Monday, March 15, 2010


Well, my cataract operation went "very, very well" according to the ophthalmic surgeon so rapid healing will hopefully ensue. The private clinic I went to could not imaginably be better, I think. Private medicine in Australia is very, very good -- as good as public medicine is bad. Yet my private health insurer is covering 100% of the charges from the clinic and from the anesthetist but I have to pay something towards the fees of the surgeon.

I was in and out quite rapidly and experienced only minimal pain and discomfort. And even now that the anesthetic has worn off I am not in any pain.

I am writing this using my one good eye at the moment and have managed to put something up today on all my blogs -- though with reduced postings in some instances. You can't keep a good blogger down. I have had multiple surgical procedures since I started blogging but I don't think I have missed a day yet. Reduced posting below, however.


Atheism and IQ again

I commented briefly last month about the rather florid claims by Kanazawa -- including a claim of a positive correlation between atheism and IQ. I noted that his findings were probably an artifact of the Leftist influence on the educational system. I am therefore rather pleased to see that a writer on the Puffington Host has drawn similar conclusions. That an atheist conservative such as myself and a religious Leftist such as Josh Schrei should come to similar conclusions does rather reinforce those conclusions, I think. His argument is an extensive and careful one but I think that his strongest point is this:
Kanazawa's test group were all Americans. In America, atheism and liberalism are both value systems embraced by the educated middle class and are part of the cultural fabric of liberal arts universities, Ivy League colleges, and the American intelligentsia. Therefore, saying that among a small group of Americans, liberals and atheists had higher IQ test scores is a bit like saying that people with more college education in this country tend to know more.

Putting it another way, smarter people are more likely to go to college and there they come under pressure to adopt Leftist ideas, which include a contempt for religion generally and Christianity in particular. As I said previously, the correlation is almost certainly a product of the sociology of the situation, not a product of genetics. There are a couple of other generally good comments here and here.

Sadly, a later article by Schrei on the same subject was much more naive and illogical. I suppose we can't expect too much from a Leftist. He should have read this.


Political gnosticism

Conservatives don’t worship the past —or at least we shouldn’t— but we do see it as a valid reference point in decision-making about the future. Those who fashion themselves more “progressive” (actually a term with its own past) suggest we should go into the future experimentally and without the safety net of tried-and-true precedence. And when certain ideas and ideals from the past are resurrected in spite of the fact that they have never worked anytime, anywhere—these “visionaries” are convinced that the reason they failed before is because those sincere people way back when were simply not as enlightened as we are today.

We are living in an era of political gnosticism. The term gnosticism is from the Greek and carries the idea of knowledge—but is especially related to various forms of superior or esoteric knowledge. Basically, a gnostic is a puffed-up know-it-all who has greater powers of insight and discernment than mere mortals. And in political terms these “best and brightest of the best and brightest” flock together just knowing that if they could run things the way Plato envisioned in his Republic—in other words, as a great big, all-seeing, all-knowing, political aristocracy—the world would be a better place. At least for them.

The new political gnostics don’t trust markets or anything else they can’t control, so they seek such control as a concession to their brilliance. Gnostics always have a better idea than average every day people. Trust them. They know. They know all. They see all.

Of course, it’s hard to pull off political gnosticism without arrogance and the propensity to impatiently lecture the moronic masses. But gnostic arrogance is surely, at least to insiders, a small price to pay for making the planes fly on time and ensuring that all the rest of us are well-fed a healthy, trans fat-free diet, and can get a number to stand in line at the clinic.

Here’s the deal. George W. Bush was “cocky.” He had a bring-it-on bravado about him that was, to many Americans, off-putting. I understand that. He was self-assured and convinced of the rightness of his ideas. I didn’t really have a problem with that. Leaders need to be confident. But there’s a difference between “cocky” and “arrogant.”

I never had the impression that our 43rd president thought of himself as the smartest guy in the nation—or the room. These days, however, I can’t help but find myself recoiling at arrogance born of political gnosticism. Sometime back, a colleague of mine remarked about someone else that, “you could almost hear the words coming down his nose as he talked.” It’s sort of like that.

At every turn, the American people—when given the chance via ballots, rallies or meetings with legislators—have sent not-so-subtle signals to Washington that they don’t want bigger government, they don’t want Obamacare, and they are not happy with what is going on. It begs the question: Why aren’t some leaders listening? Well, it’s because when you have superior knowledge and just know you are smarter than everyone else, any contrary word is just the kind of noise kids on a Charlie Brown TV Special hear when a teacher talks—blah, blah, blah.

Shortly after President John F. Kennedy had put together his cabinet during the transition period before his 1961 inaugural, someone remarked to the Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, about how educated and smart they all were. Rayburn replied, “But I wish at least one of them had run for sheriff at least once!”

And I find myself wishing we had some people in high places these days conversant in building something or sweating a payroll. Smart people, though—especially of the gnostic type— have difficulty grasping the concept that they might actually be wrong. It’s like that character, Sheldon, on the TV sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, who condescendingly remarked to his friend: “Howard, you know me to be a very smart man. Don't you think that if I were wrong, I'd know it?”

Apparently not. Oh, and Sheldon also said something once that pretty much describes how I feel about the future if all the socialist machinations in the hopper actually become the way things are in this country. It’s when he said: “I believe the appropriate metaphor here involves a river of excrement and a Native American water vessel without any means of propulsion.”




There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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