Archive for March, 2009

The biological basis of race

Monday, March 30th, 2009

I know, I know… if you want to be one of the popular kids, you insist that everyone is equal, we all want the same things, and we all have inalienable rights and we’re all OK.

If you’re a realist, you know that people are different, have different abilities, and some are born bad and some are born good, and that all categories get fuzzy around the edges but still apply.

Then you run into the modern dogma that race is a “social construct,” or has no basis in biology. As you remember from biology class, your genotype or genetic makeup determines your phenotype or the traits that show up in you. Obviously, then, consistent differences between people have some root in genetics.

But thanks to those who want to be the popular kids, that’s not what you’re hearing from the multibillion dollar media sources of your government and your mainstream media.

However, some information has sneaked through the cracks and so I’m compiling it here. The purpose of this post is not to affirm racism, superiority or inferiority, or any of that jazz; its only purpose is to point out that race does have a biological construct, and because all traits originate in genetic information, it’s insane to insist any consistent difference in appearance, behavior or biological process has anything but a genetic basis.

Let’s begin.

Recent research has produced a surprise, however. Population geneticists expected to find dramatic differences as they got a look at the full genomes — about 25,000 genes — of people of widely varying ethnic and geographic backgrounds. Specifically, they expected to find that many ethnic groups would have derived alleles that their members shared but that were uncommon or nonexistent in other groups. Each regional, ethnic group or latitude was thought to have a genomic “signature” — the record of its recent evolution through natural selection.

All of Earth’s people, according to a new analysis of the genomes of 53 populations, fall into just three genetic groups. They are the products of the first and most important journey our species made — the walk out of Africa about 70,000 years ago by a small fraction of ancestral Homo sapiens.

One group is the African. It contains the descendants of the original humans who emerged in East Africa about 200,000 years ago. The second is the Eurasian, encompassing the natives of Europe, the Middle East and Southwest Asia (east to about Pakistan). The third is the East Asian, the inhabitants of Asia, Japan and Southeast Asia, and — thanks to the Bering Land Bridge and island-hopping in the South Pacific — of the Americas and Oceania as well.

Washington Post

The writer injects a certain amount of political correctness into the article, so I reversed the order of the three paragraphs above. The point is this: we can trace the history of evolution through genes, and it shows us three groups which have small but crucial differences caused by “genetic drift” — in this case, the traits kept by being successful in the different areas to which these new populations adapted.

Geneticists are uncovering another level of human ethnic diversity: It may not be which genes we have so much as the way they behave that accounts for our differences. Using the International HapMap Project, which catalogs human gene variants across populations, University of Pennsylvania researchers Vivian Cheung and Richard Spielman first collected the gene sequences of a particular white blood cell from 82 Asians and 60 people of European descent. Then, using microarray chips, they measured expression levels of those genes.

What they found was surprising: Although which genes were present didn’t differ dramatically between the Asians and the Europeans, their expression did. And that expression was governed by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)—one-letter changes in DNA­—in nearby regulator regions that determine how much of a gene’s product is made. Overall, 25 percent of the genes seem to show different levels of expression in Asians versus Europeans, and SNPs in regulatory regions probably account for much of the difference. In the case of one gene, researchers found that Caucasians expressed it at 22 times the strength that Asians did.


I quote this article first for two reasons: first, it shows the clear differences in genetics; second, it shows that we’re not looking for a race gene, or identical genetics; we’re looking for genetic coding that expresses what goes into the organism.

As the article points out, the differences weren’t dramatic — but they occurred in crucial areas, just like the difference between the computer code for a word processor and a database program is mostly the same, but has important details changed. It’s like saying to person A “Take ten of these red pills, and five of the green, after each meal” and to person B “Take five of these red pills, and ten of the green, before each meal” — small but vitally different instructions.

And lest you missed it:

25 percent of the genes seem to show different levels of expression in Asians versus Europeans

One quarter of the instructions you give to person A and person B are substantially different, although both involve red pills and green pills.

Next up, a neat cascade by Steve Hsu, who fired off one of the more recent salvos in this fight by pointing out the obvious:

We were told long ago that there is no scientific basis for race. Yet, it would be surprising if the distribution of individual genes were the same in all ethnic groups, with their different evolutionary histories of the last tens of thousands of years. In fact, mtDNA tests can readily identify which of a few dozen matrilineal lines any modern human belongs to. Each of these lines can in turn be traced to certain geographical regions to which early humans migrated from Africa, and correspond reasonably well to conventional racial categories.

Researchers last week described a new drug, called BiDil, that sharply reduces death from heart disease among African-Americans. …But not everyone is cheering unreservedly. Many people, including some African-Americans, have long been uneasy with the concept of race-based medicine, in part from fear that it may legitimize less benign ideas about race.

…The emergence of BiDil, described last week in The New England Journal of Medicine, is a sharp reality test for an academic debate about race and medicine that has long occupied the pages of medical journals. Is there a biological basis for race? If there is not, as many social scientists and others argue, how can a drug like BiDil work so well in one race?

…This month, in a special issue on race published by the journal Nature Genetics, several geneticists wrote that people can generally be assigned to their continent of origin on the basis of their DNA, and that these broad geographical regions correspond to self-identified racial categories, such as African, East Asian, European and Native American. Race, in other words, does have a genetic basis, in their view.

…Some African-Americans fear that if doctors start to make diagnoses by race, then some in the public may see that as a basis for imputing behavioral traits as well. ”If you think in terms of taxonomies of race, you will make the dangerous conclusion that race will explain violence,” says Dr. Troy Duster, a sociologist at New York University.



I like how he excerpts the vital parts of this article. But the point is clear, and this article was the first mention of it in the public eye: the races are biologically different, e.g. in homeostatic process, not just bone density, skull/facial shape, skin color, hair type, etc.

But now we’re looking at it as biology as well:

But several other geneticists writing in the same issue of the journal say the human family tree is divided into branches that correspond to the ancestral populations of each major continent, and that these branches coincide with the popular notion of race. “The emerging picture is that populations do, generally, cluster by broad geographic regions that correspond with common racial classification (Africa, Europe, Asia, Oceania, Americas),” say Dr. Sarah A. Tishkoff of the University of Maryland and Dr. Kenneth K. Kidd of Yale.

Although there is not much genetic variation between the populations of each continent, write Dr. Joanna L. Mountain and Dr. Neil Risch of Stanford University, new data “coincide closely with groups defined by self-identified race or continental ancestry.” The data is based on DNA elements outside the genes with no bearing on the body’s physical form.

The pattern reflects the fact that once humans dispersed from Africa, the populations on each continent started breeding in isolation and developing their own set of genetic variations.


“Not much” is somewhat arbitrary. Just as one percent of a computer program being changed could cause it to act radically differently, even a tenth of a percent of our DNA being different could create different results. Even more, DNA is not linear, so a single difference in a key place makes it operate differently. So when scientists bandy about terms like us being 90% similar to chimpanzees, or 99% similar between ethnic groups, keep in mind that those figures understate how radically different the results can be.

Forensic experts are increasingly relying on DNA as “a genetic eyewitness,” says Jack Ballantyne, associate director for research at the National Center for Forensic Science at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, who is studying whether a DNA sample can reveal a person’s age.

The push to predict physical features from genetic material is known as DNA forensic phenotyping, and it’s already helped crack some difficult investigations. In 2004, police caught a Louisiana serial killer who eyewitnesses had suggested was white, but whose crime-scene DNA suggested — correctly — that he was black. Britain’s forensic service uses a similar “ethnic inference” test to trace murderers and rapists.

In 2007, a DNA test based on 34 genetic biomarkers developed by Christopher Phillips, a forensic geneticist at the University of Santiago de Compostelo in Spain, indicated that one of the suspects associated with the Madrid bombings was of North African origin. His body was mostly destroyed in an explosion. Using other clues, police later confirmed he had been an Algerian, thereby validating the test results.

Worried about the ethical and social challenges, Germany doesn’t permit the forensic use of DNA to infer ethnicity or physical traits. Nor do a handful of U.S. states, including Indiana, Wyoming and Rhode Island. The U.K. and the Netherlands allow it.

DNA-based racial profiling “has to be used carefully,” especially in a diverse country like America, says Bert-Jaap Koops of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, who has studied the regulatory picture in different countries. “Some people could make connections between race, crime and genetic disposition” and thereby encourage stigmatization.


A small amount makes a big difference. And by reading that genetic history, we can tell where something evolved and, increasingly, what its traits are.

Biologists have constructed a genetic map of Europe showing the degree of relatedness between its various populations.

All the populations are quite similar, but the differences are sufficient that it should be possible to devise a forensic test to tell which country in Europe an individual probably comes from, said Manfred Kayser, a geneticist at the Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

The genetic map of Europe bears a clear structural similarity to the geographic map. The major genetic differences are between populations of the north and south (the vertical axis of the map shows north-south differences, the horizontal axis those of east-west). The area assigned to each population reflects the amount of genetic variation in it.


Not only can we tell that races have different homeostatic processes, but we can tell them apart — and ethnicities too, including ancient ones.

That’s a big blow to the idea that there’s no ethnic component to race. Starting about 1968, it became taboo to note differences between races; if you did, you got called a bumpkin, a redneck, an uneducated hick, and people assumed you did it because you had no money and hated society. This kind of groupthink is never healthy, and it’s thoroughly opposed to everything that science is supposed to stand for, but if you’re a scientist looking for grant money and to further his own career, you’re not going to take on an unpopular issue.

During the 1990s, this hysteria peaked and we had common statements like: there’s more difference between individuals of the same race than between individuals of different races, we’re 99% similar, race is a social construct, and so on.

2. Race has no genetic basis. Not one characteristic, trait or even gene distinguishes all the members of one so-called race from all the members of another so-called race.

5. Most variation is within, not between, “races.” Of the small amount of total human variation, 85% exists within any local population, be they Italians, Kurds, Koreans or Cherokees. About 94% can be found within any continent. That means two random Koreans may be as genetically different as a Korean and an Italian.

9. Race isn’t biological, but racism is still real. Race is a powerful social idea that gives people different access to opportunities and resources. Our government and social institutions have created advantages that disproportionately channel wealth, power, and resources to white people. This affects everyone, whether we are aware of it or not.


Note how they have to fall into bad science: Not one characteristic, trait or even gene distinguishes all the members of one so-called race from all the members of another so-called race. But race has always been assumed to be a collection of traits; it’s only anti-racists that refer to it as a difference in skin color.

Gradually, this view has fallen into panicked disrepair as science has assaulted it, starting with The Bell Curve and then The Blank Slate, showing that for every ability we have, there’s a gene, and that collections of genes make races and ethnicities, even class distinctions. This upsets people who want equality and an end to all strife, because lack of equality means strife and possibly that someone will interrupt them doing whatever they want to do.

Here’s a great assault on these scientific fallacies:

Once one accepts that genetic information clusters people together according to geography and that these clusters sometimes correspond to race, the next question is, do these genetic differences add up to phenotypic differences? The answer to this question is slowly emerging, and in the shadows I see the outline of a “YES”.

All of the studies I will cite are based on the HapMap, a resource with genetic data as well as cell lines for individuals from four populations– one of Western European ancestry, an Nigerian population, a Chinese population, and a Japanese population. Does the Nigerian population represent all populations in the African cluster, or the European population represent all the populations in the Eurasian cluster? Of course not, but analyzing them certainly gives an insight as to what makes one population different from any other.

First, the genetic data from the different populations can be analyzed to search for areas of the genome that have been under recent selection– i.e. that have recently become beneficial for Nigerians, or Chinese, or whichever group. That analysis was done by two groups (both papers are open access), though I will discuss the second one. What they found was that each of the populations (they group the Chinese and Japanese together into a single population) has been under, and probably continues to be under, natural selection. It would be theoretically possible (if remarkable) to find that all humans are undergoing the same selective pressures and responding identically to them, but that is not the case. I’ve posted on the right a Venn diagram from the paper showing that most of the loci identified as under selection are detected in only one of the three groups, indicating that selection is causing people in different parts of the globe to become more distinct. The precise effects of the genetic variation between populations is unclear, but (as it’s under selection) it’s certainly phenotypically relevant. And lest you think the genes under selection are related only to “boring” physiological traits, note that one of the papers found that a number of genes involved in “neuronal function” have been under selection.

Even more recently, another group analyzed gene expression in both the Asian HapMap samples and the European HapMap samples and found that around 25% of the genes in the two were differentially expressed, and that this differential expression is due to genetic differences in many cases. The road from genotype to phenotype goes through gene expression, so this is a major step in connecting genetic variation to phenotypic variation.

So it’s clear that populations differ genetically and that these differences are relevant phenotypically and informative about race. So, do genetic differences explain racial differences in any given phenotype? I hope that for phenotypes like eye color and skin color people accept the answer as obviously yes; these sorts of things have been convincingly demonstrated. For other phenotypes like IQ or personality, if you’re inclined to react negatively, I say wait a few years before you get too confident; the study of human genetic variation is in its infancy, and once it hits adolescence it’s going to start becoming a real pain in the ass.


As people are learning, the fallacy that people are more different within ethnic groups than between ethnic groups (Lewontin’s fallacy) makes no sense biologically, but it made a good sound bite.

If differences are considered to exist when individuals can be accurately classified according using a single randomly chosen trait, then Lewontin’s results imply that human races are not distinct in this sense.


We’re looking for a single trait again? Yet people have never claimed race is determined by a single trait, but by multiple traits:

In response to questionable interpretations of the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and to help ensure the evolutionary significance of populations deemed ‘subspecies,’ a set of criteria was outlined in the early 1990s by John C. Avise, R. Martin Ball, Jr.[10], Stephen J. O’Brien and Ernst Mayr [11] which is as follows: “members of a subspecies would share a unique, geographic locale, a set of phylogenetically concordant phenotypic characters, and a unique natural history relative to other subdivisions of the species. Although subspecies are not reproductively isolated, they will normally be allopatric and exhibit recognizable phylogenetic partitioning.”

The Race FAQ

That’s a scientific definition of race. People who argue against race generally make up a definition they think they can beat, and then disprove it. That trick sort of works on undergraduate papers but its value disappears when there’s real-world consequences on the line.

Here’s a good definition as well:

That is, we think that what most people call “races” are actually independently evolved sub-populations, but that human races exist in the same sense as ecotypes exist among other animals and plants.

An ecotype is a locally adapted population (say, characterized by an “alpine” phenotype for a plant, or a “high light intensity” phenotype for a human), which is not genetically much different from other populations of the same species, except for genes specifically influencing whatever traits are adaptive in that environment (say, short and branched stalks in alpine plants, to protect against strong wind; or dark skin in humans living near the Equator, to protect from high light intensity).

Scientific Blogging

Jonathan Haidt points out that these small differences, which are tiny compared to the amount of code required to create a body and brain, could influence not just physical traits and mental traits, but also that subset of mental traits known as moral traits:

The most offensive idea in all of science for the last 40 years is the possibility that behavioral differences between racial and ethnic groups have some genetic basis. Knowing nothing but the long-term offensiveness of this idea, a betting person would have to predict that as we decode the genomes of people around the world, we’re going to find deeper differences than most scientists now expect. Expectations, after all, are not based purely on current evidence; they are biased, even if only slightly, by the gut feelings of the researchers, and those gut feelings include disgust toward racism..

But the writing is on the wall. Russian scientists showed in the 1990s that a strong selection pressure (picking out and breeding only the tamest fox pups in each generation) created what was — in behavior as well as body — essentially a new species in just 30 generations. That would correspond to about 750 years for humans. Humans may never have experienced such a strong selection pressure for such a long period, but they surely experienced many weaker selection pressures that lasted far longer, and for which some heritable personality traits were more adaptive than others. It stands to reason that local populations (not continent-wide “races”) adapted to local circumstances by a process known as “co-evolution” in which genes and cultural elements change over time and mutually influence each other. The best documented example of this process is the co-evolution of genetic mutations that maintain the ability to fully digest lactose in adulthood with the cultural innovation of keeping cattle and drinking their milk.

Skin color has no moral significance, but traits that led to Darwinian success in one of the many new niches and occupations of Holocene life — traits such as collectivism, clannishness, aggressiveness, docility, or the ability to delay gratification — are often seen as virtues or vices. Virtues are acquired slowly, by practice within a cultural context, but the discovery that there might be ethnically-linked genetic variations in the ease with which people can acquire specific virtues is — and this is my prediction — going to be a “game changing” scientific event.

I believe that the “Bell Curve” wars of the 1990s, over race differences in intelligence, will seem genteel and short-lived compared to the coming arguments over ethnic differences in moralized traits. I predict that this “war” will break out between 2012 and 2017.


Others can provide more on the IQ-race differences:

What I’ve found is that in brain size, intelligence, temperament, sexual behavior, fertility, growth rate, life span, crime, and family stability, Orientals, as a group, consistently fall at one end of the spectrum, Blacks fall at the other end, and Whites fall in between. On average, Orientals are slower to mature, less fertile, and less sexually active, and have larger brains and higher IQ scores. Blacks are at the opposite end in each of these areas. Whites fall in the middle, often close to Orientals (see Chart 1)

Of course, these three-way racial differences are averages. Individuals are individuals. However, I’ve found that this three-way pattern is consistently true over time and across nations. That the same three-way racial pattern occurs repeatedly on some 60 different biological and behavioral variables is profoundly interesting and shows that race is more than “just skin deep.” The international data come from the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and Interpol. Recently, I even traveled to South Africa to collect new IQ data.

Charles Darwin Research

This fits in with what we know about humans as a whole, which is that traits like intelligence are heritable along with physical constraints, with a small amount of influence for other factors of gene expression and factors of nurture, such as better diet and exercise.

Even more, it fits in with a view of the world that many find disturbing, which is one that views the world by IQ:

This roughly mirrors the pattern of evolution, and the racial makeup of different nations. Pretty hard to argue with there.

Others get more into the IQ debate — I start to shut off at this point, although I’m a big believer in IQ:

A 60-page review of the scientific evidence, some based on state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of brain size, has concluded that race differences in average IQ are largely genetic.

The lead article in the June 2005 issue of Psychology, Public Policy and Law, a journal of the American Psychological Association, examined 10 categories of research evidence from around the world to contrast “a hereditarian model (50% genetic-50% cultural) and a culture-only model (0% genetic-100% cultural).”

The paper, “Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences in Cognitive Ability,” by J. Philippe Rushton of the University of Western Ontario and Arthur R. Jensen of the University of California at Berkeley, appeared with a positive commentary by Linda Gottfredson of the University of Delaware, three critical ones (by Robert Sternberg of Yale University, Richard Nisbett of the University of Michigan, and Lisa Suzuki & Joshua Aronson of New York University), and the authors’ reply.

“Neither the existence nor the size of race differences in IQ are a matter of dispute, only their cause,” write the authors. The Black-White difference has been found consistently from the time of the massive World War I Army testing of 90 years ago to a massive study of over 6 million corporate, military, and higher-education test-takers in 2001.

“Race differences show up by 3 years of age, even after matching on maternal education and other variables,” said Rushton. “Therefore they cannot be due to poor education since this has not yet begun to exert an effect.

Medical News

While all this seems a bit much, all of it underscores the vital truth: race is genetic, just like abilities are genetic; races and ethnicities are defined by clusters of inherited abilities relevant to the specific conditions under which that group developed. While these are a small number of our overall genetic makeup, most of the makeup we have in common is to establish the very basics of our bodies and minds, and its the tweaks that give us special abilities beyond the utter average. That makes knowing that race is genetic important; there’s also another reason why we should care — it’s ignorant to deny science, and yet people are trying to censor science in this regard.

The Soviet Union lost a generation of genetics research to the politicization of science when Trofim Lysenko, director of biology under Joseph Stalin, parlayed his rejection of Mendelian genetics into a powerful political scientific movement. By the late 1920s, Lysenko had denounced academics embracing Mendelian genetics, which some said undermined tenets of Soviet society. His efforts to extinguish ‘harmful’ scientific ideas ruined opponents’ careers and delayed scientific progress.

Yet the spectre of Lysenkoism lurks in current scientific discourse on gender, race and intelligence. Claims that sex- or race-based IQ gaps are partly genetic can offend entire groups, who feel that such work feeds hatred and discrimination. Pressure from professional organizations and university administrators can result in boycotting such research, and even in ending scientific careers.

Nobel prizewinner William Shockley became a subject of controversy in the 1970s, after his work turned to racial differences in intelligence. In recent decades, the writings, statements and teachings of Arthur Jensen, Michael Levin and John Philippe Rushton, also on racial differences in intelligence, have met variously with acclaim, outcries and demands for job termination. So have writings of Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray on the differential distribution of IQ by race. And Frank Ellis, a lecturer at the University of Leeds, UK, took early retirement in the face of an ethical storm that developed after he suggested in a student newspaper that intelligence levels were related to ethnicity. The list goes on. Many have been dissuaded from even looking at the research topic for fear of condemnation.

The outcries against those who speak of racial and gender gaps in IQ have become deafening, at times resembling Lysenkoism in language if not in deed.


We, the people, will empower others to alter our reality if we demand the right to alter reality through censorship and boycott of the topics that scare us.

I don’t believe in racism, which seems to me to be a preference for putting others down because of their race. However, it’s not clear to me how recognizing racial differences is inherently racist, and like the writers above, I am appalled at the idea of censoring science for political pretense.

Right now most of the divide is political. Leftists prefer multiculturalism because it guarantees them power, while nativist movements oppose both raw capitalism and socialism, seeing both as components of the globalism that replaces culture with rules and commerce.

If we are to ever face the truth of this issue, we must look past politics to see reality, and that states with recognizing that race is a biological reality.

Humanists versus naturalists

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Any person who has spent any time trying to get things done knows that the biggest enemy of achievement is the individual.

People space out, procrastinate, indulge in illusions, screw up, fall asleep, drop the ball, etc. The root of most of these problems is that they get lost in their own minds and forget that reality goes on without them.

If you’ve gone through this experience, you think humans should probably get a good reaming by reality because they so arrogantly, stupidly, and blindly ignore reality in favor of short-term social and monetary rewards. That’s the core of the human evil.

Now, there are these people called humanists who want us to be a law unto ourselves, and to put human concerns before concerns of the whole (humans + world around them, and not just in the present tense either):

The disagreement about values may be described in an over-simplified way as a disagreement between naturalists and humanists. Naturalists believe that nature knows best. For them the highest value is to respect the natural order of things. Any gross human disruption of the natural environment is evil. Excessive burning of fossil fuels is evil. Changing nature’s desert, either the Sahara desert or the ocean desert, into a managed ecosystem where giraffes or tunafish may flourish, is likewise evil. Nature knows best, and anything we do to improve upon Nature will only bring trouble.

The humanist ethic begins with the belief that humans are an essential part of nature. Through human minds the biosphere has acquired the capacity to steer its own evolution, and now we are in charge. Humans have the right and the duty to reconstruct nature so that humans and biosphere can both survive and prosper. For humanists, the highest value is harmonious coexistence between humans and nature. The greatest evils are poverty, underdevelopment, unemployment, disease and hunger, all the conditions that deprive people of opportunities and limit their freedoms. The humanist ethic accepts an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as a small price to pay, if world-wide industrial development can alleviate the miseries of the poorer half of humanity. The humanist ethic accepts our responsibility to guide the evolution of the planet.


I don’t side with the humanists because that’s like siding with solipsists. They ignore reality around them in favor of what they’d like to think.

For this reason, I’m more on the side of the naturalists, but I find human beings claiming to know what nature wants are usually full of shit.

Instead, I advocate design science: we pay attention to how reality works and fit into it. That means not destroying our environment, or ourselves.

It’s that simple.

Why the courts ignore rape

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Check out the anatomy of a disaster in formation:

The jury heard she drunk up to six bottles of wine before the pair had sex in her flat in Canterbury, Kent, in February last year.

The woman, who described herself in court as a ‘recreational binge drinker’, said she found Mr Bacon lying in her bed one morning with no memory of what had happened.

She immediately accused the university student – who was her friend’s housemate – of taking advantage of her, shouting that the law had been changed because of ‘f****** like you’.

In her interview, the woman said she would never have consented to sex with Mr Bacon because he was ‘not her type’, and she did not feel the need to ‘chase after a 20-something man’.

The Daily Mail

I am an unpopular realist; I say things that upset people because they know they’re true.

You drank six bottles of wine, woke up after sex had happened, and want us to assume the sex was not consensual because of your normal habits?

Lady, you didn’t exist at the time of intercourse. Your brain was obliterated by alcohol. You may or may not have made a choice, but no one can prove either way.

You’re the one who made yourself a victim here.

Why Libertarianism fails

Monday, March 30th, 2009

From an email response:

I don’t think liberty is a particularly desirable goal, because liberty is a negative state (“freedom from x,y,z”) not a positive, creative, abstract goal. I think that’s the critique most are avoiding; American conservatives love liberty because they intend it to mean, libertarian-style, freedom from parasites; in actuality, it’s a poor argument since liberty will soon be extended to those parasites and infrastructure/socialized cost will doom them.

The first step in learning logical argument is to separate what sounds good from what makes the structural changes you need.

Many things sound good. Hell, Communism sounds best, if you ask me: everyone has what they need, and no class war. Heck, Consumerism sounds just as good. Buy whatever you want, be happy, be obligated to nothing but yourself. A philosopher might say that if you look 300 steps down the line, they’re the same thing.

But then you have to look at the secondary impacts and consequences of your action, and its impacts 299 other steps down the line. When you do x today, what will happen when others respond to it? How will others re-interpret it in simpler ways, as they do with any philosophy?

Prozak’s law of decay: any ideology will be measured by history not by its most articulate and complex statement, but by the simplified form of it passed from one person to another in conversation.

There are lots of things that sound good, until you realize that they don’t address the actual problem. Why don’t people address the actual problem? Because that requires real re-ordering, and we don’t trust each other. We know irrational people will cause trouble, and that there are liars who will claim to do the right thing and then rip us off. But that’s a secondary reason. The real reason is that it rocks the boat, and that might disrupt what we have already, especially those small greedy pleasures that make our inner monkey glow.

Using green as an excuse to create the NWO

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

There’s a pattern in human affairs:

The cruelest manipulators hold out the prettiest symbols and visions, promising those if you just put them into power.

Like dogs rushing toward offal, the crowd eats it up and surges forward, then finds themselves in chains. “How did that happen? They didn’t say this was going to happen!” they say, and then happily go about their miserable lives because they never expected change anyway, nor would welcome it because it would challenge them.

A philosopher might say, “Verily, the appearance of things and their social symbols do not constitute a thing-in-itself, but instead the token of another mind’s processing of appearance.” But no one can understand that complexity anymore.

So it will happen again. Here’s one candidate. While I will always encourage green thinking and environmentalism of the oldest sort, Conservationism, I am suspicious of the motivations of the Crowd that has taken over the left, and suspect they will wreck the environment while using it as a symbol of their own righteousness and need for Power and Control.

A United Nations document on “climate change” that will be distributed to a major environmental conclave next week envisions a huge reordering of the world economy, likely involving trillions of dollars in wealth transfer, millions of job losses and gains, new taxes, industrial relocations, new tariffs and subsidies, and complicated payments for greenhouse gas abatement schemes and carbon taxes — all under the supervision of the world body.

Those and other results are blandly discussed in a discretely worded United Nations “information note” on potential consequences of the measures that industrialized countries will likely have to take to implement the Copenhagen Accord, the successor to the Kyoto Treaty, after it is negotiated and signed by December 2009. The Obama administration has said it supports the treaty process if, in the words of a U.S. State Department spokesman, it can come up with an “effective framework” for dealing with global warming.


I’m not blown away by our news media. They cheer one side or the other, but serve the same lobbyists and oligarchs. However, this is interesting enough to report for discussion.

Legalize it

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

A brief thought on legal drugs:

When I was a teenager, I thought drugs should be legalized and sold at the same prices. Why not just put that money toward government costs?

I thought I was really smart for telling people, “You know, people are going to take drugs anyway, and making them illegal just makes them more attractive, so legalize and < poof > the problem goes magically away!”

As I saw more of the world, I started to see how this scheme would become a scam like anything else. I then thought it would be best to legalize, nationalize and sell drugs at cost with no age restrictions. Not only enhance “freedom,” but let natural selection reign.

The more I see of life — not going to different places, but getting better at observing what’s been in front of me all this time — the more I think we need to segregate by type of lifestyle desired.

Some communities will want conservative living. This means you roughly follow European-style “Christian” morals: truthfulness, simple pleasures, hard work, cleanliness, monogamy/chastity, honor, collectivism, helping out those who have fallen prey of chance, and so on. This doesn’t include the liberal fantasy of finding the most screwed up people out there to try to “help” so you can prove to your friends what a good egalitarian altruist you are; it just means helping those in the community who have fallen into hard times… helping them out of those hard times.

For these people, legal drugs would be a big mistake and a bad idea. So, no legal drugs in those communities. If they’re smart they’ll ban alcohol, cigarettes and junk/fast food as well. Why not? They have at this point taken a stand to their values and these things are outside the scope.

I no longer believe problems go magically away through legislation. I expect this community would have drug problems, but it would have a punishment that’s actually effective: exile.

Yep, you don’t go to jail for doing drugs; you don’t get raped by bubbas and vatos and others in the joint; you don’t get called Satan. You just get told that your values system doesn’t match and you’ll be happier elsewhere. Gentle culling.

On the other hand, other communities would be liberal, and in those, having legal drugs would be a sacrament. They could pick how they’d want to implement it. This means that no one ever goes to jail or faces any penalty for using drugs. They would be drug free zones.

Twenty years down the road, we could look at each type of community and see which is the place we’d want to live in.

Chinese practicality

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

In the West, we get sticky about anything that involves death or inequality. In Asia, where overpopulation and brutality have been present for far longer, this is not an issue:

A corrupt local planning official with a taste for the high life, Yong solicited money from businessmen eager to expand in China’s economic boom.

But Yong, a portly, bespectacled figure, was caught by the Chinese authorities during a purge on corrupt local officials last year.

But there will be nothing ordinary about Yong’s death by lethal injection. Unless he wins an appeal, he will draw his final breath strapped inside a vehicle that has been specially developed to make executions more cost-effective and efficient.

Inside each ‘death van’ there is a dedicated team of doctors to ‘harvest’ the organs of the deceased. The injections leave the body intact and in pristine condition for such lucrative work.

After checking that the victim is dead, the medical team first remove the eyes. Then, wearing surgical gowns and masks, they remove the kidney, liver, pancreas and lungs.

Little goes to waste, though the heart cannot be used, having been poisoned by the drugs.

The Daily Mail

Western readers are getting ready to masturbate all over themselves with illusions that they are “more civilized” than those rodenty Chinese who kill and harvest just about anything, including each other.

But thinking practically, we’re awash in scumbags and idiots, why not slaughter them and harvest their organs? We have more violent criminals and corrupt officials than good ones here. Their organs could go to people suffering medical maladies, and their removal would be “green” in that fewer resources would be taken up, especially by people with no intent of contribution to society at large.

Go China!

Bad science on the march

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Scientists should be forced through philosophy classes so that they understand logical argument beyond a conflation of correlation and causation, such as polycausal argument:

The history of western civilization aside, humans are naturally polygamous. Polyandry (a marriage of one woman to many men) is very rare, but polygyny (the marriage of one man to many women) is widely practiced in human societies, even though Judeo-Christian traditions hold that monogamy is the only natural form of marriage. We know that humans have been polygynous throughout most of history because men are taller than women.

Among primate and nonprimate species, the degree of polygyny highly correlates with the degree to which males of a species are larger than females. The more polygynous the species, the greater the size disparity between the sexes. Typically, human males are 10 percent taller and 20 percent heavier than females. This suggests that, throughout history, humans have been mildly polygynous.

Relative to monogamy, polygyny creates greater fitness variance (the distance between the “winners” and the “losers” in the reproductive game) among males than among females because it allows a few males to monopolize all the females in the group. The greater fitness variance among males creates greater pressure for men to compete with each other for mates. Only big and tall males can win mating opportunities. Among pair-bonding species like humans, in which males and females stay together to raise their children, females also prefer to mate with big and tall males because they can provide better physical protection against predators and other males.

In societies where rich men are much richer than poor men, women (and their children) are better off sharing the few wealthy men; one-half, one-quarter, or even one-tenth of a wealthy man is still better than an entire poor man. As George Bernard Shaw puts it, “The maternal instinct leads a woman to prefer a tenth share in a first-rate man to the exclusive possession of a third-rate one.” Despite the fact that humans are naturally polygynous, most industrial societies are monogamous because men tend to be more or less equal in their resources compared with their ancestors in medieval times. (Inequality tends to increase as society advances in complexity from hunter-gatherer to advanced agrarian societies. Industrialization tends to decrease the level of inequality.)

Psychology Today

This giant pile of stupidity comes to us, we imagine, from someone who wishes he or she had more sex.

Let’s look at the bad logic, step by step:

The history of western civilization aside, humans are naturally polygamous.

Western Civilization was created by a different subspecies with different genetics than other groups. You need to study them separately.

Among primate and nonprimate species, the degree of polygyny highly correlates with the degree to which males of a species are larger than females. The more polygynous the species, the greater the size disparity between the sexes. Typically, human males are 10 percent taller and 20 percent heavier than females. This suggests that, throughout history, humans have been mildly polygynous.

There are multiple factors that influence height. One could be the degree of testosterone present in the womb; it doesn’t make sense to assign a result to an arbitrary cause like this. You need more intervening steps and greater knowledge of how height is coded and developed before you can make this sweeping statement.

Relative to monogamy, polygyny creates greater fitness variance (the distance between the “winners” and the “losers” in the reproductive game) among males than among females because it allows a few males to monopolize all the females in the group.

What about the fitness of the women? How does a society develop so that there are more fit women than men? Answer: it doesn’t, so you have one man impregnating many clueless women, producing half-clueless offspring.

In societies where rich men are much richer than poor men, women (and their children) are better off sharing the few wealthy men; one-half, one-quarter, or even one-tenth of a wealthy man is still better than an entire poor man.

No, they’re not, because the real question is how the children will be raised. In the view of science, we’re all rodents who want to fire and forget with our breeding; in reality, women of IQs above 100 tend to plan for the future as best they can. Being one wife of a rich man makes sense only if he’s a really rich man, but at that point, the child does not have much of an active father figure; a nuclear family makes more sense for the development of the child’s psychology.

And finally, the piece de resistance of BS argumentation:

Despite the fact that humans are naturally polygynous, most industrial societies are monogamous because men tend to be more or less equal in their resources compared with their ancestors in medieval times.

Western civilization was monogamous before Christianity and before industrialization.

He just shot his foot off.

Watch for more bad science like this. Being a scientist doesn’t mean someone is logical; it means they are rational, or can compare a single factor of many in “before” and “after” conditions. That’s how they confuse correlation with causation and make other, similar mistakes.

Scientists like to think that philosophy is memorizing logical fallacies. They generally are unaware of the complexity of argument or polycausal factors.

It makes them a bad choice as our experts and leaders.

Are we post-racial yet?

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

When I worked in journalism, one of my editors was fond of asking us whether we’d understood the question. For every story, he said, there was always a fundamental question at each moment (it changed over time) which revealed what we were afraid to face, and therefore, where the story was going to end.

I read Leonard Pitts not because I agree with him, although I think I’m with him for up to 40% of each column, but because he has his finger on the question most of the time. Of course, he only writes about a single issue: race, or being black in America. But still, notice how he nails it here.

Psychology professor Richard Eibach was reported last year in the Washington Post as having found that in judging racial progress, white people and black ones tend to use different yardsticks. Whites use the yardstick of how far we have come from the nation we used to be. Blacks use the yardstick of how far we have yet to go to be the nation we ought to be.

The most complete picture, of course, requires both measures. But who can be surprised that blacks and whites each tend to gravitate toward the measure that is most forgiving of their individual groups, that shoves the onus for change off on the other? The black yardstick, after all, leaves black people no obligation other than to demand justice and equality from white people. The white yardstick requires of white people only that they exhort black people to become more self-reliant and take more responsibility for their own problems.

But what if you are an American who realizes there is no either/or here, no need to buy into a false dichotomy that requires you to choose one yardstick over the other?


I have another supposition here for Mr. Pitts:

The white yardstick is the one white people apply to themselves. Caucasians are notoriously cold-blooded about failure; it happens, someone writes a poem, and then we move on. We know that people all around us fail. We’re used to see high intelligences become unstable and detonate. So we keep moving forward and trust in the reward for those who are smarter, stronger, healthier, and more disciplined than others.

We’ve applied the white yardstick to groups like Italians, the Irish, Greeks, etc. as they’ve come into our country. The reigning Caucasian hierarchy, which was like the founders of the USA English-German-Dutch, was not impressed with the places from which these people came, and figured that many would bring their failure with them, so discriminated against them. This discrimination worked like natural selection and winnowed out the failures, leaving the strongest from these populations.

Hint to black America: once white people feel the playing field is roughly level, they’re going to leave it up to nature. And now that we have a black president, a black billionaire, black people on TV and in the news, they feel it’s level. Sure, there are going to be some who pander to your vote, but the American middle class has moved on. In their view, slavery and the guilt-wound opened is over; they’re going to do what they do, and hope you do what you do well.

They’re also sick of this attitude:

If you hear racist sentiments being aired among white co-workers, question them on their statements.

Simply ask the person how they reached the conclusion they have about that ethnic or racial group. They will self-correct if they become uncomfortable often enough.

Obviously, the act of self-censoring isn’t a signal that they have been magically “cured” of their racism, but it will give them something to think about the next time they open their mouths. And self-censoring often enough may well cause them to reflect more deeply on their prejudices during quiet times at home. It’s a first step.

All of us (not just white folks) need to learn how to go beyond the concerns of the specific community to which we belong and recognize that when one group is discriminated against, it is an affront to us all.

Some profiteer

Not all of us agree it’s an affront to us all. We’re concerned with ourselves, our families, our local communities, and our communities of value (churches, programming guilds, National Guard, etc.). We view the right path as one that rewards the best and ignores or destroys the least healthy, intelligent, and disciplined/organized. That’s natural selection and we think it’s fair.

Race profiteering, or using implied white guilt to passive-aggressively extract money or power from them, is over. It died with the ascension of Barack Obama. It’s dying even harder as people are starting to look at our bankrupt government more critically, and realizing that our social welfare programs consume over a third of our budget and yet produce zero reward that’s lasting — in other words, that improves us as a society, instead of simply subsidizing our failures, whether they’re white or black or in-between.

Design versus control

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Design science is an interesting field spanning multiple human specializations. By altering the design, or abstract structure, of an object, society or individual, you can make it better without a marked increase in resources.

Imagine a human being gaining ten IQ points; suddenly, many things they used to do seem really pointless, and there are new challenges to shoot for. Now imagine a society that instead of being at war with itself, is able to find a balance and move onward to objectives outside of internal bickering.

If you do not improve design, your only other option is to keep forcing square pegs into round holes, which requires the application of blind force — whether that’s money, muscle or fear of law enforcement. Humanity is now at a crossroads between improving itself, and continuing to force its failed designs to advance limpingly.

The following quotation is interesting because like many of the things quoted here, it is an instant of clarity in a philosophy with which I share much in common, without being a devotee. People often ask “Are you a ______?” and hope I’ll answer for whatever tribe they’ve picked as their own, but the answer is that I’m not a libertarian, transhumanist, socialist, eugenicist, nationalist, etc. but have cherry-picked from each according to what I’ve learned from history and philosophy. ‘

While I respect the integrity of beliefs, modern people use them as adornments as if trying to show me that they’ve found the one truth path to enlightenment, and I’m only interested in results. Was Plato a socialist? Yes and no. Was Marcus Aurelius a libertarian? Yes and no. Nietzsche a eugenicist? Yes and no. Trying to shop for beliefs by category is a dead-end trick.

That being said, where truth is found in any of these beliefs, one finds a stepping stone to modulate between beliefs — a place where they agree, and from this agreement, each can interpret the other as a version if itself with slightly altered priorities. That’s where philosophy gets interesting.

To do this, we must study the possibilities of creating a more favourable social environment, as we have already done in large measure with our physical environment. We shall start from new premises. For instance, that beauty (some­thing to enjoy and something to be proud of) is indispensable, and therefore that ugly or depressing towns are immoral; that quality of people, not mere quantity, is what we must aim at, and therefore that a concerted policy is required to prevent the present flood of population-increase from wrecking all our hopes for a better world; that true understanding and enjoyment are ends in themselves, as well as tools for or relaxations from a job, and that therefore we must explore and make fully available the techniques of education and self-education; that the most ultimate satisfaction comes from a depth and wholeness of the inner life, and therefore that we must explore and make fully available the techniques of spiritual development; above all, that there are two complementary parts of our cosmic duty —one to ourselves, to be fulfilled in the realization and enjoyment of our capacities, the other to others, to be fulfilled in service to the community and in promoting the welfare of the generations to come and the advancement of our species as a whole.

The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself —not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way, but in its entirety, as humanity.

The point here is valid: if we sit around fighting over who gets what, we will not improve, and as time rushes on, we’ll decay.

We need a positive, abstract, design-based goal, like improving simultaneously the human individual and social design. This does not happen through Progressive ideals, which are essentially wealth redistribution; it happens by setting higher qualitative goals and shooting for those. More genius! More strength! More beauty! And more wisdom.

This will involve several components:

  • A more realistic social design.
  • Mental and moral discipline in the individual.
  • Biological improvement in the abilities, mainly g or general intelligence, of the individual.

Most people freak out at this point because they’re underconfident: but what if I don’t make the cut?

My answer is that there doesn’t need to be a cut. All we need to do is keep growing forward and rewarding the best examples of humanity, instead of sending them to dreary offices and then home to equally sterile and pointless gated communities to keep the hoi polloi out.

Here’s an example of an area for design improvement:

New research suggests that the layer of insulation coating neural wiring in the brain plays a critical role in determining intelligence. In addition, the quality of this insulation appears to be largely genetically determined, providing further support for the idea that IQ is partly inherited.

Thompson and his colleagues took DTI scans of 92 pairs of fraternal and identical twins. They found a strong correlation between the integrity of the white matter and performance on a standard IQ test. “Going forward, we are certainly going to think of white matter structure as an important contributor of intelligence,” says Van Wedeen, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who was also not involved in the research. “It also changes how you think about what IQ is measuring,” says Wedeen. The research was published last month in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Results showed that the quality of the white matter is highly genetically determined, although the influence of genetics varies by brain area. According to the findings, about 85 percent of the variation in white matter in the parietal lobe, which is involved in mathematics, logic, and visual-spatial skills, can be attributed to genetics. But only about 45 percent of the variation in the temporal lobe, which plays a central role in learning and memory, appears to be inherited.

Technology Review

As you can see from the article, our DNA determines our intelligence for the greatest part, and it’s up to us to nurture the rest and develop it to its best level. However, without the DNA coding for the raw intelligence, there’s no point exerting that effort.

If we made ourselves smarter as a species, our problems would decrease and we would feel better about ourselves as a species. The dumb stuff that people do now would be seen as obviously corrupt and with potential to end badly, and people would bypass it for more intelligent courses. Even more importantly, they’d stop buying really stupid products and insisting on really stupid services, which would gear our economy forward instead of toward self-parasitism.

The alternative is more control — more strong leaders, more media manipulation, and more fake experts:

A brain-scanning study of people making financial choices suggests that when given expert advice, the decision-making parts of our brains often shut down.

The problem with this, of course, is that the advice may not be good.

“When the expert’s advice made the least sense, that’s where we could see the behavioral effect,” said study co-author Greg Berns, an Emory University neuroscientist. “It’s as if people weren’t using their own internal value mechanisms.”


When the advice is at its worst, we don’t understand it, but accept it because the person is an expert and now we have someone else to blame.

Wow. That’s control in a nutshell. When we are in a relationship, we’ll often let the other person take charge, and then blame them when it doesn’t work out. We gladly delegate to our leaders but when things don’t turn out, we ask for their heads. And so on.

Most people would rather be controlled than think about altering their designs. Things as they now exist are tangible and comfortingly familiar; anything that requires we stretch ourselves, or reward someone for rising above, can be negative unless that person did it through “hard work” or other illusions that seem equally accessible to us. Control can be justified as necessary, with the unspoken caveat that it’s going to apply to the other guy — we, the wiser monkey, will game the system.

Here’s an American pragmatist, much in the line of Plato and Aristotle, writing about the literal reality of making a civilization that does not head toward failure:

Let the will of the state act, then, instead of that of the individual. Let an institution be created which shall have for its object to keep correct doctrines before the attention of the people, to reiterate them perpetually, and to teach them to the young; having at the same time power to prevent contrary doctrines from being taught, advocated, or expressed. Let all possible causes of a change of mind be removed from men’s apprehensions. Let them be kept ignorant, lest they should learn of some reason to think otherwise than they do. Let their passions be enlisted, so that they may regard private and unusual opinions with hatred and horror. Then, let all men who reject the established belief be terrified into silence. Let the people turn out and tar-and-feather such men, or let inquisitions be made into the manner of thinking of suspected persons, and when they are found guilty of forbidden beliefs, let them be subjected to some signal punishment. When complete agreement could not otherwise be reached, a general massacre of all who have not thought in a certain way has proved a very effective means of settling opinion in a country. If the power to do this be wanting, let a list of opinions be drawn up, to which no man of the least independence of thought can assent, and let the faithful be required to accept all these propositions, in order to segregate them as radically as possible from the influence of the rest of the world.

This method has, from the earliest times, been one of the chief means of upholding correct theological and political doctrines, and of preserving their universal or catholic character. In Rome, especially, it has been practised from the days of Numa Pompilius to those of Pius Nonus. This is the most perfect example in history; but wherever there is a priesthood — and no religion has been without one — this method has been more or less made use of. Wherever there is an aristocracy, or a guild, or any association of a class of men whose interests depend, or are supposed to depend, on certain propositions, there will be inevitably found some traces of this natural product of social feeling. Cruelties always accompany this system; and when it is consistently carried out, they become atrocities of the most horrible kind in the eyes of any rational man. Nor should this occasion surprise, for the officer of a society does not feel justified in surrendering the interests of that society for the sake of mercy, as he might his own private interests. It is natural, therefore, that sympathy and fellowship should thus produce a most ruthless power.

In judging this method of fixing belief, which may be called the method of authority, we must, in the first place, allow its immeasurable mental and moral superiority to the method of tenacity. Its success is proportionately greater; and, in fact, it has over and over again worked the most majestic results. The mere structures of stone which it has caused to be put together — in Siam, for example, in Egypt, and in Europe — have many of them a sublimity hardly more than rivaled by the greatest works of Nature. And, except the geological epochs, there are no periods of time so vast as those which are measured by some of these organized faiths. If we scrutinize the matter closely, we shall find that there has not been one of their creeds which has remained always the same; yet the change is so slow as to be imperceptible during one person’s life, so that individual belief remains sensibly fixed. For the mass of mankind, then, there is perhaps no better method than this. If it is their highest impulse to be intellectual slaves, then slaves they ought to remain.

Charles S. Peirce, The Fixation of Belief (1877)

It’s interesting how thinkers of the past saw our present calamities coming, and warned others, but people had the option to simply turn off their brains and so they did in order to avoid difficult truths that impeded socialization.

As a means for the preserving of the individual, the intellect unfolds its principle powers in dissimulation, which is the means by which weaker, less robust individuals preserve themselves-since they have been denied the chance to wage the battle for existence with horns or with the sharp teeth of beasts of prey, This art of dissimulation reaches its peak in man. Deception, flattering, lying, deluding, talking behind the back, putting up a false front, living in borrowed splendor, wearing a mask, hiding behind convention, playing a role for others and for oneself-in short, a continuous fluttering around the solitary flame of vanity-is so much the rule and the law among men that there is almost nothing which is less comprehensible than how an honest and pure drive for truth could have arisen among them. They are deeply immersed in illusions and in dream images; their eyes merely glide over the surface of things and see “forms.” Their senses nowhere lead to truth; on the contrary, they are content to receive stimuli and, as it were, to engage in a groping game on the backs of things.

What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and; anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding. Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions- they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force, coins which have lost their embossing and are now considered as metal and no longer as coins.

There are ages in which the rational man and the intuitive man stand side by side, the one in fear of intuition, the other with scorn for abstraction. The latter is just as irrational as the former is inartistic. They both desire to rule over life: the former, by knowing how to meet his principle needs by means of foresight, prudence, and regularity; the latter, by disregarding these needs and, as an “overjoyed hero,” counting as real only that life which has been disguised as illusion and beauty. Whenever, as was perhaps the case in ancient Greece, the intuitive man handles his weapons more authoritatively and victoriously than his opponent, then, under favorable circumstances, a culture can take shape and art’s mastery over life can be established. All the manifestations of such a life will be accompanied by this dissimulation, this disavowal of indigence, this glitter of metaphorical intuitions, and, in general, this immediacy of deception: neither the house, nor the gait, nor the clothes, nor the clay jugs give evidence of having been invented because of a pressing need.

Friedrich W. Nietzsche, On Truth and Lies in a Non-Moral Sense (1873)

Notice how Nietzsche stresses beauty, as Huxley did, and much as Peirce suggested a society moving forward toward a goal not bound in servitude to past failure? They are saying: discard linear rationality, and instead, look toward a whole picture as you might find in art or sentience itself. Do not break your thought down into little logical steps; make use of your big brain to consider many factors at once, and aim not to reconcile the present but to grow toward the future!

I suggest that instead of doing that, we’ve embarked on the path of control since the industrial revolution, and that we’re seeing how it’s not working. It requires people to put their brains on hold, accept expert advice, and then blame the experts who oversimplified the process in the first place so everyone could understand it. It also is a negative goal; it doesn’t aim for something new, but for re-shuffling of what we already have.

Instead, we need to create the new and beautiful, in ourselves, our society and our world. That way, we escape control, but gain a sense of increased self-esteem and purpose, and are able to see ourselves in a new plan without the failings of the old because it aims at tomorrow and not yesterday.

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