Kill Baathists. Kill Qaedists. That is Military Victory.

Post-Zarqawi Goals,” by Cliff May, The Corner, 25 June 2006, http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NDFmYjFmOWY3NDJhOTAyZjIxMDExY2QyY2NmMDg2Nzc=.

Cliff May is talking sense:

The elimination of al-Qaeda commander Abu Musab al-Zarqawi presents an opportunity that should not be missed: Now is the time to take a fresh look at America’s goals in Iraq.

Defeat at the hands of Militant Islamist terrorists and the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s forces would be disastrous.

The consequences would unfold over decades. The perception – and perhaps the reality – would be that the U.S. military, despite its technological prowess and the courage of its troops, is no match for enemies armed with cell phones and garage door openers (used to set off Improvised Explosive Devices), butcher knives and video cameras.

Now is the time to prioritize: The primary goal should be suppression of the forces once led by Zarqawi and Saddam, particularly, in and around Iraq’s capital.

I’ve said similar things before. The upshot: leave Iraq.


In my series entitled Guerrillaz, I used lyrics from the popular song “Clint Eastwood” to demonstrate why we should allow Iraqis to defend themselves.

I’m happy, I’m feeling glad…
I’m useless but not for long:
the future is coming on….
Finally, someone let me out of my cage…
I’m good at repairs…
look, I’ll make it all manageable…
a spiritual hero who appears in you to clear your view…
Gun smokin’, righteous
Allow me…

In the context of Iraq, the “I” are the Kurdish and Shia militias. Current US policy views them as detrimental to success in Iraq, but they are the future of Iraq. They are the energy of a freed people, the protectors against a return to Sunni despotism (whether Baathist or Qaedist). By enabling the majorities of Iraq — the Shia and the Kurds — to run their own country, we transform Iraq into a country that is manageable. The current Bush administration policy of appeasing terrorists creates an unmanageable country. Spiritual Iraqi heroes, from Sistani to Sadr, are the organizing force in Iraq. Instead of attempting to abort the Iraqi political climate by demanding special rights to the Baathist/Qaedist thugs that have destroyed Iraq, we should reward and salute those Iraqis who prevent a Sunni Baathist/Qaedist resurgence. They are gun smoking. They are righteous. And they should be allowed to protect themselves, their homes, and their lands.

A total victory in Iraq — where Iraq becomes “an engine for regional economic growth — will have to rely on the “Reverse Domino Effect.” It will be done through trade, not war. Economic growth first requires security, and that means letting the loyalty militias do their job. That means killing the Baathists and the Qaedists. And that means not confusing friends, who want to kill bad guys, and enemies, who want to kill you.

Evolutionary Mating & Morality

“if the slate of a newborn is not blank, different babies could have different things inscribed on their slates [possibly leading to] prejudice… Social Darwinism [and] eugenics.” (Pinker 141)

Three chapters for today’s reading, two on morality from Pinker and one on mating by Buller. This batch was surprisingly broad, going over a lot of ground. Ultimately, neither Pinker nor Buller make their case. Pinker is pushing a morality that centers on his personal combination of cherished belief and general cynicism. For his part, Buller tries to deliver a knock-out blow to Evolutionary Psychology but fails badly. even less convincing that his section on the massive modularity thesis, his entire chapter here could be easily brushed aside by simple explanations. I wanted to shout people fear rejection during many pages, which would have saved everyone a good deal of time.


Topic: Evolutionary Psychology
“Modern biology tells us that the forces that make people alike are not the same as the forces that make people different. (Indeed, they tend to be studied by different scientists: the similarities by evolutionary psychologists, the differences by behavioral geneticists.” (Pinker 142)

Topic: Universal Man
“As little as one conversion, affair, or rape involving a gentile in every generation can be enough to blur genetic boundaries over time.” (Pinker 143)
“when Evolutionary Psychologists use the term ‘universal’ they are implicitly referring to a developmental program shared by all ‘normal’ human beings, not to manifest or observable preferences, beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors [yet compare to] universal means that they are observable in all cultures, all historical periods, all economic or political systems, all social classes, all religious groups, all ‘ races’ or ethnicities, and all relevant ages of the life cycle.” (Buller 209)
but besides being incoherent, compare to:

the selection pressures on individuals within a sex also change across the course of the life cycle. (Buller 79-80)

“This appears to show that female preference for high-SES mates is not an artifact of unpreresentative American samples, but is in fact a robust universal preference.” (Buller 243)

Topic: Particular Man
“Because oceans, deserts, and mountain ranges have prevented people from choosing mates at random in the past, the large inbred families we call races are still discernible, each with a somewhat different distribution of gene frequencies. In theory, some of the varying genes could affect personality or intelligence.” (Pinker 144)
“in an isolated indigenous population in Southeast Peru, females with a [hourglass] 0.7 waist-to-hip ratio were described as having ‘had diarrhea a few days ago’ or having had fever, lost weight, especially in the waist.” (Buller 227)

Topic: Discrimination
“The case against bigotry is not a factual claim that humans are biologically indistinguishable. It is a moral stance that condemns judging an individual according to the average traits of certain groups to which the individual belongs.” (Pinker 145) (not how “certain” is a weasel word)
“according to Bayes’ theorem a decision maker who needs to make a prediction (such as whether a person will succeed in a profession) should factor in the prior probability, such as the base rate of success for people in that group.” (Pinker 147)
“Decisions that have to be made with finite time and resources, and which have high costs for certain kinds of errors, must use some trait as a basis for judging a person. And that necessarily judges the person according to a stereotype… no one objects to keeping chimpanzees out of our schools, even though it is conceivable that if we tested every chimp on the planet we might find one that could learn to read and write… after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, about half of Americans polled said they were not opposed to ethnic profiling — scrutinizing passengers for ‘flying while Arab’… knowing the typical sexual emotions of the two sexes, should we apply the same punishment to a man who seduces a sixteen-year-old girl and to a woman who seduces a sixteen-year-old boy?”" (Pinker 148)
“The point is that [group differences] do not have to be used that way, and sometimes we can decide on moral grounds that they must not be used that way.” (Pinker 149)
“Frederick Hayek wrote [that equality] before the law and material equality are, therefore, not only different but in conflict with each other.” (Pinker 151)
“Egoistic, sexist, racist, and xenophobic attitudes are logically inconsistent with the demand that everyone respect a single code of behavior.” (Pinker 169) (meaning? is this just wrong or not even wrong?)

Topic: Leftism
“A surprising number of intellectuals, particularly on the left, do deny that there is such a thing as inborn talent, especially intelligence. Stephen Jay Gould’s 1981 bestseller The Mismeasure of Man…” (Pinker 149)
“If people are assumed to start out identical but some end up wealthier than others, observers may conclude that the wealthier ones must be more rapacious. And as the diagnosis slides from talent to sin, the remedy can shift from distribution to vengeance. Many atrocities of the twentieth century were committed in the name of egalitarianism, targeting people whose success was taken as evidence of their criminality.” (Pinker 152)
“Contrary to the belief spread by the radical scientists, eugenics for much of the twentieth century was a favorite cause of the left, not the right. It was championed by many progressives, liberals, and socialists including [long list of names goes here].” (Pinker 153)
“American public health officials were slow to acknowledge that smoking causes cancer because it was the Nazis who had originally established the link.” (Pinker 154-155)
“The new realization that government-sponsored mass murder can come from an anti-innatist belief system as easily as from an innatist one upends the postwar understanding that biological approaches to behavior are uniquely sinister.” (Pinker 156-157)
“Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote in The Gulag Archipelago… “The imagination and the spiritual strength of Shakespeare’s evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology.”
“It is no coincidence that the writings of Rousseau inspired both the Romantic movement in literature and the French Revolution in history, or that the 1960s would see a surfacing of romanticism.” (Pinker 159)
“recurring Statements on Violence by social scientists averring that it is ‘scientifically incorrect’ to say that humans have tendencies toward aggression.” (Pinker 160)
“Betty Friedan has spoken out in favor of ‘compulsory preschool’ for two-year-olds.” (Pinker 171)

Topic: Rightism
“A spokesperson for the Discovery Institute, a creationist organization, testified at a U.S. congressional hearing that the [A Natural History of Rape] threatened the moral fabric upon which America is founded.” (Pinker 161)

Topic: Religion
“Though Hitler disliked Christianity, he was not an atheist.” (Pinker 154) (thus a Deist?)

Topic: Tribalism
“Martin Daly and Margo Wilson have documented that stepparents are far more likely to abuse a child than are biological parents.” (Pinker 164)

Topic: SysAdmin
“Our mental circle of respect-worthy persons expanded in tandem with our physical circle of allies and trading partners. As technology accumulates and people in more parts of the planet become interdependent, the hatred between them tends to decrease, for the simple reason that you can’t kill someone and trade with him too.” (Pinker 168)
“Given the independently documented robustness of status homogamy, we already know that, if you ask medium- and high-SES females what they want in a mate, they will show a preference bias against low-SES males.” (Buller 237) (how should a SysAdmin funnel sex? how to relate to “Democracy! Whiskey! Sexy!?)

Topic: Old Ideas
“Even the young Mark appealed to a “species character,” with an impulse for creativity activity, as the basis for his theory of alienation.” (Pinker 169)
“Authoritarian High Modernism also lead to the ‘urban renewal’ projects in many American cities during the 1960s that replaced vibrant neighborhoods with freeways, high-rises, and empty windswept plazas.” (Pinker 170)

Topic: Education & Children
“Asian Americans and African American parents often flout the advice of the child-development gurus, using more traditional, authoritarian styles of childrearing that in all likelihood do their children no lasting harm.” (Pinker 171)
“In many schools, teachers have been told, falsely, that there is an ‘opportunity zone’ in which a child’s gender identification is malleable.” (Pinker 172)
“Humans are among a small minority of species in which both sexes invest heavily in offspring… a female who had to spend all her days tending a suckling infant [would need] males to provide their mates and offspring with food, shelter, and protection.” (Buller 204)
“Thus, Evolutionary Psychologist argue, since human male parental investment can be misspent in a way that human female parental investment cannot, selection should have designed males to deliver a lower level of parental investment than females as a hedge against the possibility of mispending it.” (Buller 205)
“females who are choosing mates are assumed to pay particular attention to a male’s ability to provide indirect resources, and males are assumed to pay special attention to signs of a female’s apparent health and reproductive potential.” (Buller 206)

Topic: Methodology
“males may indicate preferences on a survey questionnaire that don’t accord with the actual decisions they make in choosing a mate.” (Buller 211)
“to confirm that males have an evolved preference for young women, it is not enough to show that young men prefer young women.” (Buller 212)
“patterns of variation can be highly significant, because they indicate that different, possibly frequency-dependent, strategies are being pursued.” (Buller 219)

Topic: Pedophilia
“[Studies find] adolescent male preference for somewhat older females, especially females near peak reproductive value.” (Buller 225)

Topic: Homosexuality
“the preferences of homosexual men and women should reveal the pure, uncompromised evolved desires of each sex [because no cross-sex compromise is needed].” (Buller 226)

Topic: Sex Selection
“high status appears to compensate for homeliness, since the high-SES costume raised the homely model’s acceptability at every level of involvement over that of the handsome model in the low-SES costume.” (Buller 234)
“[Daniel Perusse] found a very weak correlation between status and mating success (that is, the higher a male’s status, the higher his NPC) in the whole sample and no correlation whatsoever between status and mating success for men over forty.” (Buller 245) (Many times irrelevant. EP says that programs are universal and adapted, not that behaviors are adaptive)
“matings between different pairs of have-somethings can achieve equal reproductive success, even if those different pairs have different ranks in Evolutionary Psychology’s scale of mate value.” (Buller 255) (‘can’ is a weasel word. in subsistence or starvation level societies, that wouldn’t be the case)

Topic: Definitions
human nature — an endowment of cognitive and emotional faculties that is universal to healthy members of Homo Sapiens.” (Pinker 142)
naturalistic fallacy, the belief that whatever happens in nature is good.” (Pinker 162)
moralistic fallacy: that if a trait is moral, it must be found in nature.” (Pinker 162)
Authoritarian High Modernism: the conceit that planners could redesign society from the top down using ‘scientific principles.’” (Pinker 170)
fitness costs and benefits which respectively diminish and enhance fitness.” (Buller 202)
parental investment [is] any characteristics or behaviors of a parent that enhances the ability of an offspring to survive and reproduce at a cost to the parent’s fitness… the minimum obligatory parental investment for women is vastly higher than that for men” (Buller 203)
problem of paternity uncertainty [means] any issue from her womb was of uncertain provenance from a male’s perspective.” (Buller 205)
fertility, which is a measure of the likelihood of being abel to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term.” (Buller 206)
reproductive value, which is a measure of the remaining number of offspring that a female can produce,” (Buller 207)
homogamy is the tendency for people to male with those similar in race or ethnic background, age, socioeconomic status, educational background, and religious orientation. Homogamy is a form of what biologists call associative mating, which is preferential mating with other organisms with like phenotype(s).” (Buller 213)
hypothesis of adjusted age homogamy predicts that males and females both prefer similarly aged mates, but that the preferred ages are adjusted for sex difference in age at reproductive maturation.” (Buller 215)
reproductive effort refers to the allocation of physiological resources among the component demands of survival and reproduction.” (Buller 220)
Mating Effort… is effort that is expended to mate. An organism that mates indiscriminately and invests nothing in its spawn of its mating allocates all of its reproductive effort to mating effort.” (Buller 220-221)
Parenting Effort [is Reproductive Effort Less Mating Effort, and] an organism that mates only until offspring are produced, then forgoes any further mating in order to invest itself fully in caring for its offspring, allocates part of its reproductive effort to mating effort and the majority to parenting effort.” (Buller 221)
Grandparenting Effort — to caring or providing resources for, or aiding one’s children in caring or providing resources for, one’s grandchildren. [Grandparenting effort is a form of Reproductive Effort besides Mating Effort or Parenting Effort. Also note that ] paternity uncertainly affects grandparental investment.” (Buller 221-22)
dominance, which is ‘a measure of one individual’s ability to prevail over another in competitive encounters.’” (Buller 230)
socioeconomic status (SES), which includes earning power and occupational prestige.” (Buller 230)
mate value, which is a measure of ‘one’s overall desirability to members of the opposite sex.’” (Buller 253)

Finishing Up Matt Ridley’s "Nature via Nurture"

Over Lady of tdaxp’s and my short vacation in the Black Hills, I completed my reading and note-taking of Nature via Nurture by Matt Ridley. Ridley’s work is one of three books given to me by summer reading by my genetic politics instructor. It was also the simplest written. It reframes issues seen elsewhere in a more accessible way, and gives some unique thoughts on its own.

The five chapters I read were:

6. Formative Years
7. Learning Lessons
8. Conundrums of Culture
9. The Seven Meanings of “Gene”
10. A Budget of Paradoxical Morals

(The book’s epilogue had no “note-worthy” aspects, at least from my perspective.)

bionotes8_timeline_md

(Some interesting SysAdmin comments below, as well…)

If you care, read on!


Topic: Timeline
“The attributes of speech appear so late that some anthropologists have been tempted to infer that language was a recent invention, appearing as recently as 70,000 years ago.” (Ridley 219)
“the FOXP2 mutation of less than 200,000 years ago represents not the moment that language itself was invented but the moment that language could be expressed through the mouth as well as through the hands.” (Ridley 219)
“Shortly after the time of the Nariokotome boy, about 1.6 million years ago, there appeared on Earth a magnificent tool: the Acheulean hand ax.” (Ridley 222)
“[The hand ax] lasted a million years: it was still in use just half a million years ago.” (Ridley 223)
“the Upper Paleolithic revolution, sometimes known as the “great leap forward.” Around 50,000 years ago in Europe, painting, body adornment, trading over long distances, artifacts of clay and bone, and elaborate new stone designs all seem to appear at once.” (Ridley 224-225)
“Sally McBreaty and Alison Brooks have argued that the fossil record supports a very gradual, piecemeal revolution in Africa starting almost 300,000 years ago… McBrearty and Brooks place the invention of long-distance trade at 130,000 years ago, for instance, on the basis of the discovery at two sites in Tanzania of pieces of obsidian (volcanic glass) used to make spear points. This obsidian came from the Rift Valley in Kenya, more than 200 miles away.” (Ridley 225)
compare to previous notes:

“…it can take another several hundred [200 generations * 20 years / generation = 4 TYA) to several thousand [9000 generations * 20 years/generation = 180 TYA] generations for the population to adapt to the new environment — depending on whether a new mutation is required.” (Buller 56)
“The invention of agriculture some 10,000 years (four hundred generations) ago; the industrialization of Western societies some 200 years (eight generations) ago…” (Buller 57-58)
“Surprisingly, the fossil record suggests that there has been a rather steep decline in the size of the human brain during the past 15,000 years, partly but not wholly reflecting a shrinking body that seems to have accompanied the arrival of dense and “civilized” human settlements.” (Ridley 35)

Topic: Developmental Pathway-Dependency
To the extent that people are products of nurture, i the narrowly parental sense of the word, they are largely the products of early and irreversible events (Ridley 151)
“newborn ducklings of either mallard of wood wood ducks had a preference for their own species [but then Gottlieb] muted the ducklings themselves by operating on their vocal cards while they were still in the egg. Now the ducklings, on hatching, had no preference for their own species of mother.” (Ridley 154)
“it takes several generations for humans to switch between thrifty and affluent phenotypes” (Ridley 156) (SysAdmin/4GW implications?)
“The comforting belief that nurture is more malleable than nature relies partly on the mistaken notion that nurture is what happens after birth and nature is what happens before birth.” (Ridley 157-158)
“mice with extra BDNF went through the critical period faster. Their brains set two weeks after eye opening instead of three. This was the first demonstration that a critical period could be adjusted artificially… In the mice lacking GAD65, the scientists could bring on plasticity with diazepam at any time, even during adulthood. But only once.” (Ridley 166)
“Huang and Maffei had stumbled on an extraordinary fact:a gene that could substitute for aspects of experience. One of the roles of experience is apparently not to fine-tune the brain but merely to switch on the BDNF gene.” (Ridley 166-167)
“Astonishingly, marriage to a childhood associate was 2.65 times as likely to end in divorce as an arranged marriage to an unfamiliar partner… this was true only of sim-puahs [Taiwanese Arranged Brides] adopted at the age of three or younger.” (Ridley 172)

Topic: Memory & Learning
“For the mind to scribble on the sheet, it must have dopamine neurons specially designed to respond to surprise.” (Ridley 179)
“the acquisition of a memory is distinct from its retrieval; different genes are needed in different parts of the brain.” (Ridley 181) (The idea of multiple pathways was mentioned in Human Cognition and and Instruction)
“learning consists of strengthening connections that are frequently in use.” (Ridley 196)
Lev Semenovich Vygotsky pointed out in the 1920s that to describe an isolated human mind is to miss the point. Human minds are never isolated… He has recently become a fashionable figure in educational psychology and some corners of anthropology. For my purposes, however, his most important insight is his insistence on a link between the use of tools and language.” (Ridley 208) (Vygotsky’s theories were discussed in UNL’s HCI course, but sadly I do not have notes over him directly)
“The evolutionary psychologist Sarah Hrdy has hypothesized that juvenile human beings are “designed” by their past to expect to be reared communally rather than in a nuclear family.” (Ridley 246) (also implications regarding family liberation in SysAdmin work)
“Parents treat their children very different according to the personalities of their children.” (Ridley 252) (how does this effect justification for SysAdmin work. Also, look at from the angle of authoritarian parenting v. authoritative parenting)
“Learning is not a backpack [children] carry from one environment to another; it is specific to the context.” (Ridley 254) (see earlier notes on context specific recall, and similar criticism of critique-oriented classical education).
“Endless hours of practice are what it takes to play tennis or the violin well, but the people who have an appetite for endless hours of practice are the ones with a slight aptitude and an appetite for practice.” (Ridley 260) (see similar findings on Coming Anarchy: Sacrifices)

Topic: Memetics
“there seems little doubt that chimpanzees are capable of culture… There are more than 50 known cultural traditions of this kind across Africa, and each is learned by careful observation by youngsters (adult immigrants to a troop find it harder to learn local customs).” (Ridley 209)
“Genetic factors are predisposing the way people create to “crimogenic environments.” (Ridley 253) (implication: criminal memes are correlated to both criminal environments and criminal genotypes. replace “criminal” with “insurgent,” and this should still be true)
“Translated into human terms it would imply that some children can be virtually orphaned and are none of the worse for it; others need to be very well nurtured by their parents to turn out normal — the difference lies in the genes.” (Ridley 255) (similar to SysAdmin’s obligation to genetically at-risk citizenry?)
“Children do not see themselves as apprentice adults. They are tyring to be good at being children, which means finding a niche within groups of peers…” (Ridley 256) (implication: childhood memes should spread along flat networks)
“Conformity is indeed a feature of human society, at all ages. The more rivalry there is between groups, the more people will conform to the norms of their own group.” (Ridley 257) (implication: importance of economic opportunities to domestic peace. See Barnett’s “all terrorism is local)
“Since the limbic system is, roughly speaking, an unconscious area, this makes good sense. The decision to do something is made by your brain before you are aware of it… This suggests that volition is unconscious.” (Ridley 273) (implication: SysAdmin work aimed at eradicating bad memes should focus on limbic, not conscious, “beliefs.” How does this fit in with public diplomacy?)

Topic: SysAdmin
“Perhaps race is a proxy for membership in coalitions. In other words, in modern America, people pay so much attention to race because they instinctively identity people of other races being members of other tribes or coalitions. Tooby and Cosmides asked their colleague Robert Kurzban to test this evolutionary theory by a simple experiment…” (Ridley 265) (the next two paragraphs are extremely interesting. See my reaction to Dr. Kurzban’s visit to UNL for similar findings)

Topic: Leftism
“Lenin could undoubtedly see that the success of communism rested on an assumption that human nature could be trained to a new system.” (Ridley 185)
“the study of human heredity was equated with the rival creed of fascism.” (Ridley 186)
“Yet it was increasingly obvious to Russian scientists — though not to many foreign biologists, who continued to apologize for Lysenko — that the man was a nut.” (Ridley 187)
“It being with a letter to the New York Review of Books signed by a committee calling itself the Sociobiology Study Group. Among the 16 signatories were two of Wilson’s colleagues at Harvard and (he thought) friends: Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin… Lewontin accused him of reflecting “the ideologies of the bourgeois revolutions of the eighteenth century,” “bourgeois” being a standard term of abuse among Marxists” (Ridley 243-244)
“[The Nazi Konrad Lorenz's] argument’s survived the war, to be reiterated in less emotive terms in his book Civilized Man’s Eight Deadly Sins, first published in 1973. This book combined Lorenz’s earlyier concerns about human degeneration caused by the relaxation of natural selection with newer and more fashionable concerns about the state of the environment.” (Ridley 176)

Topic: Human Exceptionalism
“To see human behavior dethroned from its supremacy and described in the same terms as ant’s’ behavior was as insulting to the pride of the species as to see the Earth demoted to a planet.” (Ridley 244)

Topic: Homosexuality
“The 1990s saw a series of studies that revived the idea of homosexuality as a “biological” rather than a psychological condition, as a destiny rather than a choice… Homosexuality is an early, probably prenatal, and irreversible preference.” (Ridley 160)
“The immune reaction of the mother, primed by the first male fetuses, grows stronger with each male pregnancy. If it is mild, it causes only as light reduction in birth weight; if strong, it caues a marked reduction in birth weight and an increased probability of homosexuality (Ridley 161-162)
“homosexuality look sas through it is inherited through the female line” (Ridley 162)

Topic: Sex Selection
“The writer Marek Hohn’s explanation is that hand axes were not really practical tools at all, but the first jewelry: ornaments made by males showing off to females.” (Ridley 223)
“If people from differnet cltures are asked to judge the beauty of women from photographs of the women’s faces, a surprising degree of censensus emerges: Americans pick the same Chinese faces as Chinese people do; and Chinese pick the same Americna faces a Americans do.” (Ridley 263) (this is probably more truer the more coarse the categories are)

Topic: Neural Networks
“Connectionist [neural] networks, suitably designed, are capable of learning regularities of the world in a manner that looks a bit like the way the brain works…. If damaged, or “lesioned,” they seem to make mistakes similar to those made by people who have had strokes. Some connectionists feel that they have taken the first steps toward re-creating the basic workings of the brain.” (Ridley 197)
“Neurons in the brain are hearing back from the recipient even before they have finished sending messages. The response alters the messages they send, which in turn alters the response, and so on. This idea is fundamental to many theories of consciousness.” (Ridley 274)

Topic: Old Theories
“[B.F. Sknner's designed utopia] still exists: it is called Walden Dos, and it is lear Los Horcones in Mexico.” (Ridley 200)
“Ethnic groups do retaind istcint skull shapes even after assimilation into a new country. [Franz Boas's] interpretation was influneced by wishful thinking.” (Ridley 204)
“Margaret Mead…. had been duped by a handful of prank-playing young women during her all to brief visit to the island [and] Samoa in the 1920s was if anything slightly more censorious aboux sex than America.” (Ridley 204)

Topic: Definitions
critical period — the window during which environment acts irreversibly upon the development of behavior.” (Ridley 153)
diplacement (doing something else when prevent from doing what is desired)” (Ridley 153)
releasers (the environmental triggers of instinct) (Ridley 153)
fixed action patterns (subprograms of an instinct) (Ridley 153)
prepared learning… almost the exact opposite of imprinting.. the animal cna learn to fear a snake very easily, for instance, but finds it hard to learn to fear a flower.” (Ridley 192)
Omnia cultura ex cultura [was Emile Durkheim's theory that] social phenomena could be explained by social facts alone.” (Ridley 205)
selective sweep… elbowing all other versions of the gene aside in short order.” (Ridley 215) (retrovirus to end insurgency?)

Appendix D. Objective Tests

Note: This is an excerpt from a draft of my thesis, A Computer Model of National Behavior. The introduction and table of contents are also available

Appendix D. Objective Tests

D.1 Objective Test Descriptions

The simulation was checked against three objective tests. They measured the nation displacement, state displacement, and internal validity. Nation displacement is a measure of the degree to which the predominant nation in different places changed. State displacement is a measure of the degree to which the predominant state in different places changed. Internal validity demonstrates the difference between runs, and with that how consistent the output is.

Four nations were considered for every test. These included the British, German, Italian, and Polish nations. These nations were predetermined before the simulation code was written.

The displacement tests were considered successful if the simulation results matched known history. The results for all tests are interesting. Three of the national displacement tests were successful. In matrix form:

  Nation Displacement Test State Displacement Test
British Pass Pass
German Pass Fail
Italian Pass Fail
Polish Marginally Pass Fail


For the national displacement test for the British, German, and Italian nations, no variance between reality and the simulation develop during the run.

For the state displacement test for German, Italian, and Polish, there was a great deal of variance. Specifically, total variation for those nations occurred by 1962, 1962, and 1961 respectively.

Regarding the national displacement test, it is argued that all nations pass the test, three completely and one marginally, since the model accurately captures the behavior of nations. The simulation was specifically designed to be a simulation of nations. An explanation of the special case of the Polish nation is on the following pages.

Regarding the state displacement test, it is clear that the model does not accurately model the behavior of states. That is, it does not correctly show how state behaviors emerge from national behaviors. The sole example is the British nation, whose behavior is completely correct throughout the simulation. The report then discusses this surprising result.

The report also investigates internal validity. Internal validity measures how much the simulation agrees with itself. A simulation that gives very different results each time would have little internal validity. The simulation exhibits internal validity, though issues with two specific nations, Italian and Polish, are troublesome. They pass by an absolute measure, but are much less internally valid than the British and German nations. The report then analyzes the ways changing how the data is interpreted effects the internal validity results.

Finally, the report mentions two unanticipated objective findings. Both point to areas of improvement. One relates to incomplete data in 5.7% of places, and the other relates to incomplete data reporting. The consequences of both are quickly discussed and it is recommended that these issues be resolved before future research is attempted.

Computer Science Thesis Index

Appendix C. Subjective Tests

Note: This is an excerpt from a draft of my thesis, A Computer Model of National Behavior. The introduction and table of contents are also available

Appendix C. Subjective Tests

C.1 Subjective Test Descriptions

The two subjective tests described in the thesis were given to three experts for evaluation. Two of the experts arrived at informed criticisms, while one believed that the precise nature of the task was outside his area of expertise. Both experts that were able to review the material found it to be reasonable, and both gave areas for further improvement.

Each expert was given instructions, a 44 page report, and then a questionnaire. These are attached in this appendix. Finally, an interesting subjective finding is discussed.

Lastly, the author analyzes the output for one other nation. This nation behaves differently from others in the model, and the author speculates as to reasons and gives paths to future research.

Computer Science Thesis Index

Chapter VII. Future Research

Note: This is an excerpt from a draft of my thesis, A Computer Model of National Behavior. The introduction and table of contents are also available

Chapter VII. Future Research

As mentioned previously, there is a lack of other models that examine nations. The use, in this simulation, of genetic algorithms and fuzzy logic also set this simulation apart. Therefore, there are many areas where future research and modification would be fruitful. Analysis of different theaters, distributed computing, genocide and holocaust studies, genetic programming, and the world census are discussed as possible areas of future research.


The model simulates European nations during the 1960s. The chose of setting was heavily influenced by the need to reliable census data, which made Europe a great fit. However, political scientists have been able to estimates of populations in a variety of areas. It therefore would be possible and profitable to model different theaters or areas that are currently of greater concern than Europe. The Middle East, for example, with its mixture of national identities, would be a prime candidate for consideration as a new theater.

A related exploration would be into ethnic groups within the United States. This would require a reworking of definitions, as the simulation typically treats groups with a shared language as the same ethnicity. Nonetheless, ample information is available. Very detailed ethnological information is available from the U.S. Census. It would be fascinating to move the simulation from a world of sovereign states and wars to the United States and a peaceful democracy.

Running the simulation as it currently stands is processor intensive. Several times algorithms were modified to allow for quicker execution. Additionally, a local firm donated the use of a four-CPU Intel Xeon system with 2 GB of RAM, which allowed the runs to be completed in a reasonable amount of time as several simulations could execute simultaneously. Even then there were issues relating to processor usage.

A potential solution is moving away from monolithic code. The current programming of the simulation assumes there is only one CPU to work on the problem. Distributed computing allows several CPUs to be involved. While a high performance server may be difficult to reserve, a larger of number of less powerful computers may be readily available. The code currently evaluates the next decision of each nation sequentially. Instead, it could offload computations to a collection of computers. This distribution of work could occur in a computer lab that is not currently being used, but as “Seti@Home” and “Seventeen or Bust” have demonstrated, this can also occur over the internet.

Bauer reports that “genocide” was first defined by Raphael Lemkin as the “destruction of a nation or ethnic group” and that “[generally] speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation.” This model’s relevance to genocide studies is obvious, especially as the willingness to commit genocide by this definition is very close to the simulation’s definition of “aggressiveness.” With respect to genocide and holocaust studies, three avenues of research are immediately available.

First, the parallel between this model and existing research could be embraced, and the simulation could be further explored to better inform existing research. Robert Melson views genocide as of basically two types: “total domestic genocide” which are complete annihilation of a subgroup by their countryman, and “genocide in general” which can exist without state planning and little bloodshed. This broad range, from mass murder on the one-hand to multicultural assimilation on the other, is not distinguished in the current code. By adding details to allow better examination of how a nation is reduced, the study of genocide by the model is possible.

Second, differences could be explored. Especially in the context of the nation-centric concept of genocide, Bauer’s claim that “One can change one’s religion or one’s political color. One cannot change one’s ethnicity or nationality or ‘race’” (page 11) is striking. An alternate simulation could be used. The population of places could be disaggregated into age categories. Working under Bauer’s assumption, national identity of a population could be fixed after a certain age. These changes would help this view of genocide.

Third, Appendix D discusses anomalous results for the Jewish nation in the simulation. The voluntary relocation of a substantial number of Jews into the former mandate Palestine is one of the most visible national movements of the 20th century. Expanding the theater into the Middle East and North Africa would allow more research into this finding.

Genetic algorithms are used in the simulation to model the genetic relationship between nations. Allowing nations to inherit not only attributes but even logic and ways of dealing with problems would make the model more realistic.

As discussed in Appendix B, acquiring a complete and internally consistent data set for the model was a challenge. However, new developments present an opportunity. The Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota is currently funding IPUMS, the “Integrated Public Use Microdata Series.” From a project web page,

Large machine-readable census microdata samples exist for many countries, but access to these data has been limited and the documentation is often inadequate. Even where such microdata are available for scholarly research, comparisons across countries or time periods are difficult because of inconsistencies in both data and documentation. IPUMS-International addresses these issues by converting census microdata for multiple countries into a consistent format, supplying comprehensive documentation, and making the data and documentation available through a web-based data dissemination system.

Such a resource would be invaluable. The database of census information supporting this model came from numerous sources and often there were gaps in the data. Additionally, the lack of census data in other theaters narrowed the study being conducted. More data and better data would help make the simulation’s output more reliable. IPUMS is still very incomplete, but as more information comes online these areas of the study can be strengthened.

Computer Science Thesis Index

Chapter VI. Conclusions

Note: This is an excerpt from a draft of my thesis, A Computer Model of National Behavior. The introduction and table of contents are also available

Chapter VI. Conclusions

Full test results are available in Appendix C and Appendix D. A brief summary of the results is given.

The first objective test measured the displacement of nations. It was completely successful. Every nation evaluated was within the limits determined in the thesis proposal. Additionally, all but one matched real-world results for the 1960s perfectly.
The second objective test measured state displacement. It was less successful, as state displacement was greater than expected. Every nation except one failed the state displacement test. Additionally, these failures occurred within only a few years. The full cause and implications of this are described within Appendix D.

Internal validity with respect to density and health was also tracked. The health test was more successful, with an average standard deviation of .08. The density test was somewhat less accurate, with an average standard deviation of .12. Both of these tests are considered successes. A more complete discussion of the internal validity tests is found in Appendix D.

The two subjective tests asked expert reviewers to view traces and animations of nations. Three expert reviewers were involved, each had a recognized doctorate in a specialty relating to the nature of this simulation. One was in political science, one in psychology, and one in social anthropology. After the presentation of the trace and animation (available in Appendix C) the social anthropologist indicated that he did not believe he was equipped to properly judge the results. However, both the political scientist and the psychologist believed almost all delineated issues were reasonable. For more information on the subjective tests, see Appendix C.

Overall the objective and subjective tests support the proposition that the simulation model accurately reflects reality. Every expert who gave an analysis was positive in his comments. Additionally, the central objective tests, whether this simulation of nations accurately simulates nations, were completely successful. The general failure of the secondary objective test is distressing. However, the cause of this aberrant behavior has been isolated.

Computer Science Thesis Index

Chapter V. Verification and Validation

Note: This is an excerpt from a draft of my thesis, A Computer Model of National Behavior. The introduction and table of contents are also available

Chapter V. Verification and Validation

5.1 Verification and Validation

In order for the simulation to be a useful explanation of the behavior of nations, users need to feel confident in the model. The model should either work and be proven correct, or it must be shown that it is inadequate so future corrections can be made. Verification and validation techniques are the tools used to achieve this goal, and they are explained below.

In 2000, Sargent defined three basic tests for determining the accuracy of a simulation model, which may be approached in two ways. The three tests are judgments by the designers, independent verification and validation (IVV), and scoring. Designer judgment is the most popular test, though it relies on iterative design and having experts work closely with the rest of the team. IVV is also heavily expert based. It relies on judges who are “independent of both the model development team and the model sponsor/user(s).” Scoring uses subjectively determined weights to give objective solutions. Throughout this section, “objective” or “objectively” will be defined as “using some type of statistical test of procedure,” a definition Sargent pioneered in 1994. “Subjective” or “subjectively” will mean not objective or not objectively.

Computer Science Thesis Index

SummerBlog ’06 (Micro Edition)

Before I left for Beijing, I started SummerBlog ’06. This online experience syndicated four recent projects — Coming Anarchy, Redefining the Gap, Perspectives & Peers, and Variations of the OODA Loop. For the rest of this week (Wednesday to Saturday) I will be West River with Lady of tdaxp. I will attempt to blog on the road, but if I am unable to I have set portions of my computer science thesis to syndicate during that time.

Sadly, the questionable Internet connection of cabin lodging means that I may be unable to follow several interesting blog conversation threads over the next few days. For a taste of what I’ll be missing, read on!

Topic: Education
Federalist X’s series focuses on Classical Education
tdaxp: The Petty Troika
tdaxp: Liberation and Rulesets
tdaxp: Infection
tdaxp: The Mitochondrial Peace
Amendment Nine: Great Lies & Liberal Education Generally
Amendment Nine: Liberal Education in a Nutshell
Amendment Nine: What is Taught By Liberal Education?


Topic: The Homosexual Orientation and the OODA Loop
Curtis Gale Weeks’ title for this series is ‘Homosexuality and Globalization’
Phatic Communion: Homosexualism
Phatic Communion: ‘Homosexualism’ vs Homosexuality vs ‘Heterosexualism’

Topic: Humor
Coming Anarchy: Communist Monopoly
Coming Anarchy: Dear Leader?
Something Awful: Hard Eagle

Topic: Modularity
ERMB: Globalization and Resilient Enterprises
tdaxp: Dashboard Confessional
ZenPundit: The Movement Toward Modularity
tdaxp: The Evolution Away From Modularity
ZenPundit: The Modularity Movement Revisited

Topic: Public Diplomacy
FDNF: Awesome Display or Fantastic Folly?
FDNF: Own Goals
Mountain Runner: How not to conduct Cultural Warfare

Creationisim – or – "Behavioral Science is not for sissies"

Chapter 7 of The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature finishes the story of the skepticism of sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology that author Steven Pinker began in Chapter 6, “Fear and Loathing.” Because of the overlap between them, after the notes below I am including the notes from Chapter 6, so this blog post may serve as a handy reference to me. Chapter 7 also distinguishes itself by cataloguing criticisms from both the Left and the Right, while Chapter 6 focused on the Academic Left.

the influence of the right will be felt more in direct appeals to politicians that from changes in the intellectual climate… The hostility from the radical left, on the other hand, has left a substantial mark on modern intellectual life, because the so-called radical scientists are now the establishment.” (Pinker 133)


“In 1991 the psychologists Stanley Coren and Diane Halpern published statistics in a medical journal showing that lefties on average had more prenatal and perinatal complications, are victims of more accidents, and die younger than righties. They were soon showered with abuse [including] a ban on the topic in a scholarly journal — from enraged left-handers and their advocates.” (Piknker 121)

The radical scientists are thoroughgoing materialists and could hardly believe in an immaterial soul. But they are equally uncomfortable with any clearly stated alternatie, bcause it would cramp their political belief that we can collectively implement any social arrangement we choose.” (Pinker 126)

“After the 1999 lethal ramgage by two teenagers at Columbine High School in Colorado, Tom Delay, the Republican Majority Whip in the House of Representatives, said taht such violence is inevitable as long as “our school systems teach children that they are nothing but glorified apes, evolutionized out of some primordial soup of mud.” (Pinker 129)

“Today evolution is being challenged by some of the most cerebral theorists in the formerly secular neoconservative movement. They are embracing a hypothesis called Intelligent Design, originated by the biochemist Michael Behe. A story entitled ‘The Deniable Darwin’ appeared, astonlishgly, on the cover of Commentary, which means that a magazine that was once a leading forum for secular Jewish intellectuals is now more skeptical of evolution than is the Pope.” (Pinker 130)

“Even the left-baiting author Tom Wolfe, who admires neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, worries about their moral implications. In his essay ‘Sorry, but Your Soul Just Died,’ he writes that when science has finally killed the soul (‘the last refuge of values’), ‘the lurid carnival that will ensue may make [Nietzsche's] phrase ‘the total eclipse of all values’ seem tame’” (Pinker 131)

“Though Gould has been a tireless opponent of creationism, he has been an equally tireless of opponent of the idea that evolution can explain mind and morality, and that is the implication of Darwinism that creationists fear most.” (Pinker 132)

“Many equate evolutionary psychology with Social Darwinism, as if studying our evolutionary roots were the same as justifying the station of the poor. The confusion does not come only from the scientifically illiterate but may be found in prestigious publications such as Scientific American and Science.” (Pinker 134)

(Notes from Chapter 6):

“discoveries about human nature were greeted with fear and loathing because they were thought to threaten progressive ideals… intellectuals, who once called themselves radicals, are now the establishment” (Pinker 103)
“[Computer Science Pioneer Joseph Weizenbaum] told us [AI research] was really designed to help the Pentagon come up with counterinsurgency strategies [and that] by the year 2000 we would all be dead.” (Pinker 105-106)
“[Comparative Psychologist [Richard Hernstein] received a death threat and found that he could no longer speak about his research speciality, learning in pigeons, because wherever he went the lecture halls were filled with chanting mobs.”
“The insinuation that [E.O. Wilson]‘s, a life Democrat’s colleague Trivers]… was a tool of racism and right-wing oppression was particularly galling because Trivers was himself a political radical, a supporters of the Black Panthers…” (Pinker 110-111)
“How low can it go? Ridiculing an opponent’s sex life would seem to come right out of a bad satirical novel on academic life. But Lewontin, Rose, and Kamin bring up a suggestion by the sociologist Steven Goldberg that women are skilled at manipulating other’s emotions, and they comment “What a touching picture of Goldberg’s vulnerability to seduction is thus revealed!”" (Pinker 114)
“In 1975 the American Anthropological Association nearly passed a motion censuring Sociobiology and banning two symposia on [human aggression in a biological context].” (Pinker 115)
“[Leslie Sponsel] is opposed to a “Darwinian emphasis on violence and competition” and recently pronounced that “nonviolence and peace were likely the norm throughout most of human prehistory and that intrahuman killing was probably rare.” (Pinker 118)