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  #1  
Unread March 12th, 2006, 01:07 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default Two Cousins: Francis Galton Site

Chuck Darwin taught us about the emergence of similarities in response to selective pressures. He didn't account particularly well for variation that we find in individual. Clinicians, however, and parents want to understand variation.

Frank Galton taught us about individuals but attracted zealots who not only embarrassed themselves but also him. Fred Skinner had a similar problem! Meanwhile, my hunch is that Galton deserves a prominance equal to that of Darwin and the difference in their contemporary standing lies mostly in how they attracted and managed their friends. Pearson, in particular, may have been a vector that carried both Darwin and Galton to the Germans.

I today needed a check on Galton's birth and death and found surprising things in Wikipedia and a delightful resource in "http://galton.org," including access to the biography by Pearson, a $1200 item when I last priced it 6 years ago!

Http://galton.org/

"Despite his colossal achievements, contemporary reputation and far-reaching influence, Sir Francis Galton is no longer widely known or appreciated except among specialists. This site corrects the record, collecting online all of Galton's original published work, including all his books, papers and other published work. The complete, definitive biography by Karl Pearson, (emph added, JB) rare even in libraries, is provided here, as are contemporary reviews of, and commentary on, Galton's work. There is a substantial gallery of photographs and portraits of Galton, and concise overviews of his major areas of interest are provided."

An epigraph:
"I have no patience with the hypothesis occasionally expressed, and often implied, especially in tales written to teach children to be good, that babies are born pretty much alike, and that the sole agencies in creating differences between boy and boy, and man and man, are steady application and moral effort. It is in the most unqualified manner that I object to pretensions of natural equality. The experiences of the nursery, the school, the University, and of professional careers, are a chain of proofs to the contrary." -- Francis Galton, Hereditary Genius. Dick Feynman would probably have agreed.

And there is a fine quote from Thomas Bouchard:

"Both the idea of a general factor of cognitive ability ... and the idea that genetic factors might be an important source of variance in cognitive ability have been continuously debated since they were first systematically expounded by Galton ... . Reviews of Galton's books published in the London Times at the time of their appearance could, if slight changes were made, be published today." -- Thomas Bouchard 'IQ similarity in twins reared apart: findings and responses to critics' 1997.

See also: "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Galton"

"...Galton invented the term eugenics in 1883 and set down many of his observations and conclusions in a book, Inquiries in Human Faculty and its Development. He believed that a scheme of 'marks' for family merit should be defined, and early marriage between families of high rank be encouraged by provision of monetary incentives. He pointed out some of the dysgenic tendencies in British society, such as the late marriages of eminent people, and the paucity of their children. He advocated encouraging eugenic marriages by supplying incentives for the able to have children.

"His ideas would greatly influence similar movements in many other countries. He cautioned, however, against the sorts of extreme proposals that the eugenics movement soon produced (emph added, JB) when it was taken up enthusiastically by socialists (emph added. Matt Ridley made a similar point!) such as George Bernard Shaw, HG Wells, and their followers, who were enthusiastic about state compulsion and social engineering..."
JB
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  #2  
Unread March 14th, 2006, 12:13 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Two Cousins: Francis Galton Site

Thanks for pointing me to the writings of this famous racist. I had read some of his stuff before but the Galton Website provides the Full Monte, you might say.

One that caught my eye was this wherein he expands, from his position as an obviously suprerior Anglo-Saxon - on his scientific estimation of the differences in quality between Negroes and Chinamen.

http://galton.org/letters/africa-for...TheChinese.htm

In this letter-to-the-editor he was proposing that it was in the interest of enlightened men like himself, to settle Chinamen in the lands of the Negroes (the East Coast of Africa), wherein the Negroes would eventually be displaced by the industrious Chinaman and die out, for the betterment of mankind, of course . . . .
Quote:
The truth appears to be that individuals of the mental caliber I have just described are much more exceptional in the negro than in the Anglo-Saxon race, and that average negroes possess too little intellect, self-reliance, and self-control to make it possible for them to sustain the burden of any respectable form of civilization without a large measure of external guidance and support. The Chinaman is a being of another kind, who is endowed with a remarkable aptitude for a high material civilization. He is seen to the least advantage in his own country, where a temporary dark age still prevails, which has not sapped the genius of the race, though it has stunted the developed the of each member of it, by the rigid enforcement of an effete system of classical education which treats originality as a social crime. All the bad parts of his character, as his lying and servility, spring from timidity due to an education that has cowed him, and no treatment is better calculated to remedy that evil than location in a free settlement. The natural capacity of the Chinaman shows itself by the success with which, notwithstanding his timidity, he competes with strangers, wherever he may reside. The Chinese emigrants possess an extraordinary instinct for political and social organization; they contrive to establish for themselves a police and internal government, and they give no trouble to their rulers so long as they are left to manage those matters by themselves. They are good-tempered, frugal, industrious, saving, commercially inclined, and extraordinarily prolific. They thrive in all countries, the natives of the Southern provinces being perfectly able to labor and multiply in the hottest climates. Of all known varieties or mankind there is none so appropriate as the Chinaman to become the future occupant of the enormous regions which lie between the tropics, whose extent is far more vast than it appears, from the cramped manner in which those latitudes are pictured in the ordinary maps of the world.
I have wondered about the attraction of some Evolutionary Biologists to what I had always considered to be the pseudo-science of Eugenics. But realistically, I have no real education or degrees in Psychology or any of the natural sciences.

Perhaps, you could take a few paragraphs to describe your attraction to this area of the human sciences and briefly describe whatever premises you hold, that seem to underlie your many posts and references on this topic.

You may be offering these as lessons in how backward science was in the not too distant past and how easily strong beliefs can affect what even educated scientists see when they look at evidence, but from the tone of your referencing posts that doesn't seem likely.

In any case, here's your chance to explain it for us.

Margaret
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  #3  
Unread March 14th, 2006, 12:53 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default Re: Two Cousins: Francis Galton Site

Oh my! Neither of us surprises the other...

1) Galton shed light on individual differences and, thereby, founded a major branch of psychology that is still vibrant. Clinicians care about individual differences. And so do most parents and children. Galton's work on twins opened doors that would not be entered again until Tom Bouchard's team published their monumental paper in 1990.

2) Galton followed data. (check his essay on Jews and why they are superior!) And his material on Chinamen vs Negroes may yet carry the day...indeed the average Oriental carries an IQ of about 130, the average Ashkenazim about 140. You and I are pegged at 100 simply because items that discriminated in favor of males were discarded from the test. (No one dsigned a test that doesn't discriminate between Orientals, Blacks, and Caucasians!) Thus, your grandchildren and mine will likely speak and read Chinese...and that time may not be far off.

As for Black IQ: there is a tremendous overlap in ranges but average performance is about 85 in North America and 70 in our motherland of Africa. (Although many people don't like Jensen's arguments nor those of Phil Rushton, there has been no empirical rebuttal of their reviews.)

As Francois Jacob noted, "If you are going to have science, you can't have only the science that you like." Or some such...My personal view is that talent in our culture eventually compensates for opportunities whether in academics, professional sports, the performing arts, political leadership, education, or elsewhere. I would have it no other way. If you prefer guaranteed outcomes, then move to Iran and put on your Burka. Or, go to Iran and resurrect yourself as a male.

As for "racist": check Matt Ridley's book, Ridley, M. (2000) Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. NY: Harper Collins. Study in particular the names of FDR, Orson Wells, GB Shaw, Winston Churchill and the many other luminaries of socialist ilk...famous minds that put the state's interests above those of the individual.

Give The Bell Curve your first reading (not the reviews of it) and Murray's other splendid book, Murray, C. (2003) Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts & Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 NY: Harper Collins.

Otherwise, Margaret, introduce some chaos into your socialist thoughts.


JB

Last edited by James Brody; March 14th, 2006 at 01:17 PM.
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  #4  
Unread March 15th, 2006, 01:16 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Two Cousins: Francis Galton Site

Quote:
MM: Perhaps, you could take a few paragraphs to describe your attraction to this area of the human sciences and briefly describe whatever premises you hold that seem to underlie your many posts and references on this topic.
Ah yes Margaret, JimB’s “attraction to this area . . .” Very perceptive, and I especially like the (using your verbiage from another post) “personal taunt . . . designed to raise the emotional level of the discussion.” True to your own counsel, you seem to remain “vigilant and guard against the intrusion of ideological narratives into scientific discussions”—thanks, Margaret, for exposing the intrusion of Dr. Brody’s insidious ideological narratives . . . shall we henceforth refer to him as Dr. Evil?

But alas, since we humans, as you’ve illustrated Margaret, lack free will; and as TomJ amplifies, can never be “morally responsible”; the most that can be said is that JimB, at best, is merely “sick,” apparently lacking a fully functional “remorse and regret module.” It seems all so, I don’t know, pitiless and indifferent.
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  #5  
Unread March 15th, 2006, 11:04 AM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Identity-belief or talent?

JimB, I did not ask my question facetiously. I understand that we see many things differently. I am interested in exploring your side of the question. It would take me weeks to read all the references that you listed. I could also provide references like Gould or Nesbitt who I believe make a very good case for my side. But I'd rather hear your personal view.

You offered in your statement that,
Quote:
"My personal view is that talent in our culture eventually compensates for opportunities whether in academics, professional sports, the performing arts, political leadership, education, or elsewhere. I would have it no other way."
That seems like a strange statement for a scientist discussing a theory (that they would have it no other way). It seems to indicate an outright refusal to consider alternative theories.

But, if you could overcome that temporarily, let's talk about that unscientific term you use - talent. I taught music in the past as a sideline. I never made any real money at it but it was fun and provided plenty of opportunities to observe differences in learning. When I mention to someone that I am a musician many people will say something like how they wish that they had musical talent but that they are sure they . . couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. I just smile because I know they are just describing a part of their identity-belief system.

As I'm sure you know our brains are quite malleable - even older brains like mine. But, that's especially true when we are young. If we expose our brains to certain kinds of information and exercise our brains in certain ways, they will over time shift resources from adjacent, less used areas. They'll add connections and may even grow new nerve cells - and we will get better at processing that kind of information. The truth is that if they saw themselves as a musician and were willing to committ the energy to fulfill that image, then anyone could become at least a passable musician - possibly even a great musician depending on their age when they made and internalized that image and committed to it.

There are many possible motivations for learning but that's the one that seems the strongest and most crucial for music. Learning to play any musical instrument takes a lot of work and personal energy. Learning to use one's mind to process scientific and math information requires a similar investment. How do we know that differences in IQ (the ability to do well on an IQ test) are not simply the result of differences in the identity committments that people made when young and then expressed in their decisions as they grew? Do you think that if someone who inherited a talent for science had instead adopted a basketball player identity-belief that their science-math ability would have been unaffected? Are there IQ studies that correct for this factor? Or, that even recognize it?

I suspect that a person's identity-beliefs are an extremely important and little understood source of the emotions that contribute to their decision-making. It seems to me these work as a double edged sword. Kids not only copy the behavior of those whose identities they admire, they will avoid behavior that might identify them in opposite ways. When a student decides to join the math club instead of the basketball team they are not just following the path of least resistance - I believe they are expressing a belief about themselves that they hope to fulfill.

I have no problem with individual differences. I relish them. However, I suspect that they are more likely due to the energy we spend fulfilling our socially acquired identity-beliefs than they are due to the inherited talents you allude to. From an evolutionary perspective it also seems that any human would be better off adapting quickly to changing environmental conditions with such a cultural learning preference mechanism - than they would by following some inherited trait that could take many generations to modify.

According to my theory - these biases first appeared at age two or three (the age when copying behavior is strongest) and then grew to guide the millions of decisions they subsequently made about where to apply their mental focus and energy over the years as they matured. IMO these are more likely what molded their synapses and the organization of their minds to be better at some things and not so good at others.

Before I accept your view that different races and genders are born with such determinative traits, like a greater or lesser talent for science or math, I'd like to see some evidence that corrects for their identity-belief biases.

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; March 15th, 2006 at 12:07 PM.
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  #6  
Unread March 15th, 2006, 11:53 AM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default Eugenics in Brody's Pub

I've mentioned in earlier pages that I'm something of a barkeep and bouncer for a small taproom in a peculiar block, a transitional neighborhood that lies in between several others. I usually sweep the floor, clean spittoons, stock alcohols, and assure the drunks a safe way home, often to their books and classwork where they should be instead of coming in here too often at some late hour.

I have a personal love of truth but find that truth varies sharply across individuals. Indeed, "truth" about environments has inevitable genetic foundations: ask someone about their upbringing and you hear a story about genes told by genes. I have become, therefore, a collector of stories but stories told well, with open mind and few words. And I especially treasure stories that tell of the arbitrary, fundmentally deceptive nature of thought and reflect their writer's gratitude that we followed our fingertips for millennia before we followed our thoughts. (Stories attached to some data are indeed treasures.)

I sometimes value strays who help to make a point when they spill just-so stories and the Standard Social Science Model (SSSM, See Cosmides & Tooby, 1992). On the other hand, I have a barely hidden irritation for Kmart thinkers who bleat the usual cant, on impulse, and with little regard for contexts. The SSSM represses alternative explanations of human quirks, explanations that may be of great benefit and to more individuals rather than to clumps of them. The SSSM's plausibility adds to its suffocating power but with this particular suffocation, there is no "high" just before you go under. And its plausibility unites like-minded believers who swarm in waves of moral indignation to attack, ridicule, smear, tattle on or, sometimes, just plain kill puzzled geeks like me. (See also: strong reciprocity: esp Herb Gintis).

I, therefore, look deep under my counter for the sweet bottle called patience whenever a standard mind enters my door. I use those sandwich board carriers as displays of the standard confusions to be found in our society and eventually refer them to Steve Pinker. I also distrust the estrogen-guided who infest churches, universities, and public schools. My reasons? First, they preach kindness but seek conformity. Second, I do not want done again to anyone what the socialists did on behalf of the public good to millions of rebels, deviants, and individualists called Jews (Grynberg, 2002). (The most recent episode was targeted at Ed Wilson in the '70s. Leaders: the Marxists Richard Lewontin & Steven Gould).

This anecdote is taken from my review of Matt Ridley's story about genes:

"Karl Pearson told Joshua Wedgwood, "What is social is right, and there is no definition of right beyond that." The '30s socialists decided to suppress reproductive options for those of us who just didn't fit in. Sweden sterilized 60,000 people in this cause and the United States, 100,000: Britain, however, did not because a libertarian hero held the bridge. Wedgwood, whose forebears collaborated with Darwins and even bred with them, was an MP and appalled by the broad assumption of power over individuals by the state. He and a few other libertarians filibustered and tabled 200 pieces of pro-eugenics legislation against Churchill's and the majority's efforts to pass them." (Brody, 2001).

References:
Brody, JF (2001) Genome: Did Ridley Get It Right? A review of Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley. Posted Behavior onLine, August 18.
The following help separate Galton from Pearson: Gillham does the better job.
Cornwell, J (2003) Hitler's Scientists: Science, War, and the Devil's Pact.
Gillham, Nicholas W. (2001) A Life of Sir Francis Galton: From African Exploration to the Birth of Eugenics. NY: Oxford.
Grynberg, M. (1993/2002) (Ed.) Words to Outlive Us: Eyewitness Accounts from the Warsaw Ghetto. Philip Boehm, trans. NY: Henry Holt (Picador).
Pinker, S. (2002) The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. NY: Viking.

Last edited by James Brody; March 15th, 2006 at 12:14 PM.
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  #7  
Unread March 15th, 2006, 12:32 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Two Cousins: Francis Galton Site

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
and as TomJ amplifies, can never be “morally responsible”; the most that can be said is that JimB, at best, is merely “sick,” apparently lacking a fully functional “remorse and regret module.” It seems all so, I don’t know, pitiless and indifferent.
As long as you're quoting me, I need to clear up misconceptions:

No, we're not "morally responsible" in the religious sense, but we're responsible to our instincts as social animals. The only difference is that the cause is the evolution of our psychology so no supernatural 'god' with objective morals is necessary.

Yes, neither Jim nor Margaret have a 'soul' or 'spirit' that is 'good' or 'evil'; they're deterministically reacting to the sum of their genes and environment.

And IMO, it's your 'regret module' as described in the http://www.behavior.net/bolforums/showthread.php?t=742 thread that seems the least effective. Jim and Margaret are both kind people with strong differing views on this particular subject. So, they can discuss their differences and affect their environments so their future deterministic actions can be changed, hopefully for the better.
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Unread March 15th, 2006, 01:03 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Identity-belief or talent?

You placed this last post as a reply to my previous one where I suggested that,
Quote:
IMO these (identity-beliefs) are more likely what molded their synapses and the organization of their minds to be better at some things and not so good at others.
I didn't offer that as a regurgitation of what your ideological enemies have written. These are my own thoughts that I have synthesized out of many things that I have read and learned in my 63 years. You may be interested to know that far from being a socialist (you've accused me of that more than once) I spent most of my earning life as the owner of a business where I employed others and where my taxes and my employees taxes supported such socialist institutions as our public schools and universities. Places where a lot of research is done on things like psychology. Also, that I once worked as a volunteer recording Nathanial Brandon's talks. I no longer lionize Ayn Rand but I retain a strong respect for individualism - and I think I display a bit of that myself.

I'm afraid I can't see much in your post that refers to my proposition at all. Instead, it displays a barely hidden but deep enmity for those who don't share your views. In this post you have insulted me personally, but in a devious way. If you want to call me an estrogen-guided K-mart thinker, go ahead and do it. There's no need to hide behind such generalized prose.

But, I don't think that advances your pov. I really don't want to get into any personal conflict here. I'm more interested in your ideas - and secondarily in the way that you express them. I think that serves to show how one's ideological beliefs can provide almost all the emotional force behind their words. These are far more potent than the weak emotions available from a cold scientific theory. I would think that if my ideas are so standard issue SSSM it would be easier for you to descredit them - succintly, logically and impersonally - in a sentence or two.

Instead, you have avoided that in favor of a veiled personal attack. I really want to know what's wrong with my proposal. Here's your second chance at that.

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; March 15th, 2006 at 02:02 PM.
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  #9  
Unread March 15th, 2006, 03:18 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Two Cousins: Francis Galton Site

Quote:
TomJ: And IMO, it's your 'regret module' as described in the . . . thread that seems the least effective. Jim and Margaret are both kind people with strong differing views on this particular subject.
Margaret doesn’t seem to share your POV that Jim is all that “kind”—consider the following MM to Jim exchange from above:
Quote:
I'm afraid I can't see much in your post that refers to my proposition at all. Instead, it displays a barely hidden but deep enmity for those who don't share your views. In this post you have insulted me personally, but in a devious way. If you want to call me an estrogen-guided K-mart thinker, go ahead and do it. There's no need to hide behind such generalized prose.
And Margaret is obviously convinced that Jim’s “attraction to this area”—the “writings of this famous racist” Galton—is something sinister, apparently b/c it doesn’t conform to whatever she deems is an appropriate ideology or whatever makes her feel good.

Additionally, your own preoccupation with what you’ve determined is my ineffective “regret module” seems to be less than benign. Open your eyes Tom—you people are behaving like a bunch of animals.
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  #10  
Unread March 15th, 2006, 03:28 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Two Cousins: Francis Galton Site

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
you people are behaving like a bunch of animals
I understand your frustration with my posts. I don't get baited by these statements of yours, I'm short and concise, and I have valid points.

I talk of your 'regret module' because of your posts and anyone that reads many of them will understand my POV. I truly do feel sorry for your predicament, it's not your fault and it does not mean that you're an immoral person.

I do appreciate you giving me the opportunity to mention again that the 'regret' module is an amazing example of 'Evolutionary Psychology'! And I noticed that you have not argued that point.
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