Quote note (#217)

If ‘scientism’ is about ignoring these objections, and exploring reality with absolute contempt for all constraint, then the XS posture is unreservedly scientistic:

Scientific inquiry into the truth about human nature is a worthy part of the modern scientific project, and one that deserves our support. However, it is not morally neutral. Scientists who want to study human nature must justify their research in moral terms: What might this research tell us about who we are as human beings, and what might it mean for how we should live? Trying to separate the moral questions from the results of inquiry by claiming that all the moral questions are already settled would make scientific inquiry both irresponsible and irrelevant. Making such claims is irresponsible because it ignores the reality that many people in society who see things differently may use the claims for pernicious ends. But it is also an admission of irrelevance. Why inquire about human nature if not in the service of the Socratic question of how we should live? An open-minded dedication to free inquiry into the truth, notwithstanding the barriers of taboos, traditions, and authority, is admirable — but real open-mindedness also calls for recognizing when taboos, traditions, and authorities embody reason and goodness and deserve our respect.

There are no authorities that can be trusted to impose these qualifications, or trusted to be able to impose them. The more radically immunized to all such considerations science can be, the more we’re going to learn things, and if what we discover deeply upsets us — better still. If there’s a “trust us” in there somewhere, its credibility was already long dead and stinking by the late 20th century. Whether delegitimated through epistemological malignancy, or social fecklessness, there are no public institutions or authorities left that deserve an iota of trust today.

Scientists are flaky monkeys, to be tormented by cold criticism, but science is a work of Gnon. Best then, to do what’s going to be done. Strip truth down to the basics — where it means only reality claims capable of withstanding rigorous, non-orchestrated criticism (and ultimately Nakamoto consensus) — or get out of the way, before you’re pushed. Truth curation is over (and was already, virtually, half a millennium ago).

February 8, 2016admin 46 Comments »
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46 Responses to this entry

  • Aristocles Invictus Says:

    Science in it’s modern form is a work of the White man, not of Gnon. If you wish to attribute aspects of science to being in the service of Gnon I agree. No need to cloud the origin with mysticism.

    [Reply]

    frank Reply:

    I take it you haven’t seen any research lab then?

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 8th, 2016 at 4:07 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    Scientists who want to study human nature must justify their research in moral terms: What might this research tell us about who we are as human beings, and what might it mean for how we should live?

    This is a terrible idea for the same reason censorship is a bad idea: it pre-emptively narrows the field of thought to an approved set of solutions, which breaks cause-effect reasoning by forcing us to choose from among existing options and then rationalize those. That would drive a whole culture crazy… oh wait, it has 😉

    [Reply]

    bomag Reply:

    But we’ll always have such rules, even if they are implicit. We don’t build and explode a cobalt 60 bomb in the name of science; we don’t run dangerous experiments on random humans.

    It comes back to what is reasonable and prudent.

    [Reply]

    Different T Reply:

    It comes back to what is reasonable and prudent.

    Interesting. Granted the specific article in question was referencing “Scientific inquiry into the truth about human nature,” it may still have similar implications as those regarding physical sciences.

    It really appears that “scientists” are battling for their own “private kingdom within the kingdom.” IOW, scientists wanting to be sovereign over science, while still operating within a system ruled by another force. Science, not as means, but as ends.

    The primary weakness of the quoted article is that it “attacks” the very field in which it is most difficult to ascertain externalities. For instance, there may be physical experiments that would provide vast amounts of new knowledge or at least lines of inquiry, but the risks cannot be insured. Externalities in the social sciences are likely the most difficult to quantify, let alone insure.

    Yet even this analysis would seem “prejudiced” to a “true scientist” as it presupposes the superiority of property over scientific truth.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 8th, 2016 at 4:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • Chris B Says:

    This I like – “The book’s title refers to a relic of Galileo’s actual finger that Dreger saw on a trip to Italy as a graduate student, the symbolic import of which is rather obvious. Galileo, for Dreger, stood up for truth, objectivity, and facts, often in an abrasive and arrogant manner, against what Dreger anachronistically calls “Catholic identity politics.” Rather than assuming “authorities know what they’re talking about,” Galileo made the case “for finding truth together through the quest for facts.”
    O look at that, and what objective findings did he find? the universe revolves around the sun…o wait…that’s not right. As for – “Dreger contends that when, in our own day, scientists collect evidence that points us toward counterintuitive conclusions with consequences that are difficult to accept — for example, the idea that our understanding of the distinction between the sexes is rooted more in social construction than in biology — then we should follow Galileo’s example by encouraging our interlocutors to “think harder.”” – science being used as a means to legitimize faggotry? Almost as if it is not objective, and not a neutral “fact” at all. Science is fetid pile of nonsense which nobody can even explain properly that is wielded as a tool for political purposes. The digress into the founding fathers in the middle of the article, and their rabid empiricism (“science geeks”) is interesting though.

    [Reply]

    SanguineEmpiricist Reply:

    No, science is extremely successful and alongside anglo capitalism it is responsible for bettering the material conditions of all our fellow men. It must be emphasized that NIO also rejects ‘Singapore’ as just another democracy, when it is clearly doing very well.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    You seriously think technology is orthogonal to capitalism? (Industrialization — the diagonal — strongly suggests otherwise.)

    [Reply]

    SanguineEmpiricist Reply:

    you have your causation wrong, industry makes technology not the other way around. saying ‘false’ with as much sharpness as you did should be reserved for those that have a clue.

    [Reply]

    Ahote Reply:

    @admin
    What is your opinion on this?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Seems weird that England, which got the industrial revolution first, is being accused of delaying it.

    Controversial — especially in these parts — I know, but I don’t think self-propelling industrialization could have arisen in a Catholic society. Too much collective social dampening (similar to the Chinese case — the ‘Needham Problem’). Reformation and Modernity are indissolubly connected. Weber is probably unfashionable, but on this point he’s almost certainly correct (if not, quite, for the reasons he gives).

    Ahote Reply:

    @admin

    Thanks. Knowing that it was the Catholic Late Scholastics (they refuted labor theory of value back in 1499) that were the first intellectual advocates of laissez-faire in the West, I think there still is something to Weber’s thesis depending on what we mean by Capitalism (i.e. if we don’t consider “capitalism” to be just a placeholder for “free markets”). Rothbard writes in introduction to the second volume of “An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought”:
    “Conversely, it is no accident that the Austrian School, the major challenge to the Smith-Ricardo vision, arose in a country that was not only solidly Catholic, but whose values and attitudes were still heavily influenced by Aristotelian and Thomist thought. The German precursors of the Austrian School flourished, not in Protestant and anti-Catholic Prussia, but in those German states that were either Catholic or were politically allied to Austria rather than Prussia.”

    So if anything Catholics were more free-market than Calvinists, but at the same time, it seems that you’re right, Catholic countries lagged behind Calvinist ones in industrialization, the case of Austria-Hungary:
    “The gross national product per capita grew roughly 1.76% per year from 1870 to 1913. That level of growth compared very favorably to that of other European nations such as Britain (1%), France (1.06%), and Germany (1.51%). However, in a comparison with Germany and Britain, the Austro-Hungarian economy as a whole still lagged considerably, as sustained modernization had begun much later.”

    Seems that Catholics, unlike Calvinists weren’t obsessed with production, and would’ve been perfectly content with free markets and zero industry.

    [Reply]

    reactionaryfuture Reply:

    @Sanguine Singapore is a democracy by all metrics (including its name,) and it is failing badly by virtue of having a falty understanding of humans. If you can’t even keep the damn thing reporducing, you have failed at step one and will die.

    [Reply]

    SanguineEmpiricist Reply:

    it’s the ‘just another’ part that’s doing it in. it’s doing really well. people allocate their time on other things instead of child-rearing, and it’s below replacement level, it’s not plummeting to the ground, as long as there is a correction on the horizon then there’s nothing wrong w/ variance with fertility rates.

    [Reply]

    frank Reply:

    Singapore is built on thoroughly democratic principles. Sooner or later they’ll see it all the way to the logical conclusion.

    Posted on February 8th, 2016 at 5:49 pm Reply | Quote
  • michael Says:

    bottom line is science is undermining leftist values and will have to go, like all obsolete leftist tools you will discouraged from thinking too hard about the past.Meanwhile I see bey once and a troop performed the superbowl half time in Black pantherette outfits then gave the black power salute to the flag. The revolution apparently is now televised

    [Reply]

    vxxc2014 Reply:

    That’s about as much a Revolution televised as North Korean Juche pageantry.

    That was a religious celebration and Red Square combined.

    Too bad the country remains mostly White. Worse it now knows it.

    Bye Beyonce. Idiot.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 8th, 2016 at 7:31 pm Reply | Quote
  • Kwisatz Haderach Says:

    The brighter lefties are finally starting to understand that cheap sequencing has already produced a more or less complete vindication of human biological determinism.

    [Reply]

    Jesse M. Reply:

    What does “biological determinism” mean in this context? The main political controversy around biological determinism has to do with IQ–are you including that in your statement? If so, do you mean that a trait like IQ is entirely determined by one’s genes at an individual level, rather than genetics accounting for around 70% of the variance in families with high socioeconomic status (much lower for those of low SES), as twin studies tend to indicate? Or do you mean that while environment plays a significant role in determining IQ differences between individuals, average IQ differences between racial groups are entirely due to genetic differences rather than environmental ones? If the latter, as far as I know the expectations of the “scientific racists” haven’t been vindicated at all, in that there is no evidence of any genes that significantly raise IQ and are present in some racial groups but not others. In fact the best model of the relation between genes and IQ seems to be a highly polygenic one in which you have thousands of different genes that individually only raise IQ by some tiny fraction of a single point (see the posts here and here for example), and as far as I know there haven’t been any studies that look at the frequencies of such genes in different populations and show that there are statistical differences in gene frequencies that accurately predict the populations’ different average IQs.

    [Reply]

    Kwisatz Haderach Reply:

    ” genetics accounting for around 70% of the variance in families” – That is one of the most important findings.

    “Or do you mean that while environment plays a significant role in determining IQ differences between individuals,” “Non-shared environment” is a catch-all for anything that we know came neither from your genes and nor which house you were raised in. Since “which house you were raised in” is practically the whole of “environment” from a developmental point of view, “non-shared environment” is a label for random noise.

    Outside of certain mineral deficiencies which plague supremely malnourished children, such as iodine deficiency, there are no known interventions that can increase the IQ of a healthy human at any stage of life. This is the dismal science of biological determinism.

    As far as race, we “scientific racists” care far less about it than you seem to. We no longer have a need for it, as we have a more precise method of analysis. We refer to population structure, the method of categorizing human populations into groups based on statistical analysis of their disequilibrium linkages (haplogroups). That this structure maps cleanly onto folk notions of race is in fact a vindication of racism, (race is real), but then the average Joe never needed a Ph.D. to see that blacks and whites are appreciably different kinds of organisms. It’s only for the smarter sort that all of this math is necessary.

    We already know that variation in intelligence is caused by genes, we know that different populations have distinct gene frequencies. Highly polygenic is no impediement at all to the theory of biological determinism. It only means we’ve had to wait a few more years to name the specific genes and effect sizes. As soon as we know them then we can go back to the haplogroups (already well characterized on per-allele level), and say exactly how many more high-performing alleles the average white has than the average black. But really, there is no need, except to crush the last pathetic resistance from the goodthinkers. We already know the IQs of the races and we already know that IQ is caused by genes (plus a bit of random noise). It is enough.

    But don’t worry. If you can get Socially Just Science online before the individual genes are named, then they might never be. Then you can go on with your fingers stuck in your ears, eyes tightly shut, whispering past the graveyard. At least, until the Chinese take over the mantle of scientism and publish.

    [Reply]

    Jesse M. Reply:

    ” genetics accounting for around 70% of the variance in families” – That is one of the most important findings.

    OK, but a 30% environmental influence on the IQ of an individual doesn’t sound like “biological determinism”, and of course that result is from one study while others have found the environmental contribution to be larger, 40% or 50% for example. And you snipped my point about how socioeconomic status has a large effect on the relative importance of genes and environment–it’s mentioned here for example that in a twin study by Eric Turkheimer, “When they divided the sample in half at the median level of SES, the researchers found that heritability of IQ was 72% in the upper half of the SES distribution but only 10% in the lower half.” And most of that 50% below the median US income would not have been living in total poverty, so I don’t imagine malnutrition can be the primary explanation here.

    “Non-shared environment” is a catch-all for anything that we know came neither from your genes and nor which house you were raised in. Since “which house you were raised in” is practically the whole of “environment” from a developmental point of view

    So your argument rests on an a priori theoretical claim that the only possible environmental influence must be which house you were raised in, one which you don’t feel the need to support with any empirical evidence? There are other potential environmental influences that have been proposed by scientists, like the possibility that school-age peers matter far more than family as an environmental influence (this was the proposal of Judith Rich Harris, who is known for a review of the literature that assembled a great deal of evidence that the environmental influence on IQ that’s known to exists does not seem to be primarily due to how the parents raise the child…Steven Pinker mentions in this talk that studies seem to show only 0-10% of variation in IQ can be attributed to the home, so if the total variation due to environment is more like 30-50%, that means most of the environmental influence is not due to the home environment).

    Outside of certain mineral deficiencies which plague supremely malnourished children, such as iodine deficiency, there are no known interventions that can increase the IQ of a healthy human at any stage of life. This is the dismal science of biological determinism.

    You’re talking specifically about programs like head start that don’t aim to change the whole cultural context the child finds themselves in (all the habits and attitudes and interests that are influenced by friends and adults both in and out of the family and perhaps the media as well), and of course it’s very difficult in most cases to perform an intervention that will control for such cultural effects. But in cases where it is possible to do something like a controlled shift in culture, it’s often appears to have a large effect. For example, read the google book excerpt here about two low “caste” groups in Japan–the Burakumin, who seem to be racially indistinguishable from other Japanese but have traditionally been assigned an outsider status, and ethnic Koreans whose ancestors were brought in as forced labor–and how while living in Japan they are observed to have significantly lower scores on IQ tests or other standardized tests which correlate well with IQ. But in both cases, when members of this group are raised in the United States, their test performance becomes just as good as those of Japanese immigrants. Another form of evidence for the importance of shifts in culture can be seen in cases where the IQ in a given country increases significantly over a few decades even though the people of that country were never suffering from malnutrition or extreme poverty, nor has there been an influx of immigrants–a number of examples in Europe are listed here. And hopefully you are also familiar with the Flynn effect–do you think the explanation for that is changing genes?

    In the case of the black-white IQ gap, one can point to a number of data points that favor a cultural explanation, like the study discussed here in which immigrants to Seattle from a variety of sub-saharan African countries did significantly better on standardized tests than their African-American peers (and these immigrants were refugees from war, not from families that had been selected by education or skills). Or how about the study discussed in this article: “Flynn believes that the data show that the black/white gap is closing—that the average IQ scores of black Americans are rising faster than those of whites. And he began his talk at AEI by describing a study done by a German psychometrician who tested the IQs of 170 white and 69 half-black children left behind in Germany by American GIs. The average score for the white kids was 97 and 96.5 for the half-black kids. Flynn pointed out that the black German kids would probably have had a harder time in German society, yet they scored almost identically to their white counterparts. If the Eyferth study is right, the differences in IQ cannot be attributed to genetics.”

    As far as race, we “scientific racists” care far less about it than you seem to. We no longer have a need for it, as we have a more precise method of analysis. We refer to population structure, the method of categorizing human populations into groups based on statistical analysis of their disequilibrium linkages (haplogroups). That this structure maps cleanly onto folk notions of race is in fact a vindication of racism, (race is real), but then the average Joe never needed a Ph.D. to see that blacks and whites are appreciably different kinds of organisms. It’s only for the smarter sort that all of this math is necessary.

    I certainly don’t disagree that humans can be sorted into genetic groups that correlate with geography using statistical techniques, but I’m not sure why you bring this up since my question was about the evidence that between-group IQ differences are due to genetic differences, and this sort of analysis has not provided any evidence for that hypothesis.

    We already know that variation in intelligence is caused by genes,

    No, you know that more of the variation in individuals is explained by genes than by environment, but environment does still have a significant influence on differences at the individual level. And the relative influences of genes and environment at the individual level don’t itself give any good evidence about their relative influence at the group level, as illustrated by the simple experiment discussed in the “heritability within and between groups” section of the Race and intelligence wiki article: “The figure to the left demonstrates how heritability works. In both gardens the difference between tall and short cornstalks is 100% heritable as cornstalks that are genetically disposed for growing tall will become taller than those without this disposition, but the difference in height between the cornstalks to the left and those on the right is 100% environmental as it is due to different nutrients being supplied to the two gardens. Hence the causes of differences within a group and between groups may not be the same, even when looking at traits that are highly heritable.[117]”

    we know that different populations have distinct gene frequencies. Highly polygenic is no impediement at all to the theory of biological determinism.

    It does suggest that changes in intelligence between groups due to new mutations that arise in one group and not others are likely to occur much more slowly than in an alternate world where a single new gene could cause a significant increase in IQ. Of course the hypothesis of a genetic basis for IQ differences between racial groups doesn’t require that new mutated genes played any significant role, it’s possible that nearly all the alleles affecting IQ were already present in the ancestral African population before modern humans migrated out of Africa, and that differences between humans in different regions would just be due to different selection pressures altering the frequencies of IQ-increasing alleles in different regions. But “Africa” and “Europe” and “Asia” are obviously not single uniform environments, the selection pressures would likely vary a lot from one sub-region of each to another, so just at a theoretical level it seems unlikely to me that this would be compatible with the Africa < Europe < Asia model favored by "scientific racists" like Rushton that says that the genetic potential for higher IQ should be expected to be lower in virtually any local population of Africans than any local population of Europeans, and likewise lower in virtually any local population of Europeans than any local population of Asians. If this model of "nearly identical collection of alleles in all populations, but significantly different frequencies due to selection" were correct, I'd expect something more like the localized patchwork model suggested in this post from HBD chick, which would suggest that broad categories that are visually obvious like “mostly African ancestry”, “mostly European” and “mostly Asian” might turn out to be fairly useless as a predictor of one’s genetic potential for higher IQ.

    It only means we’ve had to wait a few more years to name the specific genes and effect sizes.

    Well, the fact that you are placing confirmation of your pet hypothesis years in the future seems to contradict your original claim that “cheap sequencing has already produced a more or less complete vindication of human biological determinism”. It hasn’t done any such thing, and people who want their beliefs about the natural world to be determined by science rather than prior ideological beliefs should acknowledge that there just isn’t enough scientific evidence yet to strongly favor either the mostly-genetic explanation for racial IQ differences or the mostly-environmental explanation.

    But don’t worry. If you can get Socially Just Science online before the individual genes are named, then they might never be. Then you can go on with your fingers stuck in your ears, eyes tightly shut, whispering past the graveyard.

    I’m not interested in “Socially Just Science” in the sense you mean, and in general I look down on people who let their political ideologies guide their beliefs about science. Any reasonably objective on non-ideological approach to the question of genetic vs. environmental explanations for racial differences in IQ is going to have to conclude that the evidence just isn’t there yet to settle the question.

    Kwisatz Haderach Reply:

    Here’s the sketch of some answers to this (very civil and well researched) comment.

    “but a 30% environmental influence on the IQ of an individual doesn’t sound like “biological determinism”,”

    Actually, I contend that 70% heredity is an powerful vindication of biological determinism, and this would be true even if 30% were entirely determined by an easy to control variable, such as whether you slept on green bed linens when you were a toddler.

    In addition, the other 30% isn’t “environment” in any meaningful sense that is accessible to policy. By nature, any kind of policy is going to affect all children in the same milieu in the same way, but this means that the policy will be shared environment. We already know that shared environment plays virtually no role in intelligence, so we already know that policy is not going to have a meaningful impact. (And think of what variables “shared environment” in raised-separate / raised-apart twin studies controls for: parenting style, exposure to environment toxins, # of parents in the house, school system, social networks. The potential effects of household are far more intimate and far reaching than any policy intervention could hope to be , and even household matters little).

    —-

    “Something like a controlled shift in culture, it’s often appears to have a large effect. For example, read the google book excerpt here about two low “caste” groups in Japan–the Burakumin, who seem to be racially indistinguishable from other Japanese but have traditionally been assigned an outsider status, and ethnic Koreans whose ancestors were brought in as forced labor–and how while living in Japan they are observed to have significantly lower scores on IQ tests or other standardized tests which correlate well with IQ. ”

    It’s an example I’m not familiar with, but it sounds on the face like a legitimate counter-example. But what was the effect size? If it’s small, then the arguments more-or-less stand. Shared environment doesn’t need to be 0%, just small.

    ——-

    “If this model of “nearly identical collection of alleles in all populations, but significantly different frequencies due to selection” were correct, I’d expect something more like the localized patchwork model suggested in this post from HBD chick, which would suggest that broad categories that are visually obvious like “mostly African ancestry”, “mostly European” and “mostly Asian” might turn out to be fairly useless as a predictor of one’s genetic potential for higher IQ.”

    Two answers. One is that this is an empirical question, and the results are in already. Your expectation of what those results should be have turned out to be incorrect, and you should update your priors accordingly.

    Two is that the theoretical framework doesn’t imply a patchwork smaller populations at all. The main selection pressures are not necessarily localized; mosquitos cross tribal lines, but not the Mediterranean. More importantly, a localized selection pressure won’t show up in the data unless the group it acts upon is reproductively isolated from surrounding populations.

    ——

    “Well, the fact that you are placing confirmation of your pet hypothesis years in the future seems to contradict your original claim that “cheap sequencing has already produced a more or less complete vindication of human biological determinism”.”

    In fairness to me, I’ve already seen the preview of a GWAS study that’s identified several dozen IQ genes and effect sizes, but it hasn’t been published yet. And I have heard of two others, all to be published within a few years.

    I think it would have been better for me to have said: “Twin studies have already confirmed biological determinism, and sequencing has already confirmed scientific racism”. But soon (next year or so), there will indeed be published GWAS papers that name specific alleles and effect sizes.

    Posted on February 8th, 2016 at 8:56 pm Reply | Quote
  • Kwisatz Haderach Says:

    Cross reference the protest that R.A. Fisher, scientism advocate par-excellance, registered against a UN Official Statement of Truth regarding human biological diversity in 1952 . [1]

    “But the Statement also purports to be an authoritative body of scientific doctrines, and this is quite a different matter. Without touching upon the content of these doctrines, and quite apart from whether or not they meet with my approval, I must register my fundamental opposition to the advancing of scientific theses as such, and protest against it.

    I recall the National Socialists’ notorious attempts to establish certain doctrines as the only correct conclusions to be drawn from research on race, and their suppression of any contrary opinion; as well as the Soviet Government’s similar claim on behalf of Lysenko’s theory of heredity, and its condemnation of Mendel’s teaching. The present Statement likewise puts forward certain scientific doctrines as the only correct ones, and quite obviously expects them to receive general endorsement as such. I repeat that, without assuming any attitude towards the substance of the doctrines in the Statement, I am opposed to the principle of advancing them as doctrines. The experience of the past have strengthened my conviction that freedom of scientific enquiry is imperiled when any scientific findings or opinions are elevated, by an authoritative body, into the position of doctrines.

    Due to decay, modern-day Lysenkos do not need to assert any kind of truth at all (with its attendant burden of justification), and instead just demand that any dissenters preface each page of their studies with rigorous encomiums to the orthodox way of things. The burden of proof shifts from the Lysenko arguing that X is true and Fisher arguing that Y is true to Fisher simply pleading that he is not an apostate.

    [1] http://www.unz.com/gnxp/r-a-fisher-on-race-and-human-genetic-variation/

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 8th, 2016 at 9:13 pm Reply | Quote
  • AugustusPugin Says:

    That excerpt is vomit inducing. I’ve just been flicking through Age of Capital by Hobsbawm out of morbid curiosity and came across something similar. His chapter on 19C intellectual movements has this magnificent exercise in praising the virtuous Darwin for his scientific emancipatory inquiries into the nature and origin of our species and how he smashed the Church to bits, and then in the same breath saying the rise of evil racialist scientists were a disturbing and pernicious development who are totally wrong and misguided lunatics ignoring our basic common humanity.

    [Reply]

    R. J. Moore II Reply:

    Funny, I was reading a 1957 lecture about the importance of critical inquiry and free individualism, especially in schools, which went on to lecture Americans on the need for massive government programs and evangelism comparable to communism. Early #Cuckservatism.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 8th, 2016 at 9:26 pm Reply | Quote
  • pyrrhus Says:

    @Brett Stevens Gatekeepers are always a sign of decline in any field, and we will see an accelerated decline in science if this anti-science priesthood gains power.

    [Reply]

    D. Reply:

    If an anti-science priesthood gains power? It already has; it already has.

    [Reply]

    R. J. Moore II Reply:

    One of the greatest illusions of the 20th century was for Evangelical Puritan war-mongers to pass themselves off as peace-loving rationalism.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 8th, 2016 at 9:51 pm Reply | Quote
  • Rec0nciler Says:

    We monkeys have no choice but to trust in the untrustworthy. No truth curation means no truth.

    [Reply]

    Different T Reply:

    Maybe admin doesn’t believe children are real.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 8th, 2016 at 11:24 pm Reply | Quote
  • Dick Wagner Says:

    Does NRx/XS back scientism as such or scientism as a means to the end of obliterating the current Order; that is, if NRx were to take power would it not reinstall a priesthood and ostracize Galileos (to some degree)?

    This is a tension that I recurrently detect and it tends to be somewhat disavowed. The non-reinstallation of the priesthood smacks of libertarianism, which as I define the latter, is chaotic and therefore ultimately inconducive to Science–imagine the Darwinism of another planet not being _gradually_ synthesized with the religious Memeoplex – that would be grisly. It was to some degree on Earth – just look at the Furry phenomenon, that is a direct consequence of Charlie Darwin’s Revelation, the blurring of the line between man and beast.

    What spurs me to bring this up is that my general rejection of scientism was crucial for accessing the taboo truths of the right. So I don’t want to praise it without a clause. What I think would be better than straight scientism is some kind of interweaving of empiricism and phenomenology, phenomenology understood in the commonsense way of believing what is before one’s eyes. Because once you pull up the Equality goggles so thoughtfully bestowed upon us by the current “scientism” it’s clear that there is a racial, gender, etc. hierarchy.

    [Reply]

    Kwisatz Haderach Reply:

    This nook of NRx is about describing the way things actually are, “things” broadly construed on multiple scales of description – materially, politically, and otherwise. That’s kind of our bag, or so we like to flatter ourselves. Scientism is NRx for theories that are accessible to academic science, and NRx is scientism for political philosophy. If you merely want defile our techniques for discovering knowledge in order to use them as a weapon to get power, then you’re probably more in the HRx side of things.

    And try not to equivoate between between Science (the institution) and scientism. They’re distinct and rapidly diverging.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 9th, 2016 at 12:03 am Reply | Quote
  • Aaron Says:

    Anyone of any importance at all will periodically find themselves on the business end of thorough morality audit.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Morality audits select for competent liars.

    [Reply]

    R. J. Moore II Reply:

    And unprincipled people in general.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 9th, 2016 at 4:55 am Reply | Quote
  • Aaron Says:

    @Aaron

    lmao

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 9th, 2016 at 8:05 am Reply | Quote
  • John Hannon Says:

    “If ‘scientism’ is about … exploring reality with absolute contempt for all constraints, then the XS posture is unreservedly scientistic”

    Damn right.
    If scientific research into psychedelics hadn’t been banned, we might now have effective treatments for Alzheimer’s and Autism. At least according to this –

    http://www.maps.org/news/media/5273-the-government’s-psychedelic-research-ban-is-an-expensive-disaster

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    I don’t think that is correct at all.

    The overwhelming majority of psychedelic drugs are either 5-HT2A receptor agonists or serotonin releasing agents. Their pharmacology is well-known — not poorly understood at all — and, unfortunately, there’s not much of a connection between the serotogenic system and the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease. There’s merely some indication that the 5-HT2A receptor may be involved in a particular symptom known as “Alzheimer’s disease psychosis.” (And it has been suggested that 5-HT2A antagonists, may be effective as a treatment for this symptom, which implies that psychedelics would perhaps be detrimental. This has not been followed-up on in human trials to the best of my knowledge, which carries its own implications.)

    …Nothing which hits the serotogenic system would be curative where AD is concerned.

    [Reply]

    John Hannon Reply:

    The Alzheimer’s link in the original “Science of Us” article was to research involving THC (not always classed as a psychedelic) –

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25024327

    and the Autism link was to this –

    https://www.thefix.com/content/agony-and-ecstasy-autism-club-drug7017

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    I don’t know very much about Autism (cue the jokes) so I didn’t comment on it previously, but that article is interesting, and this recent paper seems impressive to me. There might really be something to it.

    That THC paper is meaningless, though. The thing about Alzheimer’s is that nobody understands the etiology of the disease. Drug discovery in Alzheimer’s is unusual, as the disease is vague, and a definitive molecular target has not yet been identified. It’s unknown whether amyloid is causative, or just a symptom of the disease. AD could plausibly be fungal in origin, or a prion disease, or perhaps due to aberrant metal ion homeostasis, or something else entirely — there are dozens of reasonable hypotheses. Most startlingly: What if “Alzheimer’s” is a catchall term which describes many different types of progressive brain disease?

    In light of such uncertain and mysterious causation, and given the fact that drugs which target amyloid tangles have an atrocious track record, I’d be very wary of purported treatments and cures which target well-known nuclear receptors like 5-HT2A and CB1/CB2… Especially if they don’t have much more than anti-amyloid activity in a petri dish to show for it.

    Posted on February 9th, 2016 at 1:39 pm Reply | Quote
  • Erebus Says:

    >“Technological innovation, however, is orthogonal to any economic system, because it is almost always driven by curiosity but rarely (if ever) by economic necessity…”

    Just how do you think technological innovation happens these days? The days of the gentleman amateur naturalist are a century behind us.

    When corporations like Samsung fund huge R&D departments, is this “curiosity”? And yet Samsung are innovating on all fronts — from chip design, to optics and lithography, to household appliances, to graphene and other new materials.

    For an earlier example, was the Bell Labs of the ’40s and ’50s motivated by curiosity? The organization clearly wasn’t — to the contrary, it was motivated by stark economic necessity. Certainly some of its scientists and researchers were motivated by curiosity, but without the organization and its resources, who’s to say what might have become of them?

    Don’t even get me started on how it costs billions these days to innovate a new drug. Sure, this is a perfect example of a grotesquely distorted market, but the fact remains that “curiosity” won’t take a drug from the lab to the clinic.

    Though they decline in number, it’s true that certain scientific developments have been motivated by curiosity. Their subsequent scale-up, which is what results in our bettered material condition, has always had more to do with economic necessity, the profit motive, etc.

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    The innovations which came out of Bell Labs were marginal improvements? In that case, what isn’t a marginal improvement?

    True, some drugs are marginal improvements over prior discoveries, which is why there are a dozen different statins. Others were inspired by natural products, such as the original statin. Still others were exercises in patent-busting. (Looking at you, Pitavastatin.) But the fact remains that great original discoveries are sometimes made in medicine, and are always, without exception, developed by corporate entities.

    …I’d nominate sofosbuvir as a new drug that isn’t a marginal improvement over anything, but is an actual breakthrough: A curative agent for a deadly disease. It’s too bad that the debates over its [admittedly astounding] price have overshadowed the achievement of its invention. It’s not a trivial synthesis, either.

    [Reply]

    Xoth Reply:

    The software world is to a great deal driven by gentleman amateur innovators. Skipping open source, these days, with falling costs of starting and running a company (in contrast with many other fields), one might even call them barefoot innovators.

    [Reply]

    Ahote Reply:

    @Cichlimbar
    It’s obviously not true that only technological progress is responsible for wealth creation and bettering of our material conditions. Compare Eastern Bloc countries VS NATO countries during the Cold War. We can see it even in the ancient world. In Imperial China:

    “The reigns of the Emperors Wen and Jing were a period of peace and prosperity. During their reigns, state control of the economy was minimal, following the Taoist principle of Wu wei (無為), meaning “actionless action”. As part of their laissez-faire policy, agricultural taxes were reduced from 1/15 of agricultural output to 1/30 and for a brief period, abolished entirely. In addition, the labor corvée required of peasants was reduced from 1 month every year to one month every three years. The minting of coins was privatized. Both the private and public sectors flourished during this period. Under Emperor Jing, …the ropes used to hang the bags of coins were breaking apart due to the weight, and bags of grain which had been stored for several years were rotting because they had been neglected and not eaten.

    Similar thing happened in the eastern Roman Empire under certain emperors. Though laissez-faire policies there were not ideologically motivated, whenever emperors pursued laissez-faire economic policies economy flourished, and whenever they pursued tight regulations problems ensued.

    @admin
    Not only does Hong-Kong not have a gold standard, it’s also nowhere near being laissez-faire utopia some purport it to be. Singapore, even less so.

    [Reply]

    Ahote Reply:

    >they actively destroyed their economies

    Ah but, arguably, they had greater industrial capacity.

    [Reply]

    Ahote Reply:

    How is it trivial objection when mainstream economists claimed that Soviets are going to win the Cold War (of course, Austrians were saying that Soviets are going to loose, but they were dismissed as kooks)?

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 9th, 2016 at 4:37 pm Reply | Quote

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