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Unread April 26th, 2008, 04:22 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Philadelphia area
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Cool Tom re NeoD & Eugenics

Tom,

1) Thanks for your encouragement!

2) I need comments because I am otherwise inclined to think too much.

3) I have the same weakness as most talkers, that of defining a territory and recruiting the like-minded. Starlings do it, chimps do it, so do most talk-show hosts, and so do a lot of educators.

4) Galton organized the genetics and behavior stuff although it may be the Greeks did it first and some ADHD types lost the notes!

5) Steve Pinker (2002, The Blank Slate) in his chapter on politics, credits Roger Masters, 1982, 1989 (The Nature of Politics. New Haven, CT. Yale.) and observes:

284. "In the sociological tradition, a society is a cohesive organic entity and its individual citizens are mere parts. People are thought to be social by their very nature and to function as constituents of a larger superorganism. This is the tradition of Plato, Hegel, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Kroeber, the sociologist (285) Talcott Parsons, the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, and postmodernism in the humanities and social sciences.

"In the economic or social contract tradition, society is an arrangement negotiated by rational, self-interested individuals Society emerges when people agree to sacrifice some of their autonomy in exchange for security from the depredations of others wielding their autonomy. It is the tradition of Thrasymachus in Plato's Republic, and of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Smith and Bentham. In the twentieth century it became the basis for the rational actor or "economic man" models in economics and political science, and for cost-benefit analyses of public choices.

"The modern theory of evolution falls smack into the social cocntract tradition. It maintains that complex adaptations, including behavioral strategies, evolved to benefit the individual (indeed, the genes for those traits within an individual), not the community, species, or ecosystem. Social organization evolves when the long-term benefits to the individual outweigh the immediate costs."
p286.

"The right-let axis aligns an astonishing collection of beliefs that at first glance seem to have nothing in common. If you learn that someone is in favor of a strong military, for example, it is a good bet that the person is also in favor of judicial restraint rather than judicial activism. If someone believes in the importance of religion, chances are she will be tough on crime and in favor of lower taxes. Proponents of a laissez-faire economic policy tend to value patriotism and the family, and they are more likely to be old than young, pragmatic rather than idealist, censorious than permissive, meritocratic than egalitarian, gradualist than revolutionary, and in a business rather than a university or government agency. The opposing positions cluster just as reliably: if someone is sympathetic to rehabilitating offenders, or to affirmative action, or to generous welfare programs, or to a tolerance of homosexuality, chances are good that he will also be a pacifist, an environmentalist, an activist, an egalitarian, a secularist, and a professor or student."

6) Twenty-five years after Rushton, Littlefield, & Lumsden (1986) reported substantial heritability and unique environments for altruism, empathy, nurturance, aggressiveness, and assertiveness (questionnaires from 573 adult twin pairs) and that common (imposed) environments contributed on the order of 3%, we struggle with these ideas. For example, Alford J, Funk C, & Hibbing JR (2005, Are political orientations genetically transmitted? American Political Science Review. 99(2): 153–167) remark:
"...predictably dissimilar correlations of social and political attitudes among people with greater and lesser shared genotypes suggest that behaviors are often shaped by forces of which the actors themselves are not consciously aware, a point that is made with some force by Bargh and Chartrand (1999), Marcus (2002), Marcus, Neuman, and MacKuen 2000), McDermott (2004), andWegner (2002).

"Fathers do not have more influence over sons, and mothers do not have more influence over daughters; fathers are not generally more influential; the distribution of power within the family is irrelevant to parent–child correlations (i.e., neither highly autocratic, highly permissive, nor middling arrangements affect the extent to which attitudes are correlated); the degree to which children and parents feel close to each other does not matter; the frequency with which the family discusses politics does not much affect correspondence between offspring and parent views (though, as we would have predicted since it is based on active socialization, party identification is more sensitive to family arrangements); and the extent to which politics is important to the parents is also irrelevant.

"Common political usage would call the first phenotype conservative and the second liberal, but we seek phrases that are less connected to political ideologies and that indicate that these two phenotypes run to the very orientation of people to society, leadership, knowledge, group life, and the human condition. Thus, we label the first "absolutist" and the second "contextualist."This fundamental dimension offers a credible precursor to basic cleavages manifested in a broad range of human social activity: politics (conservatives/liberals), religion (fundamentalists/secular humanists), law (procedural/substantive due process), education (phonics/whole language), art (traditional form-based realism/modern free-form impressionism), sports (football/frisbee), medicine (traditional AMA/wholistic), morality (enduring standards/situational ethics), and scientific inquiry (formal/empirical). In our view, all of these vexing perennial dichotomies are related cultural expressions of a deep-seated genetic divide in human behavioral predispositions and capabilities."

7) Irony: Lindon Eaves is one of the modern pioneers in behavior genetics research, collaborated often with Hans Eysenck, and faced squarely the extent to which the environments that really matter are those that we make through unspoken genetic preferences.

Eaves, however, is also, according to Internet sources, "Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics and Psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond and directs the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. His research encompasses statistical genetics and the genetics of human behavior, with a special emphasis on genetic studies of behavioral development, and the modeling of biological and cultural inheritance. He is past-president of the Behavior Genetics Association and has received numerous honors and awards for his contributions to behavioral genetics and twin research. He has authored more than 200 papers and a book, Genes, Culture and Personality: An Empirical Approach. He is an Episcopal Priest in the Diocese of Virginia and has lectured widely on the relationship between science and theology."

Eaves is a very smart guy and a very energetic one but one with a gene that he shares with roughly 40% of other scientists. Twenty-five years later, we still have to come to terms with the idea that the lectures that matter are those that we choose to take with us; they otherwise, are a means to impose uniformity as mothers, teachers, and preachers lecture, fine, criticize, and imprison mostly young males.

The lectures from agnostics and political "liberals" are intended to convert, to suppress, and to intimidate people with a contrary set of beliefs. Given the genetic contributions to political and social beliefs, this war must be seen as a [i]eugenic]/I] one in which the "winners" from the universities, New England, and the west coast suppress the formerly dominant group.

Another irony and a symptom of how deeply these competing outlooks exist in our society. Tom Jefferson is cited by Wiki as an advocate for separation of church and state. His memorial in Washington has a different idea: "I have sworn on the altar of God eternal hostility against any form of tyranny on the human mind."

Or so I think it goes...I need to pay another visit. Meanwhile, I suspect that Ben Stein is an opportunist and will probably sell whatever people buy. I don't think that was true of Jefferson.

JimB

Last edited by James Brody; April 28th, 2008 at 10:45 AM.