Wednesday, October 17, 2007
But what if it were true?
Nobel laureate James Watson, although in a rather insulting manner, raises an interesting question:
Dr Watson told The Sunday Times that he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours -- whereas all the testing says not really". He said there was a natural desire that all human beings should be equal but "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true". [bold added]Although I have no opinion one way or the other, on whether there is a racial disparity in average intelligence, it would not be a big shock to me to learn that intelligence, like other attributes of human beings, was affected by one's genetic makeup. That being the case, human populations that evolved in different areas (and with different evolutionary pressures) could very well end up differing slightly in average intelligence.
Having said that, it is quite one thing to say that one person is more or less intelligent than another and quite another to imply that they are not (or should not be) equal before the law. Why? For two reasons. First, and most important, equality before the law is premised on the notion of individual rights, which pertain to each man's ability to use his rational faculty in a social context.
Second, there is the fact (to which political thinkers today seem almost universally oblivious) that intelligence does not equal the faculty of reason or determine that one will behave rationally. To equivocate between differences in degree of intelligence and differences in kind (possessing reason or not) as Watson sounds like he could be doing is irrational and immoral. And this nicely brings up the point that one can be very intelligent, and yet possess irrational ideas because one fails to exercise his faculty of reason consistently or use his native intelligence fully.
Western policies towards Africa, as I have written before, do not fail because blacks are inherently irrational or unintelligent. They fail to help Africa because they discourage rational behavior that is well within the capabilities of all human beings.
The Onion nails it again!
Reader Hannes Hacker pointed me to the below Onion video that very aptly sums up the brilliant level of today's political discourse.
Just don't view this at work if your boss is easily offended by obscenities.
Whether or not you're a gun hobbyist, you'll find this story about the world largest gun show interesting.
More than four decades ago, Wanenmacher was a petroleum consultant in Tulsa. His hobby was -- and still is -- guns.I love that bit about the man turning his hobby into a job. But notice that he treated it like a job long before it became one. (HT: Hannes Hacker)
As a young man, Wanenmacher was a hunter, target shooter and member of the Indian Territory Gun Collectors Association, which since 1955 had sponsored a gun show as a club project.
After being elected secretary-treasurer of the club, the duty to organize the gun show fell on Wanenmacher.
The first show had just 19 tables, but Wanenmacher traveled the world, recruiting gun exhibitors to Tulsa, increasing the number of tables to 400 in just a few years.
He was spending so much time working to improve the gun show, it kept him away from his real job.
So Wanenmacher bought the show, paying the club a fee each year for sponsoring it.