Monday, August 13, 2018

Dhimmis in the Making

Donald Trump pretends to be a strong guy, even admiring actual strongmen, but what will he do when confronted with an opportunity to stand for civil rights, etc.?  He caves like all modern negotiators.

Erdogan's security detail assaulted and sent people to the hospital, on American soil during his last visit.  Did that change Trump's tune toward him?  Not at all.  Did it change Obama's tune toward Erdogan when his security detail assaulted people outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington during his watch?  Not at all.  They are both cowards who refuse to stand up for the pride of America and her citizens.

This last week, Saudi Arabia decided to recall all ambassadors over a tweet by the Canadian prime minister calling for the release of a Saudi civil rights activist.  If our leaders were men and women of courage and conviction, every Western leader would coordinate a response repeating the same tweet in solidarity with Canada for representing Western values.

I'm not holding my breath.  We are led by craven cowards more interested in feathering their own nest than preserving freedom in their home territories.

As an aside, Canada only did this because they viewed it as consequence free virtue signalling.  They are busy going after their own ideological heretics at home (e.g., Trinity Western University, Jordan Peterson, and anyone like Lindsay Shepherd who dares propose that his ideas are open for discussion).

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/12/saudi-arabia-spat-canada-mohammed-bin-salman-true-colours



Tuesday, July 24, 2018

CS Lewis, Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris, Douglas Murray and the Quest for Religious Truth


I took my oldest kid to see a play about CS Lewis last week because I wanted him to get a small taste incredible intellects that have accepted and propounded upon Christianity for the last 2000 years.  A man who can read Homer in the Greek, Virgil in the Latin, the German skeptics in the German, Dante in the Italian, and Voltaire in the French (and understand them) is not a man to be scoffed at or dismissed out of hand.  Intellectuals today often dismiss Genesis as irrelevant fable and act as if Darwin put the nail in the coffin of Judaism and Christianity by proving that the Bible isn’t literally true, but everyone who knows anything about Christian history knows that great men like Augustine and Origen acknowledged the allegorical nature of Genesis 1500+ years before Darwin.  It is only straw men that Sam Harris is fighting with, but his near absolute ignorance of history and ancient cultures doesn’t allow him to see that.

And this is why I find Jordan Peterson such a frustrating intellectual adversary for Sam Harris.  He almost *never* references writings outside of the psychological literature which are older than say the mid 1850’s.  Formed in youth by fundamentalists who took Genesis literally, he knows little about the cultures into which the Bible was given.  His interpretations of Scripture are focused on the psychological and often lack any sort of depth or understanding beyond the psychological.  It’s like he’s spent his entire career studying the Great Salt Lake as a biologist and is purporting to explain what life in Oceans is like.  This is still better than Sam Harris, who pretends that seeing a few puddles in the desert gives him the knowledge necessary to dismiss the existence of oceans, but it is a far cry from a truly intellectual take on religion.

What Jordan Peterson does get, similar to Douglas Murray, is that the “moral atheism” Sam Harris propounds is impotent to stand in the way of truly murderous political ideologies like atheistic Marxism and deistic Islam.  The “moral atheism” of Sam Harris leads men to wealth through the study and application of science when instantiated in cultures such as ours, but it is inherently unstable because it relies on a moral and cultural framework inherited from his Judeo-Christian ancestors.  When that broad societal Judeo Christian moral foundation is cut off from its source, there is little to help people find meaning and the moral framework necessary to maintain an open and free society.  A few people might be able to do so, drawing on the wisdom of the past (usually their christian societal roots), but broad society can’t.  Lacking meaning and purpose, Europe can’t even reproduce enough to perpetuate their culture.  Such cultures are unfit for survival according to the 2nd of Darwin’s twin pillars: sexual selection.  And what will replace the western culture we’ve built?  I think we’re getting a taste of it now: tribal warfare.  We can try and sanitize it, but make no mistake, we are headed for a very nasty future if society doesn’t come up with a way to help people find meaning and purpose and build actual families with children.  In a world where 20% of women *never* have a child, the average woman needs to bear 2.7 children to maintain population levels.  Short of that, populations shrink and cultures wither and die.  It may take a few centuries, and it may appear to not be so bad at first due to immigration from cultures that haven’t yet succumbed to the meaningless that doesn’t even allow people to reproduce, but population decline is a geometric function just like population growth.  Once it gets going, it is very difficult to stop.  And how will countries respond to aggressive cultures which believe in polygamy and send their excess men abroad in an acknowledged bid of conquest?

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/youngfogey/2018/07/sam-harris-asks-questions-jordan-peterson-cant-answer/



Sunday, July 22, 2018

Maternal Brain Changes

I read a fascinating article the other day.  Apparently, women's brains change so much after childbirth that researchers are able to distinguish between women who had given birth and a control group of women who hadn't just by looking at brain scans, and the changes were persistent enough that they could still distinguish between mothers and non-mothers two years later, from brain scans alone. 

Also, "the more brain change the mothers experienced, the higher they scored on measures of emotional attachment to their babies, a finding that echoed past studies. And the changes in most brain regions remained two years later.

The researchers also scanned men, those who became fathers during the study period and those who did not have a child, and found no comparable change in gray matter volume. (Other studies have found that fathers, including gay fathers raising children without maternal involvement, experience significant changes in brain activity, but those changes depend on exposure to the child. The more time a man spends as primary caregiver, the more activated the parental network in his brain becomes, and researchers suspect a similar effect may be present for others in a parental role.)

The brain scans seemed to validate the rapid, pronounced, long-lasting change in mothers that a much bigger body of animal research has found. Reviewing a range of studies, Pawluski and her coauthors wrote in a 2016 paper that as a developmental period, pregnancy is as formative as puberty.  “Under healthy conditions, the female brain transforms into a motivated, maternal mechanism,” they wrote."

I'm convinced that females evolved not to optimize female performance alone but the mother-infant duality.  Connections like this pop up all the time, and we ignore them at our peril.  I'd be very curious to see the nature of the changes in gay men who are full time caregivers compared to new moms.  I'd bet $1000 that they aren't as widespread or persistent.  That's just now how primates evolved.  Mothers really are irreplaceable.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Social Progress


“There were a lot of tears when it came time to put my 3 month old daughter in daycare,” my old coworker told me.  “But I told my wife that she’s the one with the title ‘Dr.’ in front of her name.  If anyone is going to be staying home with the baby, it is me.”

I shut my mouth and tried to keep a straight face as I turned back to my monitor to check on the test data.  It was a professional environment, and I didn’t want to come off as judgmental toward people I’m working with on an important job, but my gut clenched up, and I died a little inside after hearing him say that.

Does my old coworker really think that men and women are interchangeable to the extent that it doesn’t matter who stays home with the infant?  Doesn’t he see that a woman who wants to stay home so badly that she is crying is actually more suited to do so?  Doesn’t he understand that a woman’s body is flooded with ocytocin bonding hormones as she breastfeeds that baby, creating a bond so tight that it would provoke this reaction, and that, no, it isn’t the same to just place the infant in the hands of another adult, even the father?  Doesn’t he see that the personality differences that we can measure between men and women are in large there because of the mother-infant duality, and that they are often most pronounced in such settings?  Are the cars and fabulous house really worth more than his wife’s and infant’s happiness?  Couldn’t he have suggested instead that if she really wanted to stay home with the baby, then they could think about how to reprioritize their lives?  He makes more money than me.  Together, they are a power couple.  But no, he didn’t think it was a viable option. 

In an age of modern day feminism and empowered womanhood, this is what we get.  Women doctors who return to work full-time instead of part-time or taking an extended leave of absence because the men in their lives expect them to be providers.

I can’t help but think that we are putting a woke feminist label on the age-old barbarous practice of ripping infants from the arms of their crying mothers.





Friday, June 08, 2018

FB and Silicon Valley vs. Privacy

The NYT has a great piece on privacy and social networks/phone manufacturers.  I've been thinking a lot about this, but I'm not sure which way to go.  There don't seem to be very good replacements for social media apps.  Blogging was clearly a better way to disseminate and discuss information than FB.  However, part of its usefulness was that people actually used it.  Will people return if they abandon FB.  I'm doubtful, but I honestly think something has to change.  The manipulation of people through artificial newsfeed sorting and the blacklisting of "fake news" stories which are actually true (e.g., the suppression of Live Action undercover videos of PP employees discussing the sale of baby body parts) is also very problematic on social media sites run by far left silicon valley liberals.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/06/03/technology/facebook-device-partners-users-friends-data.html

When You Ignore Biological Differences, Women and Children Lose

Two biological males placed first and second in the Connecticut state open track meet 100 meter dash running as girls (and setting a meet record). At what point do we admit as a society that it is freaking crazy to allow them to compete? Bone structure matters. Going through puberty as a male matters. Science and biology matter, and frankly the feelings of the biological girls who can never win no matter how much they train matter, too. The arrogance of our media and political elites who have decided that science, biology and the feelings of biological females don't matter in transgender issues can really rub average folks the wrong way. It is emblematic of their arrogance in so many other areas.

Terry Miller setting a girl's CT state open meet record in the 100 meter dash with another biological male (Andraya Yearwood) coming in 2nd.
https://twitter.com/GameTimeCT/status/1003739370736816129

Terry Miller setting a girl's Ct state open meet record in the 200 meter dash.

https://twitter.com/GameTimeCT/status/1003750542294822913

The misogyny present in modern day liberalism frightens me, to be honest. A year ago I was writing about how James Damore's acknowledgement of gender differences in how men and women prioritize and balance work/family life was viewed as a "weakness" for women by liberals. Today, we are told that it is fair for men to compete with women in events like the 100 meter dash, so apparently we aren't allowed to acknowledge that women really are physically weaker than men and that biology plays a role in that.  This is exactly backwards.  Yes, women are physically weaker than men.  However, condemning people as weak for choosing family life over work is really messed up, and a moral judgment with no basis in science, but it's OK for the mainstream press to say that.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Women Weaker than Men?


By now, probably everybody has heard of James Damore.  If you haven't, here's an article he wrote that basically got him fired from Google. (source, full pdf).  What I find curious are how the news articles I read contrast  with his actual writing: either by misrepresenting what he said or by pushing views that are actually more biased than anything Damore wrote.  Take this article, for instance.  The author states clearly that he thinks traditional female preferences are indicative of "weakness."

"at 4 pm PT, the tech giant will hold an all-hands meeting to discuss the firing of James Damore and the controversial internal memo he wrote about women and their biological weaknesses related to tech that got him canned from the company." (source)

Note again that word "weakness."  James Damore never wrote about biological weaknesses.  He wrote about statistical preferences and choices that men and women make.  I would be surprised if he did consider the various preferences of men and women a sign of "weakness."

This bothers me because it denigrates the choices women make more often than men.  Are only the choices which more men make than women indicative of strength?  Are women weak if they want to drop out of the workforce to raise their children?  Studies say a majority of women with children under 18 would prefer to be a homemaker.  The number of men who prefer to do so is much, much smaller.  Does this make women weaker than men?
Then there are the routine misrepresentations of the Damore article.  Here's one misrepresentation by the Google CEO, "To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK."

Damore never did that.  He clearly stated that googlers were different than average people.  He also clearly stated that one could never assume things about individuals based on group averages.  I'm pretty sure that applies to small, non-representative subsets of women, such as one finds at Google.  He was simply making the argument that individual choices driven in part by biology would make absolute equality of numbers impossible in the workplace without coercive efforts that ignore women's preferences and are unresponsive to their needs.  He also suggested some ways to increase workforce participation that would be non-coercive in nature.


Here's another misrepresentation, "
The 10-page treatise also claims that biological difference between men and women are responsible for the underrepresentation of women in the tech industry."

Again, not what he said.  He said it was partly responsible.  He readily admitted that sexism exists and should be rooted out.  He just didn't think it was the whole story and thought that assuming it was the whole story misdiagnosed the problem and would have negative consequences.


Damore's firing and the misrepresentation of his viewpoints to justify that firing do not bode well for free speech in this country.  It also points to the fact that the greatest danger to free speech right now is not government but the business community.  Heck, even when the government does come down against free speech, it is often at the behest of powerful business interests (e.g., religious freedom protection acts being struck down).


I care about this issue because I have a daughter and am trying to figure out how to raise her in such a way that her choices, options, and happiness in life are maximized/optimized.  I've actively encouraged her to pursue STEM fields, even though she has said she wants to be a teacher, because I think STEM subjects are the least likely to be tainted with ideological biases that corrupt students and ultimately make them unhappy.  For a long time, I've been keeping my eyes out for female STEM mentors and have actively reached out to them in preparation for her getting older.  However, I know that in doing so, I'm encouraging her to take a longer route to getting a degree in her primary interest (MS in education) and wonder if her choice to change fields will be viewed by feminists and their ideological supporters as a sign of "weakness."


I hope not.