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Thread: Huntsman on evolution, warming: 'Call me crazy'

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    Re: Huntsman on evolution, warming: 'Call me crazy'

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    It is only "misleading" (which implies a purposeful intent to deceive) if we know it is Kenyans and not Africans as a whole who tend to win marathons. In the absence of that knowledge, the simple racial distinction is quite useful, is it not?
    Reading this again, I should retract the bolded sentence - "misleading" doesn't necessarily connote "a purposeful intent to deceive." This however doesn't affect the larger point.

    Yes, it is misleading, but there is no way to know that without further researching the topic. If we find that race is a meaningful and reliable predictor of intelligence, further research should attempt to reduce error in the prediction. We might control for nationality and come up with an even better predictive variable, "Kenyan."

    I would add that "Kenyan" - like race - is also a social construct with no scientific basis that can nonetheless be a very useful predictor variable.

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    Re: Huntsman on evolution, warming: 'Call me crazy'

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    Reading this again, I should retract the bolded sentence - "misleading" doesn't necessarily connote "a purposeful intent to deceive." This however doesn't affect the larger point.

    Yes, it is misleading, but there is no way to know that without further researching the topic. If we find that race is a meaningful and reliable predictor of intelligence, further research should attempt to reduce error in the prediction. We might control for nationality and come up with an even better predictive variable, "Kenyan."

    I would add that "Kenyan" - like race - is also a social construct with no scientific basis that can nonetheless be a very useful predictor variable.
    "Misleading", whether intentional or not, is where You find Yourself now.
    Because It's Not just the political construct "Kenyans" you keep trying to pass off. It's Kenyans AND Ethiopeans. A possibly coherent East African racial subgroup.

    East African Marathon Dominance By the Numbers « Toni Reavis
    Of 149 sub-2:10 Marathons in 2010

    Kenya – 79 (53%)
    Ethiopia – 48 (32%)
    USA - 2 (.013%)

    Of 135 sub-2:30 Marathons in 2010, Women

    Ethiopia– 60 (44%)
    Kenya – 17 (12.5%)
    Russia – 15 (11%)
    Japan – 14 (10%)
    USA - 4 (.03%)
    Last edited by mbig; 08-21-11 at 12:14 PM.
    I'm personally sick of not being able to dunk a basketball because of racism.
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    Re: Huntsman on evolution, warming: 'Call me crazy'

    Quote Originally Posted by mbig View Post
    "Misleading", whether intentional or not, is where You find Yourself now.
    Because It's Not just the political construct "Kenyans" you keep trying to pass off. It's Kenyans AND Ethiopeans. A possibly coherent East African racial subgroup.

    East African Marathon Dominance By the Numbers « Toni Reavis
    That was nijato's example, not mine. Regardless, it was only used as an example to convey a point, so whether its Kenyans or Kenyans & Ethiopians doesn't really matter - both examples would illustrate the same point.

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    Re: Huntsman on evolution, warming: 'Call me crazy'

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    On the latter topic - even if we were to accept on face value the results of twin and adoption studies, there are many alternative hypotheses still to be tested. Such studies have done little or nothing to control for potential prenatal confounds. What is assumed to be genetic could very well be the result of cultural differences in nutrition or some other variable - which may lead some researchers to conclude that the cause is largely environmental. Another researcher might challenge that finding, claiming that a key nutritional variable is not influenced by culture or upbringing, but by a genetic difference that causes certain cravings, etc.
    If we're going to shift gears and talk about process, let's go to foundational levels. Recall that I'm criticizing liberal creationists and that includes those in the academy. Let me quote Matt Ridley in Nature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience, & What Makes Us Human (actually I'm going to make this an extensive quote so that the end of the quote is embedded in context)


    From then on, even the assertion of heritable IQ led to vitriolic campaigns of denunciation, assaults on your reputation and demands for your dismissal. The first to suffer this treatment was Arthur Jensen in 1969, following his article in the Harvard Educational Review. By the 1990s, the argument that society was segregating itself by assortive mating along intellectual and therefore racial lines—asserted in The Bell Curve by Richard Hernstein and Charles Murray—provoked another wave of rage among academics and journalists.

    Yet I suspect that if you took a poll of ordinary people, they would hardly have changed their views over a century. Most people believe in “intelligence”—a natural aptitude or lack of it for intellectual pursuits. The more children they have, the more they believe in it. This does not stop them from also believing in coaxing it out of the gifted and coaching it into the ungifted through education. But they think that there is something innate. . .

    Brains are composed of white matter and gray matter. When, in 2001, brain scanners reached the stage that people could be compared for the amount of gray matter in their brains, two separate studies in Holland and Finland found a high correlation between g and volume of gray matter, especially in certain parts of the brain. Both also found a huge correlation between identical twins in volume of gray matter: 95 percent. Fraternal twins had only a 50 percent correlation. These figures indicate something that is under almost pure genetic control, leaving very little room for environmental influence. Gray matter volume must be “due completely to genetic factors and not to environmental factors” in the words of Danielle Posthuma, the Dutch researcher. . . . .

    The opening words of Harris’s article were: Do parents have an important long-term effect on the development of their child’s personality? This article examines the evidence and concludes that the answer is no.

    From about 1950 onward psychologists had studied what they called the socialization of children. Although they were initially disappointed to find few clear-cut correlations between parenting style and a child’s personality, they clung to the behaviorist assumption that parents were training their children’s characters by reward and punishment, and the Freudian assumption that many people’s psychological problems had been created by their parents. This assumption became so automatic that to this day no biography is complete without a passing reference to the parental causes of the subject’s quirks. (“It is probable that this wrenching separation from his mother was one of the prime sources of his mental instability,” says a recent author, referring to Isaac Newton.)

    To be fair, socialization theory was more than an assumption. It did produce evidence, reams of it, all showing that children end up like their parents. Abusive parents produce abusive children, neurotic parents produce neurotic children, phlegmatic parents produce phlegmatic children, bookish parents produce bookish children, and so on.

    All this proves precisely nothing, said Harris. Of course, children resemble their parents: they share many of the same genes.
    Once the studies of twins raised apart started coming out, proving dramatically high heritability for personality, you could no longer ignore the possibility that parents had put their children’s character in place at the moment of conception, not during the long years of childhood. The similarity between parents and children could be nature, not nurture. Indeed, given that the twin studies could find almost no effect of shared environment on personality, the genetic hypothesis should actually be the null hypothesis: the burden of the proof was on nurture. If a socialization study did not control for genes, it proved nothing at all. Yet socialization researchers went on year after year publishing these correlations without even paying lip service to the alternative genetic theory.


    Liberal creationism is the default position and when we look at the strength of the two competing world views - evolution versus liberal creationism, evolution is the stronger in terms of predictive power. Liberal creationists start off with the wrong null hypothesis. All of social science is predicated upon the notion that evolution doesn't exist and has no effect on the issue of study.

    Here are Barbara Ehrenreich and Janet McIntosh writing in The Nation (The Nation, for pete's sake, cannot be accused of being a right-wing creature):


    When social psychologist Phoebe Ellsworth took the podium at a recent interdisciplinary seminar on emotions, she was already feeling rattled. Colleagues who'd presented earlier had warned her that the crowd was tough and had little patience for the reduction of human experience to numbers or bold generalizations about emotions across cultures. Ellsworth had a plan: She would pre-empt criticism by playing the critic, offering a social history of psychological approaches to the topic. But no sooner had the word "experiment" passed her lips than the hands shot up. Audience members pointed out that the experimental method is the brainchild of white Victorian males. Ellsworth agreed that white Victorian males had done their share of damage in the world but noted that, nonetheless, their efforts had led to the discovery of DNA. This short-lived dialogue between paradigms ground to a halt with the retort: "You believe in DNA?"

    More grist for the academic right? No doubt, but this exchange reflects a tension in academia that goes far deeper than spats over "political correctness." Ellsworth's experience illustrates the trend -- in anthropology, sociology, cultural studies and other departments across the nation -- to dismiss the possibility that there are any biologically based commonalities that cut across cultural differences. This aversion to biological or, as they are often branded, "reductionist" explanations commonly operates as an informal ethos limiting what can be said in seminars, asked at lectures or incorporated into social theory. Extreme anti-innatism has had formal institutional consequences as well: At some universities, like the University of California, Berkeley, the biological subdivision of the anthropology department has been relocated to another building -- a spatial metaphor for an epistemological gap.
    Last edited by RiverDad; 08-21-11 at 06:09 PM.

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    Re: Huntsman on evolution, warming: 'Call me crazy'

    Quote Originally Posted by ric27 View Post
    Lets put "why" aside for the time being and focus on "how"

    There are lots of very complex structures in humans, insects, animals, fish, etc. According to evolutionary theory, they evolved from less complex structures and survived in the species because they offered a survival advantage.

    How can evolution be tested???? Some scientists think the ear evolved from a breathing tube that allowed ancient fish to take an occasional breath of air through the top of their head. First of all, at some point, the fish never had a breathing tube. How did it spontaneously develop? I can see an advantage to a shallow water fish to be able to breath air as well as water, but the fish couldn't decide it wanted to do that and spontaneously alter its structure to do so. Even if countless generations are struggling along breathing just water, how do they suddenly start growing a tube? Was there some spontaneous mutation of on fish and it had a freaking hole in its head that connected to lungs/gills and allowed it to breath air?
    We've managed to observe evolution in action, that's how you test it. And we're not talking just bacteria either.

    As for the gills -> lung transition, you're trying to think in leaps of transition developing entirely new structures instead of incremental steps in changing already-existing structure. Gills can breathe air for a short period if they stay wet. Way back then, there was no competition on land from other animals, so a fish able to spend longer periods of time on land because its gills were better adapted to air breathing had an advantage.
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    We’ll say what? Something like “nothing happened” ... Yeah, we might say something like that.

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    Re: Huntsman on evolution, warming: 'Call me crazy'

    If we're going to shift gears and talk about process, let's go to foundational levels. Recall that I'm criticizing liberal creationists and that includes those in the academy. Let me quote Matt Ridley in Nature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience, & What Makes Us Human (actually I'm going to make this an extensive quote so that the end of the quote is embedded in context)
    Well, there's your opinion, based on Matt Ridley's opinion. So what? There is a ton of opinion on both sides of the issue. Since when has science had a "burden of proof" requiring someone to disprove a default position?

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    Re: Huntsman on evolution, warming: 'Call me crazy'

    Quote Originally Posted by What if...? View Post
    Hey now. That's not helpful. Ignorance of something isn't proof of ignorance of everything.

    I believe differences in intellect between INDIVIDUALS are far more significant than most people consciously realize.

    I'd bet the farm that if you took a handful of upper 10%ers on an island with a group of lower 30%ers ten times larger, the former would completely dominate the latter.

    I can't think of any other genetic variant that creates such a profound advantage. Nobody is faster or stronger than the slowest or weakest to the degree the most intelligent are equipped to compete with the least intelligent.

    Make no mistake, I come at this issue from the perspective that it is not ok for the strong to prey upon the weak. Any strength, any weakness.

    I don't think intellect confers "superiority". Any more than being able to run faster than everybody else can.

    It does confer a significant competitive advantage. To an "unfair" degree, IMHO.

    We DO need to be watched!
    I disagree....somewhat

    While intelligence is definitely conveys a strong competitive advantage, it is far from the only factor that increases genetic fitness. I'd also point out that in evolutionary terms, "success" is measured in terms of spreading ones' genes. I'm not sure you're using the same definition that I am
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    Re: Huntsman on evolution, warming: 'Call me crazy'

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamT View Post
    Um, the full quote you included adds nothing. It does not establish that each breed of dog is a separate species, as you speciously claimed. I think it's pretty apparent that I wasn't plagiarizing, as I didn't remove the footnote numbers.

    [EDIT: my apologies. I misread your original post. I thought you were saying that every breed is a different species -- not all breeds are one species.]
    I would add that the different breeds of dogs have been subject to selective breedings over the course of many generations, and that even with that selective breeding, the range of behaviors within one breed overlaps heavily with the range of behaviors of the other breeds.
    Quote Originally Posted by matchlight View Post
    Justice Thomas' opinions consistently contain precise, detailed constitutional analyses.
    Quote Originally Posted by jaeger19 View Post
    the vast majority of folks that need healthcare are on Medicare.. both rich and poor..

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    Re: Huntsman on evolution, warming: 'Call me crazy'

    I'd like to put in a closing statement of sorts about this thread...

    First, it's been fun. We started talking about the Republican distaste for science, but what do you know, a discussion based in science broke out. I think my favorite part was answering some questions posed by ric27 about evolution. I had fun learning about the evolution of baleen whales, and I hope my responses have made you think. You seem to have a truly curious mind - as do I, and that's nothing but awesome.

    However, this is the idea that took over my mind for a week or so:

    Quote Originally Posted by RiverDad View Post
    Oh sure, they put on an act like they believe in evolution. They know jack squat about evolution. The just like to pretend that they're pro-science and more enlightened than those crude and simple religious folk. Claiming to believe in evolution is a cultural signaler, kind of like driving a Prius - liberals believe is tells others something important about them. It enhances their reputation. It's just a tool used in the game of reputational conspicuous consumption. Cheap to buy in because all you have to do is mouth the platitudes and you never have to apply your belief in real life, politics, or public policy - it's simply pulled out of the reputation grab-bag when it's time to do battle against the religious mouth-breathers and then it's used to elevate the liberal as the enlightened one and browbeat the religious as though they were superstitious cavemen sitting in a cave afraid of the real world.

    Ask the liberal if he believes that evolution has been working on human intelligence and varies by race. Then, all of a sudden, evolution is evil and an appeal to mysticism is launched in that it is stated that evolution isn't operable in humans from the neck up. That's the equivalent of being a little bit pregnant.

    The liberals and the religious are both creationists, the simply differ in which mystical source they appeal to.
    So here I will paraphrase a hypothesis, as professed rather abrasively by RiverDad: It is NOT POSSIBLE to strictly adhere to evolution theory as currently understood without acknowledging SIGNIFICANT racial differences in general cognitive ability, produced by GENETIC factors.

    Now let me be clear about the intellectual bar I will now attempt to hurdle unequivocally: I AM NOT trying to "disprove" a genetic, race-associated link with intelligence as measured by IQ tests. I will show only that it is POSSIBLE to COMPLETELY ADHERE to evolution theory and NOT ACCEPT a significant race-associated genetic link with cognitive ability.

    1. The measurement of general cognitive ability is difficult. Though the IQ test makes a reasonable approximation, many socially valuable forms of intelligence are excluded. This leads to a fairly large degree of uncertainty in the measurement of our dependent variable.

    2. Even having accepted standard IQ tests as a fair assessment of general cognitive ability, several sources (provided by mbig and RiverDad) of mean racial IQ data show a relatively small range of variance. For example, The highest performing group cited (Ashkanazi Jews) and lowest (black) differed by only about 2 standard deviations. While that is significant if true, it allows us only to say with certainty that Jews outperform African-Americans on IQ tests. Furthermore, the validity of the sources (notably Richard Lynn) is questionable and the subject of some tangential debate. So to summarize, the purported observed differences are statistically rather small, barely crossing the 95% certainty threshold even when comparing two disparate groups.

    3. The heritability (degree to which the inheritance of a characteristic is strictly genetic) of intelligence is VERY difficult to measure. Reasonable estimates range from less than 50% to an upper limit of 90%. There are compelling reasons to believe that when all environmental effects are considered - including the prenatal environment - heritability is less than 50%, indicating that the MAJORITY of observed variance may be due to NON-GENETIC FACTORS.

    It should be clear that the case for race-dependent genetic differences that affect general cognitive ability has not been conclusively made.

    Therefore, all of you "liberals" painted by the broad brush of RiverDad can rest assured that adherence to evolution theory DOES NOT require belief in a race-associated genetic predisposition for high or low cognitive function. Although some would rather place blame for the struggles of disadvantaged social groups on an intrinsic genetic inferiority, the problem may instead spring from an unjust, unequal, and destructive imbalance of resources and opportunity in society. Blaming genetics is attractive only to those who wish to shirk the responsibilities of repairing the inequalities borne of centuries of oppression.

    And yes, I love my Prius too.
    Last edited by nijato; 08-23-11 at 01:15 AM.
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    Re: Huntsman on evolution, warming: 'Call me crazy'

    Come to think of it, just what is IQ, anyway? Is it really just a measure of one ability?
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