Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Friday, March 13, 2009

Human Biodiversity and Bar Fights

In the course of a comment on advocates of the theory that anthropogenic global warming is a crisis, Armed Liberal said:

In my somewhat misspent youth, I put myself in places where I often encountered stupidly aggressive people. Bars. And there's an interesting point about aggressive people in bars; you should pay close attention to the ones who are loudly threatening to kick your ass - but you don't need to be afraid of them. Because if they were serious, they would already be kicking your ass, not just telling you about it.

Two things put my environmental-regulation-loving, hybrid-driving, solar-panel powered self off from supporting AGW and the policies that fall out from it:

1. The bullying tone of the supporters of AGW. Look, if you've got the facts and the science, you don't need to try and rhetorically drive people out of the debate. But if you don't...

2. The fact that many (not all) of the supporters of AGW are people who also - for a variety of reasons good and bad - have issues with "the dominant paradigm" of Western industrial society. It's kind of like the local Lothario discovering that nude hot oil massages are the key to preventing some kind of fatal disease.

More recently, Charles Murray said:

Intellectuals hate above all to look stupid in the eyes of their peers. For a long time, elites in the social sciences and humanities have been able to preen before each other with their post-modern nonsense without having anyone from the hard sciences tapping on their shoulders saying, “You do realize that this is post-modern nonsense?” That’s going to change. Is already changing.

I used sex differences in the speech as the example because that’s where the hard, indisputable evidence at the neural and genetic level is going to come first. I will stick with my prediction, and bet you a dinner that in 2020 (actuarily, we have a reasonably good chance of still being around to collect) nobody on the Harvard faculty will be willing to say in public that men and women have equal aptitude for mathematics at the highest levels. People who say that will be seen by intellectuals in the social sciences and humanities as being stupid—that’s how decisively the science will have changed.  The science is going to change what’s seen as stupid in every aspect of social policy, from the reasons that prison rehabilitation doesn’t work to the idiocy of legislation like No Child Left Behind to the reasons that mentoring programs are never going to make up for the breakdown of the traditional family.

It's amazing how much the rhetoric of advocates of anthropogenic global warming resembles the rhetoric of avocates of human biodiversity (formerly known as racism).


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