Saturday, August 01, 2015

When should you get pregnant?


NewScientist advises:
IT’S a question many people will ask themselves at some point in their lives: when should I start a family? If you know how many children you’d like, and whether or not you would consider, or could afford, IVF, a computer model can suggest when to start trying for your first child.

Happy with just one? The model recommends you get started by age 32 to have a 90 per cent chance of realising your dream without IVF. A brood of three would mean starting by age 23 to have the same chance of success. Wait until 35 and the odds are 50:50 (see “When to get started”).
I am surprised at this. It seems to imply that women have to spend 20 years trying to get pregnant just to have 3 kids.

Before birth control, women would sometimes have 10 kids.

Mark Zuckerberg's wife is probably over 30, and she is pregnant after 3 miscarriages. So it is apparently taking her several years (at least) to have 1 child.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Lions, swarming migrants, and offensive tweets

The latest target of the internet shaming machine is a hunter who killed an African lion. Don't these people realize that if the lion lived, it would have hunted and killed other animals?

Or that tourism, including hunting trips, is a major incentive for countries like Zimbabwe to preserve lions?

Reuters reports that no one in Zimbabwe even cared about that lion. "Are you saying that all this noise is about a dead lion? Lions are killed all the time in this country."

Here in California, we have too many mountain lions as a result of anti-hunting prejudices. The more lion hunting, the better.

Also offending people was this:
A human rights group has condemned David Cameron's description of "swarms" of migrants, calling his language "irresponsible, dehumanising" and "extremely inflammatory" as desperate migrants continue to attempt the dangerous journey across the Channel to the UK.

The Prime Minister, speaking from Vietnam as part of his tour of South East Asian nations, said migrants illegally entering the UK would not be offered a "safe haven" and reassured British holiday-makers that authorities would ensure they had a “safe and secure holiday”.

But his comments were condemned by the Refugee Council, who criticised the PM's "irresponsible, dehumanising" language as "extremely inflammatory".
Cameron will reveal himself to be a cuckservative if he apologizes and allows name-calling to intimidate him into making UK a safe haven for the migrants.

There was just a TED Talk on internet shaming:
Twitter gives a voice to the voiceless, a way to speak up and hit back at perceived injustice. But sometimes, says Jon Ronson, things go too far. In a jaw-dropping story of how one un-funny tweet ruined a woman's life and career, Ronson shows how online commenters can end up behaving like a baying mob — and says it's time to rethink how we interact online.
He described IAC firing Justine Sacco, but gave only the weakest defense of her. In essence, he argued that the humiliation of her for an un-funny tweet was excessive.

No, her tweet was funny. And it was clearly meant as a joke. It included "just kidding". She should be congratulated. Twitter is intended for clever jokes like hers.

Pseudoscience philosopher Massimo Pigliucci
defends Islam and Communism:
all we need to do is to look at the relatively recent comparative history of Islam and other Abrahamic religions to be convinced that there isn’t anything especially pernicious, in the long run, with the former when compared to the latter [11]. ...

It would seem, then, that Maher & co. simply haven’t bothered to study history, and that it is a combination of social, economic and political factors that is creating a special problem for Islam in the contemporary world ...

Take, for instance, the rise of “communist” countries during the 20th century, particularly Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mao’s China. Unlike, say, nazism and fascism — which I think truly are irredeemably bad ideas — communism as developed by Marx and Engels [12] is not even close to being in the same ballpark. It may be unworkable, and even undesirable, but it isn’t intrinsically evil.
He has a lot of leftist opinions, and badmouths everyone else as being ignorant or worse. I have occasionally commented on his site, but nearly always either blocks my comment or denounces me as being ignorant or wrong. Here was my last blocked comment, and I am posting it here because because he does not allow this sort of criticism on his site:
Yes, Islam and Communism are intrinsically evil, as much as nazism and fascism. You found something that Sam Harris is right about. Just look at the history of countries dominated by those beliefs. Tell me if you would want to live in any of them.

MacDonald and Ayme explain some of the problems with Islam. None of that applies to Christianity, as Labnut explains well. Alex tries to rebut that by saying that Jesus cursed a fig tree! Just compare the Jesus and Mohammed stories and you will see that one of them was a monster.

Saying "the quotation game can easily be played" is just a way of denying the established meanings of the Bible and Koran. Just look at how those books are taught. Christians are taught to love their enemies. Moslems are taught that suicide bombers get a free ticket to heaven.
I don't know how someone can be a philosopher and be so hostile to other views.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

When Algorithms Discriminate

A NY Times article says:
But can computer programs be discriminatory?

There is a widespread belief that software and algorithms that rely on data are objective.
Another says:
“Algorithms aren’t subjective,” he said. “Bias comes from people.”
Somehow Google has been the big beneficiary of such thinking. People widely believe that Google searches are objective algorithms, and therefore not subject to human second-guessing.

Of course Google employs a couple thousand engineers who hand-tune search tables so that result will align with its business purposes.

Yes, algorithms discriminate. That is their purpose. Even if they are just trying to discriminate in favor of people willing to spend more money online, that will be correlated with all sorts of other discriminators.

More and more our lives are determined by algorithms, and they can be doing good or evil.

An artificial intelligence site argues:
These four claims form the core of the argument that artificial intelligence is important: there is such a thing as general reasoning ability; if we build general reasoners, they could be far smarter than humans; if they are far smarter than humans, they could have an immense impact; and that impact will not be beneficial by default.
The Less Wrong folks have similar concerns.

Their arguments are fairly convincing. And opinions will vary about what is beneficial. But I cannot endorse this open letter against autonomous weapons, signed by many famous experts and intellectuals. These weapons are coming, just like self-driving cars, and good engineering can make them useful.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lesbian against gay men as parents

Julie Bindel writes in the (conservative) Weekly Standard:
The huge rise in the incidence of gay men becoming fathers via surrogacy is largely seen as positive by those fighting inequality. ...

But there is a dark side to surrogacy. Its accelerating use by gay couples is no victory for freedom or emancipation. ...

As a lesbian feminist, I campaigned for years for gays and lesbians to be allowed to adopt children, not only because of our human right to have families but also because of the need to give secure, loving homes to vulnerable children. Now the rise of IVF surrogate parenthood is in danger of making the acceptance of gay adoption look like a hollow success.
Her complaints are a little strange. She does not appear to have any concerns about kids being reared without a mom, or the cultural implications of gay men with their own babies. Instead she focuses on some side issues.
Baby farming has become a significant international business. There is no law against surrogacy in Britain, but it is illegal for surrogates personally to advertise their services, as they do in the United States and elsewhere. Nor are private surrogacy agreements enforceable in British courts, which means, for example, that a surrogate mother cannot be forced to hand over the baby if she changes her mind. But legal niceties pose fewer barriers in less developed countries.
This is contradictory. Yes, there are laws against surrogacy in Britain, as the above paragraph mentions a couple: the parties cannot advertise, and the contracts cannot be enforced. Those are enuf to drive parents overseas.

Most less developed countries have laws against it also.
In the United States, IVF plus surrogacy usually carries a price tag of around $100,000; in India it can cost as little as $24,000, and regulation is far lighter.
The same could be said of other medical services, or just about any other monetary expenditure. India is cheaper than the USA.
Sometimes there is criminality. In February 2011, police in Thailand disrupted a Taiwanese-run ring that forced Vietnamese women to have babies for sale. Though illegal, this baby farm, Baby 101, advertised its services. Evidence gathered by police and Thai officials showed that some of the pregnant women had been tricked or forced into service and raped.
Sometimes there is criminality is just about anything. It is almost impossible to spend money without some risk that some of it might be going to help illegally exploit someone.
Enthusiasts of surrogacy like its efficiency. “Truth is, surrogacy is usually quicker than adoption and means you avoid going through the hoops with social workers, having to persuade them that you would be suitable parents,” says one dad who used a surrogate. They also value it because, as this father said, it “enables you to be a genetic parent.” ...

Indeed, it is difficult to understand why couples would strive to create babies using such harmful, expensive, and morally dubious methods when foster and adoptive parents are desperately needed. In the United Kingdom, there is a shortage of 60,000 foster homes and at least 4,000 children are waiting for adoption; a staggering 100,000 children in the United States are eligible for adoption. Where are the parents who will choose these children and give them a chance at a decent life?
She answers her own question. Couples use Assisted reproductive technology (ART) because it is superior to foster and adoption alternatives.

First of all, there are not many kids available for adoption in the USA. When you hear of a couple adopting a kid from Russia, China, or Guatemala, it is usually because they could not find a child in the USA.

Second, adoption is much more morally dubious. Often these kids are adopted against the wishes of a good dad, such as recently authorized by a new California law, or even against the wishes of both parents. The federal government pays local Child Protective Service (CPS) agencies about $10k per child for forcibly taking him from his parents and putting him up for adoption within a year. ART is based on the voluntary informed consent of all parties.

Also, there are many more stories of criminal and unethical behavior involved kids to be adopted. And of course marriage and baby-making the old-fashioned way is also subject to stories of fraud, deception, abuse, exploitation, and other problems.

Third, the argument that creating babies is harmful is based on the notion that pregnancy is harmful. Yes, pregnancy has its risks, but it is also an essential part of humanity. Most women regard pregnancy as a good and worthwhile thing. Yes, pregnant women are told not to take dangerous drugs, but again, most women agree with such advice.

Fourth, the number of people using these technologies is small and insignificant, and not enuf to be a public concern even if it were harmful.

So why is a neo-conservative magazine hiring a lesbian feminist to make these silly arguments? My guess is that there is an unspoken agenda here. Maybe the neo-conservatives believe that ART for gay men is anti-family, and the lesbian feminists are annoyed that gay men do not need them.

The WSJ newspaper (archived here) and NPR Radio have put some ethical, economic, and legal ART issues back in the news:
How much is a human egg worth? The question is at the heart of a federal lawsuit brought by two women who provided eggs to couples struggling with infertility.

The women claim the price guidelines adopted by fertility clinics nationwide have artificially suppressed the amount they can get for their eggs, in violation of federal antitrust laws.

The industry groups behind the price guidance—which discourages payments above $10,000 per egg-donation cycle—say caps are needed to prevent coercion and exploitation in the egg-donation process.

But the plaintiffs say the guidelines amount to an illegal conspiracy to set prices in violation of antitrust laws. The conspiracy, they argue in court papers, has deprived women nationwide a free market in which to sell their eggs, and enabled fertility clinics to “reap anticompetitive profits for themselves.”

“It’s naked, illegal price-fixing,” said Michael McLellan, a lawyer for the women.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California, could go to trial next year. In February, Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero allowed the suit, first filed in 2011, to move forward on behalf of women who have donated eggs in recent years. Later this summer, Judge Spero will consider whether to broaden the case to include women who plan to donate eggs in the future and want to eliminate the caps entirely. If successful, it could upend the industry of egg donation, which has increasingly become an important option for women who have trouble conceiving because of advanced age or other problems.
This does appear to be illegal price-fixing to me, but not a significant one. There is an open market for the eggs, and the price is usually a lot less than $10k. I do not think that it is hard for a woman to charge more than $10k if she can find a buyer.

Even if the clinic advertises that it follows the price-capping guidelines, a couple can pay extra money to a donor privately.
The price caps might also guard against worries that women might pay more for eggs from mothers of certain ethnic or racial backgrounds, or with such traits as physical beauty or high intelligence. Such a market exists, largely through a small number of agencies that cater to couples willing to pay a premium.

“It’s a concern about eugenics, that women will pay more for eggs from an Ivy League grad,” said John Robertson, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Texas.
Professors of law and bioethics say the most foolish things. Any time there is a market for goods or services, some people will pay more for what is in greater demand. Yes, women usually want eggs from women similar to themselves, and hence prefer their own ethnic and racial groups. They usually do not seek Ivy League grads unless they are Ivy League grads themselves. If they do want to pay more, why is it the business of anyone else?

Meanwhile, compare this to the adoption business. It is illegal to pay anything for a baby to be adopted. Except that it is commonplace to pay around $30k. They circumvent the law by going thru lawyers who launder the money and disguise it as expenses, as it is legal to pay lawyer fees and mothering expenses.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Turing movie was propaganda

I posted complaints about the Alan Turing movie, but did not realize that there was a Jewish angle to this.

Brenton Sanderson writes:
One Jewish source notes that, despite Benedict Cumberbatch being “so gentile it’s almost shocking,” the film has “significant Jewish angles” while being about “a non-Jewish mathematical genius from Cambridge University, Alan Turing, and his efforts to crack Nazi codes in the bucolic British countryside.” It admits that, given the Jewish domination of Hollywood, “perhaps it’s not shocking that the film’s producers are Jews (the clues are there in ‘film’ and ‘producers’)” — these producers being Ido Ostrowsky, Nora Grossman, and Teddy Schwarzman (the son of billionaire Jewish financier Stephen Schwarzman) who “were drawn to Turing’s story as a tale of a brilliant outsider forced to work with others to win the war against German evil.” Ah, the venerable heroic Jew as outsider theme.
He goes on to give an explanation of Jews making a movie like this. I don't know if this really explains the many strange distortions, but I pass it along, as I have not seen a better explanation. The movie would have been much better if it told Turing's story instead of ideological propaganda.

If you link to essays like this then Jewish organizations call you anti-Semitic, such as the ADL attacking an essay by Roosh V. on The Damaging Effects Of Jewish Intellectualism And Activism On Western Culture which says “The bulk of what I crit­i­cize about West­ern cul­ture was in fact ush­ered in by intel­lec­tual Jew­ish movements.”

The ADL does not attempt to rebut anything in the essay, and just resorts to name-calling. It calls Roosh "a misog­y­nist who rails against fem­i­nism." Yes, he rails against feminism, but that does not make him a misogynist. It appears to me that he loves women. The ADL seems to be endorsing the factual accuracy of the essay when it posts this sort of complaint. It would probably be calling him a white supremacist, except that I Roosh is Armenian or Persian American.

So I guess people were afraid to criticize the Turing movie out of fear of being called anti-Semitic.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Gawker is a leftist hate site

The trashy popular gossip site Gawker got into trouble recently because it posted a story outing a gay man, and then retracting it:
David Geithner, chief financial officer at Conde Nast and brother of former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, allegedly contracted with a male escort to meet in Chicago. The plan went south when the escort/porn star—identified by the Daily Caller as Leif Derek Truitt—discovered Geithner’s pedigree and supposedly requested that the CFO use his Washington connections to help with an eviction complaint in Texas. When Geithner allegedly refused and called off the date, Truitt escalated the intensity of his requests, finally going to Gawker.
I guess Gawker decided that it was bad for business to be participating in gay blackmail. It is a leftist hate site that will post all sort of other nasty attacks. Here is another one:
The Sad Puppies are also closely associated with neoreactionary, Gamergater, and notorious white supremacist Vox Day (he says he’s not a white supremacist, but he also says “Racism is neither a sin nor is it a societal evil. Race-based self-segregation is not only the observably preferred human norm for all races throughout the entirety of recorded human history, it is inevitable,” so go ahead and draw your own conclusions) who both played a part in picking the Sad Puppies nominees and started his own Rabid Puppies slate.
No, it is not white supremacist to make an observation about human history. The phrase usually means a belief that the white race should have control over the other races.

I guess one could argue that any observation about racial behavior is racist, but then Gawker is surely a vile racist site, as it posts disgusting racist rants all the time.

Speaking of racism:
Dylann Roof, the man suspected of killing nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., last month was indicted on Wednesday on federal hate crime and other charges, including some that carry the federal death penalty, two law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.

Mr. Roof, 21, already faces nine counts of murder in state court and could face the death penalty there. But Justice Department and F.B.I. officials have said the Charleston shooting was so horrific and racially motivated that the federal government must address it.

He was also charged with killing someone while obstructing religious freedom, which is eligible for the death penalty.
So he is only being charged because he is white and the Obama administration wants to make a black-white racial statement, right?

I am all in favor of prosecuting and executing Roof for his murders. But filing federal charges for the same crime seems like double jeopardy to me, and piling on. (Yes, I know that there are precedents for such prosecutions, but I do not agree with them either.)

Update: The head of Gawker is a gay man who says that he is married to another man, and that the notorious white hater Ta-Nehisi Coates would be his dream Gawker executive editor.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Blaming the legacy of lynching

NY Times columnist David Brooks writes:
Dear Ta-Nehisi Coates,

The last year has been an education for white people. There has been a depth, power and richness to the African-American conversation about Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston and the other killings that has been humbling and instructive.
Yes, these events were educational to me. I did not know how much black people think that it is acceptable to try to kill white cops, and how much white liberals tolerate such views.

I did not know how much liberals want to censor others, such as by banning private sales of confederate battle flags on EBay.
Your ancestors came in chains. In your book the dream of the comfortable suburban life is a “fairy tale.” For you, slavery is the original American sin, from which there is no redemption. America is Egypt without the possibility of the Exodus.
Brooks is Jewish. He married a non-Jewish wife who then converted to Judaism, and they visit Israel regularly. So I guess they are big believers in the Exodus myth. But there is no historical record of the Jews ever being slaves in Egypt, or of causing plagues on Egyptians to get their freedom.

I probably have ancestors who came to America as Indentured servants. That is about as relevant today as slavery. I have also had cops and other officials harass me as much as the blacks were in the widely publicized examples.
Your definition of “white” is complicated. But you write “‘White America’ is a syndicate arrayed to protect its exclusive power to dominate and control our bodies. Sometimes this power is direct (lynching), and sometimes it is insidious (redlining).”
I have never met any white people who want to control black bodies. Complaints about lynching and redlining are nearly always about events before I was born. Even the most racist white people just want black people to obey the law and behave like responsible citizens.
But I have to ask, Am I displaying my privilege if I disagree? Is my job just to respect your experience and accept your conclusions? Does a white person have standing to respond?

If I do have standing, I find the causation between the legacy of lynching and some guy’s decision to commit a crime inadequate to the complexity of most individual choices.
Brooks wants permission to criticize criminal behavior?

The legacy of lynching is that a century ago, vigilantes in the South might have hanged a black man for raping a white girl. Does this make blacks more likely to commit crimes today? Is that what someone is saying? Is it because the punishment is not swift enuf today?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Airline blocks ginger for being too pale

While racism has been in the news a lot, the NY Daily News reports that a ginger was kicked off an Arab airline for being too pale:
A pale, red-headed teenager was stopped from getting on a plane because staff mistook her coloring for being ill.

Grace Wain was trying to board an Etihad flight from Manchester, England, to the Maldives in the Indian Ocean on July 6, reports the Mirror.

But staff checking the 14-year-old and her family onto the flight were convinced she was sick.

They even refused to back down after a check-up by an airport paramedic.

Only after Grace produced written confirmation from her doctor back home in Scotland was she allowed to fly.

That confirmation was emailed to the airport.

Her dad, Paul, said: "I told them, 'We live in Scotland,' she is a redhead and has a pale complexion. That's just the way she is."

Grace was reduced to tears by the incident.
I wonder what would happen if a European airline kicked off an African girl for looking too black.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Ignore advice and eat more fat

The NY Times has an article on govt agencies giving bad diet advice:
But nutrition, like any scientific field, has advanced quickly, and by 2000, the benefits of very-low-fat diets had come into question. Increasingly, the 30 percent cap on dietary fat appeared arbitrary and possibly harmful. Following an Institute of Medicine report, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines quietly began to reverse the government’s campaign against dietary fat, increasing the upper limit to 35 percent — and also, for the first time, recommending a lower limit of 20 percent.

Yet, this major change went largely unnoticed by federal food policy makers. The Nutrition Facts panel on all packaged foods continued to use, and still uses today, the older 30 percent limit on total fat. And the Food and Drug Administration continues to regulate health claims based on total fat, regardless of the food source. In March, the F.D.A. formally warned the manufacturer of Kind snack bars to stop marketing their products as “healthy” when they exceeded decades-old limits on total and saturated fat — even though the fats in these products mainly come from nuts and healthy vegetable sources.

The “We Can!” program, run by the National Institutes of Health, recommends that kids “eat almost anytime” fat-free salad dressing, ketchup, diet soda and trimmed beef, but only “eat sometimes or less often” all vegetables with added fat, nuts, peanut butter, tuna canned in oil and olive oil. Astoundingly, the National School Lunch Program bans whole milk, but allows sugar-sweetened skim milk. ...

Recent research has established the futility of focusing on low-fat foods. Confirming many other observations, large randomized trials in 2006 and 2013 showed that a low-fat diet had no significant benefits for heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer risks, while a high-fat, Mediterranean-style diet rich in nuts or extra-virgin olive oil — exceeding 40 percent of calories in total fat — significantly reduced cardiovascular disease, diabetes and long-term weight gain. Other studies have shown that high-fat diets are similar to, or better than, low-fat diets for short-term weight loss, and that types of foods, rather than fat content, relate to long-term weight gain.
This is right, except for "like any scientific field". I cannot think of any other science that go around telling people wrong stuff as the field of nutrition does.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

FBI wants your crypto keys

FBI Director James Comey writes:
But my job is to try to keep people safe. In universal strong encryption, I see something that is with us already and growing every day that will inexorably affect my ability to do that job. It may be that, as a people, we decide the benefits here outweigh the costs and that there is no sensible, technically feasible way to optimize privacy and safety in this particular context, or that public safety folks will be able to do their job well enough in the world of universal strong encryption. Those are decisions Americans should make, but I think part of my job is make sure the debate is informed by a reasonable understanding of the costs.
See this SciAm article for background.

Some prominent cryptologists have written an essay on The Risks of Mandating Backdoors in Encryption Products. They say that the govt plan cannot work, and and the NY Times says that a previous Clinton administration plan was shown to not work either.

I am inclined to agree that giving the Obama administration everything they want would infringe our civil liberties, but the cryptologist argument is nonsense. The Clinton administration plan was defeated politically, not by technical weaknesses.

Every other country spies on its citizens, and does it without any statutory limitation or due process. Apple, Google, credit bureaus, Obamacare, and others collect vast amounts of privacy invading data on us, and we have very few protections. The main forces against encryption are businesses who profit from selling our private data.

It would be possible to give the feds what they ask, and give citizens better protections than they have today. There are no technical barriers to this.

These cryptologists are saying something that is popular with civil libertarians, and with big data companies who would like to keep spying on us. But those big data companies are eager to give the false impression that all of your data can be trusted with them, and that the FBI is the real threat to your privacy.

Here is a bigger threat, from a Latina political appointment in the Obama administration:
Katherine Archuleta, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, resigned under pressure on Friday, one day after the government revealed that two sweeping cyberintrusions at the agency had resulted in the theft of the personal information of more than 22 million people, including those who had applied for sensitive security clearances.
I think that it is just a matter of time before massive files on everyone get put on the web, with Social Security numbers, addresses, and health info. Once that happens, people will see little point in making that info secret anymore.

Update: James Baker says that he convinced the NY Times to issue a correction about the supposed technical weaknesses of the Clinton administration plan.

While I was on the opposite side of Baker in the 1990s crypto wars, I agree with him that the press has fallen for lame arguments from cryptologists.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The Truth is Out There

Wikipedia describes the TV show The X-Files:
The main story arc involves the agents' efforts to uncover a government conspiracy to hide the existence of extraterrestrials on Earth and their sinister collaboration with those governments. Mysterious men comprising a shadow element within the U.S. government, known as "The Syndicate", are the major villains in the series; late in the series it is revealed that The Syndicate acts as the only liaison between mankind and a group of extraterrestrials that intends to destroy the human species. They are usually represented by The Smoking Man (William B. Davis), a ruthless killer and a masterful politician and negotiator and the series' principal antagonist.[
This TV show was surprisingly popular in the 1990s. It had a couple of spin-off movies, and is soon returning to TV. See also Mythology of The X-Files:
The overarching story, which spans events as early as the 1940s, is built around a government conspiracy to hide the truth about alien existence and their doomsday plan. Not all episodes advanced the mythology plot, but the ones that did were often set up by Mulder via an opening monologue.

Most mythological elements in The X-Files relate to extraterrestrial beings, referred to by the writers as "Colonists," whose primary goal is to colonize Earth. Late in the series, this was revealed to have been planned for the year 2012.
But why would such a wacky show be popular? My theory is the aliens were a metaphor.

A famous example of such a metaphor is Godzilla:
With the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Lucky Dragon 5 incident still fresh in the Japanese consciousness, Godzilla was conceived as a metaphor for nuclear weapons.[16] As the film series expanded, some stories took on less serious undertones portraying Godzilla as a hero while other plots still portrayed Godzilla as a destructive monster; sometimes the lesser of two threats who plays the defender by default but is still a danger to humanity.
The idea is that Japanese pride had difficulty directly addressing the concept that American nuclear technology had both conquered them and saved them. So they invented Godzilla.

What conspiracy could be so compelling and so terrible to get the attention of world leaders, but have to be kept secret? In the X-Files, the presumption is that the world leaders have sold out the human race for some short term gain. Cooperating with the space aliens is yielding some tangible benefits, but ultimately the aliens will invade Earth and have no use for humans. The conspiracy always kicks in to keep this secret, because the public would never accept such a sellout, and revolt. Occasionally some info leaks out, but the truth is too terrible to be believed.

So if this is a metaphor, what is the real conspiracy? The obvious choice is promoting illegal aliens and immigration, because of the word "alien". I think the conspiracy must run deeper than that, and be something that no one dares mention.

My theory is that there is a vast global conspiracy to exterminate those who created Western Civilization. That is, white males, Christian patriarchy, nuclear family, and republican government.

If there were such a conspiracy, what would be the effects?

Social policies would discourage births in the white populations of N. America and Europe, until the rate drops far below replacement. Aid would be given to Third World countries, so that they can have unrestrained population growth. Barriers to immigration would be removed, so that N. America and Europe can be resettled by non-whites and non-Christians.

Anyone who shows pride in white people or Christian ideals would be mocked and shamed, while the opposite is praised. All of the world's evils would be attributed to white Christian men. Tolerance would be required of evils from other groups.

White males would still be needed to create the technologies that enable basic necessities for the rest of the world. But once those are in place, they will be the slaves, and only kept in sufficient numbers to maintain the system.

If someone like Donald Trump gets invited into the conspiracy and then leaks what is really going on with immigration, he will be shunned in the harshest terms. No one will debate him on the merits of what he says. Those who are in on the conspiracy must somehow suppress the truth, because the public would not accept what our overlords are really doing.

If the conspirators infiltrated the Vatican, the Pope would issue an encyclical denouncing the major accomplishments of Western Civilization, including energy, wealth, food, and water, and say that we must all cut back in order to support Third World development, population growth, and migration into developed countries.

ISIS flags would be readily available on Ebay, while any flag symbolizing white pride would be banned.

Of course, there could never be such a conspiracy. Popes do not take orders from Marxist nihilists, as far as I know. But it is amusing to speculate about how the world might be different if there were such a conspiracy. If you can think of some disproof of such a conspiracy, please put it in the comments.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

H1N1 flu vaccine causes permanent narcolepsy

California has passed an extreme vaccination mandate, but ExtremeTech reports:
These days, it’s easy to be dismissive of anti-vaccine headlines. Long content to be headed by Jenny McCarthy and disgraced researchers, the so-called “anti-vaxxers” have produced so much nonsense in their ill-advised quest to end routine vaccination that many are quick to jump to an equally reflexive conclusion: all vaccines are inherently safe. But the reality is that vaccines are medicines like any other, foreign substances introduced into the body specifically because the body will react powerfully to them. Many vaccines are thrown out during testing because they turn out to do more harm than we can abide. Even so, the screening process isn’t perfect, and clinical trials don’t necessarily capture every single low-probability reaction. This week, a major study in Science Transitional Medicine shows how a vaccine called Pandemrix really may cause narcolepsy. This report is different from an earlier 2013 study on Pandemrix (published in the same journal) that claimed to find a link between the vaccine and narcolepsy, but was retracted a short time after publication. ...

This week’s study changes that. The seeming cause is not mercury poisoning, or any of the other thoroughly discredited “links” between childhood vaccines and autism, but rather goes back to the very mechanism of any vaccine’s useful function: immune response. Vaccines stimulate antibodies and essentially prime the immune system to deal with a later viral invasion, but clinical testing may have underestimated the intensity of Pandemrix’s cross-reaction with a totally unintended natural antibody. Pandemrix may contain a protein that is too similar to a natural brain protein. In some people, this similarity may stimulate the release of an antibody. The study argues that this antibody may be killing off certain cells in the brain’s hypothalamus that are associated with the sleep-wake cycle. ...

Narcolepsy induced in this way is a permanent malady, since the cells that produce the much-needed sleep regulation protein are now simply gone, and do not regrow.
Other vaccines have been pulled from the market because of safety problems. Do not let anyone convince you that all vaccines are safe.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Trying to censor white nationalism

The NY Times reports:
White Supremacists Extend Their Reach Through Websites ...

But the manifesto attributed to Mr. Roof included a chilling complaint about the movement’s disavowal of violence. “We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the Internet,” the paper read. “Well, someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”
So these web sites do not advocate or facilitate violence.

I had never heard of some of these sites, but on a quick glance, I do not see where any of them advocate white supremacy. They have news and opinion about racial matters, but do not seem to have any interest in one race having control over other races.

The web sites are not hotlinked, so I put them here: The Daily Stormer, National Policy Institute, Stormfront, Council of Conservative Citizens, American Renaissance, League of the South. The Occidental Quarterly.

Here is what Dylann Roof actually says in his manifesto:
The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case. I kept hearing and seeing his name, and eventually I decided to look him up. I read the Wikipedia article and right away I was unable to understand what the big deal was. It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right.
That's right, a Wikipedia article presenting facts about a news event that had been grossly misrepresented by Pres. Barack Obama and the mainstream news media.

After 6 years of crying racism, the Obama administration finally has an example of a racist crime against innocent people, and is disappointed at not being able to spread the blame beyond one lone kook:
Federal and local authorities have found that the man charged in the shooting deaths of nine black people in a South Carolina church last month had been in contact with white supremacists online, although it does not appear they encouraged him to carry out the massacre, according to law enforcement officials.

Investigators uncovered that information as they have pieced together where the gunman, Dylann Roof, 21, received his inspiration, and whether anyone else should face charges in connection with the murders. ...

So far, the authorities have determined that people around Mr. Roof were aware that he held some racist beliefs. ...

Senior officials at the Justice Department said that the shooting was such an extraordinary event that the department must bring hate crime charges to send a larger message about it.
Some day it will be a federal hate crime to be aware of a fellow citizen holding some racists beliefs, and not reporting them. No one will dare defend the Confederate Battle Flag or anything like that.

Update: It is okay to attack whites of course, such as this:
An Illinois college professor suggested on Twitter last month that because white persons owned slaves over a century ago, white persons today “are complicit in it.”

Adam Kotsko, a professor of humanities at Shimer College in Chicago, tweeted out the following on June 25: “Whether or not your individual ancestors owned slaves, you as a white person have benefited from slavery and are complicit it it. Sorry.” One person responded, “What follows from this?” to which Kotsko answered: “We should commit mass suicide.”

Sunday, July 05, 2015

NY Times complains about sites with racial views

The NY Times reports:
White Supremacists Extend Their Reach Through Websites ...

But the manifesto attributed to Mr. Roof included a chilling complaint about the movement’s disavowal of violence. “We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the Internet,” the paper read. “Well, someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”
So these web sites do not advocate or facilitate violence.

I had never heard of some of these sites, but on a quick glance, I do not see where any of them advocate white supremacy. They have news and opinion about racial matters, but do not seem to have any interest in one race having control over other races.

The web sites are not hotlinked, so I put them here: The Daily Stormer, National Policy Institute, Stormfront, Council of Conservative Citizens, American Renaissance, League of the South. The Occidental Quarterly.

Here is what Dylann Roof actually says in his manifesto:
The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case. I kept hearing and seeing his name, and eventually I decided to look him up. I read the Wikipedia article and right away I was unable to understand what the big deal was. It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right.
That's right, a Wikipedia article presenting facts about a news event that had been grossly misrepresented by Pres. Barack Obama and the mainstream news media.

Our society is of course filled with web sites, newspapers, professors, and others that blame white people for all sorts of things. Stormfront is just a bunch of public forums, and I believe it lets users express whatever views they want. I do not see how these sites are any more to blame than Wikipedia.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Geneticists do not want you to know your DNA

Here are some geneticists who do not really believe in genetics. NPR radio reports:
You can now order genetic tests off the Internet and get your child's genome sequenced for less than the cost of a new car. The question is, should you?

Almost certainly not, according to the American Society for Human Genetics, which released a position paper Thursday intended to give parents some help navigating the dizzying world of genetic tests.

"This is something that we don't think is ready for prime time for kids," says Dr. Jeffrey Botkin, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah and lead author of the paper.
Here is the abstract, and statement. The full article is behind a paywall, and the web site is full of broken links anyway.

What I get out of this is that the experts are afraid that they will lose control of the genetic testing process, if healthy people just go get whole genome sequencing by themselves.

I do not see how knowledge of your own health data can be unethical.

People get spooked by genetic info, and these geneticists are not helping. They want to create a mystique about this info being dangerous.

The DNA technology is such that there is no need to get repeated DNA tests in response to potential health questions. You can just get the sequence data at birth, and evaluate portions of it as needed. Even if Chinese hackers steal your data and post it on the web, it is unlikely that you will be damaged, unless you are a wanted rapist or something like that.

Monday, June 29, 2015

No need to finish antibiotic pills

When asked for practical consequences of biological evolution, mainstream educators nearly always point to advice to take all your pills to avoid evolving bacterial resistance. For example, PBS TV:
Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance

This silent animation created for Evolution: "The Evolutionary Arms Race" follows the progression of antibiotic resistance. When a sick person takes antibiotics, the drugs begin to kill off the bacteria. But if treatment stops prematurely, it leaves some microbes alive -- the ones with mutations that make them resistant to the drugs. As these survivors multiply, they pass along their protective mutations to all their descendants. In this way, the bacteria evolves into a new drug-resistant strain. ...

It means taking all the pills that are prescribed, even if you're feeling better.
And U. California Berkeley:
Applying our knowledge of evolution
Evolutionary theory predicted that bacterial resistance would happen. Given time, heredity, and variation, any living organisms (including bacteria) will evolve when a selective pressure (like an antibiotic) is introduced. But evolutionary theory also gives doctors and patients some specific strategies for delaying even more widespread evolution of antibiotic resistance. These strategies include: ...

3. When treating a bacterial infection with antibiotics, take all your pills.
But there are medical experts who say precisely the opposite, such as Discover Magazine:
Conventional wisdom: Antibiotic regimens should be taken in full, even after the patient feels healthy again.

Contrarian view: Shorter courses are often just as effective and do a better job at preventing antibiotic resistance. ...

“The science is clear,” says infectious disease specialist Brad Spellberg of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute. “Every study that has been done comparing longer versus shorter antibiotic therapy has found shorter therapy just as effective.” A few days of taking antibiotics, it seems, should usually be enough to knock infections on their heels, allowing the patient’s immune system to come in and mop up.

Taking the full course of antibiotics unnecessarily wastes medicine, and more drugs translates to increased evolutionary pressure on the harmless bacteria in our bodies. These “good” bugs can develop drug-resistant genes, which can then transfer to bad bugs.
And the London Guardian reports:
You have been taking antibiotics for a sore throat, but after two days you feel better – except that the tablets make you feel sick. So must you keep taking them? Traditional wisdom is that failing to finish the course allows some bacteria to survive. These will be the hardier ones that can resist the same antibiotic should they meet it again. So for your own good, and that of antibiotic resistance worldwide, you should keep taking the tablets.

But last week, in an article in the Medical Journal of Australia, Professor Gwendolyn Gilbert of the University of Sydney wrote: “There is a common misconception that resistance will emerge if a prescribed antibiotic course is not completed.” She argued that there was minimal risk in stopping antibiotics if the signs and symptoms of a mild infection had resolved.

Professor Chris Del Mar, professor of public health at Bond University in Queensland, agreed, saying that, for most acute chest and urine infections, GPs should tell patients to stop taking the tablets once they feel better. Only for some conditions,
Millions of people also use anti-bacterial soap, but I never heard of anyone getting sick from bacteria that evolved to be resistant to the soap. It is true that some bacteria are resistant to some drugs, but those bacteria have also been found in nature where they never would have been exposed to the drugs.

Speaking of evolution-related myths, a recent poll reported:
YouGov's latest research shows that 41% of Americans think that dinosaurs and humans either 'definitely' (14%) or 'probably' (27%) once lived on the planet at the same time. 43% think that this is either 'definitely' (25%) or 'probably' (18%) not true while 16% aren't sure. In reality the earliest ancestors of humans have only been on the planet for 6 million years, while the last dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago.
There are many knowledgeable scientists who adamantly argue that birds are dinosaurs, and that humans and dinosaurs (birds) coexist today.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Fear of DNA

Here is a crazy employee lawsuit that won a big award. The employer asked a couple of employees to take a DNA test solely to proved their innocence of some minor vandalism. No one was harmed. But Congress passed a stupid law on the subject, and it became a lawsuit. An ambulance-chasing-type lawyer brags:
Yesterday, in what U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg dubbed “the case of devious defecators,” jurors awarded $2.25 million dollars to Jack Lowe and Dennis Reynolds for the harm they suffered from having their DNA unlawfully obtained by their employers, Atlas Logistics Retail Services (Atlanta), LLC.

In this case of first impression, Judge Totenberg previously ruled that Atlas had unlawfully taken cheek swabs from the two employees under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000ff-1(b), which makes it “an unlawful employment practice for an employer to request, require, or purchase genetic information with respect to an employee.” ...

The jury awarded Dennis Reynolds $225,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in compensatory damages to Jack Lowe. They also awarded a whopping $1,750,000 in punitive damages, to stop Atlas from requesting its employees’ DNA in the future, and to send a crystal clear message that they value the privacy of their DNA.
I never agreed with that law. People have a lot of irrational ideas about DNA.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hot hand fallacy disproved

Statisticians frequently point to the Hot-hand fallacy, and argue that random events are uncorrelated. That is normally true for events like coin tosses and roulette wheels, but is often applied also in sports where a correlation would be expected.

Now a Vox article says:
Most sports fans and athletes believe in hot streaks. A basketball player who has hit several shots in a row, the thinking goes, has a greater chance of hitting the next one, due to a "hot hand." Think of Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who recently hit 77 straight three-pointers in practice.

Yet for a long time, scientists were skeptical. In 1985, a hugely influential study by a trio of psychologists argued that the hot hand was a myth. Among the NBA and college players they studied, hitting one shot made no difference in their odds of hitting the next shot. Like coin tosses, players were subject to the laws of probability, with the same baseline percentage chance of hitting every shot. Ever since that study, psychologists have held up fans' belief in the hot hand as an example of human irrationality: our tendency to see patterns in randomness.

Now, however, it's starting to look like the hot hand might be real after all.

"Psychologists thought it was just our tendency to see patterns in randomness"

A handful of studies published over the past few years have suggested that basketball players, pro bowlers, and volleyball players can indeed heat up, boosting their normal accuracy rates by several percentage points for longer stretches of play than you'd expect from chance.

And last week, a new study found one of the strongest pieces of evidence for the hot hand yet. The researchers looked at 29 years' worth of data from the NBA three-point shooting contest and found that players who hit three or more shots in a row had a 6.3 percent higher chance of hitting the next one, compared with their baseline rate.
This hot hand fallacy is frequently given as proof of a cognitive bias.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fact-checking David Brooks

NY Times columnist David Brooks is often praised for being an intelligent conservative, and for being good at explaining social science to the masses.

But apparently much of what he says is wrong. See Language Log and Gelman.

He is not really a conservative either. He just seems that way compared to other NY Times columnists. He wrote many columns with fanboi support for Barack Obama, the most anti-conservative President in many years.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Colleges teach white hatred

Ivy League professor Ali Michael writes:
I Sometimes Don't Want to Be White Either ...

There was a time in my 20s when everything I learned about the history of racism made me hate myself, my Whiteness, my ancestors... and my descendants. I remember deciding that I couldn't have biological children because I didn't want to propagate my privilege biologically.

If I was going to pass on my privilege, I wanted to pass it on to someone who doesn't have racial privilege; so I planned to adopt. I disliked my Whiteness, but I disliked the Whiteness of other White people more. I felt like the way to really end racism was to feel guilty for it, and to make other White people feel guilty for it too. ...

When we recognize and own our Whiteness, we can account for our own portion, our one 1/billionth of responsibility for what White people have done throughout history. We can work with other White people to begin to challenge bias, ignorance and colorblindness. We can use our privilege to confront the sources of that unfair favoring.
This is a mental illness, and it is being taught to college students.

She needs to learn about positive contributions to society from white people, such as by reading Today In White History.

One of her complaints is that whites have no culture. The Dylann Roof manifesto addressed this:
Many White people feel as though they dont have a unique culture. The reason for this is that White culture is world culture. I dont mean that our culture is made up of other cultures, I mean that our culture has been adopted by everyone in the world. This makes us feel as though our culture isnt special or unique. Say for example that every business man in the world wore a kimono, that every skyscraper was in the shape of a pagoda, that every door was a sliding one, and that everyone ate every meal with chopsticks. This would probably make a Japanese man feel as though he had no unique traditional culture.
That is from the rant of a killer who ought to be executed, after a trial. Here is his explanation:
The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case. I kept hearing and seeing his name, and eventually I decided to look him up. I read the Wikipedia article and right away I was unable to understand what the big deal was. It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right. But more importantly this prompted me to type in the words “black on White crime” into Google, and I have never been the same since that day. The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?

From this point I researched deeper and found out what was happening in Europe. I saw that the same things were happening in England and France, and in all the other Western European countries. Again I found myself in disbelief. As an American we are taught to accept living in the melting pot, and black and other minorities have just as much right to be here as we do, since we are all immigrants. But Europe is the homeland of White people, and in many ways the situation is even worse there. From here I found out about the Jewish problem and other issues facing our race, and I can say today that I am completely racially aware.
There is something seriously wrong when Pres. Obama, prosecutors, NY Times columnists, and so many others argued that Trayvon Martin did nothing wrong.

By killing blacks in a church he has finally given Obama an example of a racist white attack on innocent blacks. In the previously examples, like Ferguson, the narrative collapsed when the facts were revealed.

On another matter, San Jose congressman Mike Honda brags about having an 8-year-old transgender granddaughter (or maybe grandson, I don't know).

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Philosophers have lame arguments for funding

There is a philosophy site called Scientia Salon that appears to be pro-science, but actually anti-science and anti-scientist.

A current article argues:
So let’s be honest: the reason to give money to basic science is the same that should be used to give money to the humanities and the arts: because we are a rich country that can afford to spend a fraction of its wealth on things that are not practical, on continuing the human quest for knowledge, understanding and beauty.
A couple of comments suggested that the case for basic science was stronger than for the humanities, but that was upsetting:
Unnecessary remarks by Jake Zielsdorf and francisrlb dismissive of the humanities, soured this thread for me. Really, if they aren’t willing to respect interests of mine, why should I support theirs?
The moderator admitted that he considered censoring the pro-science comments:
We actually discussed whether to let those comments through
My reply was:
Really? Did I stumble upon some sort of support group for emotionally fragile people?
The moderator blocked this for being too "uncivil".

It seems bizarre to me that a site would cater to philosophers having discussion, and yet be so unable to handle differing opinions.

Yes, of course basic science is more worthy of taxpayer funding than the humanities. A lot of science has no practical application or obvious taxpayer benefit, but at least it is pursuing facts and truth, and the scientists are held accountable for the validity of what they say.

Much of the humanities is worse than worthless.

A later comment in the same thread says:
The 1980s did bring forth a cultural revolution, the Reagan Revolution, which is properly so-called (although Reagan himself was mentally unbalanced and incompetent at anything other than delivering speeches). ... the re-interpretation of all values into the language of the marketplace: ...
Today's universities are filled with humanities professors who spout this sort of politically driven nonsense. It is worse than worthless because they are teaching the next generation a wrong version of history, as well as distorted idea of what science is all about.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Tom Brady was framed

Ted Wells is a black criminal lawyer who was famous for his poor defense of Scooter Libby. The case against Libby was very weak, as I posted several times, but Wells seemed to be throwing the case in order to create a scapegoat for the Bush administration.

Now Wells is better known for a couple of slanted reports for the NFL in order to support some stupid policies. The last one accuses Tom Brady of being 51% likely to have some general knowledge of some minor football inflation irregularities, but now it appears that Wells faked the data in his report.

I guess the NFL wants to show that it is tough on players. Or maybe it is an anti-union thing. Or people like to take down big stars. Or punishment becomes more respectable if you get a black lawyer to do the dirty work. I don't know.

This is another example of over-criminalizing sports, or inappropriate penalties, and of rejecting innocent-until-proven-guilty.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Another skeptic of human evolution

Roosh V. has turned negative on human evolution:
The one aspect of evolution, specifically, that does not hold true for modern humans, especially those living in the West, is that fit humans are reproducing up to the limit of the food supply, as stated by Darwin. In fact, the more resources a person has, the less likely they will reproduce at all, which you can witness at any time in a drive through the poor and rich parts of your city. Darwin’s theory doesn’t explain why this occurs, why the “strongest” and most “fit” are having the least amount of offspring or deliberately choosing not to have any offspring at all, even though natural selection specifically states that only the strongest can pass on their genes while the weak and infirm will not.

Most animals, plants, and bacteria do reproduce up to the limit of the food supply, or at least try to maximally have as many offspring as possible, but human beings have developed a consciousness that enables them to purposefully not reproduce even if they are able, and even develop a phobia to reproduction, and this has been in effect for at least 100 years in all major Western nations that currently suffer a death rate greater than the reproductive rate.

We must therefore conclude, with logic and rationale, that evolution is so flawed at explaining modern human reproductive behavior (and not merely casual sex where reproduction was never the intent), that evolution is not an observable or correct principle for human beings living in Westernized nations. We must discard evolutionary theory as applying to all humans through the mechanism of natural selection and begin a search for a new explanation that explains our current biological behavior.
The usual evolutionist explanation is to redefine fitness to mean whoever reproduces, and has grandkids.

So this is an example of fitness:
OWN network is pulling the plug on a prospective reality series about the father of 34 children by 17 women.

The network says in a statement Friday: “Production has ended and the series will not air.”

It went on to say that the original idea was to follow Atlanta music producer Jay Williams “as he worked to put his life and fractured relationships in order,” the network says, “and to hold him accountable every step of the way.”

Williams had appeared on the OWN reality show “Iyanla: Fix My Life” with life coach Iyanla VanZant before his own spinoff series was announced a few months ago.
I guess this reality show was too hard a reality for the Oprah viewers. But in Darwinian "survival of the fittest" terms, he is the fittest.

Roosh continues:
Say you encounter an article that says the following: “Men who go off to war have more children than men who don’t.” Evolution would describe this by saying that women want to reproduce with men who are most fit and strong and better able to defend the tribe. But let’s flip it and say “Men who don’t go off to war have more children than men who do.” Evolution can describe this too! It can say, “A superior reproductive strategy is to stay with the fertile women and reproduce with them during the time the alpha males are away.” Even the simplest of minds can find an explanation once it already knows the final result it’s aiming for.

If evolution can be used to explain both sides of the coin, which is often does, it’s not a scientific theory but a rationalization theory that justifies any and all human behavior as somehow fitting the theory. In other words, the theory is like playdough that can fit in any situation, and this is even done in the red pill portion of the manopshere to take any behavior a man or woman does and somehow justify it in terms of evolution, even if it’s based on people acting on the willful mission to not reproduce. What’s convenient for evolutionists is that none of their assertions can be proven, meaning that evolution is not more than one step above astrology in terms of describing or predicting human behavior. It’s gibberish.
That's right, many evolutionary stories are just conventient myth-making, with any scientific backing. You could say the same about parts of psychology, economics, and other soft subjects.

Nevertheless, people like Williams are spreading their genes to the next generation, and smart successful people like Roosh are not. The future inheritors of the Earth with have the heritable characteristics of those who spread their genes.

There are religious creationist who do not accept human evolution, and there are leftist-atheists who detest the concept. I think that a lot of people do not want to accept that cultural forces are transforming the human race.

We have created a culture that considers a black music producer on reality TV the fittest man.

Justice A. Scalia says:
“Class of 2015, you should not leave Stone Ridge High School thinking that you face challenges that are at all, in any important sense, unprecedented,” Scalia said, adding that “Humanity has been around for at least some 5,000 years or so, and I doubt that the basic challenges as confronted are any worse now, or alas even much different, from what they ever were.”
This upsets leftist-atheist-evolutionists.

This is not rejecting evolution. To me, accepting evolution means accepting that humans evolved from hon-human ancestors, and are still evolving. The use of alphabets and numbers only goes back about 5000 years.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Looking back at the Population Bomb

TheFederalist writes:
The New York Times just published an extraordinary “retro report”—a short video paired with an article—looking back at Paul Ehrlich’s “population bomb” theory, the fear that an uncontrolled human population would outstrip the ability of the Earth to support it.

The Times lays out some of the evidence for the theory’s failure, including the fact that the world’s population was about 3.5 billion when Ehrlich first made his apocalyptic prognostications in 1968. It’s 7 billion now, and we haven’t starved, we haven’t run out of resources, and we’re better off than we’ve ever been.
They make some good points: Ehrlich was wrong, but was a hero to the Left.

And yet as I write this in California, we have water rationing caused almost entirely by population growth (and agricultural development) beyond the available water resources. We also have unemployment that matches immigration rates. We have traffic jams and other population-related problems. We have frequent talk of carbon taxes and other anti-global-warming measures, where population growth and development is the biggest driver of carbon emissions.

So did the increase from 3.5B to 7B people make the world a better or worse place? I say worse.
That’s the basic issue involved: are human beings any good? Is a new person just another mouth to feed — or does he have the potential to become someone who discovers how to feed the world? Do more humans just cause more problems — or do we solve them? Do we only destroy, or do we create? Are human beings good, and if so, shouldn’t we want more of them?
This is just foolishness. The runaway population growth is in Third World countries, and is not producing someone to discover how to feed the world. The humans who are creating technology and solving problems are almost entirely coming from countries with stable native populations. (The USA is growing from immigration, not the native population.)

Some humans cause problems and some solve them.

Poor areas of Africa, India, and China are projected to grow by billions of people, while rich areas like Europe may decline in population. It is foolish to think that some African making $1 a day is going to invent a new technology for feeding the world.

We do have a population problem. It could be address it by freezing immigration and stopping aid to the developing world. Ehrlich is too much of a leftist to propose those things, so he babbles nonsense.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Not noble to censor opinion

David Brooks writes in the NY Times:
These students are driven by noble impulses to do justice and identify oppression. They want to not only crack down on exploitation and discrimination, but also eradicate the cultural environment that tolerates these things. They want to police social norms so that hurtful comments are no longer tolerated and so that real bigotry is given no tacit support. ...

But when you witness how this movement is actually being felt on campus, you can’t help noticing that it sometimes slides into a form of zealotry. ...

But many of today’s activists are forced to rely on a relatively simple social theory. According to this theory, the dividing lines between good and evil are starkly clear. ...

According to this theory, the ultimate source of authority is not some hard-to-understand truth. It is everybody’s personal feelings. A crime occurs when someone feels a hurt triggered, or when someone feels disagreed with or “unsafe.”
No, there is nothing noble about suppressing opinions in college in order to try to avoid hurting some precious snowflake's feelings.

I wonder what the social justice warriors think of this petition:
The idea that white South Africans have the right to return to Europe is based in the concept of indigenous rights and self determination.

The white South African population currently faces ethnic cleansing and persecutions at the hands of the ANC government, the EFF, and various individual anti-white aggressors. Over 4000 white farmers have been brutally murdered, often including torture and rape and mutilation. Many white South Africans today live in poverty and squalor as a consequence of the ANC government's Black Economic Empowerment policy which shuts whites out of the labour pool.

Based on the Israeli government's policy of allowing all Jews the right to return to Israel, we believe it is not only advisable but morally obligatory that Europe should allow all white South Africans the right to return.

As it currently stands, many white South Africans who try to apply for citizenship to European countries such as the Netherlands and UK are rejected. Many of these white South Africans seeking citizenship are direct descendants of the very same European nations that reject them.
So Europe takes black and Moslem refugees, but not white European descendants?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

RoK celebrates masculine men

Return of Kings is considered one of the more offensive sites on the web, but it is really just a site that celebrates masculinity in men (and femininity in women), and is not particularly political at all. There is very little talk of men's rights, and it is quite tame and small compared to major feminist sites.

Here it lists some of its beliefs:
1. Men and women are genetically different, both physically and mentally
2. Men will opt out of monogamy and reproduction if there are no incentives to engage in them
3. Past traditions and rituals that evolved alongside humanity served a clear benefit to the family unit
4. Testosterone is the biological cause for masculinity. Environmental changes that reduce the hormone’s concentration in men causes them to be weaker and more feminine.
5. A woman’s value significantly depends on her fertility and beauty. A man’s value significantly depends on his resources, intellect, and character.
6. Elimination of traditional sex roles and the promotion of unlimited mating choice in women unleashes their promiscuity and other negative behaviors that block family formation.
7. Socialism, feminism, cultural Marxism, and social justice warriorism aim to destroy the family unit, decrease the fertility rate, and impoverish the state through large welfare entitlements.
A liberal critic
disputes some of this. For example, he says that socialist policies like paid maternity leave can raise fertility rates.

On the subject of men and women, Bernie Sanders has just had to repudiate a 1972 essay/story he wrote.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A superhero movie is not cultural genocide

Movie critic Richard Brody writes in the New Yorker magazine:
In a recent video interview to promote “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Robert Downey, Jr., Iron Man, lost his mettle. The interviewer quoted a remark by the director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu that superhero movies are “cultural genocide.” Downey seemed taken aback and responded offensively, with a nativist slur: “Look, I respect the heck out of him, and I think for a man whose native tongue is Spanish to be able to put together a phrase like ‘cultural genocide’ just speaks to how bright he is.”

There’s no defending Downey’s remark.
I'll defend Downey's remark. It is about the kindest thing that ought to be said when some leftist jerk from another culture accuses an actor of mass murder for making a popular movie.

Nobody uses terms like ‘cultural genocide’ unless they are Marxist hate-mongers. Those using the term should be mocked in the harshest terms. Downey was easy on the guy, and could have told him to go back to Mexico.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Parental contribution is mainly genetic

Bryan Caplan argues that reading helps kids more than anything:
The big result is the lack of results. Controlling for family and child background, time in school and studying barely help - and television viewing barely hurts. Contrary to wishful assertions that exercising the body improves the mind, sports don't matter either. Out of nineteen activities, only two predict greater academic success across the board: reading and visiting.

The estimated effect of visiting is modest. Reading, however, is a huge deal.
Visiting refers to certain organized out-of-school activities.

A Nature study reports:
Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies

Despite a century of research on complex traits in humans, the relative importance and specific nature of the influences of genes and environment on human traits remain controversial. We report a meta-analysis of twin correlations and reported variance components for 17,804 traits from 2,748 publications including 14,558,903 partly dependent twin pairs, virtually all published twin studies of complex traits. Estimates of heritability cluster strongly within functional domains, and across all traits the reported heritability is 49%.
You can download the full article here.

People think that kids are shaped by schools, TV, parenting, etc. The data says that these things matter less than you think.

Saying that heritability is 50% makes it sounds as if parenting and schooling are the other 50%. But other studies show that the other 50% is mostly measurement error and unkown factors, as the measurable aspect of the environment seem to have very little effect.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fat shamer on Dr. Oz show

Physician and Turkish-American TV personality Mehmet Oz regularly promotes quack medicine, with the endorsement of Oprah Winfrey. In particular he has promoted bogus weight-loss alternative medicine that borders on fraud. His physician colleagues have denounced him.

So you would think that he is against being fat. But much of his audience is fat women, and he does not want to offend them. So he introduced an anti-fat TV guest as a monster in Fat Shaming by Roosh V.

In spite of being ambushed on the show, Roosh stays calm and on point, describing how American women have become unhealthy and unattractive by getting fat. He also encourages fat men to join a gym, lose weight, and get in better shape. Men respond to logic and reasoned arguments, he says, but women do not and must be shamed.

Oz had some obese women denounce him, saying that they were happy to be fat and their inner beauty is what matters.

Oz's audience was mostly fat women, and they sided with him. All of which just help Roosh make his point that fat acceptance has led to a generation of repulsive people.

I have tried watching the Dr. Oz a couple of times. One time he discussed a minor medical problem that I was familiar with, and his advice was abominable. I say that Oz is the monster.

Very few people would dare say what Roosh V says, but he is reasonable and sensible compared to Oz.

Speaking of politically incorrect views, here are a couple of other examples.

Anthropologist Peter Frost says A synthesis has been forming in the field of human biodiversity. This consensus differs from how the leftist-Marxist-globalists deny race. It is hard to refute anything Frost says, but very few academics are willing to say it.

John Derbyshire attacks Bill Nye:
What did the Science Guy have to say to the Rutgers graduates? Well, he warned them of the horrors of climate change, which he linked to global inequality.
We’re going to find a means to enable poor people to advance in their societies in countries around the world. Otherwise, the imbalance of wealth will lead to conflict and inefficiency in energy production, which will lead to more carbon pollution and a no-way-out overheated globe.
Uh, given that advanced countries use far more energy per capita than backward ones—the U.S.A. figure is thirty-four times Bangladesh’s—wouldn’t a better strategy be to keep poor countries poor? We could, for example, encourage all their smartest and most entrepreneurial people to emigrate to the First World … Oh, wait: we already do that.
Again, hardly anyone is willing to say this, but if global warming is really such a big threat, then maybe the best thing we can do is to keep the Third World poor.

I mentioned how prominent skeptic-atheists have become disillusioned with the whole movement, but I am afraid that I have understated the matter. See the videos on Why 'Feminism' is poisoning Atheism. It appears that creepy leftist social justice warriors have hijacked to whole movement. Even the conferences sound very unpleasant.

Here is someone afraid to use certain words:
When it hit the national news that searching for certain racist and offensive words in Google Maps brought up the White House, I was immediately appalled. As someone who grew up listening to Hip-Hop music, I've heard similar language before, so I was not offended by the words themselves. I was, however, disappointed in the apparent disrespect towards our President and the ignorance of the perpetrator.
Apparently searches for "Nigger King" or "nigga house" would get you the Presidential White House. Note that the author not only refuses to write the N-word, he has to \give an excuse for even having heard the word before.

Google apologizes for this, but it bragged that during the G.W. Bush administration a search for "miserable failur"e gave the White House as the top result. That was changed when Barack Obama moved in, and the search gave Obama's biography. Google decided that was disrespectful, and the search now gives an article about how it used to point to Bush.

Update: Half of Democrats favor making hate speech a crime.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Risky to ask a woman to cut the cake

It is sometimes argued that STEM subjects should be minimized to make them more appealing to women. A female mathematical physicist attacks the idea:
But by proposing that women focus on work that is “societally meaningful” and that supports “humanitarian” goals, Ms. Nilsson indulges in two fallacies.

One is the premise that women are attracted to work consistent with the cultural notion that these are appropriate roles for women (traditionally, nursing and teaching).

In some sense, she is advocating “pink science” while ignoring the large number of female mathematicians, physical scientists and engineers who find the subject matter itself attractive.

It is analogous to telling women in medical school that they should become pediatricians and ob-gyns rather than neurosurgeons.

The other fallacy is that women are so shortsighted as to see only projects directly aimed at improving “the lives of people living in poverty” as having a meaningful societal effect. Surely, we all have a vested interest in enterprises like designing bridges and airplanes that are structurally sound.

We need to move forward with more female scientists in all fields rather than relegate them to certain subspecialties and pretend that such work is more valuable to our society.
And then there are those women who want to be treated like men, such as this one who refused to cut the cake:
My daughter majored in electrical engineering and got a job at a major electrical company. At a social gathering during work hours, her male associates asked her to cut a birthday cake, serve it and do the dishes. She refused, left for the day and eventually resigned.
Any attempt to push women into STEM fields might be pulling them away from better choices.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Trashing a skeptic for being skeptical

Philosopher and skeptic-atheist Massimo Pigliucci rants about all the jerks and social justice warriors in the Skeptic Atheist Movement, and then complains when a prominent skeptic is actually skeptical about something (global warming):
he [Randi] had absolutely no business even expressing an opinion on a technical matter of that magnitude. He’s a magician, not an atmospheric physicist! Same with Bill Nye ...
Apparently the movement is dominated by folks who believe that if you are smart enuf to be a skeptic-atheist, then you must also be a leftist-feminist-SJW, because that is the only rational belief.

They also wonder why the movement attracts dysfunctional creeps.

My guess is that most people would join the SAM unless they had some desire to shut religions. Right-wingers do not care to stop the religious beliefs of others, and left-wingers seek social conformity. Leftists seem to want everyone in the movement to have the same opinions.

Someone said that organizations tend to go left-wing unless they have some charter or something keeping them right-wing. If so, then SAM groups are likely to go left-wing.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Academics still do not want Gould criticism

The late Stephen Jay Gould was famous for writing The Mismeasure of Man, a book that is widely regarded as garbage by experts in the field, but widely praised by academic leftists who liked his ideology.

Evolutionist/philosophers Joshua Banta, Jonathan Kaplan, and Massimo Pigliucci write a summary of a paper they published:
Why would the popular media be interested in a story about a historical argument surrounding measurement techniques and statistical summaries of human skull volumes? ...

Gould was, and remains, a divisive figure. His strong opposition to “genetic determinism” led to some very public fights with other science popularizers, such as Richard Dawkins and E.O. Wilson, whose work he viewed as encouraging naïve views of the relationship between genes and development. Gould’s longstanding commitment to anti-racism came together with his concern about simple-minded genetic explanations offered by “hereditarianism,” ...

In one of his popular books, The Mismeasure of Man, Gould set his sights on Samuel G. Morton, a 19th century American physician who catalogued and reported the cranial volumes of human skulls he collected ...

Lewis et al. claimed that Gould was wrong, and that Morton was correct. ... members of the White Supremacist website StormFront immediately trumpeted Lewis et al.’s results as proving that Gould was a fraud, and took them to be broadly supportive of their explicitly racist agenda [6]. And it is worth remembering that Nicholas Wade, as the science editor for the New York Times, was, at least in part, responsible for the unusual degree of attention that Lewis’ paper received ... Speculating that Wade publicized Lewis et al.’s paper to support his racist program seems, on the whole, not entirely unreasonable. ...

it isn’t at all clear what question Morton was trying to answer, if any, ...

Some historians have argued that, again, while Morton had many racist beliefs, his work on skulls was just an attempt to gather data with no particular purpose. Indeed, during the same time he was producing his big Catalog of Skulls, he was also publishing detailed descriptions of fossilized crocodile skulls, of all things! And even his Catalog of Skulls contains a surprising number of descriptions of nonhuman (birds, reptile, fishes, other mammal) skulls. ...

The basic conclusion at which we arrive regarding Lewis and colleagues versus Gould is “a pox on both your houses!” Morton’s data is simply not useful for anything, and talking about “races” as people perceived them at some point in history is not scientifically relevant.

What is troubling is that the Lewis and colleague’s paper passed through peer review in such a high-profile journal and picked up so much popular media attention, leaving many people with the erroneous impression that there is evidence suggesting that individuals of different “races” really do differ in their skull sizes, and that this then tells us anything of any interest at all. That Lewis and his colleagues work, surely unwittingly, gives cover to racists is even more unfortunate.
These philosophers are to call people racists, but they don't like criticism of their anti-science views. They deleted my comment from Scientia Salon, so I am posting it here:
It is amazing how much leftists will rush to the defense of dishonest work by a fellow leftist/Marxist. Here the defense of Gould consists mainly of race-baiting innuendo and claims that Morton, who died in 1851, might have had some opinions that are not proved by his data.

For a recent discussion on how Gould was a notorious academic fraud, see Trivers on Gould.

If Morton's samples were not the best, the scientific approach would be to get better data. The anti-science approach of Banta-Kaplan-Pigliucci is to launch race-baiting ideological attacks. Gould had no longstanding commitment to anti-racism. He just used racist name-calling to substitute for scientific analysis.

The popular media was interested in this story because the world's best known and credentialed evolutionist wrote a book that sold millions of copies and became required reading at hundreds of universities, and it was almost entirely bogus in its content. It was fake science being propped up by leftist politics.

These philosophers are typical of leftist academic Marxist biases and tactics. They attack perfectly legitimate scientific work on the grounds of supposed bad motives. Next they denigrate with guilt-by-association. That is, they suggest that something must be wrong with the science if it is quoted on a web site with a racist following. They argue that certain data should be ignored, and that certain subject should not be talked about. Finally they attempt censorship, by arguing that aa legitimate scientific paper should not have been published.

Nobody is going to endorse racist views based on skull measurements by a physician who died in 1851. But Gould used misrepresentations of those measurements to become America's most famous scientist, and he needs to be exposed until professors quit defending him.

They pretend to be anti-racist, but they are the opposite. The Marxist view requires an oppressor class and a victim class, and they have to stir up racial animosity to achieve their political goals. So they create racial divisions and call everyone else racists.

Ron Unz recently wrote:
In corrupt societies, bad deeds frequently go rewarded, and in the years that followed, Gould, a notorious academic fraud, was provided the platform of some of America’s most prestigious media outlets—The New York Review of Books and Natural History magazine to promote his scientific opinions, many of which were incorrect, nonsensical, or dishonest; his books, such as The Mismeasure of Man, became widely assigned texts in college courses, thereby serving to misinform entire generations of students. And by an amusing irony of fate, the noisy attacks on mainstream evolutionary theory by this self-proclaimed Marxist eventually caused him to become a leading inspiration for ignorant religious Creationists, who gleefully used his arguments in their long but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to expel Darwinism from our public schools during the 1980s and 1990s.
This was in an introduction to comments by Robert Trivers, a highly respected evolutionary biologist:
Many of us theoretical biologists who knew Stephen personally thought he was something of an intellectual fraud precisely because he had a talent for coining terms that promised more than they could deliver, while claiming exactly the opposite. One example was the notion of “punctuated equilibria”—which simply asserted that rates of (morphological) evolution were not constant, but varied over time, often with periods of long stasis interspersed with periods of rapid change. All of this was well known from the time of Darwin. The classic example were bats. They apparently evolved very quickly from small non-flying mammals (in perhaps less than 20 million years) but then stayed relatively unchanged once they reached the bat phenotype we are all familiar with today (about 50 million years ago). Nothing very surprising here, intermediate forms were apt to be neither very good classic mammals, nor good flying ones either, so natural selection pushed them rapidly through the relevant evolutionary space.

But Steve wanted to turn this into something grander, a justification for replacing natural selection (favoring individual reproductive success) with something called species selection. Since one could easily imagine that there was rapid turnover of species during periods of intense selection and morphological change, one might expect species selection to be more intense, while during the rest of the equilibrium stabilizing selection would rule throughout. But rate of species turnover has nothing to do with the traits within species—only with the relative frequency of species showing these traits. As would prove usual, Steve missed the larger interesting science by embracing a self-serving fantasy. Species selection today is a small but interesting topic in evolutionary theory, not some grand principle emerging from paleontological patterns.

Recently something brand new has emerged about Steve that is astonishing. In his own empirical work attacking others for biased data analysis in the service of political ideology—it is he who is guilty of the same bias in service of political ideology. What is worse—and more shocking—is that Steve’s errors are very extensive and the bias very serious. A careful reanalysis of one case shows that his target is unblemished while his own attack is biased in all the ways Gould attributes to his victim. His most celebrated book (The Mismeasure of Man) starts with a takedown of Samuel George Morton. Morton was a scientist in the early 19 th Century who devoted himself to measuring the human cranium, especially the volume of the inside, a rough estimate of the size of the enclosed brain. He did so meticulously by pouring first seeds and then ball bearings into skulls until they were full and then pouring them out and measuring their volume in a graduated cylinder. He was a pure empiricist. He knew brain size was an important variable but very little about the details (indeed, we do not know much more today). He thought his data would bear on whether we were one species or several, but in any case he was busy creating a vast trove of true and useful facts.
Millions of college kids today are taught that Morton was an evil racist, just because he collected skull measurements.

Update: Massimo Pigliucci argues:
“people tend to hold political and policy views that are in their self-interests, whether they realize it or not.”

Seriously? I would think that my self-interest is much better served by supporting race and gender inequality, since I’m an older white male, than equality. Go figure. ... Ah, so this ought to confirm my suspicion that most Republicans, including those in high offices, have low cognitive ability. The nonsense truly never stops.
No, a white male professor is acting in his self-interest when he recites a leftist cultural Marxist orthodoxy about how there is no such thing as race, and similar nonsense. As you can see, Gould was forgiven for being wrong on a lot of issues because he was supposedly politically anti-racist. These professors can tell themselves that their ability to be anti-racist in the face of their own privileged background proves that they have higher cognitive ability, and those who do not subscribe to these leftist beliefs must be stupid.

The truth is more nearly the opposite. It does not take any intelligence to have kindergarten morality and go around calling everyone else a racist. I have more comments here.

Update: Scientia Salon approved this comment:
Curious debate. On one side, we have folks who deny objective science, who defend Marxism, who brag about being anti-racist while calling scientists and reporters racist, and who oppose saying anything that might encourage the anonymous posters on Stormfront. If presented with data or quotes to refute what they say, they brag how they are smarter and have a superior understanding.

Gould’s book is an embarrassment to modern science. Defending it is like defending Soviet Lysenkoism. It is just bad science that is promoted for leftist ideological or self-interest reasons. And yes, it is in the self-interest of white male soft-subject professors who make a career out of denouncing racism and pseudoscience.
For examples of one of them making a career out of denouncing racism, see Ignorance, Lies, and Ways of Being Racist or Realism, Antirealism, and Conventionalism about Race. This is race-baiting, not anti-racism. He seeks out "some evidence of racist intent" in order to brand people as racists. I do not know whether he is a Marxist, but he sure acts like one.

Update: Update: A comment asks:
Schlafly, what is your purpose?

C. Van Carter’s purpose is obvious – heighten suspicion of those those with greater melanin in their skin. This achieves what? – besides greater antagonism and social repression of those you don’t like.
Comments are closed, so I answer here.

A better scientific understanding of humanity is a worthwhile goal in itself. It is bizarre to me that it is acceptable to study varieties of fruit flies but not human beings.

Studies about human nature are especially interesting because they tell something about who we are. Humans are similar to chimps in some ways, and different in others. There are similarities and differences between the sexes, and between ethnic groups, and within groups. Information about heredity tells us something about nature v nurture.

Similarities and differences between men and women have enormous practical utility. So does information about traits being innate or immutable.

Marxists and fellow travelers hate this, because they see it as interfering with their goal of a classless egalitarian society. So they want to suppress the scientific knowledge and call everyone else racist.

Whenever they see diversity or inequality, it translates to Marxist-speak as "social oppression" because they frame everything as one class oppressing another. They claim to be against antagonism but they actually encourage it because they want a revolution from the oppressed classes.

So yes, I also have a purpose of exposing the hypocritical leftist truth-denying professors who promote Marxist nonsense. We would all be living like Cuba if they had their way.