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. 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)