Status anxiety

The left’s own war on science

The witch hunt against Napoleon Chagnon shows us what happens if scientists challenge the core beliefs of ‘progressives’

9 January 2016

9:00 AM

9 January 2016

9:00 AM

How much longer can the liberal left survive in the face of growing scientific evidence that many of its core beliefs are false? I’m thinking in particular of the conviction that all human beings are born with the same capacities, particularly the capacity for good, and that all mankind’s sins can be laid at the door of the capitalist societies of the West. For the sake of brevity, let’s call this the myth of the noble savage. This romanticism underpins all progressive movements, from the socialism of Jeremy Corbyn to the environmentalism of Caroline Lucas, and nearly every scientist who challenges it provokes an irrational hostility, often accompanied by a trashing of their professional reputations. Indeed, the reaction of so-called free thinkers to purveyors of inconvenient truths is reminiscent of the reaction of fundamentalist Christians to scientists who challenged their core beliefs.

One such Charles Darwin figure is the American anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon. He has devoted his life to studying the Yanomamö, indigenous people of the Amazonian rain forest on the Brazilian-Venezuelan border, and his conclusions directly challenge the myth of the noble savage. ‘Real Indians sweat, they smell bad, they take hallucinogenic drugs, they belch after they eat, they covet and at times steal their neighbour’s wife, they fornicate, and they make war,’ Chagnon told a Brazilian journalist. His view of the Yanomamö people is summed up by the title he gave to his masterwork on the subject: The Fierce People.

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Chagnon is a key figure in a new book by Alice Dreger, an American academic who has spent the last few years investigating attacks on heretical scientists by the grand inquisitors of the left. Dreger used to be something of a Torquemada herself. To defend the interests of people born with both male and female genitalia, she used many of the same questionable techniques to discredit opponents in the medical establishment. Then, in her words, she became ‘an aide-de-camp to -scientists who found themselves the target of activists like me’.

In 2000, in a book called Darkness in El Dorado, the journalist Patrick Tierney accused Chagnon and his collaborator James Neel of fomenting wars among rival tribes, aiding and abetting illegal gold miners, deliberately infecting the Yanomamö with measles and paying subjects to kill each other. Shockingly, these charges were taken at face value and widely reported in liberal publications like the New Yorker and the New York Times. (A headline in the Guardian read: -‘Scientist “killed Amazon Indians to test race theory”.’) Many of Chagnon’s colleagues turned on him, including the American Anthropological Association, which set up an task force to investigate. Chagnon was not allowed to defend himself and this task force published a report ‘confirming’ several allegations. As a result, Chagnon was forced into early retirement. In her book, Dreger summarises the thought crime that turned him into such a plump target: ‘Chagnon saw and represented in the Yanomamö a somewhat shocking image of evolved “human nature” — one featuring males fighting violently over fertile females, domestic brutality, ritualised drug use and ecological indifference. Not your standard liberal image of the unjustly oppressed, naturally peaceful, environmentally gentle rainforest Indian family.’

In a 50,000-word article published in 2011 in a peer-reviewed journal, she painstakingly rebutted all the charges against Chagnon, detailing the various ways in which Tierney had fabricated and misrepresented the evidence. Chagnon has now been exonerated and resumed his career.

Dreger has not abandoned her own liberal convictions. She believes the search for scientific truth and social justice go hand in hand and ends her book with an plea to academic colleagues to defend freedom of thought. But her title, Galileo’s Middle Finger, suggests the progressive left may not survive these clashes with heretical scientists. In comparing Chagnon to the Italian astronomer, she implies that the church of progressive opinion will face the same fate as the theologians who insisted the Earth was the centre of the universe. Eventually, the truth may prove too much. I recently interviewed Steven Pinker, the Harvard psychologist, and he’s confident that the liberal left can survive without the myth of the noble savage. I’m not so sure.

Toby Young is associate editor of The Spectator.

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Show comments
  • Richard

    One of the clearest examples of this is the way the Left trashes any debate that shows that intelligence in hereditary, or that there are racial differences in IQ. They are not interested in debate, merely interested in shutting it down, with their view being the default position. Scientific evidence is ignored, and the whole issue becomes one of morality.

    • Mary Ann

      Does the left trash any debate about IQ being hereditary, think about it, some of the best brains in the country are lefties, the least intelligent voters are those who support ukip/bnp. My father should have gone to Oxbridge to read Maths, but he had to leave school at 14 to go to work to help support his family, My Son has a first from Oxford, in Maths after attending a state school.

      • Richard

        Yes, the Left believes that intelligence is due to environment. Given a moron a good diet, and they’ll become a genius. They believe that we are all exactly equal in intellectual raw material, but that poverty makes us different. They reject studies with twins, they reject actual testing itself, they reject the notion of intelligence, they also reject the notion of isolated breeding creating differences in concentrations of genetic mutations, in other words, the very notion of evolution. All this they do on the grounds of ideology: everybody is equal, in all things, always, end of story.

        • Mr B J Mann

          Well, they have their own proof intheir own lack of evolution from single celled amoebas!

        • Michael H Kenyon

          And this after a century of strong research showing they are wrong.

          • Richard

            It is akin to a religious belief, and as such has nothing to do with reason or science. The Left is the supreme navel-gazer, and the supreme Authorised Text thumper. It has its cosmology, and its theology, its interpreters, and its enforcers. It participates in voter-led politics, too, which gives it life outside its own church, and gives it a superficial verisimilitude. It will only die when it is replaced by another, more muscular and less tolerant orthodoxy, which it is incubating with great efficiency. Its great triumph will come in its own destruction, and its adherents will gladly admit this, and work towards it. It is the ultimate useful idiot. And we, sadly, whether willingly or not, are all along for the ride.

          • http://rantingoldgit.blogspot.co.uk/ Arthur Sparknottle

            You are Richard Lynn and I claim my five pounds.

        • http://rantingoldgit.blogspot.co.uk/ Arthur Sparknottle

          Natural selection has applied different pressures to primeval people
          living in different parts of the planet after migration. H. Sapiens
          originated in Africa, but some of them migrated into Europe and Asia in
          the closing millennia of the last ice age. It does not take a lot of
          imagination to realise that surviving in a frozen northern Europe and
          Asia required considerable ingenuity in the form of developing
          technologies for survival such as the making of clothing and
          technologies which allowed populations to eat and survive in winter.
          Intelligence was highly selected for in surviving populations in Europe
          and Northern Asia in ways not applicable in sub-Saharan Africa where
          people require no clothing or complex arrangements to enable their year
          round sustenance. Consider the complex equipment and clothing discovered
          on the mummified remains on Oetzi the Ice Man, found in the high Alps
          in the mid 1990s. He was alive about ten thousand years ago and his
          equipment is a sophisticated response to a very challenging environment
          not present in any part of sub-Saharan Africa.

          • http://rantingoldgit.blogspot.co.uk/ Arthur Sparknottle

            Utterly ridiculous that the Spectator profanity filter won’t allow me to use the correct name of the human species and that I had to use the term ‘H. Sapiens’ to get the post published. You can’t even post the term (forgive the space) ‘s ex education’ without the post being dumped in a permanent dust bin labelled ‘Pending Moderation’ Moderation never comes though. The post just vanishes.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Wot?

        U mean dat da least intelligent voters are those who
        should have gone to Oxbridge to read Maths, but had to leave school
        at 14 to go to work to help support their family and went on to support ukip/bnp.

        I wonder what your father would say about that?

        Or did he vote labour like his father before him?

        A trait inherited by his daughter!

      • adrian smith

        It is the exception which proves the rule.

      • Ivan Ewan

        Can’t be true, you’re the least intelligent person on here. You wear earmuffs and a blindfold and tell the rest of us how blind and deaf we are.

      • King Kibbutz

        “… think about it, some of the best brains in the country are lefties, the least intelligent voters are those who support ukip/bnp.”

        That’s some really elevated thinking you’ve got going on there Mary Ann.

      • flaxdoctor

        Since the heritability of intelligence has been clearly established, your inability to differentiate between between an openly racist party and one which seeks to restore sovereignty and therefore democracy to the UK is clear evidence that your husband’s IQ is several standard deviations greater than your own…

      • marc biff

        Dopey bint.

      • flydlbee

        It has been posited that the genes for intelligence are coded on that part of the “X”chromosome which is not stabilised by a corresponding prt of the stunted “Y” chromosome. We inherit our intelligence from our mothers. This explains why the bell curve for male intelligence is wider and flatter than that for females: there are more men who are genii, and more who are morons. Naturally the Left won’t accept this.

      • Village Idiot

        Evidence? Other than your high levels of self-regard?

        • The_Common_Potato

          Self-regard is evidence to the lesser spotted Lefty.

      • Nate Whilk

        “some of the best brains in the country are lefties”

        Someone may be at the absolute top of his field and still be a blithering idiot outside of it. Anyone who thinks socialism is sustainable, in spite of ALL the evidence to the contrary, is a blithering idiot.

        • Brendan

          Social leftists have higher IQ’s then social conservatives. People who favor economic freedom tend to have higher IQ’s then people who reflexively favor state controls.

          Also remember that being intelligent means being able to rationalize things that ordinary people cannot.

          • Richard

            How is “social leftist” defined, might I ask? Presumably there are certain criteria to be filled? For example, Leftism implies intolerance of non-Leftist opinion. Leftism is not identical with Libertarianism. I wonder whether the devil is in the detail?

          • Brendan

            Socially liberal? Socially libertarian? I feel like you know what I mean.

          • Richard

            No, I really don’t. For instance, if I consider myself to be Leftist in my social inclinations, that might mean that I believe in forced redistribution of goods. If I am libertarian, I would say that anybody can have whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t harm anybody else. In the same way, conservative might mean that I feel religiously conservative, or fiscally conservative. I know of these studies, but am sceptical, because I don’t know what they are actually measuring.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Except that you can lose your tenure if there is any suspicion that you are a social conservative.

            So how do you know that most highly intelligent, highly accomplished, academics aren’t actually social conservatives pretending to be “liberals”?!

            Or did you struggle to rationalis things that even ordinary people can?!

          • Brendan

            My statement’s based on polls of self identified social conservatives and social liberals. If there are differences in averages, there’s going to be overlap in the distributions. My only guess is that someone with non-scriptural justifications for being cautious about or trying to circumscribe modern licentiousness is more intelligent then someone who responds with platitudes about tolerance, who is in turn is likely more intelligent then someone who cites the bible to justify a particular attitude towards something.

            These polls were conducted on students not professors so the tenure argument doesn’t play out.

            https://reason.com/archives/2014/06/13/are-conservatives-dumber-than-liberals

          • Brendan

            My statement’s based on polls of self identified social conservatives and social liberals. If there are differences in averages, there’s going to be overlap in the distributions. My only guess is that someone with non-scriptural justifications for being cautious about or trying to circumscribe modern licentiousness is more intelligent then someone who responds with platitudes about tolerance, who is in turn is likely more intelligent then someone who cites the bible to justify a particular attitude towards something.

            These polls were conducted on students not professors so the tenure argument doesn’t play out.

            https://reason.com/archives/2014/06/13/are-conservatives-dumber-than-liberals

          • Mr B J Mann

            HaHaHaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!HA!HA!!!!!!!!

            POLLS?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!

            If you could rely on polls supermarkets would be clearing their shelves of everything but organic fair-trade vegetable produce!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            Even in polls, even in anonymous polls, (even, or perhaps especially, in academic studies by intelligent students) even intelligent academic students:

            LIE!!!

            Especially about how “liberal”, green, tolerant, right-on, “progressive” they are.

            Because even if they haven’t been brainwashed by the feminised, “liberal”, green, tolerant, right-on, “progressive” academic establishment, in these “non”-judgemental, “liberal” times they are terrified of being judged, even by a stranger with a clipboard!

            Look at the INTERNATIONAL OUTRAGE at that old “dinosaur” for cracking a joke against himself about women in labs, or against that young “dinosaur” rocket scientist for his choice of shirt?!?!?!?!!!!

            Look at the way even Germaine Greer has been no-platformed by our new “tolerant” and “non”-judgemental society?!?!?!!!!!

            This is the level of academic enquiry and reasoning even, or perhaps especially, in our elite seats of learning?!?!?!!!

            This is the TRUE measure of the “intelligence” of our academic “elite”!!!!!!!!!!!

            (Emphasis, exclamation marks, etc added for the benefit of the hard of thinking re-educated in academia)

          • Brendan

            Is this kind of rhetoric supposed to impress me? Anecdotes with lots of exclamation marks and italics are not a substitute for data.

            High IQ simply means mental processing speed, but if you’re thinking about an issue pathologically to begin with you’ll just get smarter rationalisations , it doesn’t mean having psychic insights into the truth.

          • Mr B J Mann

            And yet anecdotes about polls are supposed to impress me when peer reviewed studies on the validity of polls, especially with respect to socially “liberal” questions haven’t made an impression on you.

            Perhaps your reading speed is as low as your IQ and you haven’t got to the end of my post yet.

            Or perhaps you are still processing it’s meaning.

            By the way, if you’re thinking about an issue pathologically to begin with you’ll just get smarter rationalisations, it doesn’t mean having psychic insights into the truth!

        • Johnnydub

          “some of the best brains in the country are lefties”

          Yes, some are. Those would be the arrogant fools who think “they know better” and that they can mould mankind into their vision of Utopia.

          Unfortunately their “intelligence” also has the effect of turning their humility off and their utter lac of ability to re-evaluate their theories when reality proves them to be a steaming pile of horse-sh#t.

          Some might say, a la Jon Ronson, that they’re are psychopaths, trying to create an image of caring, because deep down, they don’t, at all. They just want to be in charge.

      • Desperate Dan’s Porridge

        rubbish and fantasy as usual.

      • Hayekian

        For someone so intelligent you seem to be very keen on making sweeping generalizations. Any academic evidence (preferably peer reviewed as you guys love that so much) for a statistically significant difference in IQ between ukip and labour voters?

      • Nockian

        Being clever has little to do with being ethical. Left wing philosophy is entirely Nihlist and the people spouting it appear too evil and twisted to recognise it. They have no excuse if they are clever, which makes it much worse than the deluded idiots that are too ignorant to know.

        The academics across Europe and America were full of praise for the USSR. Even though they knew it was a regime that had slaughtered it’s way through a population of millions, they still maintained it was for the greater good. Only after the USSR collapsed did some of them begin to question their faith. That anyone at all would continue to spout this murrderous orthodoxy is Psychopathic. No one thinks Nazism is a good idea except a few idiots, but we know and accept these people are idiots and yet the left can’t see that what they support is just as vile and depraved.

        • Richard

          I remember a British commentator on apartheid in South Africa said that apartheid was infinitely worse than communism because it concentrated on who you were rather than what you believed. How that makes it worse I cannot understand, but it is amazing that he made no mention of the fact that communism caused the deaths of millions, which apartheid did not. It is one of those irrationalities of Leftism that defines it for me: we set morality, and you’d better follow it, or else!

      • Eric Cartman

        While there are intelligent people supporting either Corbyn and Farage, the former is troubling. It shows intelligence does not make one immune from supporting evil, or that schools turned them stupid.

    • Caviar luvvie

      It’s a fact that within Islam you have the highest rates of inbreeding on the planet, which not only leads to genetic mutations, but to a collective drop in IQ points, every few generations.
      If you look at Muslims from this perspective, it’s not surprising that 1.6 billion (approx 23% of the world) Muslims, only have 7 Nobel prizes! It’s shocking though.

      • Derek Lambada

        And only two nobel prizes in Science. Well, both of those did their main work in the West and one of them is an Ahmadi so would be locked up in his own country for daring to call himself a Muslim.

        Meanwhile one woman (Mme Curie) received two, so is as decorated as all Muslims ever. This despite Islamic teaching saying that women’s minds are inferior.

        The really funny thing is comparing Jews to Muslims. There are at least half a dozen Jews who individually have progressed science more than all Muslims, ever. No wonder Muslims hate them so much.

        • Temporary ID

          That’s not fair. There are only 1,000 times as many Muslims as there are Jews.

          • Richard

            I mentioned this once, but a Muslim said to me that Islamophobia keeps the prizes away from Muslims, and Zionist control of the world keeps them in the hands of Jews. Honestly. Crescent moon over my heart and hope to die.

      • flydlbee

        Have you counted Obama’s ludicrous Peace Prize as one of these?

      • ThatsMRdouchbag

        LIke the BUshs?

      • Mara Naile-Akim

        if you consider the opportunities your average muslim has had to learn compared with your average European, that will probably mean that given a certain equality of opportunity, the two groups would do roughly the same

        • http://rantingoldgit.blogspot.co.uk/ Arthur Sparknottle

          That’s wrong on two grounds. One you would agree with and one you might not. Firstly, religion is highly unlikely to influence intelligence; racial origin might. Secondly, Nobel Prizes are not a good indicator of intelligence which is a natural and largely genetically mediated quality. It COULD be true that an arbitrary award of a prize might be dictated by fashion, politics (Obama and Mandella and probably others). What you need to assess ability is a well tried and validated non verbal intelligence test. Non verbal to remove linguistic difficulties and advantages for different groups. Such work has indeed been done.

          Look here and read the papers:

          http://www.rlynn.co.uk/index.php?page=articles

          This material is either ignored or shut down by the left and the general western liberal establishment. It is considered too worrying. It is my belief that we should take it very seriously especially when allowing large numbers of people to migrate into our currently prosperous and peaceful nations.

    • Philip Jones

      I’m sure there will be a Nobel Prize for inventive ways of killing gays, people who keep pigeons and not subjecting to bizarre sexual practices.

    • rootsandthings

      Actually the Left has utter contempt for people who say there are ‘racial differences in IQ’ for a much more simple reason than morality: it’s an irrational belief, decorated with garbage stats and bolstered by circular reasoning, existing only to assuage peoples’ guilt for being evil racists. In Realityland, scientists have known since the 1920s that IQ is a exceptionally terrible way of measuring intelligence (and that the ‘g factor’ is just statistical gibberish). Scientists have also known since the 1930’s that the idea of ‘human races’ is not biologically meaningful (we’re a clinal species with gradual variation. you can’t separate us into a handful of ‘races’ since there will be scores of people who are in between. Regardless, using skin color is a really bad way of doing it – if anything, there are about a dozen ‘races’ of ‘black people’ and one single race consisting of Europeans, continental Asians, Northern Africans, and indigenous Americans).

      Finally, scientists know that mixing the two bits of bad science is a fertile ground for groundless racist arguments. The current consensus among an overwhelming majority of anthropologists is that there are NO innate behavioral differences between human ethnic groups, intellectual or otherwise. The reason why we “shut down” debates suggesting there’s a racial difference in IQ is that we’re tearing our hair out in frustration by the inability of you jerks to listen to reason, instead focusing on some racist psychologist who stuck a bunch of bored and/or cynical black kids in a classroom and pretended they all put their best effort into a condescending IQ test. To someone like me who actually knows what they’re talking about, you are essentially saying “the Left shuts down any debate about how spoodily the horns of unicorns are by pretending unicorns don’t exist and that ‘spoodily’ isn’t a word. How closed-minded! How…inquisitorial!”

      People forget that about 100 years ago psychologists waved around IQ tests ‘proving’ that European Jews were less intelligent than Christian folks. Instead, now that the IQ tables have changed, they talk about how Jews are a more advanced race. Both, of course, are utter nonsense, and at least in Europe they’ve moved on to proving the innate inferiority of the Roma, or maybe Moroccans or something.

      In the 1970’s people in Ireland had the same average IQ as black people in the US. Now that the Irish economy is significantly better, their IQ is on par with the UK – of course, that could have been an incredibly rapid 30 years of evolution, but I’m going to go with “national IQ scores are mostly a measure of economic progress and say nothing about the genetics of the nation itself.” They’re also very easy to forge or otherwise finagle: The Bell Curve received a great deal of flak for using “African” scores that were taken from African psychiatric hospitals, and one highly amusing ‘statistic’ I saw gave an average IQ of about 110 for North Korea. Where did this stat come from? I thought maybe the North Korean government – nope, even worse than that! The authors simply averaged South Korea and China and gave that as North Korea. How ridiculous! a) China’s ‘national IQ’ tests mostly the middle-class, and b) North Korea has widespread malnutrition, so I would expect their average national IQ has taken a big hit. And there’s other bits that just don’t add up from a hereditary/racial theory of IQ, such as: why do Mexicans have an IQ lower than Native Americans and Spaniards? If you take the hereditary theory seriously, shouldn’t it be somewhere in between? Or is that too inconvenient for the real argument, which is “those danged Mexicans are ruining this great country!!!!”

      I also remember being a kid and reading about how American boys tested better than girls in maths, explained by the manly mathematics genes that men have. Of course, recent testing show that this has reversed, and now you have people saying that women are in fact better at math. What this all really reflects is that nobody is immune from ideology, and that science is a tool, not a universal arbiter of Truth.

      • Brendan

        For anecdotes about consensus please see http://www.psychpage.com/learning/library/intell/mainstream.html

        For anecdotes about the flynn effect please see
        https://menghublog.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/what-is-behind-the-flynn-effect/

        For anecdotes about “this racial group had this IQ in this year…”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Transracial_Adoption_Study

        At any rate it takes a lot more heavy reasoning to assume that people are blank slates then to assume non-random and non-equal distributions in behavioral traits: Whatever those might be. Seriously, what exactly is the probability that everyone is inherently the same at everything.

        • rootsandthings

          a) That is not the consensus, it’s just one major side of the debate, and one that rather glosses over one of the main sticking points of the debate: nobody in human history has ever given a good definition of what ‘intelligence’ is. The idea that IQ accurately measures intelligence, however defined, is not well-accepted even among psychologists – especially in recent years, cf. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121219133334.htm As someone who does very well on IQ tests and fails utterly at spatial and technological intelligence, Regardless, let’s suppose IQ is an accurate measure of intelligence: that does not mean that everyone taking an IQ test is having their intelligence measured. What about kids who don’t care about the test? Isn’t it reasonable to assume that, due to cynicism, black American kids would put in less effort than whites?

          b) I didn’t read that whole thing, but did you? It seems to undermine your view by pointing out that, based on the psychometrics, any attempt to reconcile the Flynn effect and group IQ differences is lost in a statistical morass because the data is fundamentally bad.

          c) How about you read that Wiki article yourself? “Due to confounding of social and biological factors, it was inconclusive in terms of determining relative environmental or biological contributions to racial differences in IQ – as the study’s result could be interpreted as supporting either hypothesis.” All the study ‘proves’ is that neither genetic nor environmental causes can be definitively ruled out from the experiment. That is, maybe African genes encode less intelligence than European genes…OR that racial discrimination causes adverse performance on IQ tests as nonwhites/Asians get older, which is true even if you have white adoptive parents…OR neither, and there’s something else going on. So…what are you saying here?

          You say

          “At any rate it takes a lot more heavy reasoning to assume that people are blank slates then to assume non-random and non-equal distributions in behavioral traits: Whatever those might be. Seriously, what exactly is the probability that everyone is inherently the same at everything.”

          But that’s not at all what The Left is saying. The Left is saying that individual differences in intelligence exist and are somewhat heritable, but group differences almost certainly don’t exist – even if IQ tests suggest otherwise – and that the heritability of intelligence does NOT translate into intelligence differences between ethnic groups. Don’t be deliberately obtuse.

          • Simon

            I think rootsandthings knows what he’s talking about. I learned more from his comments than the swine faced Toby Young ‘s complete canon of bul*shut articles.

          • http://rantingoldgit.blogspot.co.uk/ Arthur Sparknottle

            This is a deliberate distortion motivated by your political stance. A complete abrogation of your duty to science and empirical research (if you are a scientist rather than a mendacious political spinner.

            Lynn and his partner have identified a correlation of above 0.7 (P>.001) between measured national IQ and real income and economic development.

            Folk like you who deny reality are no better than the Medieval Catholic Church denying the discoveries of Galileo and others. Yes – the Earth is indeed flat and the centre of the universe.

      • melonhead

        Whoa, stop the presses, internet commenter rootsandthings thinks IQ is bunk and race isn’t real.

        > the idea of ‘human races’ is not biologically meaningful (we’re a clinal species with gradual variation. you can’t separate us into a handful of ‘races’ since there will be scores of people who are in between.

        That old argument. Geographic height is clinal too, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t such things as hills and mountains. Richard Dawkins himself asserts the biological reality of race, and, Stephen Pinker has said recently that IQ is the most replicable psychological science that there is.

        • Richard

          Leftist ideology is based on one, crucial article of faith: everybody is exactly the same as everybody else. Their mission in life is to enforce that notion, not question it.

      • Richard

        Realityland, as you call it, consistently shows two things: one is that intelligence is largely hereditary, and the second is that racial difference is fairly consistent. There are so many ways in which this is shown, such as studies with twins, studies across socio-economic levels, studies taking migration into account, and so on. Of course nutrition plays a role, which is how the Flynn Effect is explained, but this effect is only up to a point. Sub-Saharan African children who move to Europe have higher IQ scores than their parents from better nutrition, but it is still lower than indigenous Europeans. In South Africa, where Chinese were regarded as “non-white” and subject to discrimination, they still outdid whites in IQ tests and academic performance. They also outdid blacks. The genes that make for the best long-distance runners differ from the genes that make the best short-distance runners (both are found among African groups), for example.

        Blacks do indeed come in many different types, and as the “original” people, display the greatest genetic variation. However, other races stem from small groups who moved away from Africa, and so display much greater homogeneity. If you need a tissue-transplant as a Northern European, you are much more likely to find one, because Northern Europeans are much more closely related than black people are, one to another. Ditto Ashkenazi Jews, for example. American blacks are also highly miscegenated, where the black skin is the most enduring element of African-ness, not the rest of the genetic material, which has origins elsewhere.

        Some effects are undoubtedly social, and educational, but that there are differences that are genetic is clear. Sub-Saharan Africans, for instance, have no Neandertal admixture. Differences are more than skin-deep.

        • http://rantingoldgit.blogspot.co.uk/ Arthur Sparknottle

          Bravo!

          I am sickened by the political motivation of the opposition to your arguments and the way they cherry pick data to convince people to adopt their politically motivated position, ignoring the serious academic evidence that their position is completely wrong. We are expected to believe (in the face of massive evidence) that the only part of the body the diverse range of human kind possesses which does not change is the brain. This in spite of the fact that certain racial types do better where ever they are and however harsh their upbringing was, while others (on a population basis) do very very much worse wherever they are in the world.

          http://www.rlynn.co.uk/index.php?page=articles

      • Mr B J Mann

        Aaaarrrrrghhhhhhh

        F!x that au0c3ns0r ~0^0ie!!!!

        rootsandthings -> Richard

        “Actually the Left has utter contempt for people who say there are ‘rac!al differences in IQ’ for a much more simple reason than moral!ty: it’s an irrational belief, decorated with garbage stats and bolstered by circular reasoning, existing only to assuage peoples’ guilt for being ev!l rac!sts.”

        I see what you did there:

        You gave us an example of garbage circular reasoning!

        “Scientists have also known since the 1930’s that the idea of ‘human ra ces’ is not biologically meaningful (we’re a clinal spec!es with gradual variation. you can’t separate us into a handful of ‘ra ces’ since there will be scores of people who are in between. Regardless, using sk!n c0lor is a really bad way of doing it – if anything, there are about a dozen ‘ra ces’ of ‘b1ack people’ and one single ra ce consisting of Europeans, continental As!ans, Northern Afr!cans, and indigenous Americans).”

        I know nothing about the subject, so could you help a layman out here:

        You say there are no “c0loured” ra ces, or that if there are, there is one big all encompassing single ra ce consisting of Europeans, continental As!ans, Northern Afr!cans, and indigenous Americans.

        And, if anything, there are about a dozen ‘ra ces’ of ‘b1ack people’.

        But say there are no ra ces within H0mo Sapiens:

        Are the extinct Neanderthals and Denisovans the same ra ce as H0mo Sapiens, or are they they as different as your postulated single non-b1ack ra ce and about a dozen b1ack ra ces, or are they more different from any categorisation of H0mo Sapiens?

        And if they are more different than that, how does varying levels and mixes of Neanderthal and Denisovan genes affect the biology of any particular bits of the all encompasing “white” ra ce?

        And differentiate those bits from the dozen “pure” H0mo sapiens b1ack “ra ces”.

        Perhaps you could illustrate your answer using examples, say using different colourings of horses compared to mules, and zedoncs, and perhaps zemules if there is such a thing?!

        Thanks in advance!

      • http://rantingoldgit.blogspot.co.uk/ Arthur Sparknottle

        Utter balderdash.

        Read these papers:

        http://www.rlynn.co.uk/index.php?page=articles

    • Desperate Dan’s Porridge

      Exactly. Harold Wilson once said that Labour ” is a moral crusade or it is nothing”. As ever, he was wrong. Labour/Socialism is nothing but a moral crusade. Ignorant of reason and blind to everything but self-righteous virtue signalling, sanctimony and hypocrisy.

      • Richard

        The most sickening is when they get hold of Third World countries, who really believe all the tosh they spout. There really is nothing more tragic.

  • Itinerant

    The pop-science magazine New Scientist;
    “diversity might be our best chance to crack the biggest questions in the cosmos.”
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22930550-200-do-we-need-racial-diversity-in-physics-affirmative/
    After all ‘diversity’ has worked so well in every other area it enriches.

  • Zhang Wei

    ‘Real Indians sweat, they smell bad, they take hallucinogenic drugs, they belch after they eat, they covet and at times steal their neighbour’s wife, they fornicate, and they make war,’…………..just like Liverpudlians then?

    • King Kibbutz

      Are you start’n? Eh?

    • Chuck Pelto

      RE: The Pudlians

      At least these indians don’t puke in the public fountains, as we say pictures of the Brits doing last New Years Eve.

      But that doesn’t mean the indians wouldn’t if they were given the chance…. 😉

      • Philip Jones

        Plenty of people are hell-bent determined that these people are kept ignorant of fountains and everything else that might give them choice.

    • Neil Ashley

      Just like many human beings always have.

  • Zalacain

    Socialism is a type of religion, it has always acted as such and reality has never dented believers’ faith.

    • Paul B

      True or not, in what way is this comment pertinent?

  • Chuck Pelto

    RE: Progressives, Anyone?

    Progressive is a one-word oxymoron.

  • Paul B

    The point of all the research being referenced & trashed here isn’t that “they” are uncivilised but rather that the veneer of civilisation “we” wear is so very thin and so very fragile. And, as the comments here show, that associating oneself with successful human beings doesn’t of itself give yourself a high IQ or a Nobel prize. How you all struggle against the muzzle of what you call “socialism”, what thugs you would be without it.

    • texasjimbo

      “How you all struggle against the muzzle of what you call “socialism”, what thugs you would be without it.”
      Incoherent. Modify/explain or be mocked as a leftist spouting nonsense in an effort to sound intelligent.

    • Richard

      Let’s hear from you again after you’ve spent a bit more time in Zimbabwe, Angola, and other socialist states. The rest of what you say I can’t understand.

      • Paul B

        Zimbabwe, a socialist state? Are those the two best examples you can think of? It seems to me you reinforce my point: You don’t know what “socialist” is. I wouldn’t but you could more reasonably argue the USA is socialist: Free education for the young, free medicine for the aged, social security payments for the out of work, pensions for the old, soup kitchens for the hungry, shelters for the cold, a vast bureaucracy enforcing countless regulations. Doesn’t sound like Zimbabwe or Angola to me.

    • Mr B J Mann

      Try debating that with a feminist (or other progressive) and when they insis that you are uncivilised if you can’t suppress and control your primitive urges and actions thrust your fist violently to within an inch of their nose at high speed.

      And see how well they control their primitive urges and reactions!

  • Paddy S

    I agree with many of Tobys points but why did he have to bring galileo and church into it. Thats the biggest progressive myth going. None of that supposed story is true. Bad history.

    • freddiethegreat

      True. What happened was that scientists who were dogmatically following Aristotle, ganged up on Galileo – a mere mathematician, and therefore not a scientist – and tricked the church into suppressing him (thought the church and Pope had officially pronounced that they had no problem with his theories – which after all, don’t contradict the Bible).

      But myths have an enduring power, like the one about people believing in a flat earth.

  • James_IIa

    Things are getting complicated. Wouldn’t Alice Dreger’s article create a professional problem for Patrick Tierney similar to the one he inflicted on Chagnon?

    • tricknologist

      Why would it ?

      Tierney is a progressive fighting for the cause, and all is fair when doing so. Lies, cheating, fabrication of evidence is all good when it’s for the cause. There’s a better chance that he will be rewarded for it because of his dishonesty.

      That’s just how Leftists roll, it’s who they are it’s what they do.

      • James_IIa

        Well, OK, but there have been a few journalists, even lefties, who have taken a hit for fabrications.

        • tricknologist

          Sometimes when the fabrication is too big to ignore they’ll take a hit for it, but they always have their image rehabilitated when the furor blows over. Just look at Dan Rather there’s been a recent movie about him that now claims he told the truth.

          • James_IIa

            Yeah, wasn’t the Dan Rather movie called “Pravda”? No, wait, that’s the Russian word.

  • global city

    The problem is that it just won’t. Post modern, neo-Marxist claptrap, once pumped into the blood stream is there for good. That is why we have to kill it at source.

    I was just thinking bout the issue this morning. Why do the chattering classes, who are mainly responsible for spreading these viruses into general society, think that everyone is to dumb to understand that, for example, critical theory and negative traits can only be described in western/white/European societies and cultures?

    • freddiethegreat

      ” critical theory and negative traits can only be described in western/white/European societies and cultures?”
      South African universities are collapsing due to the marxist insistence that texts have to be “African”. But like the muslim world, Africa has produced very little scholarship.

  • Gunnar Thalweg

    … I agreed with pretty much everything in this article, except the part about “particularly the capacity for good.” People are born with equal capacity for good. They are not born with equal abilities in all sorts of other areas. But they are born with equal capacity for good — and evil. In other words, human nature exists wherever there are humans.

    The myth of the noble savage is essentially that indigenous folks have a superior capacity for good and becomes increasingly corrupted by contact with corrupt societies. It is the idea of superiority that is the error.

    All have sinned and fallen short. Modern technological capitalist societies just raise the stakes on underlying human nature.

    • Kehvan

      Pure rubbish.

      Some people are born sociopathic with a distinct lack of empathy for others… By definition, these people are not born with the same capacity for good as other people.

      • No Man’s Land

        Do empathy and capacity for good equate? Being empathetic perhaps makes it easier ‘do good’ (at least at a local day-to-day level), but sociopaths make up a significant portion of the population, many must lead blameless lives.

        • Mr B J Mann

          A con man, and especially cold readers(? – “psychics”, fortune tellers, etc) have empathy, or learn, to empathise, at the highest level!

          • No Man’s Land

            Very good point, it’s a strange sort of dispassionate empathy that you use to manipulate people, but yes I agree.

      • SuffolkBoy

        I disagree with the implied notion that empathy is the same as “capacity for good”. It usually means “acquiring emotions as one’s neighbour”. Though this is usually a useful trait, it is not good if one’s neighbour has an emotional eccentricity characterized by irrational fear, irrational anger, irrational love or irrational hate. The outcome of that is a folie à deux. If left unchecked a whole group can develop start share irrational emotions or distorted perceptions of reality, resulting in both irrational tribal bonding and irrational tribal vendettas. Eventually that group develops groupthink and self-delusional thinking. Taken to extremes, one group starts believing it has enhanced (or indeed unique) powers to distinguish Good from Evil, and then believes it has the moral obligation to promote the former and extinguish the latter. This phenomenon is a well-documented game routinely played out with vigour in mental institutions, child protection services, schools, universities, parliaments and religious convocations. It tends to be part of an endless cycle of war, oppression and rebellion whatever epoch or society one lives in, and whether the tribes live in forests or offices.

      • Village Idiot

        We will never know if people are ‘born sociopathic’ because, by the time there is anything to observe or measure as regards behaviour, then the individual (child) will already have months or more likely years of external influences that could have (and more than likely did) make them the person they had become.

  • Wild Bill

    Well the Right have been on our case long enough, so the Left might as well join in the fun. Sod this scientific method crap. If it supports your worldview it’s right, and if it doesn’t it’s wrong. Simples.

    • FancyLad

      The right has always ignored Social Science, dismissing it as cultic pseudoscience. The left has always misrepresented it and weaponized it.

      • thesteelguy

        well the left is what has made the social ‘science’ a cultic pseudoscience.

        • Toast well done

          The Right have been on who’s case?

          I’ve never heard of Conservatives trying to get scientists fired for promoting Darwinism.
          Never known Conservatives to make themselves and their friends rich using fake-science.

          The Right set up a £1.5 trillion global warming type scam using fake science and intimidation? News to me.
          Where can I sign up?

          • thesteelguy

            still does not invalidate my point now does it?

  • MedJumper

    Toby, as we speak, people are turning away from the Left in disgust. Corbyn’s dismissal McFadden, the appointment of Thornberry, the Guardian’s attempts to shift the blame from the rapists in Cologne, Helsinki and Zurich, the brat attempting to remove the Rhodes statue and demand the French tear down the Tricoloure. Not only have they dug their own graves, they are now getting into it.

    • http://theunrecordedman.wordpress.com/ TheUnrecordedMan

      I wish I could believe you. The crowds in Cologne demonstrating against the anti-immigrationists was much bigger and fiercer than the crowd of anti-immigrationists. I see no crack in the progressive liberal ideology. However, I do see some of them complaining about Corbyn, not because they necessarily disagree with him, but because they he states their own ideas far too clearly so they look stupid and unworkable. Which they are.

  • Albert Zbingswiki

    Doesn’t matter. Within a decade or two, all will be Islam, and humanity will never know progress, happiness or beauty ever again.

    • Gilbert White

      Not to worry, Uncle Albert we may get another Saladin proferring iced sherberts?

      • Toast well done

        Uncle needs to worry, he is correct.

        Within a few generations much of Europe will resemble Iran, Jews and other minority groups will have been killed off and democracy will be a distant memory.
        Worry is required.

    • William Haworth

      And yet intelligent people like Toby Young still write as if the world they grew up in, will be there for their kids and grandchildren. In 25 years time, owning a history book could be a revolutionary act (nothing happened before Islam). Studying science will be pointless, because we already know all we need to know.

      • Richard

        Already the educational authorities are saying that Africans were in Britain long before English people arrived. And I don’t mean evolutionary timescales, either.

  • Allyup

    It boils down to the fact that any strong belief in a left or right ideology is incompatible with a reasoned response. This is hardly even new.
    A Study at Amory University in 2006 found that political partisans do not let facts get in the way of decision taking. Staunch Republicans and Staunch Democrats can hear the same information and walk away with opposite conclusions http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060131092225.htm
    …We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning,…What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts….
    …Once partisans had come to completely biased conclusions — essentially finding ways to ignore information that could not be rationally discounted… subjects got a blast of activation in circuits involved in reward…

    ..The investigators hypothesize that emotionally biased reasoning leads tothe “stamping in” or reinforcement of a defensive belief, associating the participant’s “revisionist” account of the data with positive emotion or relief and elimination of distress. The result is that partisan beliefs are calcified, and the person can learn very little from new data…

    In other words those with strong political beliefs are incapable of learning. This explains why the same old BS is presented to the adoring public as was presented decades ago.. when it obviously did not work then. It will not work now and will not work in the future but they are incapable of understanding that as ‘partisan beliefs are calcified, and the person can learn very little from new data’…
    For the left the BS includes rent and wage control and that high taxation will deliver the goods.
    Boringly you can find numerous papers over the years by top economists showing why they do not work but remember beliefs are calcified so even if they read them it would be without understanding and they would be cast aside to allow cherished beliefs to be retained.

    In other words a bunch of headless chickens could do a better job. Throwing a die to determine a policy would make a politician seem to be on a par with a genius compared with his mates because occasionally the die would come up with the correct result that works in the real world.
    I hope his doesn’t cause a rush to buy dice to be seen to outperform.

    • woolfiesmiff

      Excellent post. Politics IS the problem

      • Toast well done

        Left and Right are not the same.
        Conservatism is anti-dogma, anti-State, pro-individual, anti-pc.
        They could not be more different. a Conservative yearns to be free, a Socialist years to take that freedom away and make themselves master.

        Socialism is essentially modern feudalism, the State has replaced the local gentry.

        • Robin Andersson

          I’m pretty sure that conservatism also is dogmatic and pro-state, for example. The only difference is what the two sides want the government to do. It can be small government on taxes, big on military spending, small on gun regulation, big on drugs. The right thing to do is to hold both sides accountable for the things they say and do, and call them out whenever they’re wrong, regardless of your own poltical stance.

        • PeeWeeMadman

          I would rather claim that libertarianism is dogmantic, and what you call conservatism is really just a kind of protolibertarianism for people that hate gays and black people. I would claim that the welfare state is pragmatic while anti-state is dogmatic, simply because libertarianism want to create suffering caused by poverty and lacking access to things like healthcare because of abstract and theoretical ideas like “freedom” and “natural rights”.

    • geokstr

      There are some important distinctions between the political policies and beliefs of left and right.

      The right are realists, believing that human nature is what it is and base their policies on reigning in the darker animalistic side with negative reinforcement (punishment), checks and balances on the accumulation of government power, rewarding success through competition and the free exchange of ideas, and even by turning part of it in a productive direction as capitalism does with greed and self-interest. The actual results have been the greatest economic expansion in history, the technological explosion, the wholesale reduction of poverty and the phenomenal growth of the middle class.

      In contrast, the left believes in hopes, dreams and myths; the inherent goodness of human beings (except in their opponents, whom they consider evil incarnate), the belief that human nature is not immutable and can be sculpted for the better if the left is in charge (encouraging self-esteem without accomplishment, political correctness, NewSpeak, brain-washing, hate/offense/thoughtcrimes), that people will voluntarily work hard, take risks and share everything they produce beyond their own needs with those who choose to do nothing. Their results, everywhere it’s been tried? Abject poverty for all except the nomenklatura, who live in luxury, the loss of all individual rights and freedoms, and the horrific slaughter of 100 million of their own citizens, innocents except for their refusal to conform in thought and deed.

      I’ll take Door #1, thank you very much.

      • hobspawn

        Nice summary. It’s a pity our children are not being taught this in history lessons.

      • PeeWeeMadman

        I would rather say that the right also lacks realism, because consistent rightwing policies over many decades would propably provoke a revolution… The free market without a welfare state would simply cause to much individual insecurity, unfairness, poverty and lack of access to needed service to be tolerated for to long. It may fool people for a couple of generations, but when people see that the promises that growth will cure all ills are false, they are not fooled anymore!

        Really, free marked capitalism only reduces poverty to a large degree during the second industrial revolution, and the reduction of poverty may be a result of that rather than the free market in itself. When you introduce more free market and less welfare to an already post industrial economy like the western world post war, the result is rather just more povery, stagnating incomes for the working and lower middle classes while the upper middle class and the rich gets all the positive results from the growth.

  • BrandySpears

    The Spectator: a purveyor of anti-science anti-climate change nonsense calls the kettle black?

    • http://theunrecordedman.wordpress.com/ TheUnrecordedMan

      I think the word ‘pot’ belongs somewhere in your question.

    • The_greyhound

      You really are frightened of open debate. Perhaps you would be happier on the website of the Guardian, where such things are not permitted.

      • BrandySpears

        Facts seem to bother you. The Spectator is a purveyor of anti-science nonsense. Fun fact.

        • Richard

          I am curious to know to what you owe this intelligence? I have read this periodical for some time, and have not found it to be particularly anti-science.

          • King Kibbutz

            Ooh but it so has to be!

          • BrandySpears
          • Mr B J Mann

            You should have read all it threw up!

            On second thoughts, don’t, it might make you throw up!!

            On third thoughts do, it might make you top yourself!!!

  • Duckworth Keats

    The left tells us that as far as climate change goes, the science is settled – It would be more accurate to say that as far as they are concerned, the politics is settled and the science must follow.

  • flydlbee

    Long ago, when I was young and naive, I believed in the doctrine of the noble savage. Then, when I was visiting the Dolphinarium at Whipsnade, I came face to face with a resident. He swam close up to the glass and I saw that he had a navel, just like me. Filled with positive thoughts about my distant cousin and his noble savagery, I went closer to the glass in spiritual communion. He then crapped in my face and swam away smirking with that cute little smirk that dolphins have, and took all my feelings about “noble savages” with him. I am eternally grateful for his removing of my delusions on the subject, and every time I hear the term, I think of him.

    • King Kibbutz

      He didn’t do it on porpoise, surely?

  • Gimme some fightin’ room

    Good article.

  • Morris Jasper

    You would be hard pressed to fit anything more significant than the homeopathic ‘memory’ of water between “the socialism of Jeremy Corbyn to the environmentalism of Caroline Lucas”.

  • Gilbert White

    The pendulum swings, sociology changes, the scientific study is eternal? Corbyns mate with Diana the huntress in Eden?

  • Martyn Morgan

    I do regret the way in which the terms ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ have been hi-jacked and now become synonymous with an unpleasant left-wing agenda.

  • Andy Hards

    Indians fight? Tribes fight each other? They take hallucinogenic drugs? These profound insights must be immediately censored in case our leftist agenda is seen for the scam it really is.
    What a crock of crap. Toby Young attacking the left in increasingly hysterical ways is getting sad to watch.

    • The_greyhound

      Then don’t bother with Toby Young.

      Go and help with the civil war in the Labour Party (which Toby helped to start) instead.

      • Andy Hards

        He helped start the Labour Party? Really? Founded in 1900? Oooooookaaaaaay then.

        • Davidsb

          Hello, Mr Hards –

          Unfortunately, you appear to have misunderstood Mr Greyhound’s comment. I believe that what he meant to suggest was that Toby Young helped to start the civil war, rather than the clearly erroneous allegation that Mr Young helped to start the Labour Party.

          Hopefully my explanation has cleared up any misunderstanding.

          • Andy Hards

            I realised that almost straight away but both are equally ridiculous claims. The noble savage is not some leftist tablet without which the whole ideal of progressive leftist politics fails. Nobody believes that indigenous peoples were peace loving and living in utopian societies where nothing bad ever happens that cannot be blamed on Western interference. To believe that the left holds this up as some kind of truth which must be upheld at all costs is idiotic.

          • Mr B J Mann

            So the left does actually know that they have opened the borders to the most ignoble savages on the planet to rub the rights nose in it.

            Which confirms that the left’s capacity for logical and rational thought is such that they are more than happy to cut off their own noses to spite the right!

          • Andy Hards

            Give the racism a rest bigot.

          • Mr B J Mann

            You seem to have a problem understanding the word racism.

            You seem to struggle just as much with the definition of bigot.

            I wonder if you also can’t cope with comprehension?

          • Andy Hards

            Bigot – one who does not like other people who have different beliefs or a different way of life

            No, I think I understand perfectly. You can claim your hatred of Muslims is not racism but most people understand it to mean just that. Argue semantics all you like you moron. Reply or not but I will not bother trying to highlight your ignorance any further.

          • Mr B J Mann

            QED

            8< – – – –

        • King Kibbutz

          The sentence works as the writer intended. Tart.

          • Andy Hards

            Also works the way I mistakenly read it, slag.

  • Nockian

    What is the theory, conclusion and evidence ?

    All men ARE born with the possibility of being good. They are born tabla rasa. That man is fallible is an accepted truth.

    Socialists certainly seem to believe that primitive societies had some kind of utopian culture dedicated to the good of the tribe. It’s the old worker bee model and comes from the belief in a collective consciousness, in which the individual must sacrifice to the whole. They certainly don’t care about independent goodness, only how it relates to the good of all. Ironically their ideology is in complete opposition to the good and so they despise the good for being the good and then destroy it. They are like foresters that cut down all the strong tall trees to the same height as the saplings. Any sapling which grows above the others is mercilessly trimmed.

    Modern liberals are just transformative socialists. The welfare state is an attempt to bring full socialism into being.

    • SimonToo

      “All men … are born tab[u]la rasa.”

      If you believe that, you clearly do not have any children of your own.

      • Nockian

        You think they are born with a complete intrinsic code of ethics and principles ? That they don’t require to learn of the world around them, that they are already pre programmed and only need to remember their programming ?

        • SimonToo

          You may have noticed that there is a variety of states between a blank canvas and the finished painting.

          • Nockian

            That is not a relevant analogy, because it doesn’t address the argument.
            If you are prepared to state your argument explicitly then we can have the discussion.

          • SimonToo

            You stated “”All men … are born tab[u]la rasa.”. Tabula rasa translates as a clean slate or blank canvas. I contested your statement.

            You suggested that I thought that they are born with a complete intrinsic code of ethics and principles … that they did not require to learn of the world around them, that they were already programmed …

            To continue with your tabula rasa or blank canvas metaphor, you appeared to be saying that I saw a child as being born as the finished picture. I pointed out that the finished picture was not the alternative to the blank canvas, but there were many intermediate stages.

            If it helps, I would also suggest that changes, not merely development, occur along the way. The early pencil sketch on the canvas may be significantly different in composition to the final, varnished version of the picture.
            Does that assist your understanding?

          • Nockian

            A child is born with cognitive and emotional faculties. There is only one way in which further development can occur and that is via the senses which give rise to perceptions.

            Though the child can begin to use the senses in the womb and develop motor skills these are limited by the closed environment.

            A baby cannot even focus on objects at first, let alone determine their independence. It must discover existence, entities, identity, consciousness and causality. Until it has these complex concepts resolved it cannot begin to create others.

            For clarity, I wasn’t saying a child is born senseless, emotionless or without motor skills. Only that it is tabula rasa beyond the basic faculties and pre birth, post birth sense experience.

          • Richard

            Remember that the brain works in a predetermined way, both the cerebral cortex and the underlying structures. We have evolved to make sense of what we see around us, and so the brain works to do this. The mechanism is believed to be one of vertical assemblages in which higher levels of processing are carried out by higher parts of the assemblage, but there is also diagonal communication between different assemblages, which means that patterns can be misinterpreted, or new categories can be created (the source of creativity). All parts of the brain work in the same way, and so the only way in which we can conceivably be tabulae rasae is that the actual issues to which categorisation must occur have not yet been inputted. However, since we live in pretty much the same external world of items in space, gravity, etc., the outcomes will be largely the same. This is why innovation is so rare. And the efficacy with which this process is undertaken does appear to be mainly genetically controlled.

          • Nockian

            There are variations in performance. Some people are brighter, more creative, have better spacial skills, but the ethical growth is determined by sense, perception, reason.

          • Richard

            Or you might argue that ethics is a branch of aesthetics. Nobody doubts that people differ in their abilities.

          • hobspawn

            Barmy.

          • King Kibbutz

            So, in layman’s terms: it’s a bit of both.

          • Nockian

            I don’t know what you mean by a bit of both ?

            It’s about learning. Precepts and concept integration. Some learn faster than others, but it isn’t deterministic it is all experiential. There is no other way to get the information from outside inside. The key is that it must accord with reality. Reality determines the success of interactions. If someone is abused then this is the environment that they experience. Put them into another environment and they act in accordance with the reality of abuse. The earlier the abuse is administered the more formative it becomes. Brains are like sponges and very pliable when young. They are wired with few connections between hemispheres allowing them to soak up information. As children get older the connections between both hemispheres become greater and the brain is less pliable, learning gets more difficult but conceptual logical reasoning becomes easier. However it means it is harder to shift an abused child into being a fully functioning, rational adult.

          • King Kibbutz

            That makes sense, but I still do not see how this precludes the possibility that the processing which occurs in experience, can be affected by the actual matter and arrangement of the basic physical ‘wiring’ which exists prior to the experience.
            I do not argue that experience accounts for nothing – it’s just not everything.

          • Nockian

            It isn’t ‘wiring’. We grasp reality with consciousness. It doesn’t matter how we differ we all have to function within the constraints of reality. Existence exists, A is A and a thing is a thing.

            You might see a rope as a snake, but it is a fact that it is a rope. Making that simple error is natural if the light is bad and it’s an area where snakes abound.

            It’s possible to make all sorts of errors both in cognition and action. Yet the error is an error and the feedback is that it was indeed an error. It doesn’t matter what the wiring is from that perspective. A normal human brain operates that way. Take half of it away and things would get very weird, but we aren’t talking about that.

          • King Kibbutz

            I used the term ‘wiring’ just as you did?
            And yes, you are digressing after that.

          • Mr B J Mann

            “There is no other way to get the information from outside inside.”

            So how does that work with fish, turtles, cuckoos, who know where to migrate to, how to be a cuckoo, etc, even if they have no experience of, or training for, it?!

          • Nockian

            Wrong question, but a good one.

            Humans have reason and animals don’t. However, we are aware of our bodies and environment. We are born with a cognitive and emotional faculty, but more importantly an enormous brain which has been evolving in response to our use of it.

            This is our survival gamble, we don’t have much in the way of physical potential. We can only survive in narrow band of environments, we are weak, badly equipped and slow compared with other predators.

            A fish is born as a fish, it doesn’t call itself a fish because it has no concept of a fish, or any requirement to have that concept. A fish simply reacts directly to its situation. It’s brain deals with motor function, vision, body function, senses and that’s about it. It’s learning is mate, eat, avoid predators. It’s not interested in ethics or free will, it doesn’t require it. It just runs from things bigger than it, eats things smaller than it and shoals with fish that are like it.

            A human is involved with complex social interactions as well as the environment and a whole mass of skills. A human must learn a tremendous amount in order to function, a fish very little.

          • Mr B J Mann

            But hasn’t the brain eveolved by building extra structures?

            More complicated, slower structures?!

            On top of the fish!

            The simpler, faster, fish that simply reacts directly to its situation:

            Its brain deals with motor function, vision, body function, senses and
            that’s about it. It’s learning is mate, eat, avoid predators. It’s not
            interested in ethics or free will, it doesn’t require it. It just runs
            from things bigger than it, eats things smaller than it and shoals with
            fish that are like it (and sh*gs fish that complement/compliment it)!!!

          • Nockian

            The entire living creature is built from cells. They exhibit simple intelligence in the form of instinct, but they haven’t evolved even the most primitive state of conscious awareness.

            Our hearts beat, lungs inhale, blood is cleansed, nerves send signals, digestion system functions. All this happens sans any form of conscious experience in the same way a tree grows, or a flower turns towards the light.

            Don’t get these things muddled with the mind of the human rational animal. That a baby is born with a functioning body (more or less), motor skills, a cognitive and emotional faculty does not imply that anything else is present beyond the experience prior to and including birth itself. It has already experienced sensations in the womb and so its consciousness has some pre loading that’s all.

            Once outside the womb it is already learning at a fantastic rate. That it doesn’t get up and walk about and dribbles its milk says nothing about the miracle going on in that grey matter which is astonishing. To be a human means that instinct is secondary and so the learning needed to make that a reality is so far removed from a normal animal as to make us virtually aliens on our planet. It is not that we learn more slowly than the fish, it’s that we learn entirely differently by forming concepts and integrating them. No other animal can do that as far as we know. We can train animals, but animals cannot gain the faculty to train themselves. It’s that which is important. Humans have the ability to learn independently of anyone showing them a skill. We can take concepts, integrate them and come up with revolutionary things.

          • Mr B J Mann

            So, if you were arguing this in a court of law, in front of a judge, with a policeman standing next to you, with the case being recorded for posterity…..

            And a threw a punch towards your nose (not connecting obviously, as I’m a rational human):

            Your primary response would be to deduce you were in no danger whatsover, on every possible analysis, and you wouldn’t even blink, never mind flinch or duck?!

          • Nockian

            I don’t think you have the correct understanding. That I could react does not mean I am forced to. I can act against my natural reactions and we see examples of that all the time.

            Soldiers in conflict are a prime example, but you can pick one as simple as riding a motorcycle in which you must resist the urge to close the throttle, brake or stare at a place where the danger is coming from. The mind must learn concepts in order that it ignores base, automatic instinct and then applies free will.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Exactly.

            You have to learn, and practice, and take the time to be a rational, civilised human.

            But when push comes to shove, you’ll duck, even though in the post match analysis it will be obvious to your human brain that the punch was never going to connect!

          • Nockian

            You blink your eyes and scratch your backside too, so what. Have you got a point ?

          • Mr B J Mann

            ?!

          • Nockian

            You appear to attempting to argue determinism because someone cannot help but flinch if they are punched. It doesn’t follow.

          • Mr B J Mann

            That’s not what I said at all!

          • Nockian

            You didn’t say anything except to point out the truism that people flinch automatically in response to a punch being thrown at them.

          • Mr B J Mann

            So you’re now arguing that it is a truism that people react automatically with their sub human brain before they rationally respond as humans?!

          • Nockian

            You seem to be trying to lead me down a path like a court lawyer looking for a prosecution.

            We can react because we have learned how to do so. The rest is automatic. We find ourselves doing lots of automatic things which we once had to learn, but have become sub conscious routines, or gestalt. These routines are concepts that have been integrated. They act as emergency overrides. It’s actually something mirrored in machine control systems utilising computer control. Usually the computer deals in sequence with thousands of sensors and actuators which takes time to process, but, press an emergency stop and the normal process is interrupted directly regardless of anything else.

          • Mr B J Mann

            So you’re saying these reflexes aren’t automatic, controlled by “sub-human” brain levels, but learned?

            And that if I pretended to throw another punch at you you wouldn’t react?!

            Interesting!

          • Nockian

            Sub consciously learned action becomes automatic. It doesn’t require any complex thinking.

            Why wouldn’t I react, if I reacted the first time ? It’s the same when a police car with a blue light gets behind you. It is instinctive and automatic, but it’s a learned response. A cat wouldn’t differentiate between a Police car and a normal car.

            Open any door and there is no thought to it, but add some complexity to the opening mechanism and your brain is jerked from its usual routine. Once you figure out the new mechanism it’s embedded into your sub conscious gestalt for future operation.

            If you are driving a car for the first time it’s a very complex procedure that seems almost impossible, but a few years after passing the test you can often discover that you have driven miles without the slightest memory of time/distance passing. So, who was driving the car ? 🙂

          • Mr B J Mann

            I’m betting more and more baffled and confused by the complexities of this new interpretation of human actions.

            So are you saying that, subconsciously, people learn to instinctively and automatically, flinch and duck away from pretend punches, only after they have had their noses broken a few times?!?!

          • Nockian

            No. You don’t need to be punched to learn to flinch. A fly settling on the face, a whack with your own uncoordinated hand, a glancing blow against the cot, or a spoon in the eye would do it. You soon get the hang of it. You learn about pain and how it is caused from getting to grips with causality.

            When I was working as a therapist, one of the things I did was a form of regression. It’s surprising how many minor things spring from experiences between birth and the age of 18 months. These things are often minor trauma that the baby was unable to process and so the corrupted concept stayed with them until adulthood with further reinforcing on top. Some negative feelings/phobia are often attributed to very minor things that grow in magnitude and can ruin a persons life as an adult.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Ah, I see.

            Did you manage to uncover any from in the womb?!

          • Nockian

            None, although some claimed past lives. Wasn’t really the point of the work, but some clients memories of early life were so starkly real that they amazed themselves. They remembered minute details with total clarity.

          • SimonToo

            And I was saying that, had you had children, you would be aware from the moment of their birth that they had individual characters, wills and emotions, and that they were not blank canvasses on which you had a completely free hand to create your work of art. Their development will be affected by their parents and many other external factors, but they have individual inherent characteristics which will also affect their development.

          • Nockian

            You see individual character, but there are no values. You cannot be said to share your babies values or ethics. You cannot talk to them and discover their preferences. That they have different spreads of emotion, different bodies and that they begin learning immediately is totally accepted.

            You do not have complete free will to create a work of art out of another person. What made you think I meant that ? You can feed a baby with experience, you can show a child your values by example or by correction. You cannot define them, they are unique individuals that are doing their best to gather knowledge of the world in the capacity they have.

        • MichaelZWilliamson

          Sociopathy and narcissism are in part genetic.

          Not everyone is capable of good.

          There are genetic roots in excessive altruism.

          Not everyone is capable of being bad.

          Both extremes can suffer in different ways under social stresses.

          • Nockian

            There is no evidence of genetic determinism. That’s a very dangerous claim to make- can provide scientific proof ?

            Certainly those with an unhealthy brain are prone to mental abnormalities, but not a normal healthy person. There is also no doubt that social interaction also has an effect on how we think, but its not permanent. We aren’t stuck with erroneous, irrational thinking we can learn to improve it if we choose to.

          • MichaelZWilliamson

            I could, but it would use big words you clearly wouldn’t understand. Have a nice day.

          • Nockian

            I take that as you haven’t any. Have a good day yourself, that mirror needs a polish.

          • MichaelZWilliamson

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933872/

            As I said, it uses words too big for you to understand.

            Would you like a hundred more?

          • Nockian

            Firstly it’s a report and not a peer reviewed paper. Secondly it clearly indicate that correlation has not been found to date it’s all speculationand further more, any causation is linked with maltreatment. Those screened for psychopathic traits were also lives no peaceful productive lives- so, what does that tell you ?

            Just for reference there were no ‘big words’ that I didn’t understand.

          • King Kibbutz

            What happened there, just after ‘Those screened for….’?

          • MichaelZWilliamson

            Moving goalposts: Check. In fact you moved them three times.
            Ignoring evidence that doesn’t fit narrative: Check.

            Also, given the atrocious grammar, punctuation and spelling you use, it’s pretty clear you skimmed for key words and didn’t actually read.

            That’s pretty much textbook “liberal” debate technique.

            You also can’t explain how, of four children raised by the same family in the same environment, one will become a vicious criminal and the rest not. It must be something peculiar to that individual. If only individuals had unique traits that were inherited in some fashion…

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1458834/

            You’re wrong. Accept it.

            I won’t waste any more time with someone who is deliberately ignorant.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            Well, in dogs you see that people are able to breed different dog breeds with different kinds of temperament. So I see no reason the same would also be true with humans.

          • Nockian

            I hope you realise what your saying and it’s said jokingly :-/

          • Richard

            How so?

          • PeeWeeMadman

            Not at all, what happens to a human being is mostly a result of their genes. Even the environment influences are affected by our genetic makeup, because our genes determine how we react to, learn from and intepret the environment around us.

          • Nockian

            Not in a healthy human being they don’t. We interact with the world using our senses and then build conceptual knowledge from the precepts. Using our brains is what creates the neurological connections. Some brains are faster at making these connections, but this does not equate to unethical/ethical behaviour.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            Yes, and the way we arrange and intepret that knowledge is a result of how our brains are constructed, something that is genetic.

          • Nockian

            I’m trying to get across quite a complex thing in very few words. It’s not the construction but what we feed our conscious awareness and that is determined by our senses and the ability to reason and integrate concepts. In essence we can exercise our brains and feed them good stuff, or we can avoid thinking very much and stuff them full of junk food.

            Some of us might be brighter, more creative or better with maths, but these are our skills and not our thinking. You can be pretty poorly skilled with no outstanding abilities but still have the capacity to reason and think logically. Many effective entrepreneurs are school drop outs and considered academically poor, but they reason well, build loyalty because they are seen as dependable, honest people with integrity. People trust them in their dealings and this allows them to be succesful. They operate independently and don’t rely on others to inform them of what they should or shouldn’t do, they don’t look for praise to determine their success.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            I see no reason these things should not be genetic? What kind of things we feed our brains with is also a result of our genes. I also think that libertarians often have some kind of “mild autism” like aspergers syndrome or something like that. Libertarianism is simply the result of a sick or abnormal brain.

          • Nockian

            I don’t think you have a clue what a libertarian is. Many supposed libertarians don’t have a clue either so you are in good company. I regard libertarians as subjectivists along with every other current political sect.

            Libertarians have a simple creed and that’s the NAP (the principle of non aggression-which was adopted from objectivist philosophy as a stand alone ideology ). It’s very simple. Don’t harm or steal from another person, do not begin aggression unless that person is aggressing against you.

            Doesn’t sound autistic does it ? Sounds like something a good parent tells their children. Don’t steal off people, don’t hit them.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            There are different kinds of libertarians just as there are different kinds of communists, that are quite often really unrelated to each other.

            What is autistic with that is that libertarians ignore the fact that we have a division of labour, and that also creates power. The reason libertarians just focus on coercion and ignores any other forms of power and authority, the ideology also ignores reality.

          • King Kibbutz

            I think the dog theory deserves a hearing.

          • Nockian

            So did Hitler. Your assumption is true for dogs which are purely automatic animals and not humans that possess reason.

          • King Kibbutz

            Whether dogs are ‘purely automatic’ or not, has nothing to do with the fact, as pointed out by PeeWeeMadman, that it is possible to breed temperament. Why would humans’ ability to reason, set them aside from this?
            (What the h e l l are you on about with the Hitler thing?)

          • Nockian

            You have heard of eugenics and the failed attempts by the Nazis to breed men and women ?

            Humans have free will, we can act against instinct, animals cannot. With an animal you are getting an instinctive creature that is distinguished by its temperament. A human is a reasoning creature distinguished by ethics, values and morals. None of these things can be bred, they are not intrinsic, they have to be learned by repeated exposure to existence and philosophy.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            It is propably rather that human instincts are more complex than animal instincts. The notion of free will is only kept alive to legitimate suffering among the poor in our times. Free will cannot be explained by any law of physics, while the alternatives can.

          • Nockian

            No. I don’t think you would understand if I went into detail. Free will isn’t empirical, it is axiomatic.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            Yes, the libertarians in the ivory towers are quite fond of “axiomatic evidence” and other kinds of pseudo logic trickery. It is typical of libertarians to make their points by logic and made up stories, rather than actually taking their examples from the real world.

          • Nockian

            As I said I’m not a libertarian. I regard it as equally subjectivist as that of socialists. This is not true of Austrian economics however on which most of libertarian economics is based, as opposed to the failed Marxist economics with its labour theory of value.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            You are a libertarian. When objectivists claim they are not libertarians it is like when followers of Trotsky claim followers of Stalin are not communists.

          • Nockian

            That made me laugh. You obviously aren’t aware of the libertarian/objectivist wars or you certainly wouldn’t say that. It gets pretty nasty. Each side slags off the other. Having now being on both sides I can clearly see where the differences lie.

            What you should be aware of is that often philosophies have areas which appear on the surface to be similar, but can be wildly different.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            I am aware of the libertarian/objectivist wars, but they are nonsense just at the maoist/marxist wars in the seventies. You take small differences and make way to much of them.

          • Nockian

            There is a fundamental difference. One is philosophically based, the other is a political doctrine based on the work of an economist (Mises) who never advocated libertarianism and was concerned with economic science.

            I’ve sat on both sides and the difference is very clear. Libertarianism is political Pragmatism. That’s why I’m no longer a libertarian. True libertarians are anarchists that believe we don’t require governments at all.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            Libertarianism is the opposite of pragmatism. Libertarians are rather like islamist fundamentalists in the way they believe that humans/democracy are unworth to make societys laws, so the laws have to come from some higher source such as Allah or “higher logic”.

            Libertarians are not anarchists, anarchy is simply not no goverment but also no authority. The free market is very authoritarian and hierarchial.

          • Nockian

            Nope they are subjectivists and therefore pragmatists. Islamic fundamentalists are intrincisists. They do cross over however, as often as not intrincisists will slide into subjectivism.

            I’m an objectivist and therefore laws are important to me, as is some kind of Government authority to act as an objective justice system that prevents the initiation of force.

            Thin libertarians are definitely anarchists, the movement was started by Murray Rothbard who was most certainly anti state.

            Laissez Faire capitalism is ordered for sure, it doesn’t exist in chaos. I don’t know what you mean by authoritarian, or hierarchical ? That it rewards the good operators and penalises the bad is its process.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            The problem is that the “bad”, the people who do not get a good job, get penalized for factors they themselves have no control over, like their genes, their environment and the fact that to many others are more talented than them. It is autoritarian because it produces strict hierarchies of power. Inequalities in power and money is the same to a large degree, as power is the ability to make others do what you want and people with a high income have the power to get their will through to a larger degree than others.

            Murray Rothbard wanted natural rights to be respected, so in a way he wants the same things as an objecivist, just that he thinks it can be done without a government. A true anarchist do not believe in property rights, something Murray Rothbard did. However, Murray Rothbard was a jew that wanted to cooperate with nazis/his infamous “redneck outreach” so guess it is best to ignore him?

          • Nockian

            No, not the genes again. Your environment is just the luck of the draw. It doesn’t prevent anyone from succeeding. If you produce little value then you only get a small amount of value back. If you produce a huge amount of value then you get a huge amount of value back.

            The only power is in the hands of the customer in a free market. It is the customer who is may be equally owner, employer and employee that exchanges value with value. The hierarchy is that the very best operators are much sort after as both employer and as customers. Yet all operators are in competition at all times to prove they can supply the highest value. It allows low skilled workers to undercut higher skilled workers. It means an increasing number of products at ever higher quality and lower price. It means the low paid worker can afford to buy things that were once the preserve of the wealthiest.

            Ah you are talking about a specific kind of communist anarchy which doesn’t have property rights.

            Never heard that about Murray. Sure you have your facts and context right ?

          • PeeWeeMadman

            This one got old already in the early nineties: Trying to avoid a discussion about power relationships in the labour market by turning it into a discussion about the consumer market instead….

            Communism and anarchism is not the same, they ended up killing each other in both the spanish and russian civil wars. Anyway, any system that have individual property rights is not any form for anarchism and Murray is not a real anarchist. He is just a libertarian.

            The poor will not afford more under libertarianism, because the main reason things get cheaper is that their wages get lower. The get more under the welfare state, because there things get cheaper because of automation and increased productivity. Libertarianism prevent productivity growth in some sectors because labour is to cheap. In the nordic contries, nobody does manual car wash like in the USA for example.

          • Nockian

            Laissez Faire not libertarianism.

            The poor will always be the poor relatively. Yet the poor don’t stay the poor. It isn’t written anywhere that a poor person must remain poor.

            Product prices, material, wages, land value goes up and down in a free market. Workers are free to move to new employers, set up as competition, or lie on a couch. They gain experience with employers and that makes them more employable. They have the option of training to higher levels, or putting in more hours.

            This is fair, because everybody has the opportunity to make what they can. It’s not supposed to be a utopia. The thing with playing only to the poor is that you don’t have any capitalists to produce anything. You have in back to front. Unless there are entrepreneurs willing to put their capital on the line then there is no production and no jobs.

          • King Kibbutz

            Blonde hair is not ‘breedable’ for want of a better word, then?

          • Nockian

            Different thing entirely. We are talking about the human mind, not the material body.

          • Richard

            You dispute the link between the brain and the mind?

          • Nockian

            I dispute the link between having blond hair and the mind. You can have a big fat, genius brain but still be a psychotic killer, or a klutz.

          • Richard

            The brain is part of the material body. It is governed for by genes.

          • Nockian

            Yes and…..

          • Nockian

            Of course it is. That doesn’t say anything about conscious thought that occurs within it. The size weight and even some abnormalities say nothing about the thoughts that men have.

          • Richard

            Abnormalities can predict some types of thoughts, or lack of them. For instance, memory traces are laid in the hippocampus. If that is damaged, as in Alzheimer’s, people are unable to remember recent events. There appears to be a genetic determinant in personality-type, too. We are our genes, given breath by the world which shapes us.

          • Nockian

            Damaged brains are a different thing, we still don’t know the thoughts, but we can predict a patient will be confused and irrational ( and there in lies the clue) it is rationality that determines action. If reason is no longer apparent then the creature is no longer a full human being.

          • Nockian

            Personality typing is more Jungian rubbish. Genes don’t give personality either. What’s more personality changes considerably during our life times. There are any amount of examples of violent offenders who have completely reformed and are useful productive, peaceful human beings.

          • King Kibbutz

            The mind is made up of material.

          • Nockian

            The brain is made up of material. The mind is unknown.

          • King Kibbutz

            Weird then that you claim to know so much about it?

          • Nockian

            I don’t know what consciousness is, I can’t point to the mind, but I can know that the mind must accord with reality, or there can be problems.

            I’m not a scientist, but if you have become a believer in genetic determinism then this is no different to those that believe in an omniscient/omnipotent creator. That we have no free will.

            You cannot determine thoughts through science, it is thoughts that are science. Genetics don’t determine thoughts, that they are relevant in some sense is only to say that every environmental anomaly has some kind of effect on thinking, but not what that effect can be.

          • King Kibbutz

            Except that I have not ‘become a believer in genetic determinism’.
            Thoughts are not ‘determined by’ but are affected by hormones. Levels of hormones are affected by genetics.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            Humans are really just very complex animals. If you look at humans, human action in many circumstances can seem very predictable also.

          • Richard

            There pretty much is. For instance, black males have a higher testosterone count than other races, which predisposes to violence. There is something called the “warrior gene” that reduces the ability to control violent impulses. Intelligence is largely genetic. There are other bits and pieces, too, which, if you put them together, point in the direction to which a person is likely to migrate.

          • Nockian

            As I replied to the other post-have you peer reviewed evidence ?
            Having high testosterone does not make one act criminally, it says nothing about ethics at all. Women are also involved in violent crime so we can see that testosterone is certainly not an issue.

          • King Kibbutz

            How come you get to demand ‘peer reviewed evidence’ every verse end, yet you just relate your own side without any such encumberence?

          • Nockian

            Because you that is asserting it to be true. There aren’t any scientific papers researching things that aren’t true, for very obvious reasons.

          • King Kibbutz

            So nothing you are asserting here is to be considered worth hearing?

          • Nockian

            I’m not asserting anything that isn’t as it is already understood. For instance if you say man is capable of X ray vision, then, as things currently stand there are no instances of it. That’s not to say there are no men capable of X Ray vision, but as I haven’t ever come across it, then we need some research and experimentation to confirm it.

          • King Kibbutz

            You assert whatever, I do same. As for ‘it is already understood’, well you don’t get to decide that either.

          • Nockian

            I don’t decide anything outside of reality. We can discuss epistemology without a peer paper. You can have an opinion without needing one either. However, when you assert that genetics are responsible for behaviour, that is in the arena of empirical science. We can do the experiments, take the measurements, collate the facts, then look for false positives/negatives in the results. With science we are trying to disprove our assertion and peer reviews help to winnow out where we might have made errors.

          • King Kibbutz

            And so, once more: why do your assertions not need the doc’s that you insist from others?

          • Richard

            When you assert that there is no evidence for genetic determinism, and I present evidence that there is, why do you not feel it necessary to validate your position? Nobody is questioning the ability of the human mind to come to terms with knowledge, but rather how you come to make your assertions. There is plenty of evidence for a large degree of genetic determinism – or at least for very strong contributing genetic factors – that you choose to ignore.

          • Nockian

            Evidence isn’t conjecture, theory, or consensus. It’s science performed with absolute rigour. There are no doubts or additional factors. That isn’t what you offered. I’ve already trawled the net looking for evidence for my own research prior to our discussion. That’s how I knew.

            It’s no good saying ‘for a strong contribution’ as it means precisely nothing. It’s a potential starting point, but the research required to directly connect one with the other has not and will never be completed. Humans aren’t neat little boxes, everyone is individual, with individual circumstances, histories, upbringings, cultures and environments.

          • Richard

            The law operates with a probability of over 50% being accepted. It is not possible to prove that cigarette-smoking causes cancer, but the correlation between the two is so high, that it is de facto the cause, if not de jure. If the Warrior Gene is found in a great many cases of violent crime – more than within the general population – that is accepted as being statistically significant (in other words, in excess of the margin of error) and a causative factor. People do not always behave rationally, and do not always follows the precepts of their own morality.

          • Nockian

            It’s pretty well accepted that smoking isn’t good for you regardless of whether it causes cancer or not. You don’t have to be a scientist to get some idea of there being some truth to it. it’s the scientists that crunch those numbers and produce a peer reviewed paper that clearly shows that to be a fact.

            Let’s say you prove that the warrior gene is one causative factor in 50% of violent incidents. Now what ? Are you going to detain everyone who has the gene in prison, maybe feed them all psychoactive drugs for the rest of their lives, lobotomise them. Would you let them go if they did a crime because they were genetically determined ‘they just couldn’t help themselves’ they don’t have any mechanism to know what is right and wrong so they can’t be blamed.

            This isn’t cigarettes and cancer, this is reasoning human beings who can choose not to act in a certain way. To say that no one can help anything they do because of genetics is to completely give up on human reason as the faculty for survival and happiness. This is the crap Hegel came out with. It resulted in the idea of robot humans-cybernetics. That eugenics would make men compliant with authority and cybernetics would finish the job.

          • Richard

            Policy is something different entirely. Should nuclear physics be abandoned because it might be used to build a bomb? Should chemotherapy be abandoned because it might be used to kill people? Science and knowledge, and what people choose to do with that science and knowledge are two entirely different things. We are talking about the influence of genes on certain behaviour, not whether a government should be Left-wing or Right-wing.

          • Nockian

            There is no science connecting genes to thought. You are talking about genetic determinism and its bunkum. That’s why there are no peer reviewed papers because no scientist would ever conceive of such lunacy. They have better things to discover.

            The people coming out with this genetic twaddle are eugenecists of the kind Hitler was using. I’m assuming you are unconnected with these people ? These are Darwinists and their ilk. It’s really dangerous, dehumanising stuff.

            I’ve debated to a point believing that you were genuine, but there is a limit. The people spouting this rubbish turn my stomach. They were the same people that said the Irish, and Blacks were so genetically inferior they should be prevented from breeding. Their continued publishing of propagandist articles in journals is an abomination. It should be considered alongside the evils performed on Jewish concentration camp victims by Dr Mengler, the MK ultra programme, Russian mind control efforts and the lobotomising of homosexuals. It’s a hideous tip of a very nasty iceberg.

            Can’t you accept that people have the ability to make their own decisions regardless of genetics, genes or testosterone levels. That we should use the law on those who cannot control their violent outrage and give no quarter to their genetic makeup.

          • Richard

            There are physical reasons that help explain why people behave the way they do. We need to take cognisance of that, the same way that we don’t believe in demon possession, but in neurology and psychiatry. What others do with the information does not invalidate it. Every scientific discovery has its dangers, but ignorance of science has its dangers too. How many people have been burned to death, or decapitated, because of belief in witchcraft, say?

            If you suffer from cystic fibrosis, it will determine your life’s path. Dwarfism the same. That is simply how the world works.

            The Warrior Gene has been used in American court-cases as mitigating circumstances in violent behaviour, because it is understood that people who have it tend to have less control over their emotions, and tend to act things out.

            Again, social policy and potential risks and rewards of information do not make the science less valid. Hard work is still required to succeed, no matter what your genetic advantage. It can be interpreted from the Left, or from the Right.

          • Nockian

            Cystic Fibrosis or Dwarfism doesn’t determine your path at all. It’s just a fact. We all deal with things differently, we think different thoughts, have differing emotions. That you have one leg or a hooked nose doesn’t determine how you think.

            The warrior gene has been used because our society is going slowly but up irrevocably crazy. We have denounced reason and the mind and substituted pragmatic bullshit. We are making excuses for behaviour as if people were unable to behave themselves. Every day there is more crud about fat genes and soon no doubt poor genes. We will all have a gene excuse for our lack of applying reason or having ethics. We just ignore reality, do anything we want because it’s the genes”

            “He couldn’t help it, no one can ” that’s Hegel. A creeping, festering, philosophy of evil that has ravaged our society and educational system. .
            “Don’t be so sure, no one can be sure of anything”
            “Good in theory not in practice” Plato
            “That was a rotten thing to do but no ones perfect”
            “I can’t prove it but I feel it’s true” Kant
            “Act first think after woods”
            “It may have been true yesterday, but not today” Hegel.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            But is not ethics and moral little else than an attempt to make your own self interests appear to be similar to the “common interests”?

          • Nockian

            In a sense it is, although not to some ‘common interest’ but to reality.
            We endeavour to achieve happiness and so we must have a plan to achieve it. In the right environment we learn early on what is acceptable. We discover that taking unearned values doesn’t bring us happiness. At best it brings us temporary reprieve from some discomfort, at worst it brings violence or enforced isolation on us-neither is conducive to our happiness.

            We are best off when we are independent, not reliant, when we are honest, act with integrity and have pride in what we do. We have to act rationally-inline with reality as it is.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            Off course taking “uneard” values create happiness! According to your ideology, a homeless person would be happier to starve to death rather than accept government welfare. Also, your ideologi is immoral because it would cause many people to sacrifice their lives to it! It happens because if somebody without food and money would follow it, they would starve to death rather than steal something to eat! We are not independent, we are always reliant on others in a society with a division of labour.

          • Richard

            He means in general, not in times of severe stress.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            I would say it is in general, because there will always be quite a few people that are not able to take of themselves.

          • Richard

            No individual who is able to take of himself would like others to take of him instead. People who are not able to take care of themselves are in a different category entirely. However, even people who are able to take care of themselves may have emergencies when they need help. But such times are exceptions rather than rules.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            They are not exceptions as such, as there always will be quite a few that are unable to find jobs or are to old to work, even though they are healthy. Also, in a libertarian society, even people with a job will struggle to earn enough to eat in some circumstances.

          • Richard

            As I say, people who are able to take care of themselves.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            No, you have to be retarted to think that people are able to take care of themselves just because they are healthy. If there are not enough good jobs for everyone, also a lot of people that are healthy will struggle and history clearly shows that with a very few exceptions, there will never be enough good jobs for everyone that is healthy.

            Also, you have people that are “Inbetween” sick and functioning. People with a low IQ, people that appear “strange”, people that have problems relating to others and so on.

          • Richard

            My point is that people generally wish to take care of themselves, and not have others take care of them instead. That is the basis on which any economic system must work. Even socialism cannot operate on the basis that people always want others to take care of them.

          • Nockian

            He would prefer not to be on welfare in the first place. Sometimes circumstances dictate our actions regardless of the misery they can bring.

            The exact opposite to self sacrifice. Rational selfishness.

            Voluntary Trading with others is not reliance on others you are misunderstanding . I’m talking of those who are not independent of thought and action. Those that say they have a right to free education, pensions, welfare, child allowances, or not to be discriminated against would be a few obvious examples.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            I would rather claim that objectivism is self sacrifice while the welfare state is egoism. Simply put because most people are better off with the welfare state while on the upper middle class is best off with libertarianism. Even the rich are worse off with libertarianism, because if libertarianism causes a revolution, it is the rich and not the upper middle classes who gets the blame.

            Voluntary trading IS reliance on others. It is reliance because if you do not practice it in an industrial society without welfare, you die. The fact that you do not see trading as dependence and reliance is the main reason I think libertarians have some form of autism.

            Also, very nice with an ideology that th ink that discrimination is ok, especially since discrimation in a libertarian society in the utmost consequence can be a death sentence!

          • Nockian

            You can claim whatever you want, but you are incorrect.

            I’m not a libertarian so I can’t comment.

            Voluntary trading is a trade of values. There is no dependence on the other trader to give you unearned values. You must give something valued to receive something you value. Fairly earned.

            Discrimination doesn’t include a ‘death sentence’. I suspect you discriminate all the time. You don’t like libertarians for example so I’m sure you wouldn’t want me to force you to accept those views. If you are a heterosexual male you discriminate against half the population sexually. You wouldn’t let a maniac with an axe look after your child.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            You still pretend that trade is optional and voluntary, it is not. If you do not do it in a libertarian society, you die. It is because of that I support welfare by coercion. It is good coercion because it removes from you the right to determine who should live and who should die. I think everyone should have the actual right to life regardless of what other people think about them.

          • Richard

            If you have to decide to implement it, then it is not a “right” in the true sense. It simply becomes a socially-defined good. There is no such thing as a “right”: you cannot tell a hungry lion that you have a right to life. Rights are simply what society accepts as being desirable, and implements by law.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            It is a socially-defined good because rights apart from that does not really exists. Natural rights are simply a kind of religion.

          • Richard

            There is plenty of evidence if you will take the trouble to look for it on the internet. You also surely know that men are responsible for much more crime than women? Much crime is driven by anger and an inability to control emotions, which is addressed in the studies of the “warrior gene” which is also found more in some groups than in others. again, a little research into the “warrior gene” and its role in serial-killing families is available on the internet.

          • Nockian

            Men and women don’t have the same social norms. Boys are not encouraged to cry, they are encouraged to fight. The parents have the same split and education systems favour girls over boys. Boys are expected to protect women, to go to war and die if necessary and to be the bread winners.

            Serial killers are not the norm. We are talking of a minute number in the global population.

          • Richard

            “For example: regardless of their gender, the most violent prisoners have higher levels of testosterone than their less violent peers.” This is from an article in Scientific American, a respected journal. When you combine the effects of testosterone with an inability to control emotion, a potent result emerges. On its own, testosterone may not cause violence, but it is certainly higher in those who commit crimes. Serial killers do form a small percentage of violent crimes, indeed, but the fact that it runs in families proves the point of determinism. The point is that it is possible to identify certain physical substances that appear to be variable in the general population, but are more concentrated in violent criminals.

            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-testosterone-alone-doesnt-cause-violence/

          • Nockian

            I gave up part way through that. I shudder if this is science.

        • King Kibbutz

          The truth lies somewhere in-between.

          • Nockian

            Do you have the peer reviewed papers that show that ?
            No. So it isn’t the truth. There isn’t any evidence for your assertion so there is no ‘in between’.

          • King Kibbutz

            Are you seriously arguing that everything needs a peer reviewed paper or it’s not true? You are having a larf, yes?

          • Nockian

            Only if you are proposing something that hasn’t already been proven by Science. You don’t have to prove a triangle has 3 sides, or the laws of thermodynamics for instance.

          • King Kibbutz

            Are you saying that science has proven that humans have no mental genetic propensity at birth? Zero?

          • Nockian

            Science doesn’t prove what something isn’t. It sets out to prove something is. A scientist would be looking to find a genetic connection related to whatever they thought it was connected to.

            Until science proves the link, then it hasn’t been proven. It’s as simple as that. You can theorise as much as you like, but until you have the hard data beyond any doubt it’s just a wild guess.

          • Zalacain

            You use logic and words in a most elastic way. It is obvious that you are not interested in truth, just in waffling. If a theory hasn’t been proven it is a hypotheses, not a wild guess. The fact that you go from one extreme (proven fact) to the other (wild guess) without allowing for middle ground makes you a very low brow debater.
            It is clear to the meanest intelligence that humans are born with certain genetic propensities and are then moulded by their environment, upbringing etc. To argue otherwise is to follow an ideological agenda.

          • Nockian

            Certain genetic propensities to what ? When you have the peer reviewed evidence that shows the causal link between genetics and how someone actually thinks then I shall believe it. Until then stop talking crap.

            I have continually said that it is the experience that determines how one thinks-that includes upbringing and environment. That’s the point. Every concept is derived from experience and not by genetics. There are no thoughts in genetics. You cannot filter reality it doesn’t work. Genetics might make you think you aren’t really burning your hand, but the damage will cause you to reconsider, to feedback and find other ways to verify reality.

          • Mr B J Mann

            I thought that left wing intellectuals had proved that right whingers were congenitally thick?!

            And congenitally right wing?!?!

            And wacist, s-xist, h0mophobic……!!!!!!

            So how come it only works for right wing thickoes?!

          • King Kibbutz

            You are dancing with semantics here.
            Science can prove that something does exist – that something can be the state in which there is no mental genetic propensity at birth.

          • Nockian

            Only by exploring it for the positive signs first. Science doesn’t go looking for the absence of something or it would be lost. Think of all the things that ‘aren’t’ then set out to prove they aren’t. From God to Fairies to perpetual motion machines.

            We shine a light onto reality and existence and not what is not. That there is space between objects does not define the objects. That the absence of a musical note does not define the note itself even though the space is necessary to the music.

            A is A, existence exists, a thing is a thing.

          • King Kibbutz

            You’re floating off once more.
            We’re not thinking of ‘all the things that aren’t’ we’re talking about a very specific phenomenon. Identifiable as either present or absent or partial.

          • Ron Tiger Miller
          • Nockian

            Anything that comes out of the Rockerfeller institute should be viewed with a high degree of scepticism bearing in mind their involvement in eugenics, even if it has a factual base-which that article doesn’t. The author is also entirely wrong, but that’s another story.

          • Ron Tiger Miller

            There’s that anti science from the left. This isn’t the only source that published this paper, and it is peer reviewed. What exactly is your problem with eugenics? Liberals tend to believe in the laws of Nature & Science until it gets to humans.

          • Nockian

            It wasn’t a peer reviewed paper. If you think I’m left wing you are barmy.

            You mean social Darwinism? I’m not a liberal so it doesn’t apply. I have a very specific philosophy that values, reason, ethics and free will. Objectivism turns conventional philosophy upside down, as such, it tends to be compared to philosophies that have some commonality, but the underlying differences make it radically different.

            Objectivists aren’t using Laissez Faire to try and create a utopia.

    • PeeWeeMadman

      No, the welfare state was not even invented by the socialists. It was invented by one nation conservatives and “social liberals” to prevent socialism. The socialists simply adopted the welfare state because they were unable to find a better realistic solution of their own.

      • Nockian

        That they don’t call themselves socialist doesn’t mean that they don’t follow the philosophy. The welfare state contains several of the planks of socialist revolution which Marx advocated.

        • PeeWeeMadman

          Marx was in long periods an opponent of the welfare state because he thought it made the working classes make do with “crumbs”. Even though the unemployed, lowly skilled and sick does not starve and everyone get access to health and education, the welfare state is still just something that is buildt upon a capitalistic system.

          • Nockian

            The welfare state is redistributes production from one group to another. Marx communist manifesto lays down the planks.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            Later Marx however do not want redistribution as such. Also, you cannot say that two systems are the same because they have some degree of redistribution, since a lot of systems have redistribution in some way or another. Or maybe you are a libertarian that think there are only two ideologies, libertarianism and everything else?

          • Nockian

            I’m not libertarian and yes there are only two systems. Laissez Faire capitalism and socialism. Any redistribution is in effect pure theft with menace.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            You ARE a libertarian. What you in the US call conservatism is simply protolibertarianism for people that do not like blacks and gays. Libertarians are dogmatic maniacs to the same degree as communists and salafis.

          • Nockian

            No I’m not. I once was, but not these days. I’m objectivist by philosophy and an Austrian by economics.

            Who doesn’t like blacks and gays ? Eh what ?

          • PeeWeeMadman

            As I see it, objectivism is just a variation of libertarianism.

          • antisvada

            Just admit it, Nockian. You belong to a sect.

          • Nockian

            Cult don’t you mean. It think that’s the buzz word. Yeah you got me, I’ve got robes and testicle rings and worship a dollar sign.

          • Christopher Bright

            Marxism isn’t about redistribution though. It’s about workers retaining the surplus value they create rather than the capitalist extracting it.

          • Nockian

            You have bought that lock, stock and barrel ?

            If workers want to retain the value then they should start their own businesses and put their own capital on the line and take the risks the entrepreneur does. It’s no good sheltering behind other more creative, bolder, braver men in a race and then wanting to share their victory.

          • Christopher Bright

            A touchingly naive understanding of how the world works. If workers had capital no doubt they would do as you say. They are workers precisely because they don’t have capital.

            In any event, the point that Marxism is not the same as welfare capitalism remains undisturbed.

          • Nockian

            I’m a long way from naive.

            No one starts off with capital they have to earn it and save it. I began my first business with a few hundred pounds, a pushbike and the tools I had built up over my employment after being made redundant.

            If you can’t scrape enough together then you have to borrow. Luckily capitalism makes that possible.

            People are workers because they don’t wish to save, do without things, or take the risk. Therefore they must try and get the best rate they can for the service they are selling which is their labour and skill. They, of course get paid regardless of any debts/slow payments that the business has and have zero risk and therefore 100% profit which they keep. If they wish to earn more then they can invest in skills training, education and/or move to where the pay is better.

            The emphasis needs taking away from support for businesses, or jobs/pay and to the most important people -the consumer ( who by happy happenstance can be both employer or employee or unemployed).

          • Ted

            Some people start with quite a lot of capital. Donald Trump, to take one high profile example, started with $40m. In fact the vast majority of wealthy people come from wealthy families and either inherited their wealth or had access to the sort of networks that make capital accumulation relatively easy. If you started with nothing, good for you, but that’s hardly the norm.

          • Nockian

            He also lost it all. Everything, he was totally bankrupt. However, if you know how to do a thing, then you can do that thing again.

            Lots of wealthy inheritors are bankrupt after a few years. A quick gander at the aristocracy and the ruins that they once inhabited should tell you that. If you look at the industrial revolution many of the key players were mill workers that had a bit of nounce about them and started small enterprises that grew rapidly. They had nothing at all to do with the landed aristocratic classes.

            You are wrong, it is the norm. A man lives by his mind and not the money he has. This was the parable of the Talents. That money is no good unless it’s working and it won’t work without the man who can use it. Instead of looking at business owners as capitalist scum you should realise that they are all the stands between you and the chaotic misery of poverty.

            The people to blame are the takers, those that do nothing and expect everything. The people the state serves both businessman, bureacrat and the idle. We must first produce before we consume. If too many are consuming without contributing then the market will collapse. The result will be exactly what communists want. Everybody in the same state of abject scarcity.

        • Mr B J Mann

          R U calling Socialists “planks”?!

          • Nockian

            I call them a lot worse than that.

    • Christopher Bright

      >>They are like foresters that cut down all the strong tall trees to the same height as the saplings. <<

      Now that I think about it, what you describe here is actually the best way to manage a forest, which is why foresters do it. Just leaving nature to take its course is pretty ineffective farming practice. You just end up with a weed patch. Tall, strong weeds, admittedly, but pretty much useless.

      • Nockian

        A bad analogy then-I accept that.

        Instead then. It’s like cutting the heads off the tallest people.

  • http://www.theobjectivebible.com/ Roy Barzilai

    Collapse of Testosterone —>>> empathy, altruism and sacrifice in the pagan, eco-feminized, socialist political culture of nature and animal worship!

    testosteronecivilization.com/the-testosterone-hypothesis/

  • LegallySpeaking

    Yeah, but when has logic every won an argument?

  • Herman_U_Tick

    Jim Al-Khalili interviews Robert Plomin on this Radio 4 broadcast of Tue 20 Oct 2015

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06j1qts

    The usually sensible Al-Khalili repeatedly challenges the guest as to whether his scientific
    work can be made to fit a ‘right-wing agenda’.
    No. replies Robert Plomin. But what if it did? Would the correct course be to deny it?

    • Richard

      It is really odd how some people simply refuse to believe that genetics have anything to do with intelligence. They will happily admit that it has a lot to do with athletic ability, for instance, but strain at the idea that the brain is as much created by DNA as any other part of the anatomy. But of course Lakatos (I think it was he) said that people adopt or reject scientific theories as much for power as anything else. If Al-Khalili feels that he will personally benefit from debunking perfectly good science, he will follow that path. The motive of human gain does not always stop at the doors of science.

      • PeeWeeMadman

        On the other hand, if so much are determined by your genes, you could question if such a thing like “personal responsibility” really exists. People like John Rawls rather thought that genetic influences on IQ rather talked for more redistribution, because you really do not deserve any rewards for things that comes from your genes.

        • Richard

          The “self’ is merely a construction that allows for action to be centralised and co-ordinated. We cannot take credit for anything we do, and we live “morally” simply because that is the way our society is organised. I wonder: would Rawls then say that sportsmen who had made money should not have more of their earnings redistributed, or would that also fall under genetic influence? Or what about people who might not be very bight, but charming, and so work in fields where that might be prized? If all behaviour is down to genetics, how do you decide what should be targeted for redistribution? Effort is also to be considered: you might be bright, but if you put no effort into anything, it will profit you nothing.

        • Mr B J Mann

          IQ gives you a capacity, a potential, just like immense strength.

          If you’re not going to benefit from using it, why would you bother exerting it?

          Should we force the strong man to go round half a dozen farms, labouring for them?

          And give him no more than his “equal” share?!

          Even if the “farmers” do B all?!

          • PeeWeeMadman

            The problem is that there are systems that are neither libertarian nor communitarian. Libertarians seem not to be able to see that.

  • JR

    The book by Chagnon is called Yanomamo: The Fierce People. The Fierce People is the subtitle to the book.

  • William Haworth

    Isn’t it funny how intelligence can be hereditary in dogs, but not in humans?

    • hobspawn

      Thank you for expressing an idea many of us will have had, often, but never managed to formulate so succinctly. I wish I could inherit your intelligence.

    • Mike Davies

      If you take an African Elephant and move it to your Italian zoo, what species of elephant do you now have?

  • freddiethegreat

    There’s a film called ‘the end of the Spear’. People of a South American tribe recount how they were speared or how they killed someone. Retaliation and blood feuds ruled. The tribes were literally within a couple of years of extinction. Perhaps some tribes have indeed been made extinct – not by any white man, but by their own violence. Of course it is stupid to think that humans in one part of the world are different to those in another – unless an outside influence changes them.

  • David S

    Don’t call these people liberal – they are anything but.

  • PeeWeeMadman

    Actually the tribes in the Amazon cannot be used to study the “Noble savage” theory. The reason is that the tribes of Brazil actually had more advanced agriculture societies with centralized governments before the european diseases spread. Just like in North America, the indians of Brazil abandoned their villages and agricultural fields because so few survived, that it made more sense to go back to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. But they still retain some cultural heritage from their more civilized days. The same goes for the original inhabitants of Australia. They also had to go back to a simpler lifestyle because the did so much damage to the environment and animal life of Australia that their previous lifestyle and technology had to be abandoned.

    It seems that it is really only the busmen of a few parts of Africa that can still seem to be “untainted” as such.

    • Richard

      The Bushmen were ethnically cleansed from Africa by the colonising Bantu-speakers from the Great Lakes region. The poor, remaining miscegenated remnants of that grouping are left to rot in the Kalahari Desert by the Botswana Government.

      • PeeWeeMadman

        Yes, that is quite ironic that the bantu look at the white people as “evil colonizers”. Even with the bushmen older sources need to be use, since they have neither lived “untainted” for at least some decades now.

  • wissmann

    Title: The left’s own war on science

    Content: Some people, who some describe as liberal, hold a view which is still up for debate scientifically

    • Malcolm Stevas

      I thought it was about the Left’s inherent tendency to suppress information, no matter how objectively derived, which conflicts with Leftist dogma. After all, Leftism (of whatever variety or degree) is about the imposition of theory/dogma upon people, the attempt to squeeze human behaviour to fit a theoretical pattern: those of a conservative/libertarian disposition look at the way people actually behave, and construct their theories accordingly.

      • PeeWeeMadman

        The notion that libertarians look at the way people actually behave is a huge joke. If they really did, they would understand that to a large portion of the populace, their fate under a libertarian system would simply be unacceptable. Actually, the large degree of violence in primitive societies and especially the violence to plunder og supress more well off clearly shows that the libertarian “non aggression” principle is clearly against human nature. Another thing is the division of labour. In a society with a division of labour, patterns of power and dependency exists even if no coercion is used, because you cannot do anything without other people consenting on trading with you. Another place where libertarianism contradicts with reality.

        • Malcolm Stevas

          I wonder what happened to my original reply, in which I agreed that you have a point… Anyway, in addition, you need to remember that libertarianism is not a political ideology, like Socialism, so much as a simple belief in leaving people alone – that the State should be kept at arm’s length so far as reasonably possible. I hope you’re not making the common error of confusing it with anarchism – ? Libertarians (and I’m no sort of purist one of those) believe firmly in the rule of law.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            Libertarianism is certainly a political ideology, and extremly dogmatic one at that. The “leave people alone” ideology would be fine in 1770 when most people had their own farm and produced of what they needed there, at least at the frontier. In a complex society however, we are som intertwined in each other and dependent on each other, that such an idea become meaningless. I think that state coercion is good for at least two reasons that are a bit similar:

            1. It prevents people from deciding who should live and die. People can live on welfare even though nobody wants to trade with them. Libertarianism in this way can restrict freedom, because a majority can “boicott” unpopular minorities and in some cases starve them to death. That is prevented by the welfare state. I think we should have a “citizen income” to make sure your fate only to a degree depends on other peoples decisions.

            2. It takes power from the most powerful. If no collective coercion is used, people with other kind of power such as financial resources would become to powerful. This is a reason libertarianism is a kindergarden ideoogy: That is ignores any form of power and authority apart from coercion!

            I would actually prefer anarchy before libertarianism, because in an anarchy society would be more(but not totally) egalitarian and nobody would have that extreme power that some can get in libertarianism. Also, it would be easier for the week to band together to rob or kill the strong to survive.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            I still suspect you’re interpreting libertarianism as some sort of indivisible set of principles, whereas there are quite a few different shades. And I hope you took my point that libertarians believe firmly, for the most part in my experience, in the rule of law: qualified “state coercion” as it were.
            Anarchism is something that only the adolescent or the irresponsible believe is practicable, a fantasy. I’m a sort of conservative-libertarian-nationalist who recognises that the State is essential and in my case, that it has a role in such areas as transport infrastructure – but that the degree of “state coercion” should be very much less than at present. You’re right that it takes power from the most powerful: unfortunately it keeps this power to itself, and all too often abuses it.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            The thing the state does that gives the powerful the most power is to protect property rights, and it will still do that under libertarianism. Actually, during libertarianism, the state will mostly be like a private security agency that protects the rich. It is unrealistic to think that the courts will be neutral in a country with such hugh disparities in wealth and power as a libertarian state. During the gilded age, the american courts and police did not seem to be very neutral in conflicts between the rich and poor at least, and it is worse in welfare state less countries today.

            In that way, the minimal state and anarchocapitalism is mostly the same, only in the second instance the private security agencies will not call themselves a state.

            Also, Murray Rotbhard have nothing to do with anarchy, because he believe in property rights.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Property rights and their protection are fundamental to a free society, which is why they enjoy prominence in any sort of libertarian credo.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            You may have that opinion, but as long as you support property rights, you are not an anarchist.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            ?? Did I say I was? The opposite, surely. And the central importance of property rights is respected pretty widely to say the least – I’d say generally in the free world, and even so-called “moderate” Socialists give them the nod, with the usual Statist caveats of course.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            No, but you called followers of Murray Rothbard anarchists, something I do object to very much.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            No, I really didn’t! I fear you’ve misunderstood something. Maybe it was someone else (apart from yourself) who mentioned Rothbard, because it certainly was not me.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            Yes, it was a misunderstanding then.

          • Mr B J Mann

            But “liberal”ism decides who should live or die, in, say, Libya, or Syria.

            And who starves or not depending on whether they approve of their shirt or their jokes, never mind their scientific beliefs!

          • Christopher Bright

            I think you need to explain this a bit; currently it makes no sense. Also, who are the “liberals” in Libya or Syria?

          • Mr B J Mann

            Apologies, I try to keep things short and snappy and people complain I don’t explain properly.

            So I explain and they complain it’s not concise?!

            I meant that right-on, do-gooding, self-styled Western “liberals” insist on intervening in sovereign states on behalf of one side or the other in a domestic dispute – usually the unlawful/unconstitutional rebels – the Balkans, Libya, Syria, etc, leading to those trying to defend law n order, such as it is, and civil society, or the nearest these places get to it, being massacred not just by the rebels conventional weaponry (usually supplied by the bleedin-heart West), but by such things as IED’s, suicide vests and car and truck bombs (which the West taught them how to create) and even chemical weapons (“liberated” thanks to the West’s “help”!). We even have the West providing air forces to destroy “Command and Control Centres” full of children (imaginne if Gadaffi had taken out the “Command and Control Centre” in Downing Street while the kids were tucked up in bed?!), take out hospitals, old people’s homes, TV stations, embassies and to cap it all bombing and strafing (Musl!m) refugee columns in K0sovo after accidentally mistaking them for the enemy combatants in the area (I wonder how on earth that mistake could have been made?!).

            We also have the “charitable” Western “liberals” good works in, say, places like Ethiopia where, with Western “help” they have gone from 5 million starving Ethiopians, give or take a million starved to death, a century ago, to a hundred million starving Ethiopians give or take 5 or 10 million starved to death, today (I’ve guessed that last starved statistic)?!!?!

            The “who starves or not” encompases the above, the way “liberals” seem to think that, say, Assad’s forces should not just withdraw from any territory being fought over by rebels, but send in water, food, medical assistance and perhaps even ammunition the rebels are short of despite the state forces running out themselves, and that we should air-drop in aid ourselves because “the people” are short of vital supplies.

            Strangely, though, the “liberals” will also insist that the West uses its might to STOP essential supplies getting to “the people” in states they consider illiberal where “the people” aren’t revolting.

            Or are revolting in support of the “wrong” side?!?!?

            Oh, and it also encompasses the way the “liberals” take great pleasure in snatching away the employment of people they think don’t deserve to have a job, because, say, they wear a shirt with the wrong graphics on (it’s not rocket science – I meant that rocket scientist) or crack a joke against themselves in mixed(-up) company (you shouldn’t need to be a Nobel prizewinner to figure out I meant the Nobel prizewinner who………8< cut for rambling on too long!)

            Hope that helps!

          • PeeWeeMadman

            I am not a liberal but a “corporatist”. Anyway, I think that libertarians are brain damaged and should be force sterilized.

  • Josh

    Good thing I can’t read the rest of that article. Got no idea what good old toby’s talking about here.

    • grimm

      So why make a pointless comment? Are you suffering from some form of verbal incontinence (that extravert disease which blights our world)?

      • Josh

        I don’t have a job, I’m a scrounger, you know me being a ‘leftard’ an all that.

  • Cedric D

    “‘Real Indians sweat, they smell bad, they take hallucinogenic drugs,
    they belch after they eat, they covet and at times steal their
    neighbour’s wife, they fornicate, and they make war,’” And this is different from us white people how??? What a load of racist bollocks. And please stop saying it’s the “liberal left” that is the problem. As you rightfully say under the title, it’s progressives. Certainly not liberals.

    • Sohan Dsouza

      Exactly where was their culture attributed to their race?

    • JohnM

      “And this is different from us white people how???”

      It doesn’t – that’s the point: the Noble Savage Myth is that they are virtuous and free of sin.

      • Mara Naile-Akim

        I don’t think the author ever showed that the scientist in question suffered because he disagreed with that

  • Malcolm Stevas

    This reminds me of John Boorman’s worst film (he made some great ones) “The Emerald Forest”, a laughably absurd romanticisation of Amazonian primitives calculated to pamper the skewed worldview of Leftists portrayed here by Young.

  • TokyoTengu

    He doesn’t mention anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in this article, but the same points could easily be made regarding that theory (which has metamorphosed into a leftist cult). Indeed reputable researchers of other scientific disciplines not directly related to the AGW debate, but with sufficient periphery connections to both understand the data and the weaknesses behind the public hysteria, are becoming highly exasperated and alarmed by the potential damage the AGW is causing to the reputation and credibility of science as a whole.

    They have good reason to be alarmed. The AGW fallacy has metasticised into a world-wide, trillion dollar a year industry that pursues a flimsy fantasy that should have been abandoned decades ago. When the world public finally wakes up to how they have been tricked, and realizes how much money, time, energy, and resources has been poured down the rat hole, it is not going to go well for the left — or for science.

    • johnnyecoman

      Name your sources, ie those, “reputable researchers of other scientific disciplines not directly related to the AGW debate, but with sufficient periphery connections to both understand the data and the weaknesses behind the public hysteria.”

      I doubt you have any sources that are ruputable but it is easy to find other disciplines in the natrual sciences who are alarmed about climate change as the climatologists.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Errrmmmmmmm, the alarmists keep pointing out that this isn’t new science: it’s been around for a century.

        Yes, and the guy who came up with the theory thought it was a good thing.

        And for most of that century NO scientist was in the least bit worried by it.

        Until Thatcher, M. BSc came along.

        And needed a stick to beat the miners with, and a carrot to promote nuclear energy!

    • Christopher Bright

      I think a better analysis would be that people on both sides of the AGW issue are taking sides on the science based on their political beliefs. Actually (as Trotsky said of art) science has its own rules, which are not subject to political considerations. In fact the only AGW sceptic I know is very left wing, but that’s an anomaly.

  • Helmholtz

    This is a weird and perhaps outdated view of what it means to be left.
    The fact that we are not born with the same capabilities, calls for leftist politics such as welfare schemes, social protection floor and regulations to redistribute income and wealth simply because people’s inherent ability to take advantage of the opportunities in the societies in which they grow up and live are different.
    The idea of social justice calls for a decent life for everyone (which we can easily afford). As we are born unequal, the state should play a role in ensuring this, which you can not do through the laissez faire policies of the right..
    To understand the nature of man should push people to the left on economic/redistribution issues.

    And please, did you have to bring Corbyn into this? Come on….

    • Mara Naile-Akim

      yep. It’s equality of opportunity. Not equality of anything else.

      • PeeWeeMadman

        Equality of opportunity will never exists, because there are some many factor that determine peoples fate that are impossible to level, such as IQ and other genetic factors, or other factors that we do not want to level like family background and such.

        • Sue Smith

          When I was teaching English in high-school we actually had graded classes (yes – gasp!) with the higher ability at the top and the lower ability right down at the bottom, say in the 6th or 7th class of the form. The top class had the bright kids, the 2nd class had some too – but I’d call them middle ground – and from then on down it got very depressing. In short, they didn’t get the same education even though in the same year.

          Now what’s all this rubbish about equality?

          • PeeWeeMadman

            If you are complaining about my english, I am not a native english speaker. On the other hand, that people have different abilities is in itself no reason that people should have relatively equal incomes. Especially since your abilities are a result of your genes, and not really something you deserve to be rewarded for.

          • Sue Smith

            Incoherent.

      • Christopher Bright

        Actually I think equality of outcome is a rather better goal. If 99% of people lose out, does it make much difference whether the 1% of ‘winners’ succeed through ability, luck or inheritance?

        • Sue Smith

          Nope.

      • Sue Smith

        Spot on!!

    • Oliver

      Agreed to a certain extent. Although I think there is a certain amount of truth in the conservative view that by giving people a crutch it is possible that we stunt their progress.

      Nevertheless I am a staunch supporter of the welfare state.

      That being said I think the vast majority of the left see humanity as basically a blank slate, equal but for nefarious social structures which elevate some and oppress others; and that is why they support “welfare schemes, social protection floor and regulations to redistribute income and wealth” rather than the knowledge that we are not born with the same capabilities.

      In other words, what leads most on the modern left to call for socialist policies is a belief in the malice of rich white men as opposed to any naturalistic explanation.

      As for Corbyn, he is a prime example of the version of the left who views everything through the prism of Western/white oppression and the need to “punch up” and never “punch down” at all costs. A worldview which in my humble opinion is almost always derived from the blank slate, “noble savage” reading of history.

  • Guy

    Weirdly distorted. Liberals and the left welcome scientific progress and the right fight hard to avoid their prejudices being confronted. It is no new at all to an old liberal lefty that “Real Indians sweat, they smell bad, they take hallucinogenic drugs, they belch after they eat, they covet and at times steal their neighbour’s wife, they fornicate, and they make war” They are men, and if most men don’t do those things, many of them want to? The myth of ‘the noble savage’ is not a liberal-lefty thing at all. Being what I am, I want equal opportunity for all, an end to racism, sexism, prejudice; whilst remaining pretty clear-eyed that we’re all very human.

    • CB

      Weird then, that Chagnon’s two main accusers have an interest in Marx and Peace Studies respectively.

      • Christopher Bright

        So two ‘liberal lefties’ have apparently made unjustified accusations and that proves the left hates science? You’ll have to do better than that. I think looking at the political profile of those who disbelieve Darwinian evolutionary theory might give a better general indication of who is pro and anti science.

      • Sue Smith

        “Peace Studies”! Priceless.

    • quotes

      “The myth of ‘the noble savage’ is not a liberal-lefty thing at all”

      it really is though

      http://pages.uoregon.edu/jboland/rousseau.html

    • Elephant in the room

      Would you lefties also welcome scientific progress that suggest that the different continental races have different shaped brains , the folding of the brain differs for the different races as do the the brain size …

      • Guy

        I’d be sceptical, but interested. If proven I’d accept it, but all the evidence I’ve seen so far suggests any difference in the mean or median is far less than the variation within a population. The difference between liberals and conservatives is that conservatives try to pretend nothing changes, so they can continue with justifying their self-interest through prejudice, and liberals seek to embrace change and development. Really this is an overgrown squabble, of little interest to science in general, or the wider world.

        • Elephant in the room
          • Guy

            Who the f**** cares, ecept races trying to prove they’re right!

          • Elephant in the room

            ” Liberals and the left welcome scientific progress ” … you !

          • Guy

            Like I said, there may, or may not, be minor variations between medians, but that is tiny compared to the variation within a population. That may, or may not be explicable by nutrition and other factors. But it only matters to racists. The rest of us don’t care because it has no polcy implications; and the injustices of any racial ‘sorting’ will always be unacceptable, especially now we have such diverse and mixed populations.

          • Elephant in the room

            About the variation in population groups and between population groups :
            ” As was eloquently pointed out by Richard Lewontin in 1972, most genetic differences are found within human populations rather than between different groups. Approximately 85 percent of human genetic variation is within group rather than between groups, while 15 percent is between-group. Lewontin and others have argued that this means that the genetic differences between human populations must be smaller than differences within human population groups.

            But genetic variation is distributed in a similar way in dogs: 70 percent of genetic variation is within-breed, while 30 percent is between breed. Using the same reasoning that Lewontin applied in his argument about human populations, one would have to conclude that differences between individual Great Danes must be greater than the average difference be- tween Great Danes and Chihuahuas. But this is a conclusion that we are unable to swallow. It turns out that although the distribution of genetic variation is as Lewontin said, his interpretation was incorrect. Information about the distribution of genetic variation tells you essentially nothing about the size or significance of trait differences. The actual differences we observe in height, weight, strength, speed, skin color, and so on are real: It is not possible to argue them away. Genetic statistics do not tell you what sort of differences in size, strength, life span, or disposition you can
            expect to see between populations. It turns out that the correlations
            between these genetic differences matter. If between-group genetic differences tend topush in a particular direction—tend to favor a certain trend—they can add up and have large effects.

            https://lesacreduprintemps19.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/the-10000-year-explosion-how-civilization-accelerated-human-evolution-2009-by-gregory-cochran-henry-harpending.pdf

          • Guy

            You’re a racist using ‘science’ like a drunk uses lamposts, for support rather than illumination!

          • Mr B J Mann

            Yup, many scientists, including leading geneticists, and science celebrities such as Prof Robert Winston, go so far as to assert there is less genetic variation between the so called races than there is between siblings.

            But what baffles me is that why then is there such a shortage of donor organs for minority so called races?

            Surely if the best match is likely to come from siblings, and there is less genetic variation between the so called races than there is between sibling, they have the entire indigenous so called majority race as near perfect donor matches?!

            Or am I misunderstanding the “science” here?!

          • Guy

            Yes, you are misunderstanding the science.

          • Mr B J Mann

            So explain the science to me.

            Or is it Prof Winston and the geneticists who are misunderstanding the science?

            Or perhaps just misrepresenting it!!!

          • Guy

            It is not my responsibility to educate you; that is your responsibility. On current evidence you have no wish to do so, so why should I bother?

          • Mr B J Mann

            You mean the evidence that I’ve taken on board what your experts assert, and would like to better understand what they mean?

            Sounds more like you’re afraid you don’t understand well enough to explain to a layman.

            Or perhaps that you’ll expose yourself as not understanding at all despite your attempts to give the impression you’re quite knowledgeable on the subject.

            Or possibly there is something else you’re afraid of that I haven’t considered?!

      • Bayesian_Rationalist

        Could you provide evidence from peer-reviewed scientific journals to support your assertions here?

        In terms of the evidence concerning race and intelligence, we know the following: East Asians generally record the highest IQs, followed by whites, followed by blacks. The IQ gap between blacks and whites has significantly narrowed in the past couple of decades. The remaining gap could be genetic, but is also plausibly environmental, and will plausibly close even further in the future.

        • Elephant in the room

          ” Some conclusions dismissed in the media as discredited are actually firmly supported. The following conclusions are fully described in the major textbooks, professional journals and encyclopedias in intelligence. Intelligence is a very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow
          academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—“catching on,” “making sense” of things, or “figuring out” what to do. . . . Intelligence, so defined, can be measured, and intelligence tests measure it well .”

          “Much evidence shows, however, that siblings who grow up in the same home are far less alike in IQ than social privilege theory would
          predict: the average IQ difference between full biological siblings is
          two-thirds as large as that between total strangers (12 vs. 17 IQ points, on the average). In fact, behavior geneticists such as John Loehlin and Thomas Bouchard have shown that, by adolescence, adoptive siblings are no more alike than strangers, but identical twins raised separately are highly similar in IQ (correlation of almost .8) and, indeed, are much more similar than fraternal twins reared together. Contrary to social privilege theory, behavior genetics has established that degree of similarity in IQ follows similarity in genetic heritage, not socioeconomic condition. This may explain why no social or educational intervention has ever succeeded in materially narrowing IQ differences within a population. To take one example, the post-World War II communist government of Warsaw, Poland, assigned families of all social classes
          to the same housing, schools, and health services, but this social leveling failed to narrow intelligence differences in the next generation.

          The IQ gap between blacks and whites in the United States has not changed since it was first measured nearly a century ago. Both races’ test scores rose during the century, but the gap remained as large at the end of the century as at the beginning despite considerable social change. In their 2002 book, IQ and the Wealth of Nations, Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen report Raven IQ scores for 81 countries. Scores are highest in East Asia (IQ 104 + 3) and next highest in the European-white populations of the Americas, Europe, and Australia (IQ 97 + 5). They are lowest in sub-Saharan Africa (IQ 69 + 8).

          For example, with few exceptions, the probability that a young white adult in the United States will live in poverty, go to prison (men), rely on government welfare for income (women), or bear an illegitimate child (women) at least doubles at each of the five steps down the IQ continuum.”

          udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/2004socialconsequences.
          pdf

          Linda Susanne Gottfredson is a professor of educational psychology at
          the University of Delaware and co-director of the Delaware-Johns Hopkins Project for the Study of Intelligence and Society

          • Bayesian_Rationalist

            You don’t cite studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals to support your assertion concerning brain shapes of different “races” (the mainstream scientific view is, of course, that race is a social construct). You cite an article, but not a peer-reviewed scientific article, though, and it is useful. It’s true that genetic factors are responsible for the majority (>50%) of the variance in intelligence, but this doesn’t demonstrate that the IQ gap between races is genetic in nature. An objective reading of the views of psychologists would suggest that the evidence on this is inconclusive, with plausible arguments being put forward on both sides. As for the gap, a review of the evidence by Nisbett et al. (2012) did find that the black-white IQ gap has closed (the article you cite is from 2004, before the latest research on the issue was published).

          • Mr B J Mann

            But don’t “environmental factors” (largely) include the mother’s womb and the stuff going through it, the mother’s hormones, etc, created by her genetics?!

          • http://neoreactive.curiaregis.net Reichsführer Gordon

            I believe most scientists trying to study this have been unjustly fired for being too un-pc, which is the point of this article.

        • Sue Smith

          There’s more than a tinge of eugenics in these comments.

          • http://neoreactive.curiaregis.net Reichsführer Gordon

            Lets not start throwing around labels, but instead look at the facts and evidence.

          • Sue Smith

            …which are self-evident.

        • Oliver

          It is my (admittedly amateur view) that if genetics are a product of evolution and IQ is related in any way to genetics, that (given the right amount of time) any racial/ethnic group with a low IQ -living in the right environment- will rise to the level of their Jewish, Asian and white European peers. Providing that their beliefs do not cause them to reject the civilisational habits which creates the environment for lower IQs to evolve into higher IQs.

          In other words, we are not all equal but we can be given the right circumstances, behaviour and passage of time.

          This is why I think the “race realist” movement is thoroughly short sighted and bigoted although I think the view on the left that people of colour are held back by invisible systems of oppression is causing certain communities to reject the behaviors which raised up the Jewish, Asian and white European populations in the first place.

          Of course this is pure speculation on my part but I think it makes more sense than the catch all explanation of white racism.

          • cnourse57

            I don’t know what is meant by the term “race realist” movement. But living in the American South, I have personally observed and have read local newspaper accounts of gangs of black teenage boys beating up a studious black boy. Typical taunts are that he is “trying to act white” and that “he is a traitor to his race.” It takes a teenager of rare perseverance to persist in striving for academic excellence in spite of such persecution.

        • greencoat

          ‘The IQ gap between blacks and whites has significantly narrowed in the past couple of decades.’
          What evidence is there for this?

    • Sue Smith

      What a dull old world you’re advocating.

  • quotes

    i think i agree with pinker: i am not at all sure that “the left” needs “the noble savage” to survive. it seems fairly easy to take these findings – that tribes are violent – and from that conclude that the only way for society to inculcate “good” in its citizenry is through a developed and powerful state. after all, look at the behaviour of these people who live outside of such societies.

    • Mara Naile-Akim

      developed and powerful _democratic_ state

    • Bayesian_Rationalist

      Pinker’s argument – put forward in ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature’ – does indeed suggest that the State was a civilising factor, and that the monopoly over violence that states hold have been instrumental in reducing the rate of violence in nations.

      Pinker’s argument may therefore oppose the views of some libertarian socialists who subscribe to the notion of the ‘Noble Savage’, as well as the views of the anti-government right, who of course oppose things such as gun control which Pinker’s argument suggests is a good thing.

      • Oliver

        Pinker is spot on as far as I can tell. Contrary to the lefty orthodoxy, Western civilization along with regulated capitalism and limited socialism; has led to historically healthy, wealthy and peaceful times.

        Strangely enough I saw a speech Pinker made where he was talking about the link between ethnicity and IQ with regards to the intellectual triumphs of Ashkenazi Jews (of which I believe he is one)

        It was part of his rejection of the ‘blank slate’ theory, popular among left wing academics in the social sciences.

        To be honest I’m quite surprised Pinker has got away with speaking of such things relatively unscathed when others (such as James Watson and Charles Murray) were banished from polite society as racists.

        Perhaps it was because Pinker only mentioned the high IQs of one particular branch of the Jewish diaspora rather than using the lower IQs of a historically oppressed group?

  • andy_gill

    The liberal left will mercilessly hound anyone who refuses to believe their deluded views. Anyone who challenges their dearly-held myths about humanity is evil and must be destroyed. It suggests that deep-donn, lefties are very insecure in their beliefs – which given the wealth of the evidence against them is hardly surprising.

  • Mara Naile-Akim

    ‘‘Real Indians sweat, they smell bad, they take hallucinogenic drugs, they belch after they eat, they covet and at times steal their neighbour’s wife, they fornicate, and they make war,’’

    and that’s different from your average saturday night in any British town how exactly?

    • stickytape

      That’s the whole point of his argument, they aren’t any different. The noble savage doesn’t exist.

      • Christopher Bright

        Since Rousseau (who hadn’t met any) who has seriously suggested the noble savage did exist?

        • Sue Smith

          Karl Marx.

          • Christopher Bright

            If you’re referring to his theory of primitive communism, that certainly wouldn’t exclude belching and hallucinogenic drugs, but in any case I don’t think Marx was holding up those societies as a model.

    • Oliver

      You do realise that is the whole point.

      The activist liberal view (and the “research” which backs it up) is that the natives of Africa, the Americas and Australasia were somehow different. Better and more peaceful than the savage, racist, imperialist Europeans and that it was only our savage, imperialist racism which created poverty, violence and greed in such peoples and societies.

      Research such as Chagnon’s is just pointing out that brown natives of lands untouched by the evils of the white man are just as savage, racist and violent as we.

      If anything this is true human equality, a real anti racist finding and the left’s insistence that the West and her white inhabitants are vile and the brown peoples of the world noble, is the really hierarchical and racist view.

      • Gilbert White

        The North American Indians got the horse carried out minor genocide on each other. They took white women’s scalps like in the magnificent movie The Searchers. The conditions were not correct for them to become mongols and conquer the world? Shows the magnimity of the early americans letting them survive at all?

        • Oliver

          All human populations given the right technology and or tactics (the Mongols and the horse backed archer, the British and the gunboat, the Germans and the Blitzkrieg -which funnily enough was so effective as it was based on the maneuvers of Mongol troops) is prone to a touch of expansionism and or genocide.

          Europeans are not unique in this phenomenon as the Ottomans, Mongols, Moors, Barbary States, Arab Muslim conquests and Japanese imperialists can attest.

          Europeans just happen to be the most recent and technologically advanced imperialists, therefore the most consequential to our times.

          I have no doubt that if native Americans had developed the cannon laden galleon before Columbus set sail the boot may well have been on the other foot.

          It is also in the Europeans favour that they are the first imperialists to relinquish their empires without a fight, abolish slavery, apologise, self flagellate and try to make amends through creating the first egalitarian, multicultural societies in history.

          Good luck getting the Turks, Arabs and Iranians to apologise for their imperial projects and participation in slavery then introduce diversity at every level of their societies.

          In this Europeans truly are unique.

  • fredimeyer

    one of the most famous examples of the ‘noble savage’ myth is the liberal bible GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL, where the author repeatedly insists that savages in borneo are in general more intelligent than educated europeans

    but even in the ‘hard’ sciences the narrative is heavily influenced by notions of political correctness and pure fashion.

  • Bayesian_Rationalist

    The premise – that the ‘Noble Savage’ is largely a myth – is probably correct, but unfortunately this article is marred by its partisan nature and its subscription to the left-right dichotomy. Claiming that everyone who identifies with the ‘liberal left’ subscribes to this myth is utterly false, and claiming that it underpins all progressive movements is similarly incorrect.

    Although it should be noted that this description, ‘Real Indians sweat, they smell bad, they take hallucinogenic drugs, they belch after they eat, they covet and at times steal their neighbour’s wife, they fornicate, and they make war’, could easily be applied to males in Britain today. Thus, those who identify with the ‘left’ who rail against this description are making a bit of a fuss over nothing.

    • Oliver

      Too true. I am a lefty but I don’t believe in the myth of the noble savage anymore than I believe in unicorns.

      Although the reason why the Left have got their knickers in a twist over Chagnon’s description of these tribes-people as sweaty, smelly, drug addled and violent; (when they would most likely applaud such a description of the British white working classes) is because the majority of modern left is wracked by a form of identity politics which has led them to imagine an epidemic of wealthy white male rapists on Western campuses whilst excusing the actual epidemic of Arabic and North African Muslim rapists in Europe whilst blaming their victims.

      Identity politics is a catastrophe for the left.

      • http://neoreactive.curiaregis.net Reichsführer Gordon

        Identity politics is the left, there is really nothing left for them except to import millions of welfare recipient left voting third worlders.

  • Keith Cameron

    While I may have ‘moments’ of Nobility, I am at my core a Savage. Some of us know this. Liberals deny the true nature of ‘Man’.

  • Christopher Bright

    Who on earth suggested that the ‘noble savage’ idea is a cornerstone of liberal left thinking? Aren’t the left more usually accused of imposing government controls, rules and regulations which would indicate a mistrust of untrammeled human nature? The actual question posed here is whether Young’s colossal straw man can survive contact with even cursory scrutiny. I’d say not.

    • Sue Smith

      I submit that Marx would never have written “Das Kapital” if he hadn’t read Rousseau!!

      • PeeWeeMadman

        But most people on the left today are not marxists, and certainly most people that support the welfare state does not support those ideas Marx wrote in “Das Kapital”.

        • Sue Smith

          Wrong. This stuff is routinely promulgated in universities, re-badged as “equality”, cultural relativism etc.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            Most people on the left have never taken such a university course.

          • Sue Smith

            Listen up!! It’s not a course, it’s an IDEOLOGY. And its fragrance fashions just about everything you read in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

        • Oliver

          Although I hate the term “Cultural Marxism”, as it is a favourite of American right wing nutters like the absurd Glenn Beck and Alex Jones, and is associated with a whole bunch of conspiracy lunacy from Obama’s Communism to George Soro’s evil string pulling puppet mastery of every conservative phantom from Acorn to Obamacare.

          But the kind of lunacy we see from the modern lefty is best encapsulated by the term Cultural Marxism and can be traced back to the Marxism of the 20th Century via the Frankfurt School quite reliably.

          The modern Left’s belief in radical equality, critical theory, identity politics and white privilege/oppression, jettisons class and re-frames the Marxist “oppressed/oppressor” dichotomy as one of a battle of identities (race, gender, sexuality) whereby white men oppress all others to differing degrees.

          They are not Marxists in the traditional sense but they are Marxists of a sort.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            On the other hand, Marx actually thought that the culture of industrialized countries were superioer to cultures of more primitive peoples and he thought that the cultures around the world would be more like western culture as those countries became industrialized. He also thought that colonialism was good for Africa as it bought development. In that sense, “cultural marxism” is really the opposite of the original 19th century marxism.

          • Oliver

            Of course Marx was of his time. He (like almost every other person in industrialized nations at that time) would have seen the global south as more primitive and inferior. But that is not a defining pillar of Marxism. It was a universal opinion of that age.

            The fact that today’s Cultural Marxists see the 3rd World as superior, both morally, culturally and structurally does not mean that their ideology is not a derivative of Marxism.

            At the core of traditional Marxism is the oppressed v oppressor dichotomy with regards to class. At the core of Cultural Marxism is the oppressed v oppressor dichotomy with regards to race, gender, sexuality and the Capitalist West v the rest.

            Also what we see from today’s Cultural Marxists from critical theory to feminism, identity politics and anti imperialism; all have their roots in the theories of Marxist thinkers of the 20th Century. Especially from the Frankfurt School.

            The idea that modern Marxist offshoots are not Marxist because they are not identical to Marx’s original theory is silly.

            Ideologies evolve.

            The modern Church of England and the Catholic church are absolutely nothing like traditional Christianity yet they are still forms of Christianity.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            No, I still do not agree. Marx looked as culture simply as a results of the dominating modes of production, and as such, not as something having its own value as many on todays left think that local cultures have. Actually, marxists in the original sense and in the modern sense are totally opposite when it comes to this. Marx would looked upon putting the oppressor and oppressed dichotomy on anything other than class relations as an attempt to distract from class relations.

            I personally think that the cultural marxists are not left at all. I think that they are actors paid by rich libertarians to pretend they are leftwing, so people get the illusion that there is actually a political opposition to the right wing. If we really had any real leftwin parties after the early seventies, opposition to economic globalization in the early eighties had beem much more massive! Instead, the libertarian/jew conspiracy was able introduce free trade and free movements of people and capital without any debate whatsoever!

          • Oliver

            Hahaha I have heard it all now

            “I think that they are actors paid by rich libertarians to pretend they are leftwing, so people get the illusion that there is actually a political opposition to the right wing”

            Alex Jones, eat your heart out

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/74f7b1f51bc9bdff3c45bd9737ad823e2495c35f1c0544daf07c67d23301a0a5.jpg

          • PeeWeeMadman

            I know it sounds far fetched, but can you find another way to explain the extreme incompetence left wing political parties and thinkers have shown since the late 70ies?

          • Oliver

            Well um! Incompetence maybe?

            Surely incompetence is a better explanation for incompetence than a mad conspiracy theory

          • PeeWeeMadman

            I simply think the degree of incompetence is to huge to be simply are result of normal occurences of incompetence. Especially when the left really had the political and ideological debate won in many ways, and then a few morons from the “68 generation” manage to mess it up completely during a few years around 1980?

          • cnourse57

            Being stoned by illegal drugs, either currently or in their teenage years and early twenties, when a person’s brain is still forming.

          • PeeWeeMadman

            No, I know quite a few people that have taken a lot of illegal drugs their whole adult and teen life, and are even born with a low IQ and ADHD, and they are still by far not as incompetent as leftwing politicians.

      • Christopher Bright

        Marx wouldn’t have written Das Kapital if he hadn’t read Adam Smith. So what?

    • Brendan

      People who are called liberals in the United States are the descendent’s of two groups. There’s progressivism which prior to the new deal had right wing and left wing adherents and was elitist in character. Then there’s the new left, critical theory, 20th century social science and anthropology. The former group believed in as you say, using government to better manage society. The latter group rejects the idea of a human nature, especially of any human nature which involves violent, aquisitive, masculine, heterosexual, or group oriented behavior. The new left wants the state to smash any social institution which it believes is responsible for conditioning people to behave in an identitarian or heirarchical fashion.

      Old school progressives or New Dealers would rightly regard the latter group as insane and anarchistic and would likely stamp them out through legal means. But both groups often end up with a bureaucracy that exists for it’s own sake. (Because human nature is a real thing and people in power often behave the same even if their theories say they won’t)

  • Sue Smith

    “Progressives”? That’s the ‘one-step-forward-two-steps-backward type is it? Economically progressive they most certainly are not.

    I would never want to belong to any club that would have somebody referred to as ‘progressive’ as a member – especially not a self-described one!!

  • http://rantingoldgit.blogspot.co.uk/ Arthur Sparknottle

    A pretty shocking example of this tendency to turn researcher’s and theorists into pariahs when they go against the received wisdom is the kind of reaction we have seen to people who study human n intelligence and dare to notice the obvious differences which arise between populations which evolved in very different circumstances over the last forty thousand years. The left assert with vicious certainty that all differences are due to colonialism, or ‘scientists’ fudging data. This inspite of the obvious fact that populations have evolved differently in term of physique, appearance, speed, strength, resistance to disease, and just about every other characteristic. Apparently, the only characteristic that is removed from this tendency is cognitive ability. All apparent differences are caused by the fact that Europeans invaded the utopean worlds of noble people’s and enslaved them – this in the face of the fact that some fairly primitive societies were never colonised at all, but nevertheless remain in barbarously ignorant and primitive condition with low IQs on a population basis in comparison to say the Chinese, or other East Asian populations – which by the way on a population basis score five to ten IQ points higher than we British or other West European and American populations.

    • Oliver

      It’s so hard to know the truth on these matters as they are essentially political footballs. Not just for left wing activists and conservative pundits but for the scientists themselves. For every solid bit of research which comes out showing IQ differences between populations, the biological existence of race or the existence of the male and female brain ten peer reviewed papers come out confirming the liberal narrative that we are all identical but for the systems of oppression set up by evil white men to divide us.

      So it really is almost impossible for the average layman to know the truth one way or the other.

      That being said, the idea that evolution, natural selection and sexual dimorphism effects most mammals on planet earth yet bypassed the human family leaving us all identically endowed with interchangeable mental and physical capacities seems to be contradicted on almost every observable level.

      From the prevalence of West African men is sports such as basketball, sprinting and boxing to the overwhelming amount of Askenazi Jewish Noble Prize winners.

      I seem to remember the BBC dedicated a whole Horizon program presented by Rageh Omar (who also made a BBC documentary singing the praises of Islamic imperialism) to debunking, (scientifically?) the claims that different racial groups had different IQ.

      Even Christopher Hitchens threw James Watson of Crick & Watson (discovery of DNA) fame, under the bus for his ‘racist’ views on race and IQ.

      True or not, anyone who studies these things and comes up with the wrong conclusions is heading for a world of hurt.

      • http://rantingoldgit.blogspot.co.uk/ Arthur Sparknottle

        Take a look at some of the articles here:

        http://www.rlynn.co.uk/index.php?page=articles

      • cnourse57

        To add to your list of sports where Africans excel in worldwide competition, we should note that people from Kenya in Eastern Africa are dominant in very long-distance running, such as major Marathon events.

  • Neil Saunders

    For the modern PC pseudo-left (as for the Marxist-Leninists before them), the truth (usually quarantined within scare-quotes) is always purely relative and instrumental in nature. The whole industry of postmodernist junk scholarship sustains this insane and toxic view of the world within the academy and beyond.

  • knocke

    What, prey, is “social justice”? I didn’t expect this term in your column.

    • http://neoreactive.curiaregis.net Reichsführer Gordon

      Social Justice is cultural Marxism, or as you’ve probably experienced it, political correctness.

      Heres an intro video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYu6qhd88_M

      • knocke

        Many thanks! Useful.

  • knocke

    Is there an “unsocial” justice?

    • http://neoreactive.curiaregis.net Reichsführer Gordon

      Yes, reality, the real world.

  • Stephen Corry

    Search “brutal savages” for a debunking of Chagnon’s claims which have been widely discredited for years.

  • Rhys Chellew

    I’m unaware of the liberal left’s general acceptance of the Nobel Savage, or it’s denial of disability.

    You may be confusing a scientific claim with an ethical claim. The ethical claim that all people should be treated with the same dignity and given the same opportunity in no way denies that some people will make imprisonable offences or fail to realise an opportunity. However, ascribing to these moral claims has caused a lot more good than believing in the suppression or oppression of people.

    • http://neoreactive.curiaregis.net Reichsführer Gordon

      No, you misunderstand the point here, the left absolutely believe that scientifically all humans are the same, despite all the evidence suggesting otherwise. But instead of changing their views, they have all the scientists fired.

      • Rhys Chellew

        And what I’m saying is, as a leftie, I have never encountered that idea. The article is a stawman.

        • Titan000

          Your experience alone does not invalidate the article.

          • Rhys Chellew

            No, it doesn’t.
            What invalidates the article is its failure to cite a left-wing media outlet that makes the claim it accuses the left of making.
            It is simply not a common claim of the left to say all people are the same. It’s easy to make the accusation, it’s a lot harder to back it up.

          • Titan000

            While the article does not cite left-wing articles are they are making this claim from sources that are suggested in the article itself.

          • Rhys Chellew

            If you think the idea of the noble savage and of all people being equally capable is a mainstream idea in the left, and you apparently require no evidence to support that belief, then there’s nothing to be discussed. It’s a stawman of the left. You don’t really care what the left believes, you only care how one can pretend to be superior to the left. So long as reality doesn’t matter to you, there is no conversation to be had.

          • Titan000

            And you do not bother to look up the evidence cited by the article. So I could say reality does not matter to you.

  • Stan

    Human evolution or human equality; pick one.

  • Walter
  • Christian

    Do you want science debunking political claims?

    You’ve got it, my dear neocons https://evonomics.com/how-bad-biology-is-killing-the-economy/

    • NumberCruncher

      Thanks for the link. However, the majority of the article was opinion and reasonably full of logical fallacies (argument from ignorance, from
      silence, ad hominem, straw man, conflation, and shifting the
      burden of proof). So yes, probably written by a scientist, but hardly scientific in the often out of context examples.

      I’m so happy that you approve of neocons, though. Odd for a possible Leftist, but interesting, nonetheless, considering that most conservatives would not.

  • Guitarcub

    The better question is “Could conservativism survive without the myth of the noble white man?”

    • NumberCruncher

      “The myth of the noble white man?” Hmmm.

      I don’t think anyone here is proposing that someone is automatically “noble” because of their pigmentation level. That’s absurd, and as illogical as the Left’s oft-noted love for the “noble savage” (from which we are left by the Left to infer that all savages must not be white — a silly and racist train of thought promoted by some on the Left).

      Conservatism survives because it works as a philosophy and behavior; it is supportive, constructive, and effective. It doesn’t need the arbitrary politics and behavior of a “cult of personality” to be helpful or admirable.

      An even better (and useful) question is “Could the Left survive without Conservatives?” After all, with no Conservatives (or men, or white men, or adults, whomever the Left is attacking at the moment), the Left will have only themselves to attack, and only themselves to blame.

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