Ideas have consequences. A sufficiently bad idea can have the destructive power of a thousand nukes, can destroy entire civilisations, can plunge the world into ignorance and misery, and can undo centuries of scientific and moral progress. There is no greater threat to the future of our civilisation than bad ideas. Given this fact, is it any wonder that many intelligent, high-minded individuals choose to dedicate their lives to the promotion and propagation of good ideas over bad ideas, at whatever cost to their reputations? Of course, the proponents of bad ideas think they're doing just the same. How can humanity, in the perpetual battle over the territory of its collective consciousness, ensure the victory of those ideas that offer the best hope of maximising human and animal well-being?
The scientific method provides the most effective way of uncovering the truth about our world; a blueprint describing how to conduct rational thought—inference and deduction, minus our innate biases and subjectivity. For scientists, individually and collectively, this is a constant exercise in introspection, for they must act to ensure no bias contaminates their work. In my opinion, it is in this respect that scientists within certain fields today are failing dismally.
Imagine that you, a self-proclaimed 'liberal', 'progressive', and 'rationalist', are discussing with a group of friends the current plight of Sub-Saharan Africa and the primary cause of its underdevelopment and associated afflictions—disease, poverty, malnourishment, etc. One of your friends, Kevin, makes the daring suggestion that perhaps the average temperament and cognitive profile of the African people is not best conducive to the development and maintenance of advanced societies, and may be a contributing factor to their stagnation and poverty, along with a whole lot of other factors. His suggestion is met with a long and awkward silence in which many sideways glances are exchanged. You feel embarrassed for him; you thought he was an intelligent and respectable person. Such an opinion is associated with bad people. It's right-wing. Has Kevin just revealed himself to be a right-wing extremist? You search your brain desperately for any counterarguments, and you come up with this one: "How absurd to suggest that the behaviour and intelligence of a people is determined by the colour of their skin!". The others nod in agreement, none of them seeing what a profoundly idiotic statement that is. Eventually, Stuart, a strident animal rights activist, feminist, Communist, etc. pipes up, and with an air of authoritative moral certainty begins to paraphrase the arguments he's indoctrinated himself with against Kevin's heretical position. The others join in, and Kevin soon finds himself shunned by the self-righteous gang of bullies. Word of his opinions eventually reaches his employers, and when questioned he stands firm in defending them. He is forced to resign. Stuart's righteous bullying, meanwhile, proves very attractive to the women who are present, and he ends up sleeping with all of them.
To rational people, belief is not a choice. If I were to tell you that it's raining outside, you may not want to believe me, but if when I throw open the curtains it is revealed by the sight of raindrops hitting the window and dark clouds in the sky above that it is, unambiguously, raining outside, you would helplessly believe me. Choice does not enter into it. Imagine that I hand you a leaflet on which is written a series of arguments that convince you beyond any doubt as to the existence of innate behavioural and cognitive differences between geographically separated peoples. The logic is so flawless, and the data so clear and complete, that as much as you try you cannot find fault with it. During the time it takes you to read and understand it, would you have transformed from a good person into a bad person? Would you now be evil? How would it affect your behaviour, and the way you treat others? Take a moment to think about it. Then, perhaps it might occur to you that those whom you refer to disparagingly as 'racists', 'bigots', 'fascists', and 'extremists', might actually be innocent victims of this same process—people who have read the arguments, looked at the data, and found it persuasive. They are not evil; they do not hate; they are simply trying to understand the world—and they suffer from the unfortunate affliction of being quite good at it.
Humans are closely related to chimpanzees, and, as well as the obvious physical similarities, there are various social characteristics that we have in common. The following is an extract from Wikipedia (link):
Chimpanzees live in large multi-male and multi-female social groups, which are called communities. Within a community, a definite is the position of an individual and the influence the individual has on others dictates a definite social hierarchy. Chimpanzees live in a leaner hierarchy wherein more than one individual may be dominant enough to dominate other members of lower rank. Typically, a dominant male is referred to as the alpha male. The alpha male is the highest-ranking male that controls the group and maintains order during disputes. In chimpanzee society, the 'dominant male' sometimes is not the largest or strongest male but rather the most manipulative and political male that can influence the goings on within a group. Male chimpanzees typically attain dominance by cultivating allies who will support that individual during future ambitions for power. The alpha male regularly displays by puffing his normally slim coat up to increase view size and charge to seem as threatening and as powerful as possible; this behavior serves to intimidate other members and thereby maintain power and authority, and it may be fundamental to the alpha male's holding on to his status. Lower-ranking chimpanzees will show respect by submissively gesturing in body language or reaching out their hands while grunting. Female chimpanzees will show deference to the alpha male by presenting their hindquarters.
Now while I'm on the subject of chimps I'd like to pose a question to any feminists who may be reading: Are gender roles among chimps socially constructed? Is this just the way that chimps—humanity's closest relative—happen to have organised their society? Can we expect one day to see a feminist revolution among chimps? It is a matter of fact that there exist innate behavioural differences between the sexes in chimps—as is true of nearly all other species on the planet—a fact ignored by most feminists as they work ferociously to ensure that gender representation converges on 50:50 across all corners of society. In my view, they're fighting phantom discrimination with discrimination. That's not to say that discrimination doesn't exist, but without knowledge of when they've succeeded in eradicating it there will surely come a point when most of the discrimination is originating from those who purport to be fighting it.
The chimp-like nature of humans has always been very visible to me. Generally, there are few discernible differences between humans and chimps, as I discovered myself at the age of eleven. I was visiting a zoo in my home town of Cambridge when I accidentally wandered into the chimp enclosure. At first I didn't notice. I was there mingling with the chimps for what felt like years. Eventually, upon my release, I was handed a certificate and told "Congratulations, you've graduated".
There's actually a serious point behind my facetious anecdote. It's amongst high school students that the chimp-like nature of humans is most visible. Adolescents have not yet learned to tame their primitive urges, and so the school environment is one where they run rampant, which makes it an ideal place to study human nature. It's also where the indoctrination starts.
As in other species, much of human social behaviour can be understood to be an expression of primitive sexual instincts: The competing for social status/dominance among males, for example, and the female tendency to submit (unwittingly it seems) to the winners of this animal contest. These behaviours feature visibly in most human interactions, and once you're aware of it, you see it everywhere.
The criteria that determine social status vary depending on the subculture and the age of the individuals. Amongst adolescents, social status is synonymous with popularity. Teenage girls will invariably find attractive any man or boy who is lead singer in a popular band, for example, regardless of whether they like his music or the sound of his voice. Later in life, the definition of social status shifts to include wealth and authority, in addition to general popularity. The pinnacle of social status is fame, which explains the appeal of Justin Bieber and other male celebrities.
A typical scenario where such behaviour can be observed is at a student party. Imagine, as a young man, you're sat with a group of male friends discussing something computery and unfashionable when an attractive girl enters the room. Immediately, your friends switch to cool mode whereupon they slouch back casually into their chairs, their speech becomes laden with slang terms, and conversation turns to something fashionable with occasional interjections of wit and banter—with the weakest of the group bearing the heaviest insults. Your friend, Larry, perhaps wishing to continue the previous discussion, says something 'nerdy', prompting the others to exchange sly smirks with one another and with the girl, thereby bonding at his expense. This primitive male display of social dominance is the human equivalent of an alpha-male chimp puffing up his coat to intimidate the other males.
I was in Starbucks just the other day when I witnessed a group of three teenage boys who, in the presence of a girl, were clearly playing a subconscious game of who-can-sit-on-their-chair-the-most-casually. It gave me a good laugh. I was tempted to win the game in the most spectacular fashion by sprawling out on the floor.
I'm sure we can all remember these primitive games from our adolescence (if we were conscious of them), but they actually persist long into adulthood, albeit taking on more superficially sophisticated forms. One of them is the classic who-has-the-most-mature-and-progressive-opinions game, popular among young adults on university campuses.
I discussed in my previous article the fact that people tend to select their opinions according to their identity, but I omitted from the discussion mention of this sexual dimension. Sexual selection is the driving force behind most animal behaviour to the extent that it would be impossible to understand the behaviour of most species without first understanding their rules of sexual selection.
The moralistic bullying phenomenon, which has plagued humanity for so long, I think can be placed within a broader understanding of sexual selection. Many individuals choose this behaviour as one of several available strategies for attaining better social integration. Women tend to be attracted more to socially integrated men than to men who are marginalised. In general, there is no greater turn-off to a woman than the knowledge that a man is unpopular—a 'right-wing extremist' or a heretic, perhaps.
French author Jean Raspail in his book 'The Camp of The Saints' sums up the current state of affairs in our schools very well:
At the very same moment thirty-two thousand seven hundred forty-two schoolteachers hit on the subject for the next day's theme: "Describe the life of the poor, suffering souls on board the ships, and express your feelings toward their plight in detail, by imagining, for example, that one of the desperate families comes to your home and asks you to take them in." Irresistible, really! And the dear little angel—all simple, childish soul and tender heart—will spread four pages' worth of infantile pathos, enough to melt a concierge to tears, and his paper will be the best, the teacher will read it in class, and all his little friends will kick themselves for having been much too stingy with their whines and whimpers. That's how we mould our men nowadays.
Thus whenever the subject of a minority group or foreign people's plight arises among those who've been conditioned this way, there is a trend toward self-censure where the blame for the continual underachievement and suffering of the various groups is placed, using the most perverse contortions of logic, squarely on the shoulders of white men, the West, or the wealthy—and those who are most adept at this clever switcheroo will be rewarded with the envy and respect of their peers, and if they're good enough to make a career of it, they can look forward to a rosy future in which they'll be elevated to saint-like status among the intelligentsia, and from there they'll lead the indoctrination of the generation that follows.
Read again Jean Raspail's paragraph above and then take a look at the current lot of politicians. The kids may have aged but they haven't grown up, and having seized control of our nation by way of infiltrating our academic and political institutions, it is they who now lead our way into the future, and they're leading us into an abyss.
Jared Diamond, in his book Guns, Germs, and Steel argues the following proposition (taken from the book's blurb):
"... Geography and biogeography, not race, moulded the contrasting fates of Europeans, Asians, Native Americans, sub-Saharan Africans, and aboriginal Australians."
To make clear just how strong a claim this is, allow me to rephrase it as follows:
EITHER: The human brain is totally exempt from geographic variation—and this is despite geographic variation in skin colour, hair type, facial structure, disease immunity, fat distribution, height, sense of smell, digestive enzymes, and general athleticism, to name just a few. OR: The observed variations in brain structure do not result in any appreciable difference in the character of a people or the civilisations they build.
Compare this to the alternative, and ask yourself which of the two is more 'extreme':
The human brain is just as subject to geographic variation as any other aspect of human physiology. It is therefore both environmental factors in addition to small innate differences in average temperament and intelligence that combine to shape the unique character of each of the world's human populations.
Note that it's the latter view that will have its adherents labelled 'right-wing extremists' regardless of how tactfully and delicately they express it.
Proponents of the former view are forever praising themselves for having a more nuanced understanding of the world than the evil 'racists' whom they consider crass and simple-minded. However, we can simplify the debate even further. Consider the following, and now ask yourself which of the two assertions is more nuanced.
Genetics plays no part whatsoever in shaping the fate and character of human populations; it is entirely environmental.
Genetics plays some part in shaping the fate and character of human populations, in addition to environmental factors.
The latter point of view is the one held by Charles Murray, James Watson, Richard Lynn, and other right-wing lunatics, whereas the former is espoused, and loudly promoted, by the intellectual establishment, the left-wing media, Blue Peter presenters, and kindergarten children.
It is always astonishing to me when academics will accuse the proponents of Human Biodiversity (HBD) of ignoring certain factors, when they themselves are explicitly advocating that we ignore all genetic factors entirely.
A typical retort to the racialist world-view is to point out the overlapping nature of the IQ distributions. There is so much overlap, critics say, that it renders these disparities irrelevant. Well, it's true that there is a great deal of overlap, but this misses an important point: Averages matter. Consider two individuals, one with an IQ of 85 and another with an IQ of 100. Both are able to function perfectly well within the same society; they may even hold similar jobs and live similar lifestyles. However, a society in which the average IQ is 100 will be very different from a society in which the average IQ is 85. Which one would you rather live in?
Imagine taking a sample of humans and placing them on a desert island. Then, attached to this giant Petri dish of humans is a series of knobs that control various cognitive and behavioural traits: one knob for average IQ, another for average impulsiveness, another for altruism, and so on. Never mind how this scientific wizardry is implemented; let's say you're a member of a super-intelligent alien species, and this is your science experiment. What you may discover is that the civilisations that emerge are very sensitive to small changes in the mental parameters. Find a sweet spot, and you may produce a strain of humans that begins to construct vast concrete nests and whose tool-making tendencies are sent into overdrive. Let IQ drift too low, and aggression and impulsiveness too high, and crime rates will rise precipitating a corresponding rise in policing, which—as a result of the same mental traits—would then be subject to crime internally, causing the society to slide into a corrupt, socialist police state, and its technological development to be stunted. It may be that a society is very sensitive to its averages.
With sensible immigration policy in addition to various other measures, perhaps without the help of aliens we can gain control of these knobs ourselves.
In 2007, the highly distinguished scientist Steven Pinker, an American Jew, gave a lecture—to an audience comprised, presumably, of mostly gentiles*—titled "Jews, Genes, and Intelligence", in which he argued that the high average IQ of Ashkenazi Jews may be partially genetic in origin, which is to say, Ashkenazi Jews possess an innate intellectual advantage over people of other races, and this explains their conspicuous over-representation in professional occupations and among scientists and academics. I found his arguments convincing, and was offended only slightly when he informed us that the Yiddish phrase for dim-witted is Goyishe Kopf, which translates literally to "gentile head".
*Edit 01/12/13: I've just been informed that Pinker was actually speaking at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, and so his audience would have been mostly, if not entirely, Jewish. Still, he must have known his talk would be viewed by many non-Jews both within and outside the scientific community. Here is the link to the talk for anyone who's interested.
He also made this point, which I found interesting: The widespread denial surrounding race is particularly harmful to Jews, as it leaves people with no explanation for their economic and academic success, leading many to adopt far-fetched conspiracy theories, or to attribute to Jewish culture traits such as greed, psychopathy, and selfishness, and causing Jews to be scapegoated for whatever ills presently plague society.
It's worth noting the rhetorical value of providing such a moral argument. Rather than simply presenting the facts, it is much more effective to say "Here are the facts, and here is why it's moral and righteous that you believe them". Then, one has a convincing and persuasive case. It seems the facts alone aren't enough—but they should be. This ties in to what I was saying about chimp behaviour and social status. Armed with this knowledge, we can devise a simple rulebook for persuasive speaking:
Wear clothes that convey status, such as a black suit; make use of dominant body language; talk in a confident and authoritative tone; and above all, go for the moral high-ground. If you succeed in performing these advices, you could well convince a group of academics that the Earth is flat.
I'm exaggerating of course, but the point is that by appealing to their chimp-like nature, one can leverage the audience's innate biases to amplify the effectiveness and persuasiveness of one's message.
I'm happy to see that Steven Pinker's reputation didn't suffer following his controversial talk, but I stop short of commending his courage. Steven Pinker is Jewish, and therefore part of a racial minority in the United States, and that, in my opinion, is why he is able to get away with talking so candidly on this subject. He's a Jew speaking about innate Jewish superiority, not a white gentile speaking about innate white superiority.
Imagine if Richard Dawkins were to give a presentation before an audience of African people titled "Europeans, Genes, and Intelligence" during which he tells of some English word or phrase meaning dim-witted and which translates literally to "black-headed", for example. Sit back, close your eyes, and take a silent moment just to fathom the sheer magnitude of the ensuing shitstorm. The world's media would be set aflame with the raging fury of a million left-wing journalists shrieking "burn the heretic!"—or something to that effect. I think it's safe to say, it would be the end of his career.
Since forming the opinions I'm presenting to you now, I'd like to share with you an observation I've had. Upon seeking out communities where such like-minded people congregate, there is one noticeable feature pertaining to their demographic make-up: almost everyone is male. I've heard it said before that the reason for this is that women keep a check on male excess. Well, that's one interpretation; here's mine: Women, generally, are more susceptible to the delusional happy-talk and group-think that defines left-wing politics, as is revealed by their tendency in their private lives to select popular clothes, popular gadgets, popular hobbies, and above all else popular men—men with popular haircuts, popular outfits, popular occupations, and popular opinions. To believe in something that society has deemed offensive is tantamount to wearing socks with sandals, only worse—and to women it's repulsive. Courage, integrity, and heroism, we like to think are inherent aspects of masculinity—to endure personal hardship for the greater good—but too few men, it seems, are man enough to forgo female approval. Thus, politics and academia you could say have become feminised as intellectually men have become wimps.
In addition to social bias, there is another cognitive error I haven't mentioned, but which is relevant: the tendency people have of mistaking the mere acknowledgement of a problem with some horrific and reprehensible solution, even when no solutions have been mentioned.
Consider this example: Studies have shown that if one takes a sample of humans from the top of the social hierarchy, and compares it to a sample taken from the bottom, one finds measurable differences in innate cognitive performance between them. Equivalently, one could take a sample of humans from the dorms of Cambridge and Harvard, and compare it to a sample taken from some other less prestigious institution, and observe disparities in average social class. This effect, called cognitive stratification by social class, is actually a feature of meritocracy, yet it's usually interpreted as evidence to the contrary. Essentially, through our academic and vocational institutions, we're sorting ourselves by brain performance. In addition, higher fertility rates among the lower echelons, compounded over multiple generations, puts us on a steep dysgenic trend. Acknowledging this danger, however, will often draw a response along the lines of "And what do you suggest we do about it, Adolf?"—as if merely pointing out the problem is akin to advocating that we pump poison gas into Lidl.
The Conservative politician, Howard Flight, recently drew attention to the fertility problem. He said in reference to government proposals to cut child benefits for top-rate taxpayers "We're going to have a system where the middle classes are discouraged from breeding because it's jolly expensive. But for those on benefits, there is every incentive. Well, that's not very sensible". I doubt he was even considering the genetic aspect of the problem, yet this proved controversial enough. He was promptly lambasted by an angry left-wing mob, who demanded a public apology. (I wonder how bad the problem would have to get before any politicians are permitted by the mob to notice it.)
It is so typical of the Left to act this way. It is ironic that those who can be continually heard praising themselves for being 'progressive' and 'enlightened' will at the same time most exhibit the kind of behaviour that just several hundred years ago had people burned at the stake for merely causing offence—reacting as they do to any encroachment upon their naive fantasies with shrieks of "burn the heretic!".
If only—and this is my sincerest conviction now—if only we would stop doing that then one's imagination strains to render the levels of achievement and harmony that may resultantly be attained through our greatened capacity for rational thought and cooperation. Flick through your largest history book while you spend a moment to contemplate the vast devastation this psychological defect has wreaked upon humanity, directly and indirectly. It has always been our problem. It will continue to be our problem until we recognise it and act to eradicate it from ourselves.
The Dark Ages was not precipitated by some calamitous event. No asteroid impacts, volcanic eruptions, viral epidemics or nuclear explosions were responsible for the centuries of bloodshed, misery, and technological stagnation that occurred. Forget grey goo, killer androids, and alien invasions; our doomsday scenario will be far less exciting, and ultimately more devastating—the formation, propagation, and eventual victory of bad ideas. Communism, religion, dictatorship, slavery, genocide, and war—these are what should keep us awake at night. As for dysgenics and over-population, social bias prevents us even acknowledging these problems, let alone finding their solutions.
My personal forays into human biodiversity have taught me that the academic establishment is far from the bastion of rationality I once believed. The forces of insanity that once saw heretics burned at the stake for merely citing facts or proposing theories still remain at large within us, dormant among the sane and active among the 'progressive'. Our current period of relative prosperity seems precarious indeed.
In closing, I'd like to ask any psychologists who may be reading to turn the spotlight of their attention to this aspect of our nature, so that we may work to eliminate, for the first time in human history, social bias along with its most virulent manifestation, moralistic bullying, from scientific conduct.