feel this way?

  157. Do the theories of David Icke count?

    only to ten, mudhead.

  158. [Obligatory Spinal Tap joke here]

  159. A combination of genetic factors and pre-natal hormonal influence modify the development of the area of the brain which determines response to pheromones, hence, homosexuals respond to pheromones of the same gender.

  160. On another subject,why can’t people control their body parts for their own profit?In death the money could go to the estate .I find it perplexing that many of the people against this are pro choice and think a women controls her body.In the same vein some want laws against women for drinking,smoking,and drug use when pregnant.Personally I think property rights are the basis of all rights,starting with owning one’s self.

  161. only to ten, mudhead.

    Holy Mudhead, Mackerel! More Science High, it’s, it’s disappeared!

  162. The chicago sun times article is reprinted from here:

    http://edge.org/documents/archive/edge214.html

    They cut at least one dangerous idea:

    Are Ashkenazi Jews, on average, smarter than gentiles because their ancestors were selected for the shrewdness needed in money lending?

  163. Until very recently I would think that many if not most homosexuals would have opposite sex spouses and kids. It was practically a societal requirement.

    Yes, either that or no spouse at all. Even today, plenty of people who come out later in life marry young and reproduce.

    And I’d say from that perspective that there is nothing adaptive or maladaptive about homosexuality as it applies to most people. Until about the late 19th century the concept as we know it today didn’t exist. Societies tended to have roles that people who just couldn’t fake any attraction to the opposite sex — which would mostly be men — could fill, such as spiritual figures/ascetics. In addition, men could marry and sleep with their wives to procreate and sleep with men on the side. It’s not like their wives were viewed as equal partners, and marriage was about economics and begetting heirs as much as anything else.

    Why don’t high heel (and other) fetishists feel this way?

    I can’t say. I don’t know much about sexual fetishes, including how fetishists tend to understand the origins of their urges.

    But homosexuality is not regarded as a fetish in psychology or psychiatry.

    In this theory, no gene specfically causes homosexuality, but it leads to other factors which cause it.

    I haven’t encountered that one before. It’s interesting, but doesn’t seem like it could account for male homosexuality overall because plenty of gay men aren’t effeminate. Unless effeminacy is understood as being a psychological quality influenced by brain structure. Because it sure seems like even macho gay guys don’t think like straight men. I don’t know really because really macho gay guys don’t seem to have much use for female friends — I’m definitely verging into a glib generalization here.

  164. “Until about the late 19th century the concept as we know it today didn’t exist.”

    All I mean by that is understanding homosexuality as a personal characteristic with implications about personal identity, rather than merely as a behavior.

  165. silly lady. it’s rare that we’re hungry enough to drink iranian babies’ blood when there’s so much delicious aryan blood out there, just waiting.

    I thought Iranians were the *original* Aryans.

  166. speaking about taboo topics i have to say i have a bit of skepticism with Ron Paul’s gold standard idea.

    Basicly as i understand it he doesn’t like that the current dollar is based on…well for the lack of a better word faith.

    But i see little difference in a gold standard…

    Gold has a utility value…you can make stuff out of it…no different then say iron or oil or lumber or what ever raw commodities you can thing of…but gold unlike say iron is priced above its utility value…gold looks cool and we use it for jewelry etc…essentially it is priced above its utility value…essentially priced on faith which is no different then what we have now.

    I have other problems as well…but i think this one alone kills the idea to switching back to a gold standard.

  167. Does corn syrup cause diabetes more than cane sugar?

    Does the sun rotate around the Earth just as much as the Earth rotates around the sun?

    Are oligopolies substantially as bad as monopolies?

    Is HIV a passenger virus?

    Was flight 93 shot down or WTC7 intentional demolished?

    Does the Spearmint lose it’s flavor on the bedpost overnight?

  168. When is racism ever correct?

    At the exact time when a tyrant uses the buzz word of racism to make a rational discussion of the merits of policy taboo.

    Example:

    Anytime joe or a democrat calls anything or anyone racist.

  169. Gold, or any other physical commodity has instrinsic value, versus paper currency which has an arbitrary percieved value.

    Gold has often been a money standard through the centuries because it does not corrode. Iron and lumber will, over time.

  170. I thought Iranians were the *original* Aryans.

    good point. but still, there’s nothing like the fresh flavor of blood straight from the neck of a blond-haired blue-eyed european. we elders of zion wouldn’t waste our time with the swarthier races unless forced to by sheer desperation. it’s like drinking two buck chuck instead of a nice chassagne-montrachet.

  171. I’m mostly a lurker of the comment threads here, and only part time at that, but I want to take a moment to say something about Joe and Dan T.

    There is a very simple way to make trolls go away, you ignore them, ESPECIALLY the ones who are being intentionally provocative or snarky.

    I mean, how long as this been going on? Years it seems with Joe, and a fairly long time now with Dan T. I have no godly idea what sort of person would want to troll a site they disagree with every single day, every single post. But enough time has passed to see that it clearly isn’t their purpose to engage in meaningful debate or anything quite so constructive. This is some sort of drug for them, some sort of addiction. It is very strange and I don’t understand it. Why do you people encourage it by responding to them, especially you who are long time visitors here?

    You are the troll-feeders and YOU are the problem. I hold you in as much contempt as I do them.

  172. SP, I accept your condemnation of me. He really got me this time.

    I shall ignore him from this point on.

  173. I have no godly idea what sort of person would want to troll a site they disagree with every single day, every single post.

    Not that I don’t also find the level of commitment amazing, but I find it less confusing that only talking to people you agree with.

  174. um er “than only talking…”

    I mean how interesting is a conversation that goes. Yep, I agree. You got it. Yep. No argument there. Uh Huh…and another thing… yep. Exactly…

    Yawn.

    Dangerous idea…
    Pinker is smart, but usually wrong.

  175. “Not that I don’t also find the level of commitment amazing, but I find it less confusing that only talking to people you agree with.”

    Sorry to reproduce your error…but I knew what you meant anyways.

    The point of this comment is to say — that I agree with you. Especially about the amazing level of commitment.

    I’ll point out that there are a lot of commenters here that disagree with joe a lot but don’t consider him a troll because he contributes to the discussion. Then there are those who accuse him of derailing threads with his personal agenda. I see something to both sides of that question.

    Now that other guy is a different issue entirely.

  176. Basicly as i understand it he doesn’t like that the current dollar is based on…well for the lack of a better word faith.

    But i see little difference in a gold standard…

    Well, there’s one huge difference: gold has a relatively stable value, while all fiat currencies are highly unstable with a strong inflationary bias. There’s also a nasty interaction with the income tax: the higher the inflation rate, the higher the effective tax rate (and 100% is not the upper bound, either).

  177. gold has a relatively stable value

    if you define “value” in terms of a gold standard, sure.

    the whole scheme depends on our inability to transmute. that’s not a bet i’d want to make.

  178. “Did the crime rate go down in the 1990s because two decades earlier poor women aborted children who would have been prone to violence?”

    This allegedly taboo idea was a central subject in a best-selling book (Freakanomics), which hardly is a sign of taboo status. (It has also been repeatedly disproved, by Steve Sailer among others. Many of the other ideas have also been discussed pretty freely by prominent people.

  179. the whole scheme depends on our inability to transmute. that’s not a bet i’d want to make.

    Not even transmute….how much gold do you think is dissolved in the Worlds Oceans?

    Now think what would happen if we had a gold standard and someone figures out how to get that gold out of the ocean?

    can you say global economic collapse.

  180. Well, there’s one huge difference: gold has a relatively stable value, while all fiat currencies are highly unstable with a strong inflationary bias.

    ya gold now has a stable value but if it was currency….ie The Currency all bets are off…gold value which does have a utility value would become unhinged from that and take on the exact same characteristics as what we have now…in fact one could pretty easily prove that gold has already risen above its utility value.

    I think Ron and other anti-inflationary advocates would be better served simply asking for a fixed currency…one that would not allow new dollars to be put into it…(no more printing new money, and no more fed loans)

    Wanting gold to be a base seems to be a pointless side issue.

  181. Why do you people encourage it by responding to them, especially you who are long time visitors here?

    Your thesis implies that our general desire is to be rid of Dan T and Joe. That is a pretty shaky presumption.

    Plus I think Dan T is faking it.

  182. It seems that the people who most aggressively argue against Dan about communism are basically proving his point.

    I don’t know Dan, or this site that well, so I don’t know, or care, if he often makes comments about communism and its merits. But it hardly matters.

    Just by merely making the suggestion, a lot of people have responded with angry, ad hominem, attacks. Demonstrating that it is exactly true that the mere topic of communism is considered taboo.

    Even those who were polite about it but jumped immediately into points against communism as they saw it, instead of first asking what Dan’s particular viewpoint on communism was.

    It’s absolutely true that people will jump all over you for suggesting that political ideas they don’t like can’t even be discussed, because merely raising the topic makes have assumptions about who you are and why you are rasing the issue. Forget communism, try even posing questions about the merits of anarchism, fascism, or a theocracy.

    I also can’t help but notice that the same defense is being used for both communism and capitalism – that neither have truly been achieved, and so can’t properly be judged. That defense is so nebulous as to apply to any political theory, because no matter where and when it has been done in history, the advocate can say it wasn’t a “proper” implementation, thus excusing all its failings. And they’re not necessarily wrong, either. Maybe most, if not all political systems could work if given the right conditions.

    Personally, I don’t care much for communism, capitalism, or any other strictly defined economic and political models. Hearing people argue about communism versus capitalism is like hearing people argue about whether the hammer or the screwdriver is the best tool in the box for every single situation in the world.

  183. Well, there’s one huge difference: gold has a relatively stable value, while all fiat currencies are highly unstable with a strong inflationary bias.

    Well, I’m old enough to remember the Hunt brothers cornering the silver market in the 70’s, so I don’t have a lot of faith in the proposition that commodity money is necessarily any more resistant to being fergaled by governments or other parties than fiat money.

    Ultimately all money is fiat money.

  184. Dan T(oohey) said: “But Brian, if the idea that communism might be better than capitalism is such an incredibly indefensible position, why would it raise such an emotional response in people? If I suggested that 1+1=3, would anybody bother to respond?”

    If a bunch of thugs actually tried to impose a system of governance based upon the notion that 1+1=3, and each time it was tried it failed horribly and killed millions and created misery for the survivors, then, yes, someone proposing that maybe 1+1=3 governance would work if someone tried a pure enough form with the right people running it, that suggestion might tend to arouse a few passionate denunciations of the troll proposing it.

  185. Gold is difficult to counterfeit, paper money is easily printed to order. That’s all there is to the gold standard.

  186. HOW DARE YOU INSINUATE THAT THE BIBLE MIGHT BE FICTION, DO YOU REALIZE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THIS?

    YOU ANTI-SEMITE! NAZI! JEW KILLER!

    I BET YOU WANT ISRAEL TO BE PUSHED INTO THE SEA, HUH AHDINIMIJAD?

  187. Just by merely making the suggestion, a lot of people have responded with angry, ad hominem, attacks. Demonstrating that it is exactly true that the mere topic of communism is considered taboo.

    We want Dan T to talk about communism so we can yell and scream how wrong it is and how wrong he is….if he didn’t post one of us would simply invent him to play devils advocate.

    Which actually plays into pet theory that Dan T is an impostor playing at being a communist ment as a foil to Joe’s communism light (democrat).

    Sort of like “Well if you think Joe is full of it check this out”

  188. What interest does the state have in prosecuting Michael Vick? Are dogs property that people should be allowed to do as they please with (assuming no one else is harmed)?

    None

    I find dog fighting distasteful and abhorrent blah, blah, blah, etc.

    The State’s interest in restricting animal fighting is a moral one relating to its Human subjects and not the welfare of the animals.

    As no one is directly harmed by some engaged in
    a traditional human/animal sport, I don’t support, and cannot justify, any prohibition of the activity.The very breed of dog only exists as a result of the sport.

    As a libertarian, I oppose imposing the morality and “feelings” of the majority on a minority engaged in a non-coercive, voluntary activity-particularly one with a tradition and code of its own.

    You may certainly judge such uses of animals for food, clothing, sport, research, or whatever as immoral but it is not an appropriate function of a free State to prohibit them.

  189. Well Dan T is a troll.

    But the most I learned from this thread was a response to him.

    The people that I meet day to day say some of the stupid things that Dan T says about libertarians. Some of the people who respond to him do it in a way that I wouldn’t have thought of.

    They are sometimes more articulate and concise than I would normally be answering questions or comments like his.

    Those of us who know and agree are the majority on this site, but we are the minority in the country and the world.

    It is important to be able to respond clearly to similar comments.

  190. If we get the government out of money making wouldn’t private industry fill the gap pretty quickly?

  191. If we get the government out of money making wouldn’t private industry fill the gap pretty quickly?

    As was the case before the government took up the task.

  192. If we get the government out of money making wouldn’t private industry fill the gap pretty quickly?

    As was the case before the government took up the task.

    After Ron Paul gets elected I wonder how many Hamilton Mint porcelain naked angel baby statuettes it would cost me to buy a front row seat at a pit-bull fight?

  193. “As a libertarian, I oppose imposing the morality and “feelings” of the majority on a minority engaged in a non-coercive, voluntary activity-particularly one with a tradition and code of its own.

    You may certainly judge such uses of animals for food, clothing, sport, research, or whatever as immoral but it is not an appropriate function of a free State to prohibit them.”
    So SIV, is bestiality OK? Should the state allow it? How about cruch videos, where hot babes put on high heels and literally crush animals to death that are tied to the floor?

    Libertarians can believe in government intervention to protect things of moral worth. We of course think kids should be protected from child prostitution for example, or child pronography (both btw often exist side by side a tradition and code of their own).

    I’m not implying animals have the SAME moral worth as a human, just that they have SOME moral worth. In fact, I think this is obvious to everyone (otherwise your statement that “find dog fighting distasteful and abhorrent” is incoherent, like saying you find flicking paper footballs distasteful and abhorrent). We should not protect animals to the same extent we protect humans, they do not have the same moral worth, but there are some things we should protect them from. Beating them to death with your fists or electrocuting them, that strikes me as two off the bat.

  194. Not a single controversial statement involving Jews? Pinker is too PC (or too Jewish?). I suggest the following:
    “What is the exact percentage of Jews in Hollywood?”
    “Is there such a thing as Jewish Supremacism?”
    “What percentage of Jews have hook noses?”

  195. There’s a taboo question missing: Is pedophilia just another kind of sexuality ?

  196. “Is pedophilia just another kind of sexuality ?”

    Are you fucking kidding?

  197. “What interest does the state have in prosecuting Michael Vick? Are dogs property that people should be allowed to do as they please with (assuming no one else is harmed)?”

    Wow, the State regulating personal conduct is not so popular in the comments section of a libertarian magazine!

    Michael Vick is accused not just of dog fighting, but also of murdering dogs by electrocution, drowning, beating, and hanging. I can’t remember if the indictment mentions the “rape stands” or not. This is not acceptable conduct, and it suggests that Vick is deeply disturbed. Even if personal liberty is more important to you than addressing wanton cruelty, and you don’t mind sharing your society with sociopaths like Vick and Live Bird Torturer (of Reason Magazine comments section fame), you have to accept that Vick (purportedly) broke the bleeping law. The laws are on the books, and he broke a whole bunch of them. Guess what? Those laws are substantially based on the will of the citizens of the United States. We the people chose to form and defend a civilized society where it is not ok to murder dogs for fun. Bye bye Vick – interest of State established – enjoy your orange pajamas.

    It’s probably not worth wasting the text to explain why we owe it to ourselves – for myriad emotional, psychological, spiritual, social, and practical reasons – to treat all beings with compassion.

  198. Why are most NFL quarterbacks white while the team members around them are not?

    On the Kinsey scale, what is the actual percentage of men aroused by thoughts of homosexuality?

    Why is it erotic for men to watch lesbians, but not erotic for women to watch gays?

    Do different races have different average IQs? Can we ever actually test this with absolute, unassailable methods?

    I’ve got a million more.

  199. Is this really an attempt to make some kind of point?? You’re kidding right? As long as you’re grasping, why not try this one,

    “And while Mr. Bailey is correct that Reason admirably is willing to confront sticky issues, try suggesting around here that slavery was better than emancipation”

    Or how about,

    “And while Mr. Bailey is correct that Reason admirably is willing to confront sticky issues, try suggesting around here that Hitler wasn’t really all that bad.”

    I suspect given the moral philosophy of most of those around here, and the empirical evidence, if you made any of those claims you’d rightly be denounced as an idiot or a troll (or likely both).

    Denounced, yes. But not necessarily with cause.

    Plausible arguments could certainly be made for the positive morality of slavery as well as of the Nazi genocide. And why should they be taboo for discussion?

    What I mean to say is that if someone wants to say that it’s morally beautiful to kill all redheads, that subject ought not to be viewed as “dangerous” and thus taboo – it only drives discussion of that idea underground and infuses it with the power of it being a “feared idea”. As a never discussed “idea” it is never refuted and as a “dangerous idea” it gains power from its supposed dangerousness and may therefore come to be believed, and perhaps acted upon, by some less-than-brilliant boys with guns. (expressed better here)

    And the arguments in defense of slavery and in favor of the Nazi’s genocidal programs actually – – wait a second, I’m in a restaurant here sitting next to three of the dumbest human beings ever spawned, and they are very loud – composing a meaningful sentence is difficult and when you’re trying to argue that the Nazis and proponents of slavery may have been wrong and evil but may also have had serious ideas that bear intellectual discussion and refutation, one needs to be in some control of his mental acuity. I don’t think I’m up to it now. So, in just one sentence: Discussion of the Nazi’s idea that the Jews ought to be exterminated is indeed a taboo subject. It would be taboo even if it made zero sense at all simply because people deem it a subject that is not allowed to be discussed and it’s taboo by any conventional definition of the term because it was not in fact an absolutely intellectually insane idea. Jews are indeed the people who have historically shown themselves to be the biggest potential enemies of the Nazi’s Darwinistic programs (that the strong survive and rule even at the cost of the lives of the weak) and thus it made sense for the Nazis to want them eliminated.

    But these fat, drunken, cussing hicks preclude any further elucidation of this (or any other) subject at this very moment.

    Love to all,

    mnuez

    http://www.mnuez.blogspot.com

  200. zorgon,you used the tear murderig.That term applies only to the killing of people.Otherwise I,as a hunter,would be a mass murdererThe problem we get into is that animals are considered property,the beef and pork market are built on this fact.For legal and commercial resasons a cow ,horse,pig,dog,fish ect.. are the same as a house or car.Even wild animals are the property of the people,held in trust by the stste.If you hitt a deer in Ohio in a car and keep it you must sign a paper from the state.It states you are recieving public property valued at $5.00.

  201. Those laws are substantially based on the will of the citizens of the United States Nazi Germany… Bye bye Vick Jews – interest of State established – enjoy your orange pajamas. Yellow Stars.

    Sorry for the blatant Godwin violation, but anyone who claims that the will and “interest” of society should override individual liberty deserves freshman Philosophy Student rhetoric.

  202. Michael,

    Is it useful to refer to what Michael Vick did in terms of the destruction of personal property? No. Does that tell the whole story here? No. Is it acceptable to use the term “murder” to describe the immoral slaying of any creature? Yes. Will I stop answering my own questions now? Probably.

    The “problem” is not that animals are considered property. First, that is an inaccurate and incomplete summary of the relationship between US law and animal protection. Second, isn’t this a libertarian magazine? You say that your judgment is directed by “legal” reasons. I’ll address that argument by referring you to the oft-mentioned 18-page indictment. The Feds don’t seem to think it’s legal, but what do they know… Even if it were legal, it ain’t right, it does not jive with the moral standards of a majority of Americans, yada, yada, yada…

  203. “Sorry for the blatant Godwin violation, but anyone who claims that the will and “interest” of society should override individual liberty deserves freshman Philosophy Student rhetoric.”

    What class is that freshman “Philosophy Student” rhetoric appropriate for? Intro to Insane and Irrelevant Misinterpretation 101?

    I would never take a class from a teacher who defended the right of the individual to electrocute, drown, hang, and beat dogs, anyway.

  204. The term murder only applies to people.Yes I don’t think it’s right but calling it something it is’t doesn’t help.There are restictions on the use of property and I think there should be on animals.I’ve train waterfowl dogs for years,for myself and others.To see them killed in this way sickens me.Many trainers I know use shock collars to train,a method I consider lazy and inhumane , it is legal but would be abuse if used on a child.I also know people that tired of a dog and had it put down at the vet.There was no medical reason,they just wanted to get rid of it.Is this murder?Medical testing is built on the fact they are property but there are regulations and restrictions.As for the feds,I see this as a state level crime.The power of the federal goverment has expanded way to far.I don’t belive the founders meant for the federal goverment to enforce many of the laws they do.I truly believe every community should set there own standards.We see that on alcohol,gambling and so on.

  205. addressing wanton cruelty, and you don’t mind sharing your society with sociopaths like Vick and Live Bird Torturer (of Reason Magazine comments section fame),

    Um, who?

  206. Why is it erotic for men to watch lesbians, but not erotic for women to watch gays?

    According to this chick I used to date named Susan, it’s because QUOTE it is icky to watch two guys do it UNQUOTE.

    So, there you have it. Out of the mouths of babes, so to speak…..

  207. Do different races have different average IQs?

    This would be indisputable it not for political corectness.

  208. Grand, not sure about Vick but I think he means SIV who is really into cock fighting. [smirks, dude, he said cock fighting]

    Or maybe SIV is just using cock fighting as a metaphor.

    Or maybe I can’t remember anything and that’s not who it is or the issue.

  209. “Is pedophilia just another kind of sexuality ?”

    Cue Twilight Zone music, now THAT is truly a taboo question.

    What if you’re born that way (genetic)? Or is it learned behavior? If so, why and how is it learned?

    Either way, is it OK to shotgun a pedophile for molesting your eight year old kid?

    If so, back of the head? Or groin area and then brains? Or just the groin?

    What if he’s a priest? Can you shotgun a priest? Mahoney too?

  210. Here’s two…

    Would it have been in the interest of the West to side with Hitler over Stalin?

    Doesn’t “compassion” for fellow humans unquestionably lead to the degeneration of the species?

    Why can ex-communists be respected journalists and officials (ie Christopher Hitchens, Putin) but ex-Nazis are forever banned from having any kind of political influence?

    Are we in the West being fair to our soldiers when we put their lives at risk to minimize civillian casualties of other nations (ie American war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Israel’s battles against Hamas and Hezoballah)?

    Don’t political beliefs, deep down, say something about the psychological characteristics of the individual?

    Doesn’t Europeans becoming a smaller percentage of the world population and Muslims a bigger one mean trouble for the future of individual liberty?

  211. Grand culupa,I think the live bird shot was aimed me.Have you ever hunted? Many of the birds shot in the field are brought back alive by the dog.This means killing them as quickly as possible.Stabing or wringing the neck,the other options,almost never work.Field dressing is the best option and takes seconds.I was involved in a field study of grouse populations for The Ohio Department of Wildlife for several years and found for evey 10 birds shot,6 were wounded and would have been lost with out the use of a dog.To me ,if your going to hunt you have a responciblity to bring your game to bag.Although not a law,I would never hunt birds,upland or waterfowl with out a dog.I also never kill anything I don’t intend to eat.I like to eat meat as do many,I just do the killig myself instead of going to the store.

  212. Here’s one:

    Are there instances of rape during which the womyn derive some sort of pleasure?

  213. Chalupa,

    In that vein, should the US have taken Patton’s advice and turned on the USSR at the end of WW II?

  214. Do different races have different average IQs?

    This would be indisputable it not for political corectness.

    Grande Cabron… the main disputes with your claims in this area are scientific, not political. You are just either too dim to see that, or working too hard to ignore the counter arguments.

    You make a common logical error in confusing human variation with race.

    A discussion from Goodman
    http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Goodman/

    Statistically explaining “a little bit” about something may actually end up doing more harm than good if one begins to forget the “lack of precision” of the concept. This is the first problem when one substitutes race for human variation: one tends to forget about the 94% of variation that race fails to statistically explain. The test I now put to race-as-genetics is not statistically, but conceptually. Is race merely a poor correlate of human genetic variation or does it help to explain the underlying processes by which variation comes about? Consider the following.

    *

    Racial definitions and boundaries change over time and place. Thus, race is an inherently unstable and unreliable concept. That is fine for local realities but not so for a scientific concept. The importance of this point is that a bio-racial generalization that appears true at one time and place is not necessarily as true in another time and place. We just don’t know. One of the first lessons of science is to not base a generalization on a shifting concept, which is exactly what race is.
    *

    The idea of race can only divide human diversity into a small number of divisions. That is the limit. This might have been all that one could do before the advent of parametric statistics, multivariable analyses, and computers. But, now we can do so much more.
    *

    Because race is used in medicine and other fields as a way to categorize both genetics and lived experience, what passes as the result of genetic difference may actually be due to interactions or some aspect of lived experience. Using race tends to conflate genetics and lived experience (Goodman, 2001).
    *

    I am pessimistic about how the subtle reuses of race in genetics will eventually merge with virulent racists. This does not mean that I want to hide anything about human variation. Rather, it means that we need to study human variation precisely.

    I advocate for de-racializing biological variation simply because there is always a more precise and meaningful way to characterize and explain those myriad variations.

  215. Ayn Randian,

    Why is it erotic for men to watch lesbians, but not erotic for women to watch gays?

    I have dated women that would disagree with this assertion.

    Maybe if you added “more commonly” into your question.

  216. Grande Cabron…

    zing……..

    🙂

  217. “Is pedophilia just another kind of sexuality ?”

    Cue Twilight Zone music, now THAT is truly a taboo question.

    The most intelligent discussions of this issue that I have seen are embedded in the fiction of Samuel R. Delany. Particularly Dhalgren and The Neveryon series.

    FWIW, given that almost all pedophiles are shown to have a history of being abused by an adult when they were a child, pedophilia seems to be a self-replicating behavioral meme.

  218. Where the hell is the damn filter on this site?

  219. GC,

    What do opposing opinions upset your world view so much you need to avoid seeing them? Is your view that fragile?

  220. I have no problem dicussing with those who can do so in a civillized manner. Now once again, where is the damn filter?

  221. Do different races have different average IQs?

    I’m not sure that that question is that controversial or even that it is avoided that often. I hear the question asked fairly often in circles that are considered respectable.

    I think what is questionable is whether differences in average measured IQ should inform someone’s actions in dealing with an individual member of that group.

  222. I have no problem dicussing with those who can do so in a civillized manner. Now once again, where is the damn filter?

    Lighten up dude, it is a term of endearment.

    You can’t challenge the PC view (as you seem to think you are doing) without expecting some good natured ribbing.

    I believe your reaction has more to do with intellectual cowardice (if I remember your civil term correctly) than my nick-name for you.

  223. I can’t believe this thread is 220-plus-comments long, and not a single person has asked Lamar what the hell he meant by the second comment in this thread:

    He forgot, “Is sounding with cinammon toothpicks is a healthy pleasure?” I forgive him though.

    What????

  224. Isaac

    I am not sure, given the wording of your question if I agree that that is controversial (the answer seems to be uncontroversially, “no, you don’t predict individual behavior from group averages.”)

    If reformed to something like: Should the differences between identified groups on IQ impact public policy towards that group? Then I think we’ve got something that will lead to passionate disagreement.

  225. Did Rachel Carson campaign against DDT spraying because it interfered with her secret plan to breed a master race of death-dealing mosquitoes that would kill more people than Hitler? I mean, while we’re just sitting around asking questions and stuff.

  226. No, its to do with the nickname. A conversation where you start every post with Grand Cabrone and I feel the need to ocasionally cuss back doesn’t sound like a very enjoyable experience.

  227. GC,
    Fair enough.

    Do you have a response to Goodman’s points?

  228. The two I would be most interested in hearing your position on are

    1) Given that race only explains 6-14% of the variance in IQ, why do you claim it is an important factor to consider?

    2) How would you deal with the inevitable conflation of genetics and lived experience that comes with using race in a scientific study?

  229. For clues
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urethral_Play

    OK, so it’s an absurd reference to some obscure, confusingly named medical practice, poorly written with a typo that renders the thing near-indecipherable. I wonder how much cumulative time and mental energy Lamar has cost the Hit & Run userbase with his single post.

  230. Well, since you asked so nicely….

    6-14% of human variation being based on race seems like a lot to me. Enviornment matters too, I’ve seen the studies where American blacks score higher than African blacks and the fact that the IQ of all American groups has improved over the last 100 years or so.

    I’m a skeptic about all social science. Some anthropologist might show me some study saying all races are equal but when I see the state of Africa compared to Europe, or crime rates and income levels in countries with mixed populations I have a hard time buying it. When studies contradict, reality has to be the final arbitror.

    As for Goodwin, he gives a lot of reasons why race is not a foolproof definition and explainer of the world, faults it for its limitations. Still, I think it is neccessary. For example, if a group of Nigerians and a group of Chinese wanted to imigrate to this country we can be pretty sure that the Chinese will contribute a lot more to our civillization (Even if it’s only 6-14% more, whatever that means). That doesn’t mean that every single Chinese will be smarter and commit less crime then every single black, but since we can’t DNA test every individual we do the best with what we got. Since we can’t let in every single person who wants to come here immagration is one area where we MUST descriminate, even if its not fair to every single indvidual. Would you agree?

  231. In that vein, should the US have taken Patton’s advice and turned on the USSR at the end of WW II?

    Or how about letting Germany and the USSR chew each other up a little longer while we focused on Japan..

    (I can’t believe I just quoted Pat Buccannon)

  232. GC

    Still, I think it is neccessary. For example, if a group of Nigerians and a group of Chinese wanted to imigrate to this country we can be pretty sure that the Chinese will contribute a lot more to our civillization (Even if it’s only 6-14% more, whatever that means). That doesn’t mean that every single Chinese will be smarter and commit less crime then every single black, but since we can’t DNA test every individual we do the best with what we got. Since we can’t let in every single person who wants to come here immagration is one area where we MUST descriminate, even if its not fair to every single indvidual. Would you agree?

    Clearly not. You would be making a huge mistake to set policy based on such sketchy science. When you determine how to treat individuals based on the membership in an arbitrarily defined group, you are going to make the wrong decision more often than the correct one…

    Based on the results from the strongest proponents of the race/IQ is meaningfully correlated camp(Jensen seems the most respectable in this camp with his 14% number) you would be expected to make the wrong decision far more often than not by treating people according to their racial category rather than as an individual. Race based policies make the wrong decision many many times more often than they make the right decision, even if you assume that the race-IQ correlation is important.

    It is, btw, your willingness to jump from the science directly to race-based public policy that motivates accusations of racism by others. The science doesn’t support the policy/position. You compound your problem when you accuse those that disagree of hiding behind political correctness. Political correctness doesn’t need to enter into criticisms involving conclusions that are so far removed from the science.

    You should look into some classes in statistics that deal with the concept of “effect-size” in this kind of research. If you have created your groups based on a factor that only explains 14% of the variance of the variable of interest, most disciplines would call that an unimportant factor. In taxonomy, these results would be more likely to be used to say that the grouping you are using lack utility.

  233. Some anthropologist might show me some study saying all races are equal but when I see the state of Africa compared to Europe, or crime rates and income levels in countries with mixed populations I have a hard time buying it. When studies contradict, reality has to be the final arbitror.

    It seems, however, that you are not allowing reality to arbitrate. When studies contradict, your gut sense is not, it seems, a better arbitrator of what constitutes the reality of the situation. Bias of this type is hard enough to control through careful scientific design…

  234. GC,

    This is a sloppy graphic to illustrate the difference race explains (I will assume 10% of the variance explained here)

    Group 1 **********
    Group 2 **********

    Your argument says that you want to exclude group 2 even though 9 out of 10 times there is no difference expected between members of the groups.

  235. Damn graphic didn’t work let’s try again

    group 1 x x x x x x x x x x
    group 2 x x x x x x x x x x

  236. Hmm.

    Looks right in preview.
    Oh well.

  237. Group 1…xxxxxxxxxx
    Group 2..xxxxxxxxxx

  238. If the Aborigines of Australia designed an IQ test with questions relevant to surviving in the Australian outback, we’d all be classified as retarded.

  239. alright let me reframe the question:

    Why are public acts of lesbianism acceptable in straight bars and clubs?

    Is race even real? of course, looking at people and claiming “we’re all the same” is burying your head in the sand kind of stuff, but at the same time, why do we lump lighter-skinned blacks into the same category as darker-skinned ones?

    Another question you can’t ask: if the Iraq war is so illegal, immoral, disgraceful and wrong, how can you hold the individual Soldier blameless for his participation?

    Who is to blame for totalitarian societies? Why do we make war criminals out of political leaders and generals when:

    A) they wouldn’t have made it anywhere without broad public support and

    B) the odds that they personally have killed anyone is small (think Hitler! who did he personally kill?)

  240. If the Aborigines of Australia designed an IQ test with questions relevant to surviving in the Australian outback, we’d all be classified as retarded.

    What are you going for here, Virginia Gentleman? Are you saying that spatial-relations, mathematical and linguistic knowledge are somehow comparable to outback survival skills?

    I confess to being confused as to your point.

  241. Ayn Randian, my point is that it is very difficult to to define a single “intellegent”. There are multiple intellegenceS.

    The natives of Papua New Guinea may seem like stupid children if you put them in the streets of New York. However, I confess that if they took me (or most Americans) to the middle of the jungle, I would look just as silly and ignorant to them.

  242. Should read, ” single ‘intellegence’.

  243. fair enough, VG, but whose “intelligences” have yielded a higher standard of living for humans? I think our intellegences are better than those of the primitive tribes.

  244. I agree that there is a higher standard of living in the west than in other places in the world (although this has not always been the case). But there are a myriad of other factors that contributed to that, not something thats innate genetically to white people. (See: Guns, Germs, and Steel).

    My second point is, its very very tricky to measure something called intellegence. Many psychologists wonder if it is even possible to do so. IQ may just measure acculturation, not innate intellegence.

  245. Braid Paisley’s song not withstanding, can white people dance?

  246. although there may be flaws in certain aspects of IQ measurement, and I understand the point about acculturation, I am convinced that there are some people who will acculturize faster than others, that is, they grasp concepts more easily, be they “black mushrooms = bad” or trigonometry and are therefore going to do well no matter what culture you dropped them in.

  247. Ayn Randian, I agree that some people are smarter than others. But its a bit unfair to natives in the Papua New Guinea jungle to give them an IQ test made in the United States, have them do badly on it and say “well, looks like they’re a bunch of retards!”

  248. OK, VG, it’s unfair…but we’re talking about vastly different cultures. Your analogy doesn’t hold water when we commute it to Americans who happen to be of different races. We’re talking about groups of people who have been here long enough to acculturate. I contend that it’s possible to come up with an IQ test that would fairly measure intelligence among the races, but that the results are too politically explosive to explore.

  249. I contend that it’s possible to come up with an IQ test that would fairly measure intelligence among the races, but that the results are too politically explosive to explore.

    The large body of research on this topic exists…discussion of the meaning of the results are held regularly.

  250. Here is a fairly balanced look at the research on IQ and race…

    http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v36/n11s/full/ng1456.html

  251. Accepting your premise, that nine out of ten in each racial group are identical, I say that supports my arguments. Would western civillization be the same without Darwin and Newton? What percentage of people become major industrialists or leaders, the builders of civillization? Take that one in ten difference and multiply it over populations of hundreds of millions of people and it adds up, eventually making the difference between our modern societies and barbarism.

    If the Aborigines of Australia designed an IQ test with questions relevant to surviving in the Australian outback, we’d all be classified as retarded.

    And if fish designed an IQ test about surviving under the sea we’d all fail it!

  252. GC,

    Huh?

    Sorry but I don’t follow you on this one.

  253. Here have been two taboo topics that have gotten me into hot water:

    In a linguistics class at college I wondered to what extent language and culture were connected, ala the Benjamin Whorf hypothesis. I was told in no uncertain terms that the assumption behind the question was racist and anyone raising the question must be a racist. I never heard anyone else raise the question again in any other linguistics class. Oh, this was the late 1980’s.

    I have also suggested at various times that viewing pornography did not lead to rape – if it did you should expect incidents of rape to be astronomically higher, with just about post-pubescent male committing at least one act of rape. Afterall, just about every adult male has viewed porno at some point in his life and many do so intermittently or fairly regularly. I have suggested that it’s much more likely that viewing pornography leads to masturbation and poor choices in dates. When I have presented this I have occasionally met with looks of disgust and been told “Well, you are obviously just trying to justify your desire to view pornography.”

  254. Lak,

    Whorf is in vogue again, in a modified version…

  255. Chalupa,
    If IQ tests today showing racial IQ differences are so accurate, then explain human history from 4000 BC to 1500 AD. According to modern IQ tests (designed by N. Europeans) Northern Europeans are smarter on average than Southern Europeans and Middle Easterners. However, human history prior to the Renaissance is dominated by the discoveries and culture of every race except for Northern Europeans, who were backwards barbarians. Arabs, Egyptians (before they assimilated as Arabs and were more “black”) and Southern Europeans, plus the Mongols, had the largest, most dominant empires until about 500 years ago.

    If Jews and Europeans are so superior intellectually and genetically why were they bit players for the majority of human history after, and including, the discovery of agriculture?

    Read Tyler Cowen’s little history lesson as well:
    http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2007/07/history-lesson.html

  256. Chalupa,
    Darwin and Newton would be painted blue and wearing animal skins without the genteically inferior other races. Darwin wouldn’t have made it off the British Isles without the Egyptian’s astronomy or the Arab’s ships. Newton would be screwed without the Indian’s 0 and the Arab’s algebra. Not to mention modern capitalism would never have been born without the transcontinental banking system devised by Arabs.

    Though I suppose we could’ve waited another millenia or two to wait for the genetically superior Europeans to come up with all of that on their own.

  257. One last little comment on Newton. Newton said, “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Chalupa, those Giants were swarthy Mediterraneans, Arabs, Africans, Indians and Chinese. The same groups you denounce as intellectually inferior (except for the East Asians).

  258. “In a linguistics class at college I wondered to what extent language and culture were connected, ala the Benjamin Whorf hypothesis. I was told in no uncertain terms that the assumption behind the question was racist and anyone raising the question must be a racist.”

    Why is it racist to think that language and culture might be connected? I freely admit that I am not a “linguist”, although I do have some proficiency in English.

  259. One last little comment on Newton. Newton said, “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Chalupa, those Giants were swarthy Mediterraneans, Arabs, Africans, Indians and Chinese. The same groups you denounce as intellectually inferior (except for the East Asians).

    Oh noes! You mean Europeans didn’t develop the technology which allowed them to dominate the world in complete isolation? There were OTHERS that gave them technology to, say, sail to America? Or use guns? Or do higher mathematics? If thats true than those “Indians” and “Arabs” you speak of must have really been Nordics! /snark

    For fun, try going over to GeneXP or one of the other genetic determinist blogs and hear them squirm and twist over the fact that despite scoring low on IQ tests, India is developing as fast if not faster than China.

  260. ******************
    Go ahead and try, Dan. Go right the fuck ahead. You’ll be laughed at, spit on, and perhaps even referred to the megatons of historical evidence blah, blah, blah…
    ************

    You might get that reaction in a country like Poland or the Czech Republic that used to be enslaved to a communist state.

    At elite American universities there are plenty of people who still stubbornly cling to their Marxist beliefs and have no trouble at all hectoring you about it in their classes.

    You seem to be confusing stupid ideas (Marxism) with taboo ideas (do average IQs differ among members of different races/ethnic groups).

  261. GC,

    Take that one in ten difference and multiply it over populations of hundreds of millions of people and it adds up, eventually making the difference between our modern societies and barbarism.

    You realize, of course, that in a Gaussian distribution, it becomes increasingly difficult to predict as you reach the tails of the distribution. In other words, the 9 out of 10 overlap allows for fairly solid prediction within 2 or so standard deviations…but predicting how many geniuses you will get from each group is pretty much a crap shoot.

  262. At elite many American universities there are plenty of people

    there. fixed it for you. (and I’d doubt your experience with “elite” american universities)

  263. I, for one, am wondering where all these “leftist” professors are. When I attended the University of Virginia in the early 80s, most professors kept their politics out of class. Of those that brought them in, the ones farthest to the left landed at about the same spot on the political spectrum as John Kerry. Not that I agree with them, of course, but nothing out of the American mainstream.

  264. “Why are public acts of lesbianism acceptable in straight bars and clubs? ”

    1) it’s not always.

    2) girls kissing is usually interesting even if they’re just doing it for drinks. we can call them “myspace lesbians” or “myspabians”

  265. “And if fish designed an IQ test about surviving under the sea we’d all fail it!”

    three cheers for the unintentionally lucid thought.

  266. As far as taboo thoughts.
    I think I reach the end of my libertarianism when it comes to animal cruelty and pedophilia.

    I don’t even like dogs, but no you can’t beat one just because it is yours and you enjoy it.

    And no you can’t molest kids, even if the parents say it is ok.

    Not that anyone is suggesting that you should be able to in a libertarian society.

  267. Do women, on average, have a different profile of aptitudes and emotions than men?

    Yes.

    Were the events in the Bible fictitious — not just the miracles, but those involving kings and empires?

    Much of it, yeah.

    Has the state of the environment improved in the last 50 years?

    In some ways yes, in other ways no.

    Do most victims of sexual abuse suffer no lifelong damage?

    Couldn’t say.

    Did Native Americans engage in genocide and despoil the landscape?

    genoice, yes. Despoil the landscape? That’s relative.

    Do men have an innate tendency to rape?

    No.

    Did the crime rate go down in the 1990s because two decades earlier poor women aborted children who would have been prone to violence?

    Unknowable

    Are suicide terrorists well-educated, mentally healthy and morally driven?

    The recent British plot is suggestive.

    Would the incidence of rape go down if prostitution were legalized?

    Perhaps a bit.

    Do African-American men have higher levels of testosterone, on average, than white men?

    I dunno. Maybe.

    Is morality just a product of the evolution of our brains, with no inherent reality?

    No.

    Would society be better off if heroin and cocaine were legalized?

    Yes.

    Is homosexuality the symptom of an infectious disease?

    Probably not.

    Would it be consistent with our moral principles to give parents the option of euthanizing newborns with birth defects that would consign them to a life of pain and disability?

    Newborns? No. Once a baby is born, it has rights. Abortions should be legal but euthanizing newborns is a monstrous precedent. What about two year olds who develop defects? Three year olds? ten year olds?

    Do parents have any effect on the character or intelligence of their children?

    Of course they do.

    Have religions killed a greater proportion of people than Nazism?

    Probably.

    Would damage from terrorism be reduced if the police could torture suspects in special circumstances?

    I doubt it.

    Would Africa have a better chance of rising out of poverty if it hosted more polluting industries or accepted Europe’s nuclear waste?

    There is so much else they have to do first.

    Is the average intelligence of Western nations declining because duller people are having more children than smarter people?

    I fear this may be so.

    Would unwanted children be better off if there were a market in adoption rights, with babies going to the highest bidder?

    This is a decent idea.

    Would lives be saved if we instituted a free market in organs for transplantation?

    Yes.

    Should people have the right to clone themselves, or enhance the genetic traits of their children?

    Yes.

  268. For fun, try going over to GeneXP or one of the other genetic determinist blogs and hear them squirm and twist over the fact that despite scoring low on IQ tests, India is developing as fast if not faster than China.

    The thing about IQ tests is how consistent they are no matter where the people go. East Asians have the highest when in their native lands, then whites then blacks. Then you look at the scores when all three groups are in one place, such as America or Britain, and the rankings are the same. Economic results and crime rates reflect this. The cultural bias argument is bullshit. The consistency of the IQ results is not a coincidence, nor is it a coincidence that there have been no black Singapores, South Koreas or Japans.

    You realize, of course, that in a Gaussian distribution, it becomes increasingly difficult to predict as you reach the tails of the distribution. In other words, the 9 out of 10 overlap allows for fairly solid prediction within 2 or so standard deviations…but predicting how many geniuses you will get from each group is pretty much a crap shoot.

    You obviously know more about statistics then I do. When somebody says such and such pepople have such and such IQ or these people had such and such accomplishments I know what that means. A sentence like “In other words, the 9 out of 10 overlap allows for fairly solid prediction within 2 or so standard deviations” may be a good point, or may be gibberish. The whole premise of it still depends on accepting axioms of the social scientists you are more partial to.

  269. Chalupa,
    You keep avoiding the historical question. Why does the historical record of advancement not match up with the areas of the highest IQs?

  270. Have religions killed a greater proportion of people than Nazism?

    Probably.

    really a loaded question…my answer is YES…but that would be part of the reason Nazism only lasted a decade or so. Of course Nazism is only a specific off shoot of socialism…if the question was something like:

    Have religions killed a greater proportion of people than Socialism in all its flavors from 1900 till present?

    The answer would be NO

  271. If IQ tests today showing racial IQ differences are so accurate, then explain human history from 4000 BC to 1500 AD. According to modern IQ tests (designed by N. Europeans) Northern Europeans are smarter on average than Southern Europeans and Middle Easterners. However, human history prior to the Renaissance is dominated by the discoveries and culture of every race except for Northern Europeans, who were backwards barbarians.

    Interesting. 1500 is only a few years after the Black Plague pandemic killed off nearly half the population of Europe. Is it possible the plague eliminated the less robust specimens of Europeans? Or that the relative IQ’s of differing populations may vary according to what pressures they’re subjected to at different times?

    And while there are distinctions in the average IQ’s in differing populations, it would be interesting to know the range of variance in scores within those populations. Possibly the difference in averages could be explained by differing degrees of variances.

    Unfortunately we don’t have records of IQ scores from those populations over the last several thousand years to examine.

  272. GC,

    You obviously know more about statistics then I do. When somebody says such and such pepople have such and such IQ or these people had such and such accomplishments I know what that means.

    These sentences seem to negate each other. Knowing how to interpret the statistics is the only way you would know what the people mean when they say “such and such.”

    The whole premise of it still depends on accepting axioms of the social scientists you are more partial to.

    I am not sure I agree here.
    When you are basing your claims on the distribution of a variable (IQ), then you need to reason based on an understanding of what that distribution means. You prefer, it seems, to just take the axiom at face value, damned the data… we can make it seem like it fits out argument if we want. If it doesn’t, then ignore the data. Or only pay attention to those that agree with my preconceived axioms.

    That, my friend, is bad science.
    Bad science makes for bad policy.

  273. GC,

    Simple prediction of genius from the tails explanation.

    When we look at the big fat part of the bell curve, there are lots and lots of people. This means that we can predict with a fair amount of accuracy how many people are going to be at each value. So we know that more people will have IQ’s of around 100 than will have IQ’s around 85 or 115, for instance (one standard deviation). When we go farther from the middle, each value has less and less examples… so beyond 70 or 130 (two standard deviations), you are dealing with only around 5% of the population. Genius levels are at below 1%. Because the numbers are smaller, the ability to guess how many people are going to get each value becomes, essentially, random.

    What does this mean in terms of your proposed policy of picking who gets to be in which group based on the average measured IQ of the group.

    If your goal is to find genius immigrants your policy doesn’t help at all.

    Racists immigration policies don’t even make pragmatic sense. Given their moral implications, there is no reason to consider them as important options to put on the table.

  274. Grande C,

    nor is it a coincidence that there have been no black Singapores, South Koreas or Japans.

    Doesn’t India count?
    Why not?
    What, besides skin color, would permit a country to be called “a black Japan”?

  275. Is it safe to admit to atheism? In polls, 15 to 20 % do, but does that mean that they at a 4-1 minority? What about all those folks who pretend to be Christians but never darken the door of a church, never give a dime, and live like Philistines of old? How many are there? Are they natural enemies or natural allies of atheists?

  276. Dick Beldin (of Beldin productions?) –

    enemies. Even if they don’t darken the door, there would be a core of issues where they could identify/sympathize to Christian.

    For example – a non gay voter could identify/sympathize with gay issues, and thereby would not be a suitable coalition partner for someone who is unsympathetic to those views. Because they could easily tend towards gay issues on general social policy. So they could fall into that blurred dichotomy you mention.

    Or someone who is pro choice – he or she wouldn’t want to partner with someone who isn’t pro choice on other issues (depending on rank of preferences, of course, but it appears that pro choice is a rather binary state)…

    There is a general uneasiness towards atheists by a segment of the population. Just as there’s an ambiguous relationship between urban dwellers and gun rights (if you follow/believe the polls). Or as there’s an uneasy alliance between unionists and nativists on certain issues.

    (Or Catholics and Evangelical Christians on certain social issues – they’re totally in alignment, but are sworn enemies on other fronts)

    This moose feels you’ve highlighted a difficulty of some of the issues of politics or, indeed, human relations. One person’s “I don’t care” issue cuts close to another’s “core issue”.

    Which is why libertarianism might be permanently tied to the “true Scotsman” issue.

    Look at the coalition surrounding Ron Paul. Goldbugs, Reaganite Social Conservatives, Gay Marriage advocates, Blanket drug legalization, etc. Some really love his positions and classify him as a libertarian, while other fear the outcomes based on his views and would be against.

    Both groups self identify as “libertarian”.

    It’s a quandary!

  277. You keep avoiding the historical question. Why does the historical record of advancement not match up with the areas of the highest IQs

    It does. China had the highest percentage of the GDP in the world until it was surpassed by Europe. I’m not saying that Arabs or Indians are incapable of leading the world (although I will claim that blacks or native Australians are). Just that on average Europe and East Asia are going to be better off, and history supports that.

    Racists immigration policies don’t even make pragmatic sense. Given their moral implications, there is no reason to consider them as important options to put on the table.

    Even if all races were equal there are still good practical reasons for wanting a more racially and ethnically homogenous society. See Iraq, Sudan and almost every other major conflict in the world today.

    Doesn’t India count?
    Why not?

    GDP per capita:

    Singapore: $32,000
    Japan: $38,000
    South Korea: $24,000
    India: $4,000

    That’s why India doesn’t count. And its not considered congoid or bushmen by anybody’s definition.

    What, besides skin color, would permit a country to be called “a black Japan”?

    A county with a majority black population that has a GDP capita compared to the rich Asian countries or European ones. If an African country in the next 50 years or so sees economic growth like Japan or South Korea did over the last 50 years I will eat my hat.

    When we look at the big fat part of the bell curve, there are lots and lots of people. This means that we can predict with a fair amount of accuracy how many people are going to be at each value. So we know that more people will have IQ’s of around 100 than will have IQ’s around 85 or 115, for instance (one standard deviation). When we go farther from the middle, each value has less and less examples… so beyond 70 or 130 (two standard deviations), you are dealing with only around 5% of the population. Genius levels are at below 1%. Because the numbers are smaller, the ability to guess how many people are going to get each value becomes, essentially, random.

    Isn’t it a characteristic of statistics that the larger your sample the more the averages become a sure thing? Like how the casino only may have a slightly better chance at beating you on a single black jack game, but the longer you sit, the more likeley you are to lose more and more money? The larger your sample, the less of a roll randomness plays.

    Anyway, let me turn it around and ask your opinion. If all things were equal, and hypothetically we could make a culturally fair IQ test given to blacks, whites and asians who had equal upbringings, would the scores all be equal or negligible? And how do you explain the consistency of the IQ results over people living on different sides of the planet?

  278. GC,

    Isn’t it a characteristic of statistics that the larger your sample the more the averages become a sure thing?

    You missed my point. Statistics are estimates. In the middle of the distribution the estimates are pretty good. The closer to the tails you get the worse your ability to predict. At the genius end of the scale you only get one hit for every, say 100,000 people, so you can’t be very sure your estimates make sense. (Even if you test a million people, you don’t have much data to work with).

    If all things were equal, and hypothetically we could make a culturally fair IQ test given to blacks, whites and asians who had equal upbringings, would the scores all be equal or negligible?

    I would go with negligible, all things being equal. Remember that the very fuzzy concept race is at best explaining less than 14% of the difference, so the other things that you would make equal will be explain 85% or more.

    btw, its blatantly racist comments like “although I will claim that blacks or native Australians are)” that make it hard to believe that you are interested in having a civil conversation on the topic. I mean “congoid” come on, you are pulling my leg. You don’t really think like that do you?

    RE: India… I was referring to the current rate of growth, not the current GDP.

    Even if all races were equal there are still good practical reasons for wanting a more racially and ethnically homogenous society.

    I would like to see an elaboration of this point. I would guess the data on this would fall apart in your hands under closer scrutiny.

  279. Chalupa, the vast majority of economists predict that most economic growth in the next 50-100 years will take place in the BRIC–that is, Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Brazil is racially mixed with most of its population black+white mixture, Russia is white, India is; well, Indian and China is Asian.

    Two of those four countries go against what you say. How can all those inferior mixed blooded people in Brazil (by your view) have such good economic growth?


  280. Even if all races were equal there are still good practical reasons for wanting a more racially and ethnically homogenous society.

    Most ethnic conflicts do not occur in a diverse society, but rather a society in which there are only two sides closely matched in population that are so similar most outsiders can’t tell the difference between them.

    Bosnians and Serbs. Hutu and Tutsi. Sunni and Shia.

    If there is a third or fourth group–as there is in Singapore, the United States, Brazil, et al–rarely is civil war between the various groups the result. Its proven that an ethnic or racial group feels more comfortable and less threatened if there are many “others” instead of one “other”.

    So in reality, one should either have a completely homogeneous society, or a society with three or more groups. Since we missed the boat on the former in the United States, I believe we are stuck with the latter.

  281. Grande C,

    Just one last post on this (probably) soon to be dead thread.

    Back to this.
    f all things were equal, and hypothetically we could make a culturally fair IQ test given to blacks, whites and asians who had equal upbringings, would the scores all be equal or negligible?

    Using numbers from Jensen, race will account for 14% of the current variance between groups. The groups differ by about 15 points on the IQ test. 14% of 15 = 2.1 points. This is within the margin of error of most tests.

    This is, of course, sloppy back of the napkin analysis, but the general idea works.

    As Pig Mannix pointed out above… the variance within each group is also important. The entire range of genetic variance in the species is explained by the variance in Africa, with other “races” having a much smaller variance. This means that if you pick a random pair of Africans (living on Africa -pair ONE) and another pair with someone from Africa and a random Caucasian (pair TWO) and wanted to bet on who would be closer genetically, you best money would be on pair TWO.

  282. Let me ask one taboo question that is very important in light of our recent (mis)adventure in Iraq–

    Are some cultures not suited to a democratic form of government?

    There are some very successful societies in the world that live under what could be called enlightened dictatorships. I give you Hong Kong under the British, Singapore, and the UAE. China, also, has seemed to do well in the past 30 years using this model.

    Compare the UAE to Iraq. Where is personal liberty better protected? The country that is ruled under a federation of princes, or the “democratic” one?

  283. One last one for Grande C,

    How well do you suppose you could predict someone’s race by measuring their IQ? If the relationship is important, it should have application in both directions.

  284. Have religions killed a greater proportion of people than Nazism?

    Well this is a stupid question. What religions? Couldn’t you call Nazism a religion? A better question might be – have there existed in world history ideologies/world views that were inherently more murderous than Nazi ideology. Or better phrased, is Nazism the single most murderous world view a human society has ever adopted during peace time? Answer – probably not.

  285. “An just to throw it out there, another taboo question. If Homosexuality is based on genetics, wouldn’t it have disappeared since the carriers would not be reproducing?”

    Strict Darwinism only holds true in cases where the gene in question imposes its effects despite the actions of the organism. For example, someone with the allele for spina bifidida (that’s for you, Shrub) can’t willingly stave off the deleterious effects of his genetic destiny. However, a putative homosexual gene carrier could, if he or she so chooses, get married and have kids. Societal constraints, paradoxically, may have served to perpetuate a ‘gay gene’ by forcing those who would choose to forgo the bearing of children. As it is, modern free expression of divergent sexual roles may actually lead to the destruction of a genetic basis for homosexuality. Whether this would in fact end the practice of homosexuality is another matter entirely.

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