Saturday, March 16, 2013
Following is a Letter to the Editor which appeared in the "Sydney Morning Herald" on 2 October, 1975. It refers to a play I attended in Sydney called "The Floating World" written by Australian playwright, John Romeril. The play is his most notable work and displays the usual Leftist double standards. "The Floating World" is a derogatory Japanese term describing the life of the pleasure-oriented idle rich in Meiji Japan. Romeril was at the time of the performance aged 30 and I was 32. The play was written in 1975
A recent picture of Romeril (as of 2013)
"The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre", edited by Colin Chambers, says of Romeril:
"Socialism and a determined anti-imperialism have led him to champion the cause of the underdog and to examine contradictions in class, gender and racial conflict as well as Australia's geopolitical identity. This is evident in his version of "Love Suicides" (1997) and his involvement in the Landmines Project (from 1999)." -- JR
2 October, 1975
Play accused of stirring up hatred against the Japanese
SIR, I wish to make a protest against a particularly deplorable piece of racism being perpetrated in Sydney theatre. I refer to the anti-Japanese play "The Floating World" being presented at the Nimrod in Surry Hills. The racism starts even in the play's program notes. These feature several excerpts from anti-Asian diatribes written in Australia around the turn of the century.
When I attended the play, I at first took these ludicrous utterances about the "poor moral character of Asiatics," etc. as being something intended to amuse. The content of the play, however, suggests that they were meant to be taken seriously. Although the play is essentially about the reminiscences of an ex-digger survivor of the Burma railroad, the play starts out with a prologue attacking the involvement of Japanese business in the Australian economy. The only common element between the World War II incidents being recalled in the body of the play and the prologue is the common theme of anti-Japanese sentiment.
While the incidents paraded in the play did no doubt take place, while the World War II Japanese Army was no doubt brutal to Its prisoners, surely there is no point in stirring up these old hatreds and resentments now. Surely incidents such as the My Lai massacre convince us all that all armies are brutal to the defenceless from time to time — even the armies of the supposedly moral West. Who are we to criticise? And yet this play has the gall to parrot the old saws about how immoral it is for 350,000 Australians to drive Toyota cars because of what the Japanese did in the war. If I had been asked to conceive of a more anti-Japanese play than this one, I would be hard put to do so.
It explicitly engages in the "stirring up of racial hatred and resentment" which in Britain is now illegal and which in Australia there have been some attempt to make illegal. Given the usual liberal commitment to encouraging one another to treat people as individuals rather than as instances of a race or nationality, this anti-group, anti-race propaganda seems something we can do without.
Given the undoubted sensitivity of the modern-day Japanese to foreign criticism, and given their undoubted importance to us as partners in developing a better world, this play can have only negative effects. It is an example of the worst sort of taste. We must surely look to the future and not go on stoking up the resentments of the past. One gets the impression that among the trendies it is all right to be racist as long as the group criticised is successul and powerful — the Japanese. A play devoted to portraying the uglinesses of Aborigines would presumably never be presented in Sydney theatre. And yet the Jews can testify that racism directed against a successful and powerful group is every bit as destructive and dangerous as racism directed against the oppressed.
(Dr) JOHN J. RAY,
Lecturer in Sociology,
University of NSW.
Friday, February 08, 2013
The de-published man
Stephan Lewandowski now has the rare "honour" of being twice de-published. His first lulu of a paper -- designed to tar climate skeptics as maladjusted -- was first accepted for publication (though it has never been printed) but then withdrawn by the journal from its publication queue after many protests over its dubious "science".
Lewandowski seems however to have been rather peeved by that and wrote a second paper doubling down. He once again slimed climate skeptics using very dubious logic -- as I reported on 6th. His second paper was however in a very humble journal, where the author has to pay to get published.
Not only his logic in the second paper was faulty, however. He repeated claims from his first paper that he knew by then to be false. He lied. So his second paper has also now been withdrawn by the journal.
What is wrong with the man? How can he have any respect for his own case when he has to lie to support it? What he writes sounds sane and logical until you look into it. Where does he go wrong?
I think there is an obvious answer. There is a lot of psychopathy on the Left and from what I see Lewandowski is one of them. The hallmark of psychopathy is that they are plausible but careless liars. They sound good at the time but the lies shatter under scrutiny. A classic example is Bill Clinton's claim that Hillary was named after Mt. Everest pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary. Sir Edmund was just another New Zealand sheep farmer when the future Mrs Clinton was born. He didn't climb Everest until 7 years later.
One must seriously wonder about Lewandowski's continued employment at the University of Western Australia. Is such an unreliable character fit to be a teacher at any level? One expects politicians to lie, but teachers?
Friday, December 21, 2012
IQ tests are 'meaningless and too simplistic' claim researchers
This appears to have been based on an internet survey and such surveys are notorious for giving non-representative results. A large sample size is no substitute for representativeness
The underlying controversy, however, is as old as the hills: Should IQ be measured as a set of subscores or as one overall score? Among psychometricians it is known as the Spearman/Thurstone controvery and dates back to the beginning of the last century.
The accepted answer is to present results both ways: As one overall score plus a set of sub-scores. Results can reasonably be represented both ways because the subscores are correlated. Knowing a person's subscore on (say) verbal ability will give you a useful (but not of course perfect) prediction of his mathematical ability. That has repeatedly been demonstrated.
The novelty in the report below is that the various sub-abilities were said to be NOT correlated -- which runs contrary to 100 years of findings by others. I note however that the authors are more cautious in the underlying journal article. They say:
Using simulations based on neuroimaging data, we show that the higher-order factor “g” is accounted for by cognitive tasks corecruiting multiple networks. Finally, we confirm the independence of these components of intelligence by dissociating them using questionnaire variables. We propose that intelligence is an emergent property of anatomically distinct cognitive systems, each of which has its own capacity.That sounds to me as if they admit the existence of a general factor but find that the subfactors don't all use exactly the same parts of the brain -- which should be no surprise to anyone.
There is also a question about how comprehensive were the test items used. Without seeing all the questions, I get the impression that a deliberate attempt was made to find questions that would not produce correlated results. One can ask plenty of questions not conceptually related to intelligence and in that case intercorrelations are not be be expected. In psychometrican's terms, the test would lack construct validity.
The journal article is "Fractionating Human Intelligence" by Hampshire et al. I look forward to seeing a more detailed examination of the article by those who specialize in IQ studies
After conducting the largest ever study of intelligence, researchers have found that far from indicating how clever you are, IQ testing is actually rather ‘meaningless’.
In a bid to investigate the value of IQ, scientists asked more than 100,000 participants to complete 12 tests that required planning, reasoning, memory and attention. They also filled in a survey on their background.
They discovered that far from being down to one single factor, what is commonly regarded as intelligence is influenced by three different elements - short-term memory, reasoning, and verbal ability. But being good at one of these factors does not mean you are going to be equally gifted at the other two.
Scientists from Canada’s Western University in Ontario, also scanned some of the participants’ brains while they undertook the tests.
They found that different parts of the brain were activated when they were tested on each of the three factors.
Traditional IQ tests are ‘too simplistic’, according to the research, which found that what makes someone intelligent is too complex to boil down to a single exam.
IQ, which stands for Intelligence Quotient, is an attempt to measure how smart an individual is. The average IQ is 100. Mensa, the high IQ society, only accepts individuals who score more than 148, putting them in the top two per cent of the population.
The new study, published in the journal Neuron, suggests that intelligence is too complex to be represented by a single number.
Study leader Dr Adrian Owen, a British neuroscientists based at Western University in Canada, said an ‘astonishing’ number of people had contributed to the research.
‘We expected a few hundred responses, but thousands and thousands of people took part, including people of all ages, cultures and creeds and from every corner of the world,’ he said.
‘When you take 100,000 people and tested their brain function, we couldn’t find any evidence for a single uniform concept of intelligence.
‘The best we could manage is get it down to three elements that contribute to intelligence. But they are completely different factors, unrelated to one another, and you could be brilliant at one and awful at another. For example, the absent-minded professor.
‘IQ tests are pretty meaningless - if you are not good at them, all it proves is that you are not good at IQ tests.
'It does not say anything about your general intelligence.’ The majority of IQ tests were developed in the 50s and 60s when the way we thought and interacted with the world was different, said Dr Owen.
UPDATE: Chris Brand, a student of IQ, comments on the above study. My comment about sampling appears to have been spot-on:
There was general rejoicing in MSM (e.g. D.Telegraph, 20 xii) as neurocogniwallahs repeated the age-old trick of making the g factor vanish. Using a splendid-sounding ‘sample’ of 44,000 “young and healthy” testees, Adam Hampshire and co-workers reported lots of correlations between mental tests (e.g. verbal, reasoning, memory) that were around a modest .30 (rather than the more usual .50) (Neuron 76, ‘Fractionating human intelligence’). Victory over Burt and Jensen was duly proclaimed.
Any problem with this? Any thought about the astonishing 44,000? Where did they hail from? Ah! “Social networking sites, including Twitter and Facebook.” That is: they were nerds, probably of around IQ 115. And Edinburgh research had demonstrated by 1990 that the g factor ‘fractionates’ above IQ 100 (see TgF, 1996/2000, Chap.2). Yes, Hampshire et al. had well and truly reinvented the wheel – or part of it, for the lower-IQ distribution had been simply forgotten by the ‘neuroscientists.’
No wonder the ‘brain and mind’ ‘natural scientists’ had to publish in an unheard-of journal having no competence to evaluate psychology!
Hopefully Art Jensen and Phil Rushton gave wry smiles from heaven. How one would like to know if Phil had offered his anti-g colleagues at the University of Western Ontario a photocopy of The g Factor!
Called to discuss IQ testing on the Beeb, senior Mensan Peter Bainbridge volunteered that a testee getting only a score around 60 was “probably a carrot” (Daily Mail, 21 xii). An apology was immediately demanded and obtained by irate ‘learning difficulties’ groups – indicating that at least someone still believed in the reality of IQ.
Friday, November 30, 2012
Is Harvard a Jewish plot? And does it matter?
Jewish Harvard graduate Ron Unz says yes to both questions. He has just written a VERY long article examining bias in Ivy League admissions which would persuade me to change my surname to Goldberg if I wanted admission there.
All sociologists have the unenviable task of extracting viable generalizations from very imperfect data and Unz is a champion in those black arts. I have disputed such generalizations from him in the past but the evidence he marshalls on this occasion is pretty massive. When evidence from multiple sources converges on one conclusion, it elicits at least provisional assent.
My heading above does of course caricature what Unz finds but not by much. What he finds is that admissions to the Ivies in recent years have been grotesquely skewed in favour of Jews and grotesquely skewed to the disadvantage of Asians, with non-Hispanic, non-Jewish whites also unfairly treated.
And Unz's criterion for fairness is hard to criticize. He looks to pre-university educational attainment. High achievement up to the end of high school suddenly fails people trying to get into Harvard, Princeton or Yale. And if your surname is Goldberg you don't even have to be a high achiever at High School level.
I myself read Unz's findings with considerable disquiet but despite my background in social science statistics, I can't see any fault in his overall conclusions -- provided he represents his sources accurately. He does sometimes cherry-pick and I am not familiar with the datasets he uses. But as far as I can see, he meticulously covers all the bases, which is why his article is so long. There are by now many comments about his article online and I have not so far seen one that rebuts his statistics. Most criticisms put up theoretical points that Unz has already covered. It is a long article and I guess that the critics could not be bothered to read it all.
So what the heck is going on? Unz initially points to the overwhelmingly (Leftist) Jewish administration of the Ivies, which does have some plausibility. But he then puts forward something I had never guessed at and which will surely surprise most others: Admissions officers at the Ivies tend to be poorly-paid dumb bunnies, much dumber than the student body they select. Their poor academic background is sometimes quite startling. At Britain's leading universities (Oxford and Cambridge) it is the opposite. Selection is by the academics who will be doing the teaching.
So Unz concludes, and I am inclined to agree, that simple fear of being seen as antisemitic (particularly seeing that their bosses are Jewish) is often the factor that makes admissions officers transfer "Goldberg" applications to the "accept" basket without much scrutiny.
And this bias in favor of Jews does of course put a big squeeze on other ethnicities, particularly Asians and other whites. Even considering that, however, Unz marshalls strong evidence for a systematic bias against Asians, a bias that looks very much like a deliberate quota. A student body that should be around 40% Asian if selected by prior attainment is in fact only around 16% Asian.
It's pretty clear Leftist racism. But Leftists have never ceased being race-obsessed so the only mystery is how the people responsible for it justify it in their own minds. Asians are "gooks", apparently. They don't look remotely like a Goldberg.
So does it all matter? Unz argues that it is in fact vital. Some quotes:
In the last generation or two, the funnel of opportunity in American society has drastically narrowed, with a greater and greater proportion of our financial, media, business, and political elites being drawn from a relatively small number of our leading universities, together with their professional schools. The rise of a Henry Ford, from farm boy mechanic to world business tycoon, seems virtually impossible today, as even America’s most successful college dropouts such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg often turn out to be extremely well-connected former Harvard students. Indeed, the early success of Facebook was largely due to the powerful imprimatur it enjoyed from its exclusive availability first only at Harvard and later restricted to just the Ivy League....As the quote shows, Unz favours a partially random solution to the undoubted problem that the Ivies now pose. My own solution would be less drastic. I would favour revival of the rule that all students who receive a perfect SAT score should be automatically admitted -- and any leftover places after that could be allocated any wacky way the university liked.
Power corrupts and an extreme concentration of power even more so, especially when that concentration of power is endlessly praised and glorified by the major media and the prominent intellectuals which together constitute such an important element of that power. But as time goes by and more and more Americans notice that they are poorer and more indebted than they have ever been before, the blandishments of such propaganda machinery will eventually lose effectiveness, much as did the similar propaganda organs of the decaying Soviet state. Kahlenberg quotes Pat Moynihan as noting that the stagnant American earnings between 1970 and 1985 represented “the longest stretch of ‘flat’ income in the history of the European settlement of North America.”120 The only difference today is that this period of economic stagnation has now extended nearly three times as long, and has also been combined with numerous social, moral, and foreign policy disasters.
Over the last few decades America’s ruling elites have been produced largely as a consequence of the particular selection methods adopted by our top national universities in the late 1960s. Leaving aside the question of whether these methods have been fair or have instead been based on corruption and ethnic favoritism, the elites they have produced have clearly done a very poor job of leading our country, and we must change the methods used to select them. Conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. once famously quipped that he would rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 names listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard. So perhaps an important step in solving our national problems would be to apply a similar method to selecting the vast majority of Harvard’s students.
Under that rule, it would be amusing to see the faces of all the Leftist Jewish administrators when they looked out their windows and saw a sea of Asian faces in the grounds. Again, I would be interested to hear how they justified their racism
Being a people who have themselves suffered greatly from irrational bias, it is particularly saddening to see Jews practicing it. Yet more evidence that Leftism rots the mind, I guess
Monday, November 05, 2012
Conservatives have the gift of contentment
How happy you are seems to be mostly inborn -- and the surveys repeatedly show that conservatives are happier than those on the Left. It seems clear that this is no coincidence. Leftism is ABOUT whining. They are always dissatisfied with something and want to change or even "smash" something.
So it is no surprise that the evidence shows political polarity to be largely inborn too. See here. You are largely born either conservative or Leftist, though aging has a conservatizing effect too. Conservatives are just not upset by every little thing the way Leftists are. And that's a considerable gift.
So I thought that I might reproduce an excerpt from an email I have just received from a vocal Australian conservative. He is not rich and life has not always been easy for him. He sent me the following when I wrote to him and noted that I had not heard from him for a while:
One day, when I can, I'll tell you the crappy story of my life for the last five months which will explain why I so rudely disappeared from your view. With all that has happened though, I do consider myself a blessed and fortunate soul and I wouldn't be anywhere or anyone else.I think that's rather wonderful. He is a true conservative with a great gift for contentment. I have it too. With a severe iatrogenic illness that sees me under the surgeon's knife several times a year, I could conceivably be a moaner but I am content with my life too. Always have been.
And I know another treasure of a man who is as poor as a churchmouse and always "skint" but he is very conservative, very active in politics and laughs his way though life. He has a ball.
Sunday, November 04, 2012
What does "Amen" mean?
A word that at least a billion people have used but who knows what it means?
It's Hebrew and at the end of a prayer it means roughly "So be it" or "I agree"! But that is not the end of it. It has a broader meaning than that. When Jesus said: "Verily, verily, I say unto you ...." (e.g. in John 5:24), what word do you think he was using according to the original Greek text that was translated as "verily"? That's right. He was actually saying: "Amen, amen, I say unto you". So it's basically just a way of emphasizing the correctness of something.
I must admit that I was rather staggered myself when I wondered what the obsolete English word "verily" stood for in the original text and found myself staring at "Amen" when I looked up my authoritative Westcott & Hort text. I couldn't believe my eyes for a minute. I even checked it in the Griesbach recension as well.
On further checking in my Abbott-Smith lexicon I see that the word was also used in the Septuagint: The translation into Greek of the OLD Testament that Christ and the Apostles usually quoted from. So we see how a Hebrew word got into Greek. It has no exact translation into Greek so the learned Jewish translators of the OT in olden times simply reproduced it. Abbott-Smith offers "be firm" as the meaning of the Hebrew original.
Even my Liddell & Scott lexicon of CLASSICAL Greek gives the word a brief mention, maybe because of its Septuagint usage. We learn every day.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
To me it is glaringly obvious that the USA is exceptional. It is overwhelmingly the world's predominant military power and also the source of most of the world's innovations.
So the interesting question is not "if" but "why". WHY is America so dominant? In a recent article Podhoretz sets out most of the usual reasons, starting from the foundation of the USA in an independence revolution. He sees the principles set out by the revolutionaries at that time as having had an enduring influence.
I imagine that they did have an influence for a long time but only conservative intellectuals and activists seem to know of them now. Thanks to the Leftist takeover of the schools, the average American these days knows nothing substantial about the American founding, if anything at all. How much does the average black or Hispanic know? Yet they all have votes -- and there's a lot of them.
And America is now very socialist. As Romney rightly if imprudently pointed out, around half of the population now depend on government handouts. Not much rugged individualism there! Given the huge and unfunded Federal spending now happening, it could in fact be argued that America is in the midst of a socialist meltdown right now. Nothing Romney has proposed is capable of reining in the overspend.
But if none of the usual explanations of America's exceptionalism now work, what can it be that makes America so powerful in every sense? I think it is both extraordinarily simple and much more enduring than all of the other influences that have come and gone: The fact that there is a national election every two years. If the ruling party goes off the rails you only have to wait two years to give them a boot up the backside -- as we vividly saw in the 2010 mid-terms. There is only so much damage you can do in two years so the damage done by political folly is much less in America. Most governments are still getting into their stride at the two-year mark and they have to take into account the forthcoming election long before that.
Other countries have three or four year terms before a national government has to face a new election and Britain has horrific five-year terms. And huge messes can be created, and have been created, in five years. Just look at the problem created by the last British Labour Party government's "open door" immigration policy. Britain is now lumbered with millions of welfare-dependent parasites who have to be supported by the staggering British taxpayer. At least most of America's "illegals" come to work.
If ever the American socialists (so-called "liberals") wake up to the fact that two-year terms are their enemy, America might have a problem but until then there is hope. And even liberals might have difficulty in arguing that frequent elections are "unfair".
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Jos Meloen: A frantic Dutch melon-head
In "1984", a biting prophecy about socialism, George Orwell was particularly prescient in his comment that "He who controls the past controls the future". He saw future socialists as revising history to their own advantage.
Precisely that has happened. Via academe and Left-taught journalists, key events of the 20th century have been wiped from the general consciousness. Who today, for instance, is aware that the term "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist"?
And something that is NEVER said -- though undoubtedly true -- is that WWII was a fight between three socialist administrations. The key protagonists were the ultra-socialist Stalin, the National Socialist Hitler and the "progressive" administration of FDR. The only major difference between Hitler's policies and Roosevelt's policies was that Hitler applied German thoroughness to them. And BOTH men were antisemitic.
And anyone who knows Leftists well will know how fractious they are -- with the icepick Trotsky got in the head courtesy of Stalin being a major emblem of that. So Leftist administrations at war with one another is no surprise at all. And have we already forgotten Communist China invading North Vietnam to "teach them a lesson"? Or Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia, for that matter.
So in the immediate postwar era it was a major embarrassment to the Left that in condemning Hitler's policies they were largely condemning their own. Given his defeat, they had a frantic need to dissociate themselves from old Uncle Adolf. Their ideas were so discredited that America might even get a Republican President! It did. Ike in 1952.
History revision was needed! So all efforts were put into portraying Hitler as "Right-wing", which was a Communist perspective. Hitler WAS to the right of Stalin in being less authoritarian. Germans mostly followed him willingly -- right to the bitter end. So the imperative was to detach Hitler from the Left and pin him to conservatives. No small task but there are no better distorters of history than Marxists and Marxists came to the rescue
So it was that a group of Leftist academics led by a prominent Marxist theoretican -- Theodor Adorno -- came to the rescue. They published research which purported to show that authoritarianism was fundamentally conservative. Stalin was just an unfortunate accident.
So how did they make their case? They took a group of interrelated statements (which psychologists call a "scale") that represented the conventional wisdom of the (progressive) pre-war era and showed that people who agreed with those statements also tended to agree with various conservative statements. Since conservatives tend to respect the past that was no surprise. The key assertion of the Adorno group however was that their list of conventional statements (the F scale) were representative of Fascist ideology. Ergo, if conservatives agreed with such statements then conservatives must be Fascist. And this great intellectual somersault was greeted like manna from heaven by the Left. Mission completed!
The first pesky thing was, however, that if the F scale represented a form of political conservatism, then high scorers on it should tend to vote Republican. But in general population samples there was/is little or no such tendency. Strike one against the theory.
Strike two was the finding that high scorers on the F scale did not seem to be authoritarian. They don't tend to boss other people around. But if they don't do that the meaning of "authoritarian" is gutted. The F scale becomes a measure of authoritarianism only in the Alice in Wonderland sense that words can mean whatever you choose them to mean.
But psychologists ignored the mismatch between the theory and the reality because they needed to. Ignoring reality is an essential Leftist skill and they hugged the Adorno theory to their bosom in the belief that it showed the evil authoritarians to be conservatives, not themselves.
As time went on, however, memories of what prewar Leftism had preached faded away and it became firmly established in the popular mind that Hitler was a "Rightist". So the Adorno theory was no longer much needed and faded out of consciousness for most pyschologists.
But as I observed some years ago, the theory clung on as bold and bright as ever in Dutch-speaking lands. I don't really know why but maybe memories of what Nazism actually was are stronger in those lands. And a leader in the Dutch crusade was Jos Meloen ("meloen" is Dutch for "melon"). So I had a few shots at him in the academic literature in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1998 (See link above).
The 1998 paper was a fully referenced critique of some of melonhead's research -- and the journal editor, as usual, gave melonhead a right of reply. And the reply concerned is why I am now being disrespectful of melonhead. In an amazing display for an academic journal, he started out his reply, not with a discussion of the evidence but with a personal attack on me. He did his best to portray me as a Nazi! Maybe they don't teach the informal fallacies of logic at Leiden university. Melonhead certainly would not seem to have heard of the "ad hominem" fallacy. For their own reputation, Leiden should take a closer look at him. It is too distinguished to stand behind such trash.
In part I ignored melonhead's frantic defense of his work at that time as I had retired from academic employment some 15 years earlier and was focused on bringing up kids instead. But mainly I thought his reply too gross and stupid to be dignified with a rejoinder. After four commentaries on melonhead's work that appeared to have completely bounced off his brain, I washed my hands of him. I would probably not have got a rejoinder published anyway. Seeing I was arguing against Leftist views, I did pretty well even to get my initial critique published.
I am now getting to an age where I like to tie up loose ends, however, so I don't want to leave melonhead's follies permanently without a reply. So a few comments on "Ray's Last Stand? Directiveness as Moderate Conservatism-A Reply to John Ray" by Jos Meloen and Hans De Witte, Political Psychology, 1998:
Melonhead's accuracy of statement is very Leftist --i.e. largely absent. He says that I once joined Nazi parties like the Australian Nazi party. I have never even came across anything called "the Australian Nazi party", let alone joined it. What Meloen is clutching at is that since boyhood I have always been interested in Jews, Nazis and racism (and I still write on those topics to this day) and I did for a number of years in my younger days have contact with two informal local groups of Australian neo-Nazis with a view to finding out what they thought and why. I published my findings in two Jewish journals (here and here), which melonhead has apparently glanced at. He knew of the matter because I publicized it.
Melonhead also seems to find it suspicious that I referred to Theodor Adorno and his merry band as Jewish. Since they were Jewish and since Jews and Nazis had a bit to do with one another, I would have thought that what I said was simply relevant. And I can't help noting the inconsistency: Referring to Adorno as a Jew is bad but referring to me as a Nazi is fine! He probably can't even see the inconsistency. Do personal characteristics matter or not?
And when he gets past the abuse and onto the facts, melonhead is even more hopeless. He refers to two scales which he used in his research and which I referred to in my critique. They are the Directivesness scale and a measure of "classic authoritarianism" -- presumably the Adorno F scale. In his heading he claims that I describe the directivesness scale as measuring moderate conservatism and in the body of his article he claims that I describe the F scale as a measure of moderate conservatism. He doesn't seem to be able to make up his mind about which scale it is that measures moderate conservatism! Since they are uncorrelated it can hardly be both!
An even bigger problem: I have never referred to EITHER as a measure of moderate conservatism and both scales in fact have negligible correlation with vote in general population samples in the English-speaking countries for which they were designed. So he is setting light to a straw man.
Melonhead then goes on to note his finding that members of Belgium's Flemish independence party -- Vlaams Blok -- had slightly elevated scores on the F scale and related measures. But WHY do they have such scores? Melonhead thinks it is because they are authoritarian but that explanation fails because the F scale has been found NOT to measure authoritarianism in anything other than an Alice in Wonderland sense -- i.e. it measures authoritarianism because that is what it measures. Melonhead is firmly in Wonderland. That a scale which has been strongly validated as an ACTUAL measure of authoritarianism showed no elevated scores among Vlaams Blok cuts no ice with him!
So my explanation -- that Vlaams Blok is basically conservative as well as seeeking Flemish independence -- survives. Conservative people do show some respect for old-fashioned ideas. Whether they act on those ideas in any way is another matter.
At bottom, melonhead's folly stems from a refusal to let go the old Adorno theory of authoritarianism. No evidence against it seems to count with him. That it is a unicorn theory -- i.e. it describes something that does not exist -- he cannot admit. It is too real to his addled Leftist brain. It makes sense of his world. He probably believes in global warming too -- JR
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Nude photos that look very much like Obama's mother
In late 2008, there were some offensive speculations being made by Leftists about Sarah Palin's family (claims that Trig was really her daughter's baby etc., etc.) so, being something of an Old Testament type, I thought it fair for me to return fire by speculating about Obama's family. I put online links to some nude pictures that had already appeared on American internet porn sites. I was alerted to the pictures by an American correspondent. The pictures bear a striking resemblance to Obama's mother. In the run up to the election this year, the pictures are again getting a lot of attention so I thought I might offer some further comment here on them.
I note that, although the pictures have subsequently been widely circulated, the person in the best position to identify them -- President Obama -- has never denied that they were of his mother.
Ann Dunham had a distinctively long face and the woman in the pictures I linked to did also. Below is a Bowderlized copy of one of the the pictures that I made more accessible, followed by the Wikipedia picture of the young Ann Dunham
Leftists such as Snopes have of course disputed the identification and suggested certain models as the person in the pictures. Snopes suggested Marcy Moore. I see, however, little similarity between the pictures I put up and the pictures of Moore. Amusingly, Snopes no longer have an article on the subject. They seem to have pulled it. Rather a clear confession of failure, I think.
Snopes does however have a successor. We see here an attempt that has popped up this year. Unlike Snopes it is an outright fraud. It claims that my original post has been taken down when it has not. See here. See also here and here for two other posts on the subject by me at that time.
The fraud also makes much of some reference numbers appearing at the bottom of one of the pictures. He claims that the reference numbers include the initials of the model, and the initials given are YA rather than AD. That a woman posing nude might have used a pseudonym and not her real name has obviously not occurred to him.
He also reproduces two copies of one photo, from one of which the identifying code has been erased. He implies that he has "discovered" the one with the codes and that the previously circulated photos had the codes erased in order to deceive. The truth is that the photos I put up DID have the identifying codes. He has probably erased them himself.
And slurs against me were of course predictable. For instance, One writer claimed that "Ray was formerly associated with Majority Rights, a large pro-Nazi White Supremacist site". It is indeed true that I did for a while contribute to that site but characterizing it as "pro-Nazi" is wrong. It covers a variety of views but NOT explicitly pro-Nazi ones. It does/did include antisemitic posts but I put up with that for the sake of reaching the more reasonable part of its large audience. More to the point, however, I was eventually kicked off the site because I MOCKED and disparaged antisemitism.
A matter that does not directly concern me but which I thought I might note: I originally put up three photos that were unmistakeably of the same woman. At the moment, however, there seem to be about a dozen nude photos circulating that are alleged to be of Obama's mother. To my eye, none of the additional photos are persuasive. They look like quite different women to me.
I finally note that the photos I put up were clearly an amateur job. They were just snaps taken in someone's living room. Had the photos been of a model, we would have expected a more professional job.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
They're still lying with statistics
In 1954 Darrell Huff wrote a book called "How to lie with statistics". It is well-known and has often been used as an introductory college textbook. The point of the book was of course to alert people to statistical skullduggery so that they were not deceived by it.
But even though it sold a lot of copies the book has been an almost complete failure. In most academic fields where statistics are used (e.g. medical research, psychological research, climate research) statistics are still routinely misused. I spent 20 years getting papers published in the academic journals of the social sciences pointing out the defective reasoning in other articles in my field and, more recently, my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog has tackled the outlandish conclusions that prevail in much of medical research. It's all a very sad tale. A lot of so-called "science" is basically corrupt.
So I would very much like readers to take the time to listen to a breezy video below by statistican W.M. Briggs in which he gives examples of corrupt statistical reasoning from psychological, medical and environmental research.
And the lesson from the above? Don't accept ANY scientific statement until you have seen what people say who don't agree with that statement. Corrupt science is so common that the odds are that the critics will be right.
So why is statistically-based science so corrupt? Briggs gives you some answers but I will give you another one that you may not see elsewhere: Most users of statistics are Left-leaning academics and for them "There is no such thing as truth". There is however a desperate need for them to defend their ideology. Their egos depend on it.
Even medical science has become heavily politicized with the "war on obesity" and the general elitist view of the Left that anything popular is either wrong or bad for you (cue cellphones).<