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“Of course people change what they do when this stuff happens. That’s why it happens.”

Stefan Molyneux on the Manchester bombing.

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113 comments to “Of course people change what they do when this stuff happens. That’s why it happens.”

  • I do not think that getting that angry is helpful to his position. Or perhaps rather it is helpful to his position as leader of an increasingly emotional following, but not to his argument.

    It is possible to explain that a focus on tolerance over the pursuit of victory undermines the latter without shouting.

    Like Stefan I am also a father, though I believe his kids are nearer to the age (and gender) of those targeted than my son is. I am not moved to shout at anyone. Shooting them dead, yes. Conducting a no-holds-barred attack on their ridiculous ideas, yes. But not shouting.

  • TimR

    I find nothing wrong with getting a little angry as long as it doesn’t get into the range of red mist, beserker angry.
    Our leaders are trying to keep us bovine and manageable. They should be advised.

  • Jamesg

    It’s not about whether you get angry or not. It’s about comparative anger as a means of measuring your empathy and your political outlook.

    If someone gets violently angry simply at the thought that Ukip hold alternative views, but call for calm serenity after another ideology kills children, then that’s a problem. It shows a political prejudice which is morally reprehensible.

  • Alisa

    I have never had time for Molyneux, although I couldn’t quite put my finger on the reason…

  • Julie near Chicago

    Alisa — my reaction too.

    .

    Although I did watch this, and here I heard more polemicism than “shouting.” Nothing wrong with polemicism as such, of course.

    Anger also has its place.

  • Alisa

    Anger also has its place.

    Indeed.

  • Stonyground

    “Conducting a no-holds-barred attack on their ridiculous ideas”
    This is a much neglected and important issue. Around 150 years ago when the Christian Church was much more powerful than today, the authority of the Bible was questioned by sceptics who pointed out all the absurdities and contradictions in it. The Koran needs to be subjected to the same kind of scrutiny. There is actually an organisation called The Council of EX Muslims for those who have already rejected this vile religion. Our government likes to pretend that it doesn’t exist.

    https://ex-muslim.org.uk/

  • Chip

    Agreed. Islam has been accommodated for too long. It’s a smorgasbord of social pathologies and a cultural dead end for larges swathes of the world.

    It’s ridiculous that we invite its adherents to our countries and then tip toe around them for fear of offence. Well, increasingly just out of fear.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Patrick, you do know that Molyneux has gone full alt-right? He’s been pushing lots of stuff about race and IQ.

  • bobby b

    “He’s been pushing lots of stuff about race and IQ.”

    Just curious:

    From what little of him I’ve seen, he’s pushing the Charles Murray “Bell Curve” topics.

    Wikipedia blurbs The Bell Curve as follows:

    “The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life is a 1994 book by psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein and political scientist Charles Murray. In this text, the authors argue that human intelligence is substantially influenced by both inherited and environmental factors and is a better predictor of many personal dynamics, including financial income, job performance, birth out of wedlock, and involvement in crime than are an individual’s parental socioeconomic status. They also argue that those with high intelligence, the “cognitive elite”, are becoming separated from those of average and below-average intelligence. The book was controversial, especially where the authors wrote about racial differences in intelligence and discussed the implications of those differences.”

    Presumably you pointed out that he’s been discussing these issues for a reason. Was it because you think it’s wrong, or because you think he’s impolitic, or . . . ?

  • I’m glad he hasn’t shied away from the race/IQ topic as Wrongthink, but I wish he wouldn’t bang on about it quite so much. He seems to work it into every video lately. He also never mentions (when giving average IQ from old figures) that IQ scores need to be adjusted in time, as they are worked out that 100 is always the average. He quite often compares apples to oranges which does seem slightly disingenuous (as I’m sure he’s aware of this).

  • Paul Marks

    As David Wood (Acts 19 Apologetics on Youtube) explains – the Manchester attack is rational from the Islamic point of view.

    How can one kill large numbers of infidels without fear of killing real Muslims? Simple, go to an event that Islamic law condemns (such as this concert) – only infidels and “hypocrite”, so-called, Muslims will be there.

    And as well as killing large numbers of infidels, it will also discourage infidels from going to such unIslamic events.

    Finally, and most importantly, the bombers know that after an attack Westerners of power (politicians, media people, academics, even clergymen) will rush to PRAISE Islam – calling it a “religion of peace” and saying how wonderful Islam is.

    It is no accident that there is a spike in conversions to Islam after every major terrorist attack – as people hear nothing but praise for Islam (“religion of peace” Mohammed “good man”, the terrorists nothing-to-do-with-Islam, indeed insulting noble Islam by their actions, and so on). Individual Muslims may suffer from a terrorist attack – but Islam itself benefits.

    Until there is a cost (not a benefit) to Islam (not to individual Muslims – to Islam) there will be more and more terrorist attacks. If large numbers of Muslims sincerely and publicly renounced Islam after each attack the Islamist terrorists would be horrified – they would be causing harm to Islam and that would sincerely horrify them. But there is no cost to Islam, as such. from these attacks at present – on the contrary Islam benefits. It benefits by discouraging unIslamic events (such as the concert) and it benefits by all the praise that is heaped upon Islam (by Western leaders) after each attack – thus causing a spike in conversions to Islam.

    How many people will publicly and sincerely renounce Islam (stop being Muslim) after this event? None – and why should they? After all Mohammed was wonderful and Islam is wonderful – the Western leaders say so.

    This is not an ideological conflict – this is a farce. Islam is winning by default.

  • TimR

    Would be interesting to know the IQ of the individuals who think that blowing themselves to pieces along with a bunch of innocent victims is a good thing.

  • newrouter

    ” He’s been pushing lots of stuff about race and IQ.”

    He should include culture.

  • bobby b

    “Anger also has its place.”

    True, but this guy always makes me feel as if he’s going to reach out and belt me if I don’t furiously nod in agreement with him.

  • NickM

    The real point is that IQ is meaningless regardless.

    The mind is not a universal tool. We have talents, aptitudes, ways of seeing or not seeing things.

    I have known people who were brilliant at x and dim at y. Some of that is down to choice (there are very few polymaths and only so much time) but some of it must be innate at some level. We have all met aces at maths who are dunces at languages and vice versa to give just one example.

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby, maybe that’s it, or part of it — he’s preachy. And he can be overbearing. (Or so he often strikes me.) Hm. I don’t feel in danger of being belted for disagreement, but I do feel an urge to paste him one now and then; and it’s not always based on his position, either. It’s his manner, or his poisonality. [Sorry, very old, couldn’t resist. :>) ]

    (There’s more, both con & pro, but just now I can’t think exactly what .)
    .

    Nick. Meaning & value of “IQ” are certainly debatable. And as for the rest: Exactly so. Well said.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    An IQ test measures the ability to solve IQ tests. Overall, the more varied tests you solve, the more likely you are to have a brain that functions well, better than those that can’t solve the same varied tests.

  • newrouter

    “An IQ test measures the ability to solve IQ tests.”

    and culture shows how IQ is used or isn’t used?

  • newrouter

    “The real point is that IQ is meaningless regardless”

    Yea right Dick Feynman et al were just cogs in the machine in New Mexico? lol

  • newrouter

    That bomber of Manchester and his Libyan family had a low “British cultural IQ”. Why import more?

  • Nick M The real point is that IQ is meaningless regardless

    As Julie hints, there’s a difference between meaning and value. All those clever quantum physicists admit that nobody knows what quantum mechanics “means” – but they do know what it predicts. And its predictions are jolly accurate. And so with IQ, which for these purposes means “scores that people get in IQ tests.” As the Bell Curve shows, IQ is reliably predictive of success in a wide range of social endeavours. If you find the single chapter on race distressing, just don’t read it. Read the rest of the book, which has absolutely the square root of b****r all to do with race. Nor is it a lonely statement of this point, it’s well established that good scores in IQ tests correlate well with success, and inversely with failure, better than any correlations with socioeconomic categories preferred by progressive social “scientists.”

    Maybe iQ doesn’t “mean” anything. Maybe it doesn’t reveal the existence of a general intelligence embedded within human brain structure. Maybe it’s just a phantom. But it is nevertheless a phantom that predicts quite well.

    And though “We have all met aces at maths who are dunces at languages” (though I don’t think I have as a matter of fact) that’s just anecdote. Statistics says different. Ability in maths is correlated with ability in languages. By no means perfectly, but significantly. And not merely at the John von Neumann level (he allegedly cracked jokes in Greek with his Dad at the age of six.) The end of term exam results at school show the same people at the top, the same people in the middle and the same people at the bottom – in all the subjects. (Except sports, music and art.) On average of course. Ditto O levels, GCSEs or whatever they call them these days. There may be no general intelligence factor contributing to success in different fields of study; but on average, exam results do a very good job of pretending that there is.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    ‘The real point’, NickM? I think we just found someone who keeps getting low scores on all the IQ tests he took! Don’t feel toooo bad- I keep taking Iq tests and the results are always negative!

  • newrouter

    “We have all met aces at maths who are dunces at languages”

    Melania Trump speaks 6 languages for what it is worth.

  • newrouter

    Consider this: Michelle Obama vs Clarence Thomas? Culture led to their present views?

  • Eric

    Around 150 years ago when the Christian Church was much more powerful than today, the authority of the Bible was questioned by sceptics who pointed out all the absurdities and contradictions in it. The Koran needs to be subjected to the same kind of scrutiny.

    In regard to Islam it’s more like 1600 than 1850. Instead of politely debating the subject the Islamists will kill you. Which puts a damper on the whole exercise. Might have been a good strategy if so many hadn’t been allowed to immigrate, I guess.

  • Tomsmith

    A certain kind of libertarian doesn’t like SM because he is passionate, doesn’t avoid awkward subjects, does feel rather than treat everything as an intellectual game. Liking SM is in poor taste I guess for these people. Who knew?

  • Erik

    We have all met aces at maths who are dunces at languages and vice versa to give just one example.

    No, I haven’t, to give a counterexample.

  • Alisa

    I am not a libertarian, but I actually do value thinking over feeling. I hope Tomsmith is not going to belt me for this…

  • David Moore

    Alisa,

    Molyneux has always given me the creeps, like a male yoga teacher gives me the creeps. A bit too self-help and cult’sh.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    This guy has done a comprehensive demolition job on Molyneux. I find the situation kind of sad; he seemed initially quite a good man, but he had a sort of cultishness about him, and then he got into litigation with people about his urging people to cut off all links with their parents (“de-fooing”) and has taken a turn towards the extreme right. He goes way, way beyond Charles Murray’s analysis of IQ, to something even worse.

    Of course, that does not mean that SM’s views on certain matters are not always questionable, but it may be that some on this blog haven’t come across him before, aren’t aware of the issues surrounding this man, and his most recent postitioning. I take the view that he is a bit of a charlatan.

    In any event, regardless of IQ distributions among the Muslim population in the UK, the fact is that murderers don’t have to be geniuses; they have to be determined.

  • Alisa

    Same here, David – and it is not necessarily his opinions, either way. Oh well.

    Re yoga teachers, they all give me the creeps, male and female (although male ones more so). That was one reason that I went on to practice alone at home 🙂

  • bobby b

    “Tomsmith
    May 26, 2017 at 6:31 am

    “A certain kind of libertarian doesn’t like SM because he is passionate . . . “

    Others of us, who spent years practicing law in the family courts, don’t like him because he pushes a genre of men’s rights bullshit that relies on his followers’ complete ignorance of the bases for many long-held legal values regarding the welfare of kids.

    I can take passionate. I love passionate. I can’t take serial liars who manipulate people in already horrid circumstances into self-destructive, or, worse, child-destructive ways of thinking just so he can make a buck or ten.

    I was actually glad when he switched his focus to DEFOOing. At least then he was just hurting adults. He’s The Right Reverend Moon, without the charm or the volume control.

  • Mr Black

    The world needs some angry people, some people who are so angry that they actually do something to fight back. Because if the future of the western world is in the hands of people who like to comment on world events and ‘manage’ the reaction from the comfort of their armchairs, we are fucking doomed. Wars are not fought by academics and poets and people who want to protect their comfortable jobs, they are fought by people who get goddam angry when they are attacked and who won’t be told to sit down and manage their anger to “appropriate” levels.

  • bobby b

    Johnathan Pearce
    May 26, 2017 at 9:15 am

    ” . . . He goes way, way beyond Charles Murray’s analysis of IQ, to something even worse.”

    This is the part that I don’t understand.

    The Bell Curve is an admirable piece of well-supported academic work. The data used has been defended and replicated, the conclusions aren’t radical. Wikipedia even has trouble coming up with any demonization of it – that’s why I included its blurb above. I’d guess that 95% of the people who hate the work have little idea what it contains. They just know they’re supposed to hate it.

    And here you disparage it by calling Molyneux’s opinions “even worse.”

    What’s the basis for your opinion?

  • CaptDMO

    The IQ bell curve must be ignored…
    The gap between rich and poor is unfair…
    Intolerance of scorpions, by frogs, is evil…
    Size doesn’t matter…
    Those grapes were sour anyway…

  • The Bell Curve is demonised for its assertion that black people are stupider than white people, because they are genetically inferior.

    This assertion is grotesquely offensive, regardless of its truth value. And its truth value can be refuted on several grounds :

    1. there’s no such thing as black people and white people. Those categories are socially constructed and have no objective reality
    2. stupidity (ie low intelligence) is not measured by IQ tests; IQ is an invented nonsense with no connection to intelligence
    3. the notion of intelligence itself, in the sense of some general intelligence factor, is itself a cultural artefact not a real thing
    4. and even if there were such things as races, and even if there was such a thing as a general intelligence factor and even if IQ tests measured it – there’s no evidence of any causal relationship with genes. Even if there was a correlation between black people and stupidity (which there isn’t) it would be caused by social and cultural factors
    5. and even if there were a such a thing as intelligence and if it it was correlated with IQ scores and even if the correlation was, at least in part, genetically related, the correlation could only be valid when comparing people of the same race, not across races (if there were such things as races.)

    The fact that the Bell Curve does not assert the alleged assertion, and goes rather tediously out of its way to repeat ad nauseam that it is not making that assertion, is by the way.

    We can read between the lines.

  • Laird

    Not a single statement in Lee Moore’s last post is correct.

  • Alisa

    Of course Lee’s list of assertions was meant to be sarcastic, but I actually do think that some of them are at least debatable. Not that it really matters to me personally, and not that such a debate is possible under current PC guidelines anyway (which I guess was part of Lee’s point).

  • Well strictly, the first sentence is correct. And probably the second.

    The rest is borrowed from the traditional form of IRA “kitchen sink” disclaimer :

    “The IRA is not responsible for the murder of Mrs Bridie O’Connor and her six children. But if we were, it was a mistake and we regret it.”

  • Alisa

    Well strictly, the first sentence is correct. And probably the second.

    Yep.

  • Alisa

    “The IRA is not responsible for the murder of Mrs Bridie O’Connor and her six children. But if we were, it was a mistake and we regret it.”

    “The Holocaust didn’t happen. But if it did, the Jews had it coming!”

  • “We have all met aces at maths who are dunces at languages”

    Melania Trump speaks 6 languages for what it is worth.

    It means even if she is utterly crap at maths, she is obviously not ‘stupid’, which I think is NickM’s point. IQ is a great measure of one’s ability to pass IQ tests and one should be careful about extrapolating much beyond that. I know a semi-literate Irish builder who would probably do poorly in an IQ test but it one of the cleverest problem solvers I have ever met, for what it is worth.

  • Bulldog Drumond

    Stefan Molyneux drank Gabb’s poison Koolaid, I’ve got zero time for the bloke.

  • NickM

    Well, I am bloody good at maths but my foreign languages are ropey. I seem to detect vaguely here that I am in a round-the-houses way being accused of cultural relativism of some vague form. I’m not saying the witch doctor is as smart in his own way as the Oxford Prof of Neurology. What I am saying is to reduce all human capacity for cognition to one number is crude beyond belief.

    The comparison with QMech is daft. QMech may not make sense (in certain ways – depends if you require the Universe to make sense to a human mind that evolved to dodge sabre-tooth cats) but instrumentally it is usually bang on the money in a way IQ isn’t.

  • Roué le Jour

    An English teacher writes: a facility with languages is more of a talent, like music, than an intellectual ability. I’ve taught special needs children who have no more difficulty learning to speak a few phrases than average children. Brighter children do better at written tests because they are better at remembering and understanding the rules of grammar. Brighter children also tend to be more highly motivated which is more important that intellect.

  • Alisa

    Actually I’ve seen plausible connection being made between mathematical and musical abilities.

  • SiamSam

    Johnathan Pearce: “This guy has done a comprehensive demolition job on Molyneux.”

    Clicks link.

    “Comments are closed.”

    And not even one comment or criticism permitted before closing.

    That tells me all I need to know about “this guy”.

  • Watchman

    One thing to watch with IQ – most activist socialist kids have pretty high IQs (I suspect partially because they are born into a high-IQ families and get good education in a sort of IQ-enabling way) but they still are socialist activists.

    And most libertarians also apparently are high IQ, but they’re capable of equally stupid decisions sometimes.

    However you look at it, intelligence is not a marker of anything useful unless it is applied – anyone who fetishes IQ over what people actually achieve is intellectually bankrupt.

  • SiamSam: And not even one comment or criticism permitted before closing.

    I have often closed comments on articles that attract ‘race realists’, and/or just kick/banned the people in question, and I make no apologies for it.

  • Laird

    OK, Lee, I’ll give you the first sentence. Only.

    Standard IQ tests measure more than mere test-taking ability. We may not know precisely what they measure, and I think we can all agree that they don’t measure everything of importance, but it is ridiculous to assert that they are “meaningless”. Clearly, they are highly predictive of success in a variety of areas. Fundamentally, I believe what they measure is cognitive flexibility, the ability to process new information and the speed at which it can be put to use. Generally, both qualities are superior in people having high intelligence as customarily measured. And that is important.

    We all have areas of strength and weakness (which may have to do with innate skills, such as artistic talent, although I suspect that it is at least somewhat correlated with subjects in which we have interest; if something bores us we’re probably not going to do well at it). But in general, persons with high IQs will do better across the board, and especially in those areas in which they have special aptitude. IQ scores are like credit (FICO) scores: it’s foolish to rely entirely on one number, but it’s equally foolish to ignore it.

  • I have often closed comments on articles that attract ‘race realists’, and/or just kick/banned the people in question, and I make no apologies for it

    I was just going to mention that I remember a time when even having this discussion would get you banned from Samizdata 😉

  • Eric

    This assertion is grotesquely offensive, regardless of its truth value.

    A society which bases policy on lies because the truth is offensive will not survive.

  • Stonyground

    “Instead of politely debating the subject the Islamists will kill you.”

    With regard to the Bible, when the process started you could be executed or imprisoned by the authorities if you criticised it. In Scotland a youth was hanged for ridiculing the story of Noah’s Ark, I haven’t had time to research the year in which this happened but it certainly wasn’t the dark ages.

  • Jordan

    Stefan Molyneux; the clown of the Libertarian movement.

    If of course he still counts as a libertarian in the first place.

  • Stonyground (May 26, 2017 at 5:08 pm), a Scottish student at Edinburgh university was hanged in 1703 or 1704 after a fellow student informed on him for atheist beliefs (not just for doubting the ark), despite his offering to recant and say sorry. Scotland’s parliamentary union with England, in 1707, put a stop to that kind of thing. I suspect this is what you are remembering.

    At much the same time (circa 1703) several English seamen who had chanced to arrive in Edinburgh were hanged on the Leith sands for alleged theft from the Scottish company that ran the Darien scheme. As a famous Scottish historian admitted “the evidence against them crumbled at the least touch of reason” but that did not save them – the Edinburgh mob was determined to blame someone other than themselves for the utter fiasco Scotland had made of its foreign plans. These secular hangings provide context for the incident above – relative to England, if not to the rest of the world, Scots were, one might say, a bit into hanging each other at the time.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Without being an apologist of [not “for,” Mr. Tracinski and Mr. Hayashi] Robert Tracinski, I do have to note that none of his pieces that I checked allow comments.

    I suggest that he doesn’t intend his site to be a forum, but rather a place to publish his own work. This is like a magazine that doesn’t print “Letters to the Editor.” I don’t think we should necessarily allow ourselves a knee-jerk rejection of a posting nor of a site solely because “Comments are closed.”

    I do think Mr. T. might be a bit more forthcoming about his policy on comments, for the sake of his Public Relations; and, in another area, of what it is that a subscriber gets that a mere visitor doesn’t. But those are just my opinions, Mr. Tracinski. For What They Are Worth.

    .

    Not only not an apologist, but never even a fan of Mr. Tracinski. But the pieces of his that I read at the linked site were all worthwhile (with the cited one being the least impressive in my opinion; more below), and I daresay most people in arsisiety aren’t all that aware of the material he presents.

    In particular, I thought his column “The Socialism in Your Head” was interesting:

    http://tracinskiletter.com/2017/05/09/the-socialism-in-your-head/

    Also his piece “How Carl Sagan Ruined Science”:

    http://tracinskiletter.com/2017/04/19/how-carl-sagan-ruined-science/

    and others as well.

    . . .

  • Tomsmith

    This guy has done a comprehensive demolition job on Molyneux. He goes way, way beyond Charles Murray’s analysis of IQ, to something even worse

    That isn’t a comprehensive demolition job. Again it is just the sort of “poor taste” objection being raised by many on this thread. Oh dear, SM cares about many things that are just horrible. These things are for proles, and for stupid people. Not for my kind of person. I find it distasteful, and so I object. Reality be damned.

  • Johnnydub

    I’ve watched a lot of SM, and his major qualification for people isn’t IQ, although he acknowledges that its important, but rather their following of either R or K strategies. As someone who didn’t know about this beforehand, I have found SM to be entertaining.

    His use of and dissection of criminal statistics also does cut through a mountain of leftist bullshit.

  • Eric

    Stonyground, the point was Atheism couldn’t challenge the Christian order of society until that kind of stuff didn’t happen any more. But Islam isn’t there yet.

  • bobby b

    Lee Moore
    May 26, 2017 at 11:17 am

    “We can read between the lines.”

    Dang. You had me going for a few paragraphs there. Yes, I think you’ve pretty much captured it.

    I note that Mr. Pearce made the required disparaging drive-by comments – twice – and even though invited to support them – twice – he has declined. Probably wise.

  • Paul Marks

    I should have typed Acts 17 not Acts 19. Interestingly David Wood is far more controlled and rational than the “Alt Right” people (with their weird obsessions about race and IQ) and so on. Perhaps as he actually was a violent man (before he turned to Christianity) Dr Wood does not have to pretend to be a tough guy.

    I would argue that it is possible to have a non religious belief in the soul (in the sense of personhood, free will, moral agency – it is all the same thing), and Dr Wood would deny that. Not a theological dispute (we are both Christians) – a philosophical dispute. I would point at the non supernatural defence of human personhood from Aristotle to Alexander of Aphrodisias to Ayn Rand.

    Still I am getting “off topic” – it is just that I find Mohammed and the religion he created a bit of a limited subject. Mohammed taught very convenient doctrines (he got revelations from God justifying whatever he wanted to do at any given moment – all part of a text supposedly composed before the start of the universe) and behaved badly (very badly) enslaving, murdering and so on – if someone can not see that (after the evidence is presented to them) there is little point in further conversation with them.

    Meanwhile a certain Western leader is continuing the Daily Mail campaign for more censorship on Social Media – the aim is to limit Islamic propaganda, the result will (of course) be to drive out ANTI Islamic dissent.

  • bobby b

    Laird
    May 26, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    “Not a single statement in Lee Moore’s last post is correct.”

    Laird, you should read it again, with the idea in mind that he’s written a parody of how some other commenters might attempt to disparage The Bell Curve if they thought people here were dumb.

    His last two lines – saying that, by the way, The Bell Curve actually says none of these things, but we know they really wanted to say them – are the tell.

  • Julie near Chicago

    O/T — Paul’s remark about David Wood’s past, and his characterological change, reminds me:

    Sometime in relatively recent years I read that the fact is that the railroad spike (IIRC) through Phineas Gage’s head did not cause a complete personality change. Does anyone know how solid this new theory, or newfound fact, whichever, is? (I also forget whether it’s that his personality didn’t change, or whether it’s that it did change, but not because of the spike.)

  • Laird

    bobby b, I considered that possibility, which is why I limited my reply to a single sentence rather than a point-by-point rebuttal. But it was unclear (at least, to me).

  • NickM

    Laird said…

    “Clearly, they are highly predictive of success in a variety of areas.”

    Perhaps these are the areas where IQ testing is taken seriously in terms of judging people’s ability?

    That would make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Erik

    NickM:

    Perhaps these are the areas where IQ testing is taken seriously in terms of judging people’s ability?

    They are not. You might try Why g matters if you want to read something longer than blog comments on the subject.

  • Perry : IQ is a IQ is a great measure of one’s ability to pass IQ tests and one should be careful about extrapolating much beyond that.

    One should always be careful about extrapolation. But one should also be careful about ignoring decades of evidence that the ability to do well in IQ tests is statistically predictive of success in real life, and increasingly predictive in those zones of real life that exhibit increasing complexity.

    Nick M : Perhaps these [areas in which IQ tests are highly predictive of success] are the areas where IQ testing is taken seriously in terms of judging people’s ability? That would make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Yes and no. Yes IQ tests are highly predictive of success in areas in which IQ testing is taken seriously in judging people’s ability. But no this is not a self fulfilling prophecy. Because there are no areas in which IQ testing is taken seriously as a measure of actual achievement; only areas in which it is taken seriously as a measure of likelihood of future achievement (aka ability.)

    If you look at the Army use of IQ tests, they didn’t use IQ tests to select the IQiest and reject the rest (there was a war on !) They took everybody*. They used the tests to sort recruits into jobs according to complexity. (Aircraft maintenance is more complex than guard duty etc.) But they also tried unsorted general allocation, ie assigning folk without sorting according to their IQ test results. And they found – surprise surprise – that folk who did badly in IQ tests also did badly at the more complicated military tasks. Thy found that IQ scores were well correlated with trainability – the more training a job required, the more useful the higher scorers on IQ tests were. Combat effectiveness was towards the lower end of correlation – not zero, but less correlated. No doubt we can think of other capabilities besides IQ that might lead to a good soldier in combat – eg eyesight, fitness and athleticism, courage, endurance etc. Because as Nick M says :

    What I am saying is to reduce all human capacity for cognition to one number is crude beyond belief.

    There’s more to ability and success than IQ test scores. Nevertheless, the basketball coach’s face lights up when a 6 foot 7 inch guy walks in wanting to play, and sinks when a 5 foot 3 inch guy walks in. Sure sometimes the shorty will be great. But we’re talking averages here.

    *In the end they didn’t take everybody. They concluded that the lowest 10% in IQ test scores weren’t worth recruiting – even if they could sometimes be trained, they took to long to train, and even then they made too many mistakes.

  • Nick M : The comparison with QMech is daft. QMech may not make sense (in certain ways – depends if you require the Universe to make sense to a human mind that evolved to dodge sabre-tooth cats) but instrumentally it is usually bang on the money in a way IQ isn’t.

    Thanks for “instrumentally” Nick, that was the word that I was scrabbling for. (Fair to middling maths skills, fair to middling linguistic skills.) Quantum mechanics is indeed instrumentally bang on the money. But IQ testing is also bang on the money in its own way. It doesn’t pretend a full description of human cognitive ability, it merely attempts to make statistical predictions, at a far less precise tolerance than the statistical predictions of quantum mechanics. (Humans are much more complex critturs than bosons.)

    IQ tests may not measure intelligence, even if there is such a thing. But instrumentally they’re pretty dang good at predicting (statistically) human fitness for complex activities.

  • Roue : An English teacher writes: a facility with languages is more of a talent, like music, than an intellectual ability. I’ve taught special needs children who have no more difficulty learning to speak a few phrases than average children. Brighter children do better at written tests because they are better at remembering and understanding the rules of grammar. Brighter children also tend to be more highly motivated which is more important that intellect.

    Obviously learning to speak and understand a language is not a particularly complex task for a human, since virtually all of us crack it by the age of three or four, even the dumb ones. Thereafter some folk may use language better, which may represent something innate as well as something learned. Brighter children who enjoy reading will canter on ahead of slower children who don’t enjoy reading. The former will get more practice at more complex language usage, they will encounter more words and more nuance. But quite soon it will not be possible to say what proportion of their greater linguistic ability is innate or learned. The one contributes to the other.

    As far as learning foreign languages are concerned there’s a theory that we’re particularly good at it when young, because we have a language learning app that begins to fade in childhood. But some have countered with the idea that children are good at learning second languages primarily because they haven’t got too much else to distract them.

    Distraction is relevant to the question of measuring the extent to which people’s cognitive abilities are, to a significant extent, general. Would we expect the Maths star to come top, or near the top, in English, History, French, and Biology ? Well, if intelligence is significantly general, we would. But except for the superstars, we’d expect the correlation to tail off a bit as you get older. Because performance in all these subjects (and in due course different fields in real life) will contain a richer mix of knowledge and experience, relative to cognitive ability, than in earlier years. We specialize.

  • Watchman : One thing to watch with IQ – most activist socialist kids have pretty high IQs (I suspect partially because they are born into a high-IQ families and get good education in a sort of IQ-enabling way) but they still are socialist activists. And most libertarians also apparently are high IQ, but they’re capable of equally stupid decisions sometimes.

    Valid points, IMHO. One possible explanation is that intelligence is significantly to do with the ability to systematise, to abstract a rule from the mess of general experience. Socialism is, for all its nuttiness and contradiction, the glorification of system in human affairs. Socialists are always full of grand new plans reorganise this or that onto a more ‘rational” basis. And socialism is highly abstract. Although particular sores may be advertised to the public for propaganda purposes, the solutions are grand strategy stuff, well above the level of the individual ant. So it’s not at all surprising that socialism would appeal to clever kids more than “Dunno, why we do it that way. We’ve always done it that way.”

    The libertarian connection is interesting too. I’ve always perceived a kind of intellectual symmetry between libertarians and socialists. And again I think it’s this system thing. (Which also reflects an emotional symmetry. Libertarians, like socialists, are doctrinally fissiparous, contemptuous of compromise / sell out – my way or the highway sort of guys. And gals.) Of course the libertarian system (essentially the absence of an imposed system, but the assertion of a natural order whose algorithms will generate spontaneous order) is VASTLY preferable to the socialist one(s.) But it is intellectually highly reliant on an analytical systematic approach, and so it’s not at all surprising that it attracts clever people. With willies.*

    * sorry, couldn’t resist that

  • Roué le Jour

    Motivation is a major factor. The best group I ever had were Lybian engineers for whom a facility in English was a passport to a good job with an American company.

    It is also easily observed here in Thailand that street vendors in tourist areas often have better conversational English than Thai teachers of English in schools, although the educational attaiment of the latter far exceeds that of the former.

  • Julie near Chicago

    *Lee !!! *VERY stern frown*
    😉

    ———

    Shoot, Roué, you intervened! :>)

  • Roué le Jour

    I would also add that the correlation between language learning and puberty has been well known for decades. Prepubertal children can learn a second or third language far, far easier than adolescents. In spite of this many education systems teach languages in secondary rather than primary schools.

    I’ve seen it claimed that brain activity scans show that people who learned a second language as a child process it in the language center the same as their primary language, while people who learned a second language as an adult process it in what might be termed general storage. It’s an interesting subject.

  • Roué le Jour

    Julie,
    My most abject apologies.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Roué: Forgiven. 😉

    Seriously: Do you know whether “Broca’s area” of the brain is actually either larger or more active in children who are language prodigies?

  • Bruce

    Simple:

    The PURPOSE of Terrorism is to TERRORIZE.

    “Frightened and bewildered” people will often do VERY silly / irrational / outright stupid things. This ESPECIALLY applies to governments and their “enablers / “king-makers”.

  • Roué le Jour

    Julie,
    That’s an interesting question but I’m afraid I don’t know the answer. I can offer another anecdote, though. My Polish girlfriend’s elderly father could speak Polish, German and English, the later two learned as an adult. When I first met him I could talk to him. Towards the end though he lost the last two and crumbly relatives had to brought in to communicate with him. My girlfriend didn’t speak Polish, her parents had insisted she speak only the language of their new home. And yes, I’m looking at you “religion of peace”. That’s how you do integration.

    Any way, I think that adds weight to the language center vs. general storage theory.

  • I have to say that I’m inclined to buy the language acquisition app as advertised by Pinker S in The Language Instinct. If I remember rightly he makes the point that people who learn a foreign language later in life (ie post puberty) generally, on average, in the round, statistically etc don’t tend to get the accent right. They may learn the language pretty well, even fluently. But zey schtick wiz ze Kizzinger hakzent. Whereas immigrant kiddies pick up the local accent just fine.

    Of course there are exceptions and of course motivation is v important, but I’m inclined to believe it’s innately easier to learn a language, ie a second one, early on, even if with intelligence, effort, motivation and all that swaddling we can manage it later in life too. Eggzept ze hakzent.

  • TimR

    Accents are important. Doing a stint of a week a month in China it occurred to me to learn Mandarin. On the 14 hour flight over I had the tapes etc. and on arrival in the hotel I asked for my room in the native lingo. The girl at reception asked, “What exactly are you trying to say?” In flawless English, of course.
    I do speak Spanish pretty well, so there is that.

  • Even more humiliating is when you arrive at a hotel in Amsterdam, as a callow youth, for your first ever foreign business trip and the doorman greets you, even before you open your mouth, with “Good morning, Sir, welcome to Amsterdam.” In English.

    Musta been the suit.

  • Roué le Jour

    TimR
    Tonal laguages are the very bugger for non tonal speakers. Our brains aren’t trained to hear it or reproduce it. I think that’s why SE asians sing well and like karoke. I had more success with Portuguese than Thai and I’ve been here years.

  • Patrick Crozier

    My opinions on Stefan Molyneux:

    He is rather typical of a certain type of philosopher who because he knows something thinks he knows everything.

    His factual stuff is brilliant.

    His economic understanding is good if not groundbreaking.

    His stuff on war is for the most part of the Raimondo type but from time to time he appears to contradict himself.

    His stuff on parenting is garbage.

    If I was being charitable I would argue that he was attempting to move the Alt-Right away from the Nazis and in a more libertarian direction.

    I quoted him here simply because he was – in my opinion – spot on. Rather too many libertarians fall for that guff about far more people being killed by cars than terrorism. It is an argument that has to be skewered.

  • the other rob

    Actually I’ve seen plausible connection being made between mathematical and musical abilities.

    FWIW, as a youngster I was outstanding at maths and good at languages, but to this day I remain unable to carry a tune in a bucket.

    Returning to the OP, not everybody changes their behaviour in the same manner. After the tube bombings, I made a point of riding the tube for a week, despite it not being the most direct route from my home to my office. Similarly, when the planes resumed flying after 9/11 I was on an almost empty flight up the east coat – there were only six of us on the jet and the flight attendant said “sit where you like”. Somebody had to go first.

    Ultimately, though, I came to understand that while symbolic gestures such as those may have merit (for some value of merit) they do nothing to address the underlying problem. So I moved to Texas, where I am free to go about armed, as are my neighbours and where any loser terrorist can expect a prompt introduction to the Mozambique drill (see, e.g. Garland).

    I’m not anticipating a restoration of the RKBA in the UK any time soon, but you need to do something. Change your behaviour in a way that’s not what the islamists anticipated. You’ve got the Paras deployed on the streets, for God’s sake!

  • Richard Thomas

    *In the end they didn’t take everybody. They concluded that the lowest 10% in IQ test scores weren’t worth recruiting – even if they could sometimes be trained, they took to long to train, and even then they made too many mistakes.

    Perhaps an explanation for how England became a welfare state in the post-war years.

  • Julie near Chicago

    other rob,

    Math and musical abilities have long, long been said to go together. (Of course there are exceptions.) One of the famous examples is Dr. Einstein and his fiddle. Comments on his playing fall into two categories:

    1. Einstein also played the violin, and played it very well.
    2. Einstein also played the violin. Sort of.

    Personally, to quote Elaine May from one of her routines with Mike Nichols: “I never actually dated Al…” so I’m ill-equipped to opine.

    .

    If your point is that such “symbolic gestures” are no substitute for more direct action (changing the laws; properly enforcing them; being prepared for physical defense of self and others if necessary), of course you are quite right.

    But I do think they have real merit. You added a bit of encouragement to people in general not to be dismayed or cowed by the attacks. It’s heartening for those who need the encouragement, and that is at least a little disheartening to the enemy. Further, it serves the function of your and everyone’s staying engaged while strategies and tactics for dealing with the problem head-on are worked out.

    Or, so it should be. Obviously, in neither of our countries have the opportunities to tackle the problem properly been taken as they should have.

    But one does what one can.

    Congrats on becoming a Texan; watch out for Austin, Houston, and Dallas-Ft. Worth. They seem to have attracted an unfortunate number of benighted Proggie types from points farther west, such as California. And, do I infer that you now Carry, and, I hope, can Carry Concealed? If so, good for you!

  • The other rob

    Julie – precisely!

    On carrying, sometimes I conceal, sometimes I carry openly. It all depends on where I’m going, what I’m doing, which gun I’m carrying, etc.

    I’m not saying that that’s how we accessorize,but somebody might!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well, rob, for somebody who doesn’t say it, you say it amusingly. ;>)

    Since you used to reside Elsewhere, and since I am part Cat and vulnerable to curiosity, may I ask where you come from?

  • bobby b

    “I’m not saying that that’s how we accessorize,but somebody might!”

    Does this tie go with the AR? Is the Kimber too formal?

    (Dressing for CC requires some thought – looser clothing, untucked shirts, secure belts – so I think it IS how we accessorize now.)

  • The other rob

    Thank you, Julie. I’m originally from England. I haven’t been back in years and am not sure how keen I’d be on going there unarmed – carrying being my default state nowadays.

    Perhaps I should write Mrs May and ask for a dispensation?

    Bobby b – I think you’re right!

  • The other rob

    Oh? I forgot to relate my feline lineage. I was born a domestic shorthair, spent around three years as a British shorthair and then reverted to again being a domestic shorthair, albeit of a different flavour.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Ah. That probably explains why my Inner Cat does not consider you to be mousemeat, therefore merely attacking you about the ankles and hissing at you now and then. ;>)

    And where, pray tell, did you conduct your early mouse-hunts?

    If Mrs. May will not give you a dispensation, perhaps you could apply to Mr. Corbyn? Although probably your feline blood wouldn’t permit it, you being part feline hence of royal blood, while Mr. Corbyn sounds mostly unfit for human, let alone feline, company ….

  • Gong Cult

    So the Chicago Bluesfest is going to be downtown from 6/9 -6/11 security will be a joke – they’re only concerned about bringing in too much outside booze .I’ve brought in 2 coolers full of goodies& if it did’nt look like I was selling beers – no probs. Anyone could smuggle in I.E.D,s and the Chicago cops would be asleep… so many bottlenecks for ingress and egress could play into terrosist’s hands… if I deign to attend I will be carrying to protect my buddies on the stage and all those who attend as well…

  • bobby b

    Gong Cult
    May 28, 2017 at 3:46 am

    ” . . . if I deign to attend I will be carrying to protect my buddies on the stage and all those who attend as well . . . “

    Unless you’re willing to preemptively shoot any vaguely Middle-Eastern-looking types with bulky coats you see, I think you’re choosing the wrong venue.

    Better, I think, would be to simply stay away from any large gatherings, convince as many others as possible to do the same, and make it clear – loudly and repeatedly – that you have no faith in “the authorities'” ability or willingness to protect the public.

    (And don’t blame the cops. If they offend the wrong people – by carefully checking them out, or by implying through strict security that some of them might be dangerous – they get fired. Rahm courts the terrorist vote, domestic and foreign.)

  • Snorri Godhi

    Just did a search for the word “incentive” in this thread and am surprised not to find it. Isn’t that what we are supposed to talk about, with a title like that?

    Or am i missing the point? i could not bear to listen to Molyneux (who is new to me) without my mind wandering, so i don’t know the context of the quote.

  • Just did a search for the word “incentive” in this thread and am surprised not to find it.

    Because as it happens, the word “motivation” was the one that people are using in this discussion.

  • bobby b (May 28, 2017 at 11:55 am): “Rahm courts the terrorist vote”

    Rumour has it that he counts their votes several times – and the gang votes, similarly. 🙂

  • bobby b

    Just to emphasize that Chicago events are best avoided, we have this post on the Second City Cop blog today:

    “Knife Attacks – Grant Park

    Anyone know what group was playing down in Grant Park this past evening? Because about 2100 hours, the Zone lit up with calls of a group of 20 or 30 youths running around slashing concert goers. We just wanted to see if there were any t-shirts for the band.

    Wilding – it’s just not for breakfast any more.”

    Note that Grant Park is the large park downtown that borders the lakeshore – IOW, Chicago’s most upscale, “safe” area.

  • the other rob

    I endorse bobby b’s comments at 11:55 am. Not least because I’m just a tad swarthy and I feel the cold – I’d hate to have to return gong cult’s fire.

    It bears mentioning, though, that given the rampant islamic evangelism in the US prison systems, a radical islamic loser need not look even vaguely Middle-Eastern these days.

  • Julie near Chicago

    There’s the fact that Nation of Islam — the Black Muslims — have recruited many many many of their “adherents” (because who knows how many of them are even vaguely interested in the finer points of Religion?), and I think continue to do so. There are a lot of Negro or part-Negro “Muslims” of some flavor here, and how does one know whether a given Negro Muslim is a follower first of Mohammed or of Elijah Muhammad (whose son founded the NofI*) and Louis Farrakhan? Do many people move from being Black Muslims to being Muslim Muslims? Do those who do move become more receptive to terrorism?

    How terror-minded are the Black Muslims today? (I admit to having skipped most of Farrakhan’s “sermons.” Oh heck, I’ll be honest. I don’t swim in the sewers. I haven’t heard the Pfleger dude either, even if does come in a Catholic suit. Nor yet the REV Jeremiah Wright, United Church of Christ “minister” though he be. O/T: The bloody Congregationalists who did join with the Evangelical and Reformed Church folks to form the UCoC should be bitterly ashamed of what they’ve become.)

    I sort of assume that the BLM (what an abbreviation! Makes me think of human plumbing, sorry for the indelicacy) and the New Black Panthers do have a lot of Black Muslims in their gangs, but I don’t really know that.

    All this because because a Radical Islamic Loser not only doesn’t have to look Middle-Eastern, he doesn’t even have to look Caucasian. He can also look Negro.

    *The Great Foot on the Nation of Islam:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_of_Islam

  • bobby b

    Julie, I have some experience with the NoI, and some acquaintances who are/were members.

    It really should not be conflated with “Islam” as we speak of it today. It’s not involved in seeking a new Caliphate, it has no territorial aspirations (beyond separatism), and you’re not likely to ever see a NoI person bombing or massacring anyone.

    In spite of some serious flaws, I think NoI holds one possible key to the resurrection of the American black community.

    They preach that blacks need to stop whining about how others are holding them down, that they should instead get their kids educated, that all should act decently and uprightly and responsibly, that all should work hard and nurture their families and foster their communities, and that everyone needs to take responsibility for their own outcomes. NoI prison programs (the ones not co-opted by gangers) are a good force for rehab. Self-discipline is their watchword.

    On the downside, they consider white people to be the Devil’s agents. They would rather live in a separate society from whites (as opposed to trying to kill them, of course.) They share Islam’s sexism and hatred of non-traditional sexual mores.

    Of course, relative to ME Islam, NoI is new and unempowered, so when I say they’re not bombers and killers like real Islam, it could be that they’re simply not there yet. But aside from the “whites are devils” part, black society would probably do well by joining up.

  • Alisa

    “Rahm courts the terrorist vote”

    Rumour has it that he counts their votes several times – and the gang votes, similarly.

    Could one at least hope that those are mostly dead-people’s votes? This is Chicago after all…

  • Snorri Godhi

    Perry:

    as it happens, the word “motivation” was the one that people are using in this discussion.

    Motivation is, in my mind, a broader concept than incentives: one can be motivated by hate or anger, but neither hate nor anger provide incentives — unless one is taking an overly broad view of “incentives”. I prefer to talk of incentives only when people choose actions based on (expected) consequences. If i punch somebody in the face in a fit of anger (which, for the record, never happened) that is not because of the consequences that i expect from my punch. (If i understand Mises, my punch would not be “human action” but a mere “human reaction”.)

    In any case, by searching for the letter string “motiv” in this thread, i can find motivation discussed only in connection with language learning.

  • Snorri : If i punch somebody in the face in a fit of anger (which, for the record, never happened) that is not because of the consequences that i expect from my punch. (If i understand Mises, my punch would not be “human action” but a mere “human reaction”.)

    I don’t claim to be an expert, but I’m not sure that’s right :

    Mises : The field of our science is human action, not the psychological [p. 12] events which result in an action.

    I don’t believe Mises would disqualify your punch as mere “reaction” unless it was a reflex or involuntary. Punching to achieve the goals of venting your anger, or hurting your target, is still purposeful acton. Even a red mist moment isn’t disqualified if I understand Mises references to psychopaths and other mentally disturbed folk correctly. Likewise, breaking into “O what a beautiful morning” when no one is listening but yourself and a field of corn is still action even if it serves no other purpose than giving voice to your cheerfulness. In short, we do not inquire into the value of your purpose, or the quality of reasoning that led you to believe that your action might further it – we merely note that you did something with a view to furthering some purpose. And I can certainly think of a few people on whose noses I would have been happy to land a punch, if I had not feared (a) retaliation (b) the law (c ) my conscience and (d) the wrath of she who must be obeyed. I believe purposeful inaction counts as action too.

    But I agree – I don’t think I’ve spotted motivation mentioned in this thread other than in connection with language learning

  • Snorri Godhi

    Lee: i believe that your interpretation of Mises is correct*: Mises would interpret my punch as action, not reaction … and yet, i stand by what i said, in the sense that i myself would claim that it is reaction, not action: in my immodest opinion, Mises strives too hard to fit all human** behavior under the rubric of “human action”.

    In the case of punching someone in a fit of anger, for instance, it is impossible to say whether the act is really meant with a purpose in mind, and if it was, the purpose is (usually) so short-term as to make no practical difference between action and reaction. It is true that purposeful inaction, such as refraining from punching a punchable face, is action; but i think it too much of a stretch to infer that NOT refraining from punching someone, is also action.

    * My understanding of Mises is almost certainly shallower than yours, however, in spite of your disclaimer: i take more comfort from the support that you give to me, than you should take from the support i give to you.

    ** Incidentally, i also observed a 5 month old kitten engage in what i can only interpret as action, not reaction; but that is off topic.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Snorri, why is the kitten’s action, or reaction, and a discussion of which word is more apt, “off-topic”? The answers to these questions would certainly seem to bear on the topic, and particularly so in light of the way discussion of the original quote developed.
    . . .

    In general, by the way, Internetters (I trust you all know whom I mean) have misunderstood the meaning of the word “thread” in such phrases as “thread of the discussion,” “thread of the conversation,” “thread of the argument,” to the point that now nearly everybody talks about an Internet discussion or conversation in toto as constituting a “thread.” So, Samizdatistas almost universally refer to a posting and the consequent comment stream as a “thread.” It is no such thing. The whole is a discussion, or a “conversation” conducted via writing instead of sound. Many, probably most, of these discussions branch into various subtopics or even off-topic comments; it’s the discussions of these various subtopics that constitute the “threads” of the original discussion, or topic, or posting (whichever you prefer to call it).

    This particular discussion contains at least two threads. One is on the topic of action vs. reaction, in von Mises’ terminology. Another is on the topic of IQ, which itself divides into two threads: What, if anything, does “IQ” actually refer to (which in fact is a matter of definition: what do the individual discussants mean by the term?); and if some common understanding of it can be found, how does it bear on the O.P.?

    The comments on Molyneux and Charles Murray constitute yet another thread.

    .

    On what do I base this assertion? On the simple fact that the word “thread,” in the context of the phrases mentioned above, has long meant and still does mean the part of a discussion or argument that deals with a subtopic (or an altogether off-topic) that is only one of the ideas or issues or themes of the whole — except when the medium of communication is the Internet.

    . . .

    My observations about the distinction of “threads” from the overall discussion of which they are a part were brought to my mind (yet again!) by the introduction of a 5-month-old kitten, with Snorri’s remark that further commentary on the kitten’s psychology (vis-á-vis action vs. reaction) would be off-topic.

    :>)

  • I think the thread metaphor has moved on, Julie. I agree that in “losing the thread of the conversation” we’re talking about Theseus and the Minotaur type threads – slender strings by which one traces ones way through a labyrinth of words.

    But you can also use threads to hang things from a stick or pole of some kind. In that sense the whole set of comments hanging from a single opening post, hangs by a thread from that OP. The stick might be the Samizdata site and along it are a number of knots (OPs) from each of which hangs a thread of comments.

    In the nature of things, such a thread may become frayed.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Julie: if you need to know, i was host to a couple of kittens for a while, and they were allowed to roam the flat except for kitchen, WC, and my bedroom. Naturally they became curious about those rooms, and one day the female was in front of the kitchen door, meowing at me. Tired of being ignored, she trotted all the way to me, 7 meters away, to poke at my ankle. I can only interpret that behavior as directed at an obvious goal, and therefore action rather than reaction. Furthermore, the kitten clearly understood that i can act, too; even overestimating my intellect, because at first i did not understand why i was being poked.

    Actually, this story is kind of relevant: as i remember, Mises is very short on examples that illustrate the distinction between action and reaction, so we must bring up our own.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Snorri, Thanks for the story of your kitten; it surely sounds as if that was a kitten with a Plan. (Her mistake was in failing to give you a Cat-IQ test.) I believe that cats do have some ability to “figure things out” (dogs also). Many years ago we had a cat who was really bugged when the heat came on and the fan started up. She spent hours and hours sitting on the back of the couch, right under the thermostat, trying move the lever that would turn the fan off. She may not have been up to the level of Gödelian logic, but she clearly could make it past the majority of Lefties & libruls. *SNARK, heh-heh-heh*

    Clearly she “understood” (for some value of the word) that the lever on the thermostat worked the noise that bothered her.

    Also, when really badly tied up due to hairballs, in desperation she would sit on the commode, exactly as a human would, attempting to get relief.

    Agree about the relevance. :>)

    . . .

    bobby, the healthier aspects of NoI’s teachings have certainly sounded sensible to me. But the way I recall it — and I’m certainly no authority — Malcolm X was distinctly of the terrorist variety until, I believe, the last year or two of his life, when he recanted on all the violence and preached interracial non-violence. But as I understood it, most of the NoI folks, or at least of their PTB, were not at all happy with this change of outlook and style, and denounced him roundly for it. And the Black Muslims went on being Black Muslims in their belief in a state of natural war between “the white man” and the “black,” even if the temper of the times, especially post-V-N-War, damped down violence for awhile.

    But clearly we are back to terrorism and violence in support of some “cause” as a major concern, and there are the New Black Panthers and the BLM; and between the anti-white yelpings of REV J. Wright and those of Farrakhan, it seemed to me that it would be natural for a lot of those folks to be also Black Muslims of the earlier, violent type. Then there is Whosis Shabazz, who heads up (or did) the New Black Panthers, I think it is. (Some years ago somebody called in to the Mark Levin show to ask Levin about Shabazz and the Muslim question, and Levin absolutely refused to go there. He yelled at the caller, which was his custom at the time, to the effect that he wasn’t going to have what today would be called “racist” talk on his show; I think he was worried about dissing the Muslim-Muslims.)

    However, you know some of them and have some direct knowledge of their organization, agenda, methods; I certainly don’t, so I’m glad for your input. Thank you. :>)

    .

    This whole train of thought arose from the comment that prisons are recruitment centers for Islam. I think I know that they do recruit many people to the NoI. So, it occurred to me to wonder whether the newly recruited adherents to Islam become Muslims predominantly in the historical sense, or whether they are more likely to become Black Muslims. Actually I would think it the latter, as most of the prisoners are already Americans, whether they like it or not, and are used to American culture (“culture” in a very broad sense).

    So, I’m not confusing the two “varieties,” if indeed they be related at all; but I do wonder whether the people who talk about recruiting Muslims in the prisons are failing to distinguish. (And, how and to what extent does it matter?)

    Also, as I’ve understood it for many years now, Muslim Muslims (of the Near- and Middle-Eastern traditions), by and large, actually look down on the Black Muslims. Is that true?

    . . .

    Lee, clearly your Metaphor of the Thread differs from mine. I would alter your remark

    “The stick might be the Samizdata site and along it are a number of knots (OPs) from each of which hangs a thread of comments.”

    to read,

    “The stick might be the Samizdata site and along it are a number of knots (OPs) from each of which hangs a discussion, which tends to diverge into a number of distinct, though interwoven, threads.”

    Personally, I think your way of looking at it causes me to restate my view more clearly and concisely; so, thank you.

    Beyond that, perhaps we might agree to disagree? :>))

  • bobby b

    Julie, re NoI:

    NoI is decidedly NOT Islam. It has much more in common with the Church of Scientology. NoI pushes the Scientological teachings of Dianetic auditing, and includes several very Mormon-like aspects (such as, there exists a huge and mysterious UFO plane (the Mother Plane) upon which ex-and-dead-leader Elijah M continues to live and rule, that the Earth is 67 trillion years old, that God and his helpers split off the moon from the earth trillions of years ago, and that past leader Elijah M is Allah’s immortal prophet).

    Back in the fifties (IIRC) NoI started to attempt to switch its focus and become part of Sunni Islam. This caused a huge split, and Farrakhan got rid of this movement when he took over in the seventies, reverting more strongly to Dianetics. Actual Muslim Muslims view the NoI with horror.

    The only connection with terror or violence that I know of in NoI occurred during the time in which it tried to join Sunni Islam.

    The best comparison I can think of is this: NoI is to Islam what Rastafarian is to Christianity. It’s what you’d get if Tolkien got together with L. Ron Hubbard and wrote the Koran.

  • Laird

    “It’s what you’d get if Tolkien got together with L. Ron Hubbard and wrote the Koran.”

    Now that would be worth reading! 😀

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Laird- it’s been done by his son, and is called ‘The silmarilion’. you might still be able to find some copies in bookstores, or it might be online by now.