Thursday, October 18, 2007

News Flash

The races are not equal!

An ambiguous statement. Equal before the law? Alas, this is the case. Treated as equal? Again, a problem, if we love justice. Equal in their inherent capabilities? Herein lies the controversy.

No less a luminary than James Watson, Nobel laureate and co-discoverer of the DNA double-helix, has made some troublesome assertions. He says he is "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa [because] all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really." I have no specialized knowledge in this subject, but I am certain that not ALL the testing indicates this. Some tests after all are designed by Afrocentrist cultists, and their results will certainly show an African superiority.

If this were not the case, then claims about testing biases would be groundless, and there surely must be such biases, unconsciously inserted into the tests. I recall some examples from decades past -- asking a child the meaning of "muff" for instance. I remember sitting in reading circle in first grade, c. 1965, asking what a muff was and seeing the picture in the picture book. Poor black children are not likely to have been exposed to such images. Tests that ask suburban children the meaning of black subcultural urban slang terms would yield results that suggest such children are below par. Of course tests will give different results for different demographics.

But Asian immigrant students score significantly higher on tests designed to measure intelligence as gaged by mainstream standards, even when income levels are accounted for. Is the relevant factor a culture that honors study? Yes. Is it an innately higher intelligence? Perhaps.

Watson told an interviewer that he hoped everyone was equal, but "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true." Well that's just offensive. What "people" are these? And what "black employees," doing what job? Guess he hasn't seen all the data on white trash employees. Seems like Jerry Springer has a lot more white guests than black. It's a stupid generalization. Those of us who don't appreciate talking in movie theaters will be aware that black culture tends to allow itself more public self-expression. It does seem unlikely to me that this is a function of innate intelligence, higher or lower. I don't care if blacks are one thing or another. I do care about accuracy.

Watson has several such non-standard ideas. He suggests that women should have the right to abort a baby
if tests could show that it would be homosexual. A needlessly provocative statement. Women can abort their babies for no reason at all. I'd think having a reason would be better than having no reason. In 2000 Watson told a Berkeley crowd that he had found a correlation between sex drive and skin color. Ah, well that might be true. I've always thought that something must explain it, in me -- my sex drive ... oh ... wait. He's saying that it goes the other way. What, is he insane? I, pale unto ashen, had an erection once that lasted 12 years. Well, Watson argued that extracts of the skin pigment melanin boosts sex drive. "That's why you have Latin lovers," he is reported to have said. "You've never heard of an English lover. Only an English patient." A then-timely joke, no doubt. But no, no. Clearly he is wrong in this. Does melanin ever even enter the bloodsteam?

And if wrong in this, how could we trust his other conclusions? Is Africa doomed because Africans are black and stupid? Stupider? I suggest that culture is determinative. If one belongs to a loser culture, one is likely to be a loser. Gangster culture, of any ethnicity, is loser. That it tends in this generation to be black is a shame, but has more to do with historical forces than genetics. Undermining black communities with subsidized fatherlessness and institutionalized charity in the form of "entitlements" can work no good for a man's character. But the Irish were stupid too, and the Italians, and the Poles, when they came over and lived in poverty in a hostile society. Blacks have a bit more history tugging at their heels, but that says nothing about genetic capabilities.

One might have thought that Watson would have been sufficiently trained in methodology to find the faults in his reasoning. But he is 79 years old, and we must certainly make allowances for him, as we might for some fatherless gangster child who thinks that running nappy-headed hos and firing off Glocks is what a man should do. Watson's opinion is far less harmful than murder.

The other day I was sitting minding my own business when I overheard a couple of black fellas talking about how their day would come. "Our day will come." "Yep." "Mm hm." I wasn't trying to hear it. I wasn't hiding. I was right there. How will their day come? In what form? Total equality? I would hope so, but I fear that was not their meaning. Such talk is meaningless, and not my business. We all have a right to talk. I do it here. Watson has a right to talk too.

We have a right to agree or disagree, and to respond in any civilized manner. Watson has been banned from a scheduled lecture, for expressing his Africa opinion. I hardly have a response to that -- except that it's better to let people speak, so that, if we are offended, we might examine their words and demonstrate the error.

What if it's true? What if the set of blacks or some subset tests authentically lower in innate intelligence? Well, first, that would explain their 89% membership in the Democrat party. Hardly an indication of independent thought. And the conceit that OJ was innocent. Inexplicable by almost any frame of reference. But I kid. If such an unlikely test result were valid, well, then it would be the truth. I am of the school of thought that it is better to be truthful than a liar. Most people are shorter than I am. They are not inferior for that fact. Most people are less intelligent than I am. Same conclusion. If some of our meaningful differences turn out to be genetic rather than cultural, so what? Human worth is not measured on paper. It is measured by conduct.

Watson? Most recently he had this to say: "...I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said. I can certainly understand why people, reading those words, have reacted in the ways they have. To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologize unreservedly." When jesse jackson or al sharpton make similar apologies, I'll count it as progress.

No, we are not all equal. There are definitely some people who are superior to others. It has nothing to do with appearance or continent of origin or the arrangement of nucleotides according to some pattern random or designed. A rule of thumb indicator of who is superior would be that the superior person doesn't claim to be superior. The concept requires the virtue of modesty. Excellence in skill is not what defines the quality of a person. Superiority is far too global a discriptor to be limited to a set of learned attributes. To excel is a good thing. To be ungracious about that fact negates it. You see?

Feelings do matter. But not for the reasons the lefties and peecee liars pretend. Feelings matter because human beings are delicate and precious creatures, that flourish when nurtured, and wither or twist when treated harshly. We don't use truth to hurt anyone. But we seek truth the way seedlings strive for sunlight. Anything less is darkness.


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