Friday, June 15, 2018

“Diversity,” “Science,” And Facts

     The Left has been straining to redefine “truth” for some years now:

     Truth is an evaluation: a judgment that some proposition corresponds to objective reality sufficiently for men to rely upon it. The weakening of the concept of truth cuts an opening through which baldly counterfactual propositions can be thrust into serious discourse. Smith might say that proposition X is disprovable, or that it contradicts common observations of the world; Jones counters that X suits him fine, for he has dismissed the disprovers as "partisan" and prefers his own observations to those of Smith. Unless the two agree on standards for relevant evidence, pertinent reasoning, and common verification -- in other words, standards for what can be accepted as sufficiently true -- their argument over X will never end.

     An interest group that has "put its back against the wall" as regards its central interest, and is unwilling to concede the battle regardless of the evidence and logic raised against its claims, will obfuscate, attack the motives of its opponents, and attempt to misdirect their attention with irrelevancies. When all of these have failed, its last-ditch defense is to attack the concept of truth. Once that has been undermined, the group can't be defeated. It can stay on the ideological battlefield indefinitely, preserving the possibility of victory through attrition or fatigue among its opponents.

     The concept of truth is intimately bound up with an even more fundamental concept: fact. As such, the Left’s promulgation of nonsense-notions about “truth” must be coupled to a strident, insistent denial of facts the Left deems unpleasant.

     When you encounter the statement “A fact cannot be biased,” Gentle Reader, you’re looking at the assertion the Left hates above all other things. It’s the reason for their tendency to resort to ad hominem denunciations and imputations of low motives. Facts that cross-cut their aims cannot be allowed to stand.

     Today, in reference to recent Leftist pronouncements that “science” needs more “diversity,” Francis Turner at L'Ombre de l'Olivier notes some unpleasant facts:

     There is considerable and growing evidence that some ethnicities have a genetic predisposition to higher IQs than others. The highest appears to be Central/Eastern European Jews and there’s a lot of evidence that this is actually an evolutionary trait that has occurred over the last millennium. On the other hand there is considerable evidence that Africans (and some others e.g. Australian Aborigines) have a significantly lower average IQ than humans as a whole by at least one Standard Deviation (~15 points). This remains true even when you account for known IQ negatives like childhood nutrition. It’s true you don’t need an Einstein level IQ to be a good scientist (or even an adequate one), but IQ and mathematical/logical reasoning do correlate and successful scientists are definitely a solid one or two standard deviations above the 100 population average. If ethnicity one (E1) has an average IQ of 100-1SD and ethnicity two (E2) has an average IQ of 100+1SD then given the normal distribution the proportion of E1 that is 2SDs above the full population average (100) is around 2% (3 SDs above their population average) while the proportion of E2 is about 20% (1 SD above their population average) – Note I have rounded the numbers for easier sums, go look them up yourself. Given an equal number of E1 and E2 one would therefore expect about ten times as many people in E2 to be capable of a scientific career than those in E1.

     That’s the sort of multiply-confirmed fact that pins the Left‘s outrage meter. It makes ridiculous all their demands for “diversity” in the sciences and elsewhere. It also puts an absolute boundary around their political aspirations. And they can do absolutely nothing about it.

     Mind you, non-whites do participate in the sciences. There have been a number of Asian scientists of note, especially in physics. There have also been a few Negro scientists – and their achievements are ballyhooed way, way out of proportion to their actual significance. But the overwhelming majority of black participation in the sciences is (and has always been) in the provision of support functions rather than as “chief investigators.” Such workers are necessary, but they seldom achieve national or international recognition.

     The quest for cosmetic diversity – i.e., diversity of skin color – is rudely impeded by the requirement for high intelligence and the ability to reason with symbols. You’ll seldom encounter a PhD in the hard sciences with an IQ below 130. A significant percentage of them would test higher than that. (In this we have the reason the Left has condemned IQ testing and striven to prevent it from being discussed: It correlates all too strongly with future success in fields that demand high intelligence.)

     In the usual case, Leftist agitators frustrated by such facts will do what they did to weaken the armed forces: they’ll demand that the standards be softened to increase “minority” participation. They’ll provide a tailwind to their preferred “minorities,” as has been the case in college admissions standards. And they’ll raise hell over any indication that some “minority” is “under-represented” in some institution they’ve chosen to attack.

     In our era, such tactics tend to get the Left what it wants. It has significant support from various government agencies with extra-Constitutional powers. The media and educational establishments are enlisted in its cause, as well. The combination can be too much for the typical institution to resist.

     All that stands in the way of this deliberate attempt to dumb down the sciences are facts: nasty, ugly little facts that have been multiply verified, and which no amount of propaganda can gainsay. It falls to us to keep those facts from being occluded or effaced.


Glenda T Goode said...

Its not the tactics we need concern ourselves with. It is the goal of the left that we need discern. We cannot effectively deal with the liberal left without understanding what it is that they are aiming for.

How does diversity aid the left? It is as much how much they damage the right and our perception of how the nation as a whole should work. By increasing the public belief that we are all 'equal' yet being treated unequally, the left erodes our base. They use subtle tactics to encourage people to be more accepting of things that 50 years ago would have been considered nonsense. Our message would seem to be less 'inclusive' or 'accepting' in comparison.

I have lived long enough to see the conservative mom and pop America turn into a nation of hipsters and meme spouting pin heads who cannot see the forest through the trees. Even a more liberal person in the 70's would find themselves aligning with the conservatives of today in terms of the values espoused. This process of eroding our societal strength and unity as a nation has been in motion for a lot longer than that.

The left aims to institute a socialist system of governance in our nation and essentially will toss the Constitution or at least all the parts that empower their enemies; namely us. Just as facts are stubborn things, so are conservatives.

When you cannot persuade the people with your offers of socialist nirvana, you then have to persuade them with lies. You have to convince them that the society they are in is fraudulent and biased; all of this regardless of the actual facts. You need to convince these people to abandon what has been and accept a new 'order'.

Ultimately, when you drill down, the left seeks power and control. Equality and fairness are actually secondary issues once they gain their goals. Unfortunately the average citizen will not find this out until it is already too late.

SiGraybeard said...

It is, of course, a fundamental belief of communism that all truth is whatever the party says it is. Remember Lysenko?

As a friend used to say, "there's just no arguing with logic like that". They can't be convinced with logic and observable facts.

You and I come from a world of hard facts; they don't. Physics is a cast iron bitch, and doesn't care if someone thinks they can levitate in air and walk off the roof. There probably isn't a single thing in their entire academic field with the character of physical law.

What these people screaming for diversity are doing is waging an all out war on competence. Apparently, they've succeeded at the FAA with Air Traffic Controllers. When the diversity hires are designing aircraft, it will be a good time to start driving more. If you can survive around the autonomous cars.