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Widely held points about race and human variation that everyone should know.   Share:  
Thrust of argument: Alan Goodman informs us, with reference to some pseudo-scientific book about 'race': "1. Human biological variation is wonderfully complex and sometimes geographically patterned.

2. Race is an idea that was invented and reified, made real by constant use, to describe the human variation. Race is an 18th century typological, pre-evolutionary, way to arrange that data.

3. The idea of race fails to explain the structure of human variation. For almost three centuries scientists have tried to fit human variation to three or more races. But the long attempt failed. Mr. Wade's biggest error is his inability to separate the data on human variation from race. Personal note 1: I once tried for nearly an hour to explain this point to Mr. Wade.

4. Wade claims that his is a new and unexplored theory. However, if you check Google Scholar and your library and you'll find shelves of books and science articles going back centuries that try to fit human variation into races. Race simply does not account for and explain human variation.

5. Because race is an outmoded and ineffective way to describe human variation, most of us scientist do not use race in that way. As an explanation for human variation, race is a tautology. It would be a shame to use the 18th century hammer of race when we have more useful tools: computers, multivariate statistics, and mounds of genetic data. This advance is significant because a more fine-grained analysis of human variation helps medicine and other efforts to understand human variation and can get at the actual cause of the variation.

6. Human variation is the result of history and evolution. We vary because of the historical events that have lead to merging and movement and because of local selection events.

7. Race is an historical and social reality. Living in a racial society has many consequences, including differences in heath and wealth. It is fundamentally important for researchers to be able to clearly understand when differences are due to genes or to the consequences of living in a racialized society. Wade seems to assume that all he sees is due to genes. For examples, Europeans are genetically adapted to civilization and Jews especially adapted to mercantile capitalism. Wade ignores a large body of studies of the consequences of living in a racial society."
Direction of resistance / implied resistance: It will be very hard to make the media accept and truly comprehend these scientific truths.

 

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Removal of resistance: Along with 'social scientists'. Unification: From a video entitled "Science, Religion and Human Nature":



Just briefly, what's irrationality? And then, conversely, what's rationality?

Well, a perfect example of extreme irrationality is what we've just been talking about. What Orwell called double-think. The ability to have two contradictory ideas in your mind at the same time and to believe both of them. That's the peak of irrationality. And that virtually defines the elite intellectual community.

Now let's take concrete examples of fundamentalist irrationality, I'll give you a real example. Actually it's an example I knew about five years ago, but I didn't publish it 'cause it sounded so crazy it couldn't be true. It turns out to be true. It's now verified. In January 2003, immediately before the invasion of Iraq, George Bush was trying to round up international support for the invasion, and he met the French president, president Chirac. And in this meeting with Chirac, he started ranting about a passage from Ezekiel, the book of Ezekiel, a very obscure passage that nobody understands. It's a passage about Gog and Magog, nobody knows if they're people or places or whatever they are. But Gog and Magog are supposed to come from the North to attack Israel, and then we get off into ultra-fanatic Christian Evangelical madness. There's a whole big story about how Gog and Magog come down to attack Israel, there's a battle in Armageddon, everybody gets slaughtered, and the souls who are saved rise to Heaven.

OK, some kind of story like that. Reagan apparently believed it. When his handlers didn't control him enough and he was kind of off by himself, he'd start raving about this stuff. For him, Gog and Magog were Russia. For Bush, Gog and Magog were Iraq. So he told this to Chirac, and Chirac hadn't a clue what he was talking about. So he approached the French Foreign Office, the Elysée, and said: "Do you know what this madman is raving about?". And they didn't know either. So they approached a pretty well-known Belgian theologian who wrote sort of a disposition on this passage and the way it's interpreted and whatever it might mean and so on. OK, how do I know? Well, I know because that Belgian theologian [inaudible] sent me a copy of it, with a background of the story. I never published it because this just sounded too off the wall.

Finally, I was talking to an Australian academic, researcher, and I mentioned it to him. He decided to look into it. It turns out to be correct. In fact the story appears in the biographies of Chirac and in other evidence. So yeah, that actually happened. So here's the world in the hands of a raving lunatic who, you know, is talking about Gog and Magog and Armageddon and the souls rising to Heaven. And the world survived. Well, OK, that's, that's not a small thing in the United States. I don't know what the percentage is, but it's maybe 25, 30 percent of the population. Yeah, that's pretty serious irrationality.



OK. Science, then. What's science? I mean, why is something scientific, what marks something as being sensible science or nonsensical non-science masquerading etc. On the one hand, and, since you're going to answer fully, how do you feel about left criticisms of science? Leftists who criticize science as being, you know, whatever they say, it's imperial or it's sexist or it's rooted in Western whatever, and so on.

Well, you know, like anything that we understand about at all, with regard to things as complicated as human affairs, the answers are pretty trivial. If they're not trivial, we don't understand it. There is a category of intellectuals who are undoubtedly perfectly sincere, who, if you look at it from the outside, what they're actually doing is using polysyllabic words and complicated constructions which, apparently they seem to understand 'cause they talk to each other. Most of the time I can't understand what the heck they're talking about. Even people who are supposed to be in my field. And, it's all very inflated and, you know, a lot of prestige and so on.

It has a terrible effect in the third world. In the first world, the rich countries, this stuff doesn't really matter that much. So, if a lot of nonsense goes on in the Paris cafes or the Yale comparative literature department, well, OK. On the other hand, in the third world popular movements really need serious intellectuals to participate. And if they're all ranting postmodern absurdities, well they're gone. I mean, I've seen real examples, I could give them to you. But, so there is that category. And it's considered very left wing, and very advanced and so on and so forth.

Well, some of what appears in it, actually makes sense. But when you reproduce it in monosyllables, it turns out to be truisms. So yes, it is perfectly true that, if you look at scientists in the West, they're mostly men. It's perfectly true that women have had a hard time breaking into the scientific fields. And it's perfectly true that there are institutional factors determining how science proceeds that reflect power structures. I mean, all of this can be described, literally, in monosyllables. And it turns out to be truisms when you do, OK. On the other hand, you don't get to be a respected intellectual by presenting truisms in monosyllables.

So, when the left, so called left, I don't consider it left, but when the left criticism, so called, happens to be accurate, well OK, that's fine. So, if you point out, a lot of things, just like what I mentioned, well, that's fine. Point it out, everybody can understand it, you take a look and you see it's true and so on. On the other hand, a lot of the so called left criticism seems to me pure nonsense. In fact, that's been demonstrated conclusively. So, there's a very important book by Jean Bricmont and Alan Sokal, I forget what it's called, Dangerous Illusions or something, [Fashionable Nonsense, 1997] where they simply go through the, they happen to be concentrating on Paris which is the center of the rot, but it's all over. And they go through the most respected French intellectuals, and run through what they say about science, and, you know, it is so embarrassing that you kind of cringe when you read it. Actually, one of the most striking ones is one of the very few who actually is a scientist, that knows something about science, [Bruno] Latour, who has a background in science and the philosophy of science. They go through an article of his in, I think I'm remembering correctly, in which he's.. Somebody in France or somewhere had discovered that one of the pharaohs had died of tuberculosis. And they did it by analysis of whatever, you know, DNA or something. Latour wrote an article ridiculing this that says: it's totally absurd, tuberculosis was only discovered in the nineteenth century, and everything's a social construction..



No, but what I'm asking is what is religion per se, not..

Some belief that there is something in the world which is beyond my grasp which is determining the way things happen and it's going to, you know, it will be a consolation for me, maybe, you know, if my child is dying I'll see him again in Heaven somewhere, I mean, these kinds of beliefs? And that there's sort of a spiritual force somewhere beyond my grasp, and that explains why things are happening? That's fairly ubiquitous. And it's perfectly understandable. I mean, you know, weird things are happening. Like, the sun is moving around the earth, you can see it. I mean, it doesn't happen to be happening but you see it. Well, something must be making it happen. OK, so it's Apollo on his chariot that's pulling the sun. And the same with everything else that goes on, you don't understand anything that's happening in the world. Why is my child, this sweet little wonderful kid, dying? He didn't do anything. So there's got to be some explanation somewhere.







So it's a set of stories to make sense of reality, except not science..



I mean, Apollo pulling the sun with a chariot, is early science. I mean, it's kind of a scientific theory, it's worked out, not trivial, like, for example the classical Greeks did discover a lot of things.







But if you say it now, when there's lots of evidence other than that, that's no longer science.

That just means that our understanding has deepened. But, you know, the transition from magic to science is a pretty smooth transition. I mean, it just.. I mean, even the word "science" in English didn't even appear until the mid nineteenth century. I mean, there was a word, but it just meant something else, it just meant "knowledge". In the mid-nineteenth century there was a divorce between science and philosophy. Before, it was just philosophy. In fact, if you go to Oxford, let's say, you can study natural philosophy and moral philosophy. Natural philosophy is what we here call the natural sciences, moral philosophy is what we call the humanities. The whole concept of science in our sense is a pretty recent one.

And there was an intellectual revolution, which sort of begins with Galileo and that goes on and that lead to enormous insights and after a while, science just kind of took off and became a special domain. I mean, take, say, Kant. He couldn't have told you whether he was a philosopher or a scientist. He taught astronomy, he taught moral philosophy, and, yeah, an intelligent educated gentleman did all those things. Well, by the mid nineteenth century it was becoming pretty hard to do all those things. The sciences were reaching a point where you really ought to understand things. And you couldn't be a gentleman who knows everything. So, OK, things got professionalized, and we get, you know, what we call science, a separate domain. But, recall how recent this is. Prior to that people were trying to figure things out. And we might now call what they're trying to figure out "magic", but these are pretty smart people. Take, say, Isaac Newton. He was not a fool, exactly. I mean, he's now, kind of, people laugh about the fact that he spent most of his life working on chemistry and Church Fathers, alchemy and Church Fathers. That was perfectly reasonable. I mean, in terms of what are called corpuscularian theories, that everybody accepted, you know, the world was made up of little building blocks like bricks..



The rest of the transcript is particularly interesting and looks into America's evangelical issues and the impact pseudo science and shallow understandings of science have on birthing (ironically) such things as creationism.



(See link to transcript in the references below).



Taking the example of GMOs, today in 2018 there is no consensus among scientists, ie across the spectrum of what is the only legitimate source of science itself, that they are safe to consume - many problems exist and harms they have caused in various cases are documented.

The media, corporations (including 'commercial science') and government lackeys are, on the other hand, very unified in their rolling out of the business and their portrayal of it as scientifically sound.

Science itself disagrees with them. Pseudo-science's face can best be seen in this example. A unity of seemingly different factions, from Guardian journalists, Labour MPs (eg Owen Smith), corporations like Pfizer, Monsanto, even Genie Oil, etc etc etc - portray science very differently to the way Corbyn voting Stephen Hawking and the general consensus (or lack of it) among scientists portrays it.

As I wrote in the past: "Contrary to the claims of biotech advocates, humans have indeed been harmed by consuming the output of genetic engineering. In fact, the technology's first ingestible product (a food supplement of the essential amino acid, L-tryptophan) caused dozens of deaths and seriously sickened thousands of people (permanently disabling many of them). Moreover, the evidence points to the genetic alteration as the most likely cause of the unusual contamination that rendered the supplement toxic."

Sustainable Pulse writes 'In an acclaimed new book being launched Wednesday in London, American public interest attorney Steven Druker reveals how the US government and leading scientific institutions have systematically misrepresented the facts about GMOs and the scientific research that casts doubt on their safety.'

They quote the following crucial material from the book:

' - Many well-placed scientists have repeatedly issued misleading statements about GM foods, and so have leading scientific institutions such as the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the UK's Royal Society.

- Consequently, most people are unaware of the risks these foods entail and the manifold problems they have caused.

- Contrary to the claims of biotech advocates, humans have indeed been harmed by consuming the output of genetic engineering. In fact, the technology's first ingestible product (a food supplement of the essential amino acid, L-tryptophan) caused dozens of deaths and seriously sickened thousands of people (permanently disabling many of them). Moreover, the evidence points to the genetic alteration as the most likely cause of the unusual contamination that rendered the supplement toxic.

- Laboratory animals have also suffered from eating products of genetic engineering, and well-conducted tests with GM crops have yielded many troubling results, including intestinal abnormalities, liver disturbances, and impaired immune systems.

- Numerous scientists (including those on the FDA's Biotechnology Task Force) have concluded that the process of creating genetically modified food radically differs from conventional breeding and entails greater risk.

- There has never been a consensus within the scientific community that GM foods are safe, and many eminent experts have issued cautions - as have respected scientific organizations such as the Royal Society of Canada and the Public Health Association of Australia.'

I've met a GP, in Sainsbury's, who proudly said that GMOs are good - ie he's teaching his patients to embrace it - our conversation happened because I expressed sadness that a tasty roast beef sandwich at a low price was not accessible to me on account of how Sainsbury's could not guarantee that the cow involved wasn't fed GMOs. The GP relished it, took the sandwich and bought it and told me he loved it - and preferred to eat GM crops to other food - that's what he said - a fucking GP. It's very sad.

Monsanto has in fact alleged that The World Health Organisation "is corrupt" - in response to attacks on Monsanto's products by that organisation - and the links between at least one of its products and serious damage to human health.

This is the kind of world we live in - where idiots and sales people call themselves scientists and point at real scientists and call us 'corrupt'.


The following previous material is also very relevant: Hawking and others call for ban on offensive autonomous weapons.

Doug Bolton writes 'More than 1,000 robotics experts and artificial intelligence (AI) researchers - including physicist Stephen Hawking, technologist Elon Musk, and philosopher Noam Chomsky - have signed an open letter calling for a ban on "offensive autonomous weapons", or as they are better known, 'killer robots''.

Seriously.

Listen to these people.

If you don't listen to them, WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU GOING TO LISTEN TO???????????


And also:

Science is evidence based, business is profit based, the NHS is being fought over - Science wants to protect it, Business wants to own it and profit from it.

Stephen Hawking has made this clear.

Science is what is key.

Rule by profit is no different to rule by religion or any other arbitrary system.

Science is our modern approach. Business must learn to fall into line.


And also:

When does the Guardian believe it is qualified to teach Hawking? When he expresses his views on Israel. Such is the intellectual dishonesty of the Guardian.

In response to Hawking's boycott of Israel, one Israeli pointed out "His whole computer-based communication system runs on a chip designed by Israel's Intel team. I suggest that if he truly wants to pull out of Israel, he should also pull out his Intel Core i7 from his tablet."

What a disgusting thing for that Israeli to say.

Professor Hawking opposes Israel and supports Corbyn - he is a particularly and officially 'intelligent' man - so perhaps if you, reader, are wondering what sort of people back Corbyn and what sort of people oppose Israel's apartheid system, Hawking's statement will give you a clue.

Einstein also made damning statements about Israel in his day - and Primo Levi the Auschwitz survivor who wrote 'If this is a man' and other very important works said in his lifetime that Israel treated Palestinians the way Hitler treated jews.

Nonetheless - the Guardian knows better than Hawking, Chomsky, Einstein, Primo Levi and many other key figures, when it comes to Israel's racist state.


And also, perhaps most urgently of all:

Feynman, NASA, nukes, CBRN, GMOs, etc etc, exit pursued by climate change.

Feynman's assertion about NASA was that the management was like a stubborn ignorant child and the scientists had failed to assert themselves the way a parent could over a child. "How do we educate the child?" Feynman wondered, looking for a road to solving the puzzle. Musing, at any rate.



Feynman's assertion about atom bombs and nuclear weapons was that (a) he had been immoral and wrong to continue working on the bomb when Germany had surrendered and the threat of Hitler's using atom bombs was gone. It was not built to combat kamikaze pilots, in the view of its scientists. (b) Feynman felt that after the war he noticed that 'nothing had changed' and people were behaving 'just as they always did' and he felt that the existence of nukes/atom-bombs in a world where people were still prone to the stupid and ignorant mistakes etc that they always had been was one with a very short future - soon we would all suffer the consequences of nuclear war, he felt.

In the hands of such incompetents, incidents such as Fukushima or the widespread ignorance of science's actual position, collectively, insofar as one can be said to exist at all, on 'GMOs', would also, it is my theory, worry Feynman significantly. People to question (by reading what they have said about such matters) about this stuff could include Chomsky, perhaps with more of a pinch of salt sometimes David Attenborough and Stephen Hawking, because being put on a pedestal causes a higher error margin in a scientist, even a good one, even 'the best'. Feynman was perhaps an exception, or perhaps not - he admits himself that he messed up and was deeply in error and remorseful - by continuing to work on the bomb, which per se he hadn't really wanted to have anything to do with but shown that nazis could use such a bomb against them he understood that he had to protect society - but when Germany was defeated he should have stopped and he regretted not realising it at the time.

So returning to what Feynman would make of all the stupidness corporations are up to at the moment, along with militarised governments, the world over, I think it makes sense to refer to his criticism of NASA and his criticism of the existence of 'atom bombs' after the war was over. I think we should consider what he'd say about Fukushima and nuclear power in general, as well as his views on solar and genuinely 'clean' energy, with safety as the absolute priority always. Would he think we should restrict nuclear physics to established research facilities and find ways to keep corporate power away from decisions relating to such an important field of human knowledge?

The issue widens to so many others but above all climate change. What would Feynman's view be of the treatment of evidence by the world's corporations and thus by being in cahoots with them, the so-called 'liberal' media eg the Guardian or BBC or other broad sheets, generally speaking?

Feynman's views on titles and 'lapels' are an important thing to note also when deciding what the often-correct scientist would say about the way things are today. It doesn't matter who you are, what your name is, how clever you are, or anything else, when you make an assertion, what matters is whether or not it agrees with experiment/experience. Nothing else. That, in a nutshell, Feynman explains across the internet from beyond the grave to some 'small' but not insignificant audience, is the key to 'science'.
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References:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/23/a-troublesome-racial-smog/
https://zcomm.org/zcommentary/the-chomsky-sessions-ii-science-religion-and-human-nature-[..]/

 

 

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Click here to read about Shams Pirani, the editor and chief author on this grid - note, if you can actually prove anything written above wrong, I would gladly, if the proof is sufficient, correct what I've written and what I think - if I could, however, prove your attempted proof wrong, then I would accordingly say so and maintain whatever point of view is completely based on fact and proof.

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