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Harvard PhD student finds a correlation between race and IQ. Harvard students says even if it’s true, it shouldn’t be a topic of research. Everybody is wrong.

20 May

So, this story is popping up everywhere!  A PhD student at Harvard submitted a dissertation claiming there is a measureable, identifiable, quantifiable correlation between race and IQ.  The dissertation was accepted by Harvard, and the degree conferred on Jason Richwine in 2009.

Here’s how we all rank:

Asians (oh, those clever little minxes!)

White folks

Hispanics

Black folks

http://www.thenation.com/blog/174291/harvard-phd-and-hispanics-iq-how-jason-richwines-dissertation-got-him-fired-heritage-fou#

The research is making the news now because Richwine cited his own findings in an immigration bill he co-authored, urging policy makers to consider refusing Hispanic immigrants, because “even after several generations, [they] had lower IQs than non-Hispanic whites”.

fence

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2013/05/jason_richwine_hispanics_and_iqs_the_heritage_foundation_scholar_began_researching.html

This whole debate annoys me for two reasons:

1. The idea that intelligence is linked to a biological mechanism to protect people from the harmful effects of too much sunshine is just stupid. Just point blank bag of hammers stupid.

2. The typical liberal response to “facts” they don’t like is to deny, deny, deny and then strangle whomever had the temerity to speak.  This is also just stupid. You counter facts with facts. You don’t counter facts with squawky demands to just shut up already!

Let’s start with denying that race is even a thing.

My instinct is to point out that your entire experiment proceeds from a basic flaw — no coherent, fixed definition of race actually exists.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/05/what-we-mean-when-we-say-race-is-a-social-construct/275872/

Oh, please.  Here we go with the typical liberal denial of what is right in front of your damn face.

What race is this person?

black-man-face

What race is this person?

finnish

What race is this person?

asian

What race is this person?

???????????????

What race is this person?

Native American Man Headshot

What race is this person?

india

What race is this person?

arab-woman

What race is this person?

aboriginal

If that last one threw you, it’s an Australian aboriginal woman.  Even if you couldn’t identify her racial group at first glance, you probably knew it wasn’t any of the others.  The fact that people of mixed race exist and that it is not always instantly clear which races they belong to in no way disproves the fact that most of us can identify races fairly straightforwardly and often unconsciously. Just as drag queens do not dramatically alter our ability to identify gender for EVERY OTHER PERSON, mixed race people do not affect our ability to identify the racial heritage of almost everyone we meet on a day to day basis.

So what is the point of the denial?  Why argue that race is a nebulous concept that can’t be easily defined when the truth is so clearly the opposite, most of the time?

Personally, I think it’s nothing more and nothing less than the beginnings of the future George Orwell spelled out for us in 1984.

Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

George Orwell

The purpose of language in this case is to deny reality in an effort to establish a new aristocracy.  Not exactly a new story in the course of human history, is it?

Political chaos is connected with the decay of language… one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end.

George Orwell

 

Let’s look at Harvard’s reaction to the controversy surrounding Richwine’s dissertation.

We condemn in unequivocal terms these racist claims as unfit for Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard University as a whole. Granting permission for such a dissertation to be published debases all of our degrees and hurts the University’s reputation … Even if such claims had merit, the Kennedy School cannot ethically stand by this dissertation whose end result can only be furthering discrimination under the guise of academic discourse.

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/05/14/is-christopher-jencks-a-racist/

This is a statement, not from the administration at the Kennedy School, but rather from student groups at Harvard.  That’s pretty interesting, isn’t it?  Students, those who are presumably actively in pursuit of knowledge and truth, want Harvard to shut down any research they deem inappropriate EVEN IF IT’S TRUE.

I wonder if those students know the motto of the school they go to?

veritas

Veritas.  It means truth.  That’s the whole point of university.  To pursue the truth.  Not “pursue only those truths which fit our ideological persuasions”.  Just truth.

I would like to see Harvard expel the whole damn lot of the students who issued that statement for violating the fundamental precept of the university. If you want to pursue only the politically correct version of truth, go to Berkeley!

gtfo

Now, having said all that, I still think it’s a giant crock of shit to be investigating a link between race and IQ.  Yes, there is such a thing as race, and yes, IQ tests are valuable (although not perfect) measures of a person’s ability to understand problems and identify appropriate solutions.

One of the biggest markers of race is skin color.  And skin color is the result of melanin.  The purpose of melanin is to protect the DNA contained in your skin cells from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

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

And that’s pretty much it.

It’s a natural sunscreen. The closer to the sun you live, the darker your skin.

This person lives on the equator (or his ancestors did):

dark

This person lives near the Arctic Circle (or her ancestors did) way up on top of the planet:

white

It’s not that difficult a concept to grasp.  As humans spread out across the planet, skin tones changed to reflect the changing environmental conditions.

Here’s a little pet theory of mine I’d like to throw out, just for the hell of it.  I think humans prefer lighter skin and hair and eye colors because those tend to be the result of recessive genes.  A man with darker tones who has a child with a woman of lighter tones will almost always see his genes expressed in the children.  Dark tones tend to be dominant.  The preference for lighter skin is a natural paternity test.

family

I’m not the only person who thinks that, obviously, but I do find it interesting to contemplate.  Preferring lighter skin is not necessarily racism.

http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/003842.html

I find the idea that an adaptive mechanism like skin tone, which is fairly simple in biological terms, could in any way be linked to something as multi-faceted and complex as intelligence ludicrous.  And yes, I will jump on the bandwagon and call that notion racism.  The old “black folks be dumb” song and dance.

It’s bullshit.  Racist bullshit.

You know what IS linked very strongly to lower IQs?

Malnutrition.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041117005027.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2628311

http://www.nature.com/pr/journal/v5/n11/abs/pr1971371a.html

The idea is not even the slightest bit controversial.  Children who are starved, especially in the earliest years of life, perform very poorly on IQ tests compared to peers who received adequate nutrition.  Like, really poorly.  IQ’s down around 60 (100 is average).

Let’s look at this world hunger map, shall we?

p1_hunger_map (1)

http://www.geographictravels.com/2008/07/world-hunger-map.html

Oh well now, would you look at that.  Looks like it’s mostly black and Hispanic folks who are starving.   And all those white folks are living life to the hilt, with full bellies and bright futures.

Must be a coincidence.

Let’s look at this map of food insecurity in the United States:

091117-Food-FoodInsecurity

http://www.nextgenerationfood.com/news/food-insecurity-in-the-us/

Highest rates of food insecurity:

Mississippi

Texas

Arkansas

Lowest rates of food insecurity:

North Dakota

Massachusetts

Virginia

Gosh, I wonder where all the black and Hispanic people are?  North Dakota, right?

According to the USDA, in a report titled Household Food Security in the United States in 2011, black and Hispanic families are more than twice as likely to experience food insecurity as white families (p. 11).

White                    11.4% of families food insecure

Black                      25.1%

Hispanic               26.2%

http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/884525/err141.pdf

If you keep in mind the fact that obesity (especially as the result of heavily processed, nutrient deficient junk foods) is also a form of malnutrition, it seems to me that there is an entirely different explanation for why certain racial groups might tend to perform lower on IQ tests.

I realize that I haven’t proved anything at all by noticing these correlations.  Correlation is not causation.  And furthermore, I haven’t read Richwine’s dissertation, nor do I plan to, so I don’t know if he offered any tentative explanations for his findings.  What I hope I HAVE proved is that you can research any topic, any topic at all, and discover truths, even if they are uncomfortable, without necessarily being racist (or any other –ism you want to throw in).

It looks to me like Richwine is a gigantic racist asshole, because he is using his findings to try and limit the opportunities for Hispanic people to come to the United States, because dumb spics.  What if I’m right?  What if IQ differences are traceable to malnutrition?  That would indicate a whole different set of interventions and policies than just turn them away.

food

The lack of imagination from the student groups at Harvard is troubling, but hardly surprising.  Their knee-jerk shrieking about banning the pursuit of truths they don’t like is part and parcel of liberal, feminist society.

Gender is a social construct!  Uhm, no.

Race is a social construct! Uhm, no.

In shutting down the conversation about race and IQ, Harvard students are explicitly saying they don’t WANT to find a reason behind low performance on IQ tests amongst certain racial groups.  They don’t CARE why some groups are not reaching their full human potential.  They don’t give ONE SINGLE FUCK about anyone other than themselves. It could be as simple as making certain children have access to proper food and nutrition.

kids

But fuck those kids, right?

Now tell me again, who is the racist?

Lots of love,

JB

Self-reported bullying and the cult of zero personal responsibility

21 Feb

 

 

newsflash

 

This just in: Some people are assholes and some of those people are kids. Also, water is wet and it’s never a good idea to release killer bees at your wedding (yeah, I’m talking to you, CleverGuy).

 

killer bees

 

Ever since Oog and Gork were little cave babies, playing happily on the rocks until Oog decided to beat the crap out of Gork with a stick because hey, why the hell not?- kids have been assholes to one another.

 

kids

 

Pile up anything – rocks, leaves, snow, recycling, whatever – and some kid is gonna get up there and starting singing “I’m the kind of the castle and you’re a dirty asshole rascal” and shove every other kid down the pile.

 

snow

 

Gork has a couple of choices once Oog picks up that stick. He can go find something else to do and take the fun out of being an asshole. He can go get his own stick (and probably get an even worse beating), he can turn around and beat up some other kid who is even smaller, he can suck-up to Oog and try and cajole him into being less of an asshole, or he can just take it and hope things gets better.

 

The one thing he CAN’T do is go crying to his mommy, because that will make him a pussy and a crybaby and a suckhole and he will be in for even WORSE if he does that kind of shit.

 

Gork is fucked.

 

Ooga and Gorka don’t have it any better. They don’t hit each other with sticks very often, but words can carry a sting sharper than any willow switch, and that’s how the girls beat the crap out of each other. Ooga has the nicest hair. Everyone else’s hair is ugly, especially yours, Gorka! Damn, you are one fat, ugly little bitch.

 

crying

 

How in the hell did we ever survive all these tiny little assholes terrorizing the weak and the vulnerable?

 

What’s that you say? Adult supervision? Grown-ups involved in their children’s lives, monitoring and noticing and taking action to keep the assholes from getting out of control?

 

Shut up! That won’t work.

 

Here’s a study out of Duke University that tracked the effects of bullying over the course of 20 years. None of it is particularly surprising. Victims suffer lifelong pain and depression and are more prone to suicide. Bullies are more likely to have anti-social personality disorders (another word for permanent asshole) and the kids who were BOTH victims and bullies have the most problems.

 

http://www.livescience.com/27279-bullying-effects-last-adulthood.html

 

What I find most interesting about this study is the conclusion the researchers came to: we need to focus more on children’s peers than on what’s happening in their families. Children, who clearly do NOT have the maturity, empathy or experience to understand what the longterm consequences of being an asshole are going to be SHOULD have the maturity, empathy and experience to manage themselves in a complex world with little to no adult supervision.

 

This is the same stupid argument the anti-slut shamers use: teenagers do NOT have the maturity and experience to critique their peers in constructive ways, but they DO have the maturity and experience to understand the implications of dressing like a prostitute.

 

cake

 

Here: Eat this cake. Now have it, too.

 

There’s something else nefarious buried in this little study, too. Bullying was self-reported. That means as long as a kid FELT like they had been bullied, it was treated as an episode of bullying. That’s a nice little trick, isn’t it? Let’s quietly remove all objective standards of what does and does not constitute bullying and then encourage our special, special snowflakes to take only their own perspective: what you FEEL is the only thing that matters. If you feel like you were raped bullied, then you were.

 

Self-reporting as a research methodology is flawed for precisely the above noted problem: in the absence of objective measures, people can cast themselves as victims as long as they FEEL like victims. The fact that they may themselves be gigantic assholes disappears down the rabbit-hole, and all they’re left with is a label:

 

victim

 

Here’s the problem with this kind of research: allowing individuals to cast themselves in their own little narratives based on an emotional reaction while ignoring or denying how they may have been complicit in their treatment removes any concept of agency or responsibility. The idea that human interactions are complicated and nuanced disappears. The researchers allow for children who are both bullies and victims, but it comes in the form of A bullied B and then B bullied C.

 

Not that A is sometimes the aggressor and sometimes the victim, and that B is sometimes the aggressor and sometimes the victim in their RELATIONSHIP TO ONE ANOTHER.

 

bullies

 

Madysen started a rumor that Shelby sucked off the whole rugby team which makes Madysen a bully and poor Shelby the victim! Shelby tweeted pictures of Madysen puking up her lunch in the ladies room and Shelby is STILL the victim. Why? Because she feels like she is.

 

Let’s be clear: I’m not saying there are NO situations in which one person is a complete and total asshole to another person who has never responded with aggression or done anything to invite such treatment other than simply exist. There are a whole lot of fat people/short people/ugly people/mentally challenged people who can tell harrowing stories of being the target of straight up bullying.

 

This is not a denial that bullying exists. Not at all. But in order to define and identify bullies, we’re going to need some objective standards. Some way to monitor and intervene in what kids are doing, because they WILL BE ASSHOLES at some point or another.

 

How did Madysen get that rumor about Shelby out so quickly and so thoroughly? Oh, she used Facebook? She wrote some clever tweets to back that up? She pinned a bunch of lollipops on Pinterest and tagged them all “Shelby”?

 

lollipops

 

What a bitch!

 

Who is responsible for Madysn’s behaviour? Well, Madysn, obviously, but she needs to be taught that. She needs to have standards set for her, boundaries enforced and consequences applied. And who should do that?

 

The teachers! Wait, no. Shelby! Shelby should have to do that! Madysn’s friends? Yeah, them, too. They should all be monitoring Madysn and making sure she’s not as asshole. Let’s throw in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, too.

 

They are all responsible for teaching Madysn not to be such a fucking cunt.

 

Obviously, Madysn’s parents are the ones who should be monitoring and guiding the little asshole they have created. It’s probably pretty safe to assume they don’t give a rat’s ass about her, would never “violate her privacy” online and they let her sleep with her iPhone so she can send heinous texts about other girls at 2AM and maybe a few topless photos to that guy she likes.

 

text

 

Madysn’s parents aren’t the only grown-ups who have some responsibility here: WE ALL DO. The girls who giggled over Madysn’s lollipop board? They’re assholes, too. The ones who retweeted Madysn’s clever missives about what a slut Shelby is? Yep – assholes.

 

All those girls have parents. It is our responsibility as parents to notice what our kids are up to, especially on line. And lest you think I’m only trashing girls here, let me assure you: boys get up to this shit as well, but it usually takes the form of PHYSICAL bullying, which does not absolve parents whatsoever.

 

Logan and Perry need guidance and instruction and boundaries and consequences too.

 

It is completely absurd to think that OTHER CHILDREN can be held responsible for what kids do. Peers may have a huge influence on our children, but ultimately, we are the ones responsible for them, for their health and safety and happiness, both mental and physical. The epidemic of depression and anxiety crippling young people is a direct result of parents refusing to accept responsibility for their own children, and refusing to take a stand and shut their kids down when they’re being dicks.

 

assholes

 

Your children are not special, you can’t make other people responsible for them, and if you look closely, you might just discover that your special little snowflake is actually, oops, an asshole.

 

oops

 

Do your job. Teach your kids to be human. To accept responsibility for their own actions. Make them face consequences for poor behavior. Start by looking in the mirror and accept a bit of responsibility yourself.

 

In other words, don’t be an asshole.

 

Lots of love,

 

JB

 

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