Sunday, November 8, 2015

HBD Chick and the Spectator

Let me blather about this a bit before you read it. I read HBD Chick all the time, and you should, too. She has a way of locating fascinating material here and there, and has lots of original insights of her own into the subject of Human BioDiversity.

That said, I want to say that I agree almost entirely with the quibcag here, and I'be been thinking that way ever since Darwin was first explained to me by Robert Ardrey [link]. People who don't think that way seem to be completely rudderless on a sea of data about humanity. Since they don't understand what causes human problems, of course they have no idea what the solutions might be, but they certainly think they know, and come up with 'solutions' that almost aways make the problems worse. Indeed, you might define liberalism as the deliberate unscientific approach to human affairs.

But there's at least one partial exception, and it is partial. Over the centuries, Christian theologians and philosophers have analyzed the human condition, and have also come up with some good rule-of-thumb ways of coping with our deficiencies and problems. Of course, Christians whose philosophies have been tainted by liberalism do not come up with good solutions or anything good at all, and sometimes are even worse than their secular liberal counterparts.

But those Christian thinkers whose minds have not been addled by liberalism — C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesteron spring to mind — quite frequently come to pretty much the same conclusions, for different reasons (sometimes) as Darwinists like me do.

Of course, from an evolutionary biology perspective, such Christian responses have themselves evolved into being the way other behavior does.

And now, from HBD Chicks blog [link] (Oh, lest it throw you off, note here that she tends to use the Archy Cockroach lower case devise in most of what she writes.  So the below isn't a typo.)

spectacular stuff in the spectator!


must be something in the water at the spectator. too much fluoride maybe. first this week i caught this by toby young (via somebody, i can’t remember who…prolly ed west, another crimethinker. my emphasis):
“We all try to improve our children’s life chances but how they turn out is mostly in their genes
“I’ve been doing some thinking recently about the findings of behavioural geneticists and their implications for education policy. For instance, a study of more than 10,000 twins found that GCSE results are nearly 60 per cent heritable. (This research, by Robert Plomin, was first revealed in The Spectator.) So genetic differences between children account for almost 60 per cent of the variation in their GCSE results, with the environment, such as the schools they go to, accounting for less than 40 per cent. One very obvious implication of this research is that we may need to lower our expectations when it comes to the impact schools can make on the underlying rate of social mobility.
“But behavioural geneticists are upending our assumptions in other areas, too. Parenting, for example. Most middle-class parents, me included, believe that how you bring up your children has a major impact on their life chances. That’s why we spend so much energy on getting them to put down their screens, do their homework, practise the piano, etc. But, as The Spectator also pointed out back in 2013, if you look at some of the biggest determinants of success — IQ, conscientiousness, grit — they are far more heritable than we like to imagine. Our children’s destinies aren’t set in stone from the moment of conception, but the difference that a good parent makes is fairly negligible. The one crumb of comfort I’ve been able to dig up is that the ability to give and receive love isn’t very heritable. Perhaps that’s something we can teach our children?
What about art? One disturbing consequence of discovering that many of our personality differences have a basis in genetics is that plenty of western art — particularly popular arts, like Hollywood movies and genre fiction — turns out to be a lie. I’m thinking of stories that involve a hero going on a transformative journey and, in the process, changing from a passive, half-alive individual to being master of his own destiny.
“But behavioural genetics teaches us that people rarely switch personality type after a pivotal experience. On the contrary, people seek out those environments that accentuate their genetic predispositions. In real life, those remarkable individuals that seem to cheat fate in some way are in virtually every case genetically exceptional. If they are more wilful than their peers, more imaginative, more energetic, it’s because, to a great extent, that’s the way God made them. They may feel like the authors of their own lives, but that’s just a vainglorious self-deception. Wittgenstein came up with a good metaphor for this particular illusion. He said human beings are like autumn leaves being blown about in the wind, saying: ‘Now I’m going to go this way, now I’m going to go that way….’”
brilliant! (i really liked the literature/art insight.) read the whole thing at the spectaor, ’cause there’s more…and it’s good.
but that wasn’t all the thoughtcrime at the spectator this week. then there was this! by rory sutherland (h/t joe brewer! – my emphasis):
“He observed that human groups that have developed favourable moral habits are the ones that succeed
“Hayek: ‘Our basic problem is that we have three levels of moral beliefs. We have, in the first instance, our intuitive moral feelings, which are adapted to the small person-to-person society, where we act toward people that we know. Then we have a society run by moral traditions, which — unlike what modern rationalists believe — are not intellectual discoveries of men who designed them. They are an example of a process that I now prefer to describe by the biological term of group selection.
“‘Those groups that quite accidentally developed favourable habits, such as a tradition of private property and the family, succeed but they never understood this.
“‘So we owe our present extended order of human co-operation very largely to a moral tradition, of which the intellectual does not approve because it had never been intellectually designed. It has to compete with a third level of moral beliefs; the morals that intellectuals design in the hope that they can better satisfy man’s instincts than the traditional rules.
“‘And we live in a world where the three moral traditions are in constant conflict: the innate ones, the traditional ones, and the intellectually designed ones…. You can explain the whole of social conflicts of the last 200 years by the conflict of the three…’.
“If this is the kind of thing which interests you, allow me a small plug for evonomics.com — a new website which features views from people on the left and right who are agreed about one thing: that for economic and political thought to make useful progress, it needs to be informed by evolutionary biology. This seems a very necessary exercise, since any attempt to understand morality, politics, economics or business without reference to evolutionary biology is ridiculous. As I explain to my children, ants are Marxist, dogs are Burkean-conservatives and cats are libertarians.”
what the h*ll, spectator?! keep this up and i may have to become a subscriber!

(~_^)
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Quibcag: Since Sutherland fails to mention rabbits in the quote (I'm sure they're basically Democrats), I've used Mikuru, of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱 Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu), in her bunny suit as the illustration. I should also mention that there are cats who are libertarians, and then there are well-fed housecats, totally dependent on the kindness of their owners. They, too, think that they're libertarians, and are, if anything, more insistent on it than actual cats/libertarians :)

1 comment:

  1. can we get explanation on some of the acronyms?

    ReplyDelete