Monday, May 26, 2008

'The Emperor' Has No Cloths! Pass It On...

In the current issue, software executive Jim Manzi warns darkly of powerful (yet unnamed) "genetic maximalists," who threaten human freedom in ominous (but unspecified) ways.
That's because these “popularizers” unscientifically ride the sociobiological "reigning presumption of academic America" in a climate in which "mass media are inundated with this biology-explains-all ideology."
Unfortunately, Manzi never explains what planet in what year he's describing: Htrae in the year 8002 D.A. maybe?

Manzi proclaims:

"If the pretense to scientific knowledge is always dangerous, it is doubly so when wedded to state power, because it leads to pseudo-rational interventions that unduly extend authority and restrict freedom. That the linkage of race and IQ is provocative to contemporary audiences is not surprising: It is almost a direct restatement, in the language of genetics, of the key premise of Social Darwinism."

Manzi then recounts the stereotypical litany of early 20th Century horrors from eugenics to the Holocaust.

Who, exactly, are these dangerous proponents of "geneticism" who are currently running amok? National Review gives Manzi 3000 words, but he doesn't come up with any names more recent than Woodrow Wilson and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who was born in 1841.

Perhaps Manzi is alluding to James D. Watson, the co-discoverer of DNA, who indeed mentioned "the linkage of race and IQ" last year. Yet, as you will recall (although Manzi and the NR editors seem to have forgotten), Watson was not immediately elected Big Brother. Instead, in our world, he was subjected to a Two Minute Hate and kicked to the curb by the medical research laboratory he had built up for four decades.

Manzi’s essay is noticeably lacking in ideological balance. There's not even a pro forma mention of anti-Darwinist Lysenkoism under Stalin to balance the eugenics-led-to-Hitler cliché.

Weirdly, Manzi argues that it would be okay to establish a scientific totalitarian state:

"Science may someday allow us to predict human behavior comprehensively and reliably, so that we can live in Woodrow Wilson's 'perfected, co-ordinated beehive.'"

Nevertheless, we shouldn't, yet, because science hasn't become accurate enough:

"Until then, however, we need to keep stumbling forward in freedom as best we can."

Well, that's a relief!

Manzi warns us about these "science popularizers" who

"now believe that … we can explain the causes of the behaviors of individuals and groups sufficiently to predict these behaviors scientifically."

And that's bad, because:

"But if translated into public policy, their belief would likely have disastrous results."

Well, what one "science popularizer" (me) wants is more skepticism about the dogmas about behavior that underlie current public policy—much of which already has disastrous results.

Manzi assumes that we must "believe that we can remove the mind-body problem from the purview of philosophy by reducing the mind to a scientifically explained physical phenomenon" in order to "predict these behaviors scientifically."

That's ridiculous. We don't have to solve possibly insoluble metaphysical problems to make better predictions about human behavior. We just have to make better predictions.

Contra Manzi, we already make predictions that are reliably more accurate than random guesses about individual and group behavior. We do it all the time.

I'll make one right now. I predict that men of West African descent will be over-represented among the eight finalists in the 100-meter dash to determine the Fastest Man in the World at the Olympics this summer.

How can I make that prediction? Do I understand how all the gene variants work together in leg muscles to give West Africans an advantage in sprinting? Have I solved the mind-body problem?

Heck, no.

I simply made that prediction because the last 48 finalists over the last six Olympics have all been men of West African descent. That's not likely to have been a random fluke.

In fact, the Olympics are a major embarrassment to the currently dominant worldview.

We’re living in an Emperor's New Clothes moment. And those moments can go on a lot longer than Hans Christian Andersen suggested. People who have been making fools of themselves seldom say,

"Why, yes, that little boy is right and I am wrong. Of course the emperor has no clothes, just as Occam’s Razor would suggest."

Instead, what they typically say for a protracted period is:

"What a stupid, evil little boy who attacks our poor emperor. That brat just can’t see that our emperor is wearing a higher form of clothing that you have to be really smart and fit for your post to see."

And the closer the emperor's procession comes and the more obvious his nakedness becomes, the angrier the crowd will become at that little bastard.

So, I suspect that, outside of the United States and its First Amendment protections, the word "crimethink" will continue to slowly move from metaphor to reality as the police power is brought down upon heretics.

The long-term outcome will be an increasing stultification of intellectual life in the West—rather like in Brezhnev's Soviet Union. Mathematicians and astronomers at the abstract end were relatively free. At the practical end, engineers were, too. But any Soviet scientist or intellectual in the middle, who tried to theorize about human beings, was in danger of losing his career or his liberty.
- Steve Sailer

Sailer's comment about the Olympics is a good one and the same thing applies to professional sports in America where blacks (representing just 11% of the population of the nation) comprise about 98% of professional athletes.
On the opposite end of the spectrum there are very few black engineers, technicians, computer programmers, etc.., which creates a bit of a problem for Equalitarians.

On the one hand they'll claim that it's 'White Racism' that is keeping brothus from highly skilled positions, yet on the other hand they'll claim that it is 'Market Forces' which allow for the high percentage of black professional athletes to achieve fame and fortune.
Of course another problem explaining away the tiny percentage of black
engineers, technicians and computer programmers as 'racism', is the presence of imported Asians at Silicon Valley outnumbering the Whites.

The West truly is in an "Emperor Has No Cloths' moment and is stubborning clinging to it's Myths.

How long will this last?
Only as long as it is financially and structurally convenient. But when reality starts to seep back in as The West continues its decline into Third World Hell, 'the Emperor' be damned, people will at last declare, 'Enough is Enough' and 'the Emperor', in all it's multicultural depravity, will be overthrown...