Darwin and the Survival of Scientific Racism

The second section of Joseph L. Graves’ The Emperor’s New Clothes continues his cavalcade of wrongness. The second section of his book, “Darwin and the Survival of Scientific Racism,” begins on page 53 and continues until page 104.

Firstly, and somewhat esoterically, Graves is stuck in the past with his description of group selection. On page 63, he writes that group selection “could be favored only if the groups were composed of closely related individuals.” However, kin selection could both further or retard group selection (Wilson & Holldobler, 2005). Further, evolution of enthocentricism and xenophobia (forms of altruism towards in-group members and against out-group members) can be modeled through computers (Hammond & Axelrod, 2006). Ultimately, while the force of altruism can be measured and its significant debated (Kurzban & Houser, 2005), Graves’ claims about the role of pre-existing genetic similarity in group selection are questionable at best.


Graves uses the terms “artificial” and “natural” in a strange manner. While discussing the well-known genetic factors that cause different breeds of dogs to exhibit different levels of intelligence, behavior, and socialiability, Graves writes “The type of intense artificial selection used to differentiate traits in animal breeds is not seen in humans.” What is meant here. If you take “natural” to mean that which happens in the absence of a central authority, then clearly dog breeds are the result of natural selection. Many wolves and early dogs experienced an ecosystem in which they found a niche with human society, and they evolved accordingly. But if you take “natural” to mean man-made, his criticism still falls flat. To the extent that human survivability depended on interaction with others, natural selection on human was guided by “artificial” human decisions. This can have positive or negative implication – Ridley notes that 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” (2003, 246) – but what is known for sure is that the natural v. artificial distinction is meaningless.

Graves’ discussion on the settlement of North America is similarly quixotic. He uses “archaeological sites in New Mexico and South America” (96), without citing references or sayingg which sates, to date American Indian residency in the western hemisphere to “about thirty-five thousand years ago.” This is out of line with genetic tests, of about seventeen thousand years ago (Mulligan, Hunley, Cole, & Long, 2004; Zegura, Karafet, Zhivotovsky, & Hammer, 2004) – roughly half of what Graves claims. Even trusting Graves’ claim about the lack of skin color gradation among American Indians, claiming that lack of change in one element implies that evolution cannot happen swiftly is ludicrous. Just recently we learn that lactose tolerance evolved among some Africans in historical times (“African Adaptation…,” 2006). Further, it is possible that other, even more important, traits were under regional selection in South America. The extremely high penetration of a gene that causes ADD in South America as opposed to Asia (Ding, et al., 2002) is just one example of this.

Ironically, Graves’ commits the genetic fallacy in his book. The genetic fallacy is of the form “a and b, b is bad, therefore a is bad.” It is a form of guilt-by-ideological-association whose most tiresome form is linking some activity to the Nazi government of Germany. Adolf Hitler famous was a tee-totaling vegetarian, and from that defensive drinkers and carnivores have categorized their enemies as fascists in disguise. Similarly, anti-abortion activists, anti-gun-control-activists, and anti-eugenics activists have attempted to tar an opposing ideas by claiming the Nazis held it. Indeed, this last example is exactly what Graves commits. “Certainly eugenics,” he writes,” has to take some of the responsibility for the Holocaust” (100). Yet graves is not similarly accusatory toward progressive politics, which was in the eugenetical forefront (Pinker, 2002). The reason is obvious: that eugenics and progressive politics were associated in the past no more tars progressivism than that eugenics and Nazis were associated in the past no more tars eugenics. It this would like criticizing eugenics by linking it either to the Communist or RPR parties, as eugenics is common in both the People’s Republic of China (“Enter the Dragon”, 2003) and France (Leroi, 2006). Indeed, some American parents are active dysgenicists (Sanghavi, 2006). Would a rhetorical attack against federal policies mean anything in that debate?

Bibliography
“African adaptation to digesting milk is ‘strongest signal of selection ever.’” (2006). Scientific American. December 11, 2006. Available online: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa003&articleID=727EA883-E7F2-99DF-36D89AB12E930315.
Ding, Y., et al. (2002). Evidence of positive selection acting at the human dopamine receptor D4 gene locus. PNAS, 99(1) 309-314.
“Enter the Dragon.” (2003). The Observer. July 20, 2003. Available online: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/worldview/story/0,11581,1001961,00.html.
Graves, J. L., Jr. (2001). The emperor’s new clothes: Biological theories of race at the millennium. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Hammond, R., & Axelrod, R. (2006) The Evolution of Ethnocentricism. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 50(6).
Leroia, A.M. (2006). The future of neo-eugenics. EMBO Reports 7(12): 1184-1187.
Mulligan, C.J., Hunley, K., Cole, S., & Long, J.C. (2004). Population genetics, history, and health patterns in Native Americans. Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics 5: 295-315.
Kurzban, R, & Houser, D. (2005). Experiments Investigation Cooperative Types in Humans: A Complement to Evolutionary Theory and Simulations. PNAS 102(5): 1803-1807.
Pinker, S. (2002). The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. Viking Adult: New York, NY.
Ridley, M. (2003). Nature via Nurture. Harper Collins: New York, NY.
Sanghavi, D.M. (2006). Wanting babies like themselves, some parents choose genetic defects. New York Times. December 5, 2006. Available online: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/05/health/05essa.html?ex=1322974800&en=9fbb1b0e738b55d1&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss.
Wilson, E. O., & Holldobler, B. (2005). Eusociality: Origin and Consequences. PNAS 102(38)-13367-13371.
Zegura, S.L., Karafet, T.M., Zhivotovsky, L., & Hammer, M.E. (2004). Molecular Biology and Evolution 21(1): 164-175.


Reactions to The Emperor’s New Clothes, part of Biopsychological Development
1. The Origin of the Race Concept
2. Darwin and the Survival of Scientific Racism
3. Applications and Misapplications of Darwinism
4. Biological Theories of Race At the Millennium

The Wary Guerrilla, Part VIII: Future Research

Falsification is central to science (Popper 1945, 1952, 1963). Thus, while most of the original null hypotheses were not rejected, the goal of the project was incremental scientific advancement. At least one, perhaps two, styles of Guerrilla behavior: wary guerrillas and other guerrillas were identified. Both guerilla styles were correlated with Egoism in public goods game, and were further correlated to certain political and philosophical factors.

Goodin (1984) writes, in order to “make the theory of games plausible as a representation of behavior… we must introduce some of the sense of structure and continuity that characterizes our actual lives.” Many different types of changes in how information is presented can change behavior (Lupia, 2002; Bower, 2006; De Martino et al., 2006; Mutz, 2006). Indeed, the experimental findings such as the results that people who believe wrong deeds should be punished, are not more likely to punish, forces scholars to consider that not only may the self-report question be invalid, but gameplay as a whole be invalid.

Therefore, finding a way of validating these results is key.


Fortunately, a similar situation is familiar to students. Often a well-meaning professor will assign group work where everyone in a group gets the same grade. These are similar to economic games, in that each student has the ability to cooperate or defect. Instead of an equal contribution leading to different rewards, as in the ultimatum game, unequal contributions lead to identical rewards.

It should be possible to create similar conditions in a laboratory experiment such that the game mimics real-life experiences with group projects. For instance, a participant and a confederate may be tasked with completing some moderately complex task. Grading would be based on completion and effort. Roles would be “randomly” assigned to each of the students, with the participant assigned as Decider (able to make the final decision) and the confederate assigned as the Reporter (supposedly tasked with telling the instructor how much work each member put in). The participant would be informed that the Reporter will be working alone for five minutes, then the Reporter and Decider will work together, then the Decider will work alone. Thus the confederate would put in minimal effort and leave early, while still completing a report indicated that the participant had put in minimal effort, so the split of extra credit would be epsilon for the participant. Because the confederate had left early, the subject would be able to either complete the assignment and receive the unfair allocation or not hand it in, thus rejecting the unfair allocation.

The above experiment would allow us to test whether the Wary Guerrilla type extends to something similar to classroom interactions. It could also be extended to determine whether Wary Guerrilla activity is different in different domains, as different forms of pro-social activity may have evolved separately (Smirnov, Arrow, Kennet, & Orbell, 2006). Thus, keeping the pay-offs the same while altering presentation can shed even more knowledge on the issue.

Other areas of future research include an extension of the Wary Guerilla framework across cultures. While these ideas are still in a nascent development stage, they might seek to answer several questions. Do all societies have wary guerillas in their midst and are they occurring at roughly the same proportion? Will the correlations relating to absolutism and contextualism found here and with other research endeavors be found amongst other cultures? Will there be the same proportion of absolutists and contextualists, or cooperators and punishers, amongst a sample of various religious groups? If feasible, the relevance of this proposed study would be benefited from a sample of fundamentalist and moderate Muslims living in the Middle East, fundamentalist and moderate Jews from Israel, and fundamentalist and moderate Christians from the U.S. This would enable analysis of the impacts of various religions and the results could assist in further determining if absolutism is positively correlated with strength of religious belief across cultures. The findings of this research are motivating to further explore these typologies.


The Wary Guerrilla, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Terrorism
3. Predictions
4. An Experiment
5. Results
6. Absolute Guerrilla
7. Those Who Cause Less Pain
8. Future Research
9. Political Implications
10. Bibliography

The Origin of the Race Concept

Graves’s The Emperor’s New Clothes has so many things wrong with it, so many untruths, half-truths, and examples of naivety, that it is difficult to know how to begin critiquing it. Nonetheless, such must be done, so I will begin at the beginning (page 1) and continue until the end of the first section (page 52).

First, Graves dances around with the definition of race. His first approximation seems reasonable, “The term ‘race’ implies the existence of some nontrivial underlying hereditary features shared by a group of people and not present in other groups” (5) but his thoughts go down-hill from there. Latter in the page he notes that “None of the physical features by which we have historically defined human races… unambiguously corresponds to the racial groups we have constructed.” First, Graves’ look for unambiguous markers is misguided. Not all human beings are born with a brain, but possession of the brain is nonetheless typical for the human race. Secondly, Graves attempts to jump between a physical definition of race and a socially constructed definition. Our concepts of race imprecisely but accurately describe real genetic populations (Parra, et al., 2003; Pimenta, et al., 2006) in spite of what graves later claims (36).. Ultimately, the definition Graves takes from the dictionary may be best: “A population of organisms differing from others of the same species in the frequency of hereditary traits; a subspecies” (6). Graves’ question, “How much genetic difference must there be before a subspecies can be said to exist?” is best answered with “a statistically significant amount.” If this implies races and sub-races, and sub races within those, so be it. In some cases, it may be that it is easiest to speak about those who left Africa and those who stayed (Underhill, P.A., et al., 2000), as Africans, Asians, and Europeans (Bamshad, et al., 2003), or even smaller groups. (Lindh, Andersson, & Gusdal, 1997).


Graves historicism confuses him as to the nature of those he disagrees with. Believing that genes vary in significant ways among breeding populations – that races exist – does not imply that “inequalities cannot be fundamentally altered by environmental interventions such as social programs.” Indeed, almost the reverse is true: if we are born with differing genetic propensities, identical environmental factors will lead to unequal environments. The conclusion then is that if we are born differently genetically, we can create unequal outcomes to lead to equal outcomes. As Stephen Pinker writes, “the more equal we make society, the higher heritability will be, and the more genes will matter” (Pinker, 2002, 77).

Going back to Graves’ definition, he claims that the “Jews were a cultural group rather than a biologically distinct population (to say nothing of a race)” (20). Again, the Jewish population appears to be an interaction between real genetic links and socially constructed ones. As Behar et al. 2003) summarize the evidence, “the Cohanim, a paternally inherited Jewish priestly caste, predominantly share a recent common ancestor irrespective of the geographically defiend post-Diaspora community to which they belong, a finding consistent with common Jewish origins in the Near East” (768). His social construction leads him to confuse anti-Judaic acts of Catholics with anti-Semitism, where he lists anti-Jewish attitudes (21) that were based on belief, not parernity.

Graves also suffers from his apparent ignorance of the tools of social science. He approvingly quotes Frederick Douglass’s thoughts on “the impossibility of legitimately comparing the innate abilities of different races in a society that maintained such disparity in the physical conditions in which the races lived.” Dougglass believing that was understandable, as John Dewer’s revolution of the social science had not happened when he wrote such words. But for the last century scientific examination of humans has relied on correlation and regression two tools that do not only require similar conditions but often spurn them (so that more variables may be examined). Social science does not work by naively comparing two groups identical in one category and different in two others, but by explaining the variance of dependent variables in terms of independent variables.

Related to this is Graves’ frustratingly simplistic statements on genetics. He expects us to believe that, somehow, the fact that there “is more genetic variability in one tribe of East African chimpanzees than in the entire human species!” means anything at all. What is his point? Is he claiming a consistent cross-species relationships between “genetic variability” (however he defines it) and phenotypic and extended phenotpyic variability? Such a statement could easily be read to imply that races matter, as when fewer things change they may matter more. Ultimately, Graves is silent on the meaning of this rhetorically nifty but substantively empty statement.

Bibliography
Bamshad, M.J., Wooding, S., Walkins, W.S., Ostler, C.T., Batzer, M.A., Jorde, L.B. (2003). Human population genetic structures and inference of group membership. American Journal of Human Genetics 72: 578-589.
Behar, D.M., Thomas, M.G., Skorecki, K., Hammer, M.F., Bulygina, E., Rosengarten. D., Jones, A.L., Held K., Moses, V., Goldstein, D., Bradman, N., & Weale, M.E. (2003). American Journal of Human Genetics 73: 768-779.
Graves, J. L., Jr. (2001). The emperor’s new clothes: Biological theories of race at the millennium. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Lindh, M., Andersson, A.S., & Gusdal, A. (1997). Genotypes, nt 1858 variants, and geographic origin of hepatitis B virus–large-scale analysis using a new genotyping method. Journal of Infectious Diseases 175(6): 1285-1293.
Parra, F.C., Amado, R.C., Lambertucci, J.R., Rocha, J., Antunes, C.M., & Pena, S.D.J. (2003). Color and genomic ancestry in Brazilians. PNAS 100(1): 177-182..
Pimenta, J.R., Zuccherato, L.W., Debes, A.A., Maselli, L., Soares, R.P., Moura-Neto, R.S., Rocha, J., Bydlowski, S.P.k, & Pena, S.D. (2006). Color and Genomic Ancestry in Brazillians: A Study with Forensic Microsatellites. Human Heredity 62(4): 190-195.
Pinker, S. (2002). The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. Viking Adult: New York, NY.
Underhill, P.A., Shen, P., Lin, A.A., Passarino, G., Yang, W.H., Kauffman, E., Bonne-Tamir, B., Bertranpetit, J., Francalacci, P., Ibrahim, M., Jenkins, T., Kidd, J.R., Mehdi, S.Q., Seielstad, M.T., Wells, R.S., Piazza, A., David, R.W., Feldman, M.W., Cavalli-Sforza, L.L., & Oefner, P.J. (2000). Y chromosome sequence variation and the history of human populations. Nature Genetics 26: 358-361.


Reactions to The Emperor’s New Clothes,part of Biopsychological Development
1. The Origin of the Race Concept
2. Darwin and the Survival of Scientific Racism
3. Applications and Misapplications of Darwinism
4. Biological Theories of Race At the Millennium

The Wary Guerrilla, Part VII: Those Who Cause Less Pain

Interestingly, a question used by Fulwider & Saferstein (2006) and included in our survey implies that describing Wary Guerrillas as a Wary Cooperator subtype may be inaccurate. In the question, a player is asked to cooperate to a public goods game after several other players have made a large contribution. Surprisingly, Wary Guerrillas tended to be free-riding Egoists in the first round of the public good game.

A generalized guerrilla category was defined to include both wary guerrillas and other guerillas, ie those players who accepted the unfair split and then turned around and punished anyway. Indeed, such a technique slightly improves the beta finding that the Wary Guerrillas are biased towards Egoism. This definition of Guerrillas would give us 14 Republican Guerrillas, 8 Democratic Guerrillas, and 6 Independent Guerrillas.

However, no matter how tempting it would be to cite this as evidence that human beings are irrational “adaptation executers” rather than “utility maximizers” (see Buss, 1995; Tooby & Cosmides, 1990), such a definition loses all predictive power. Consider the other variables identified with the Wary Guerrilla Type: Monism, belief in an Eternal Code, Hard Work, Carefulness, Kindness, and Political Party:

While all of these are correlated to Wary Guerrillaism as originally operationalized, only monism is still correlated with the generalized guerrilla type. Even more interestingly, when the effect of personality on Wary Guerrillas is analyzed, using a short Big 5 personality scale, (Gosling, Rentfrow, & Swann, 2003; Whitacker, 2006 ) the Wary Guerrilla is associated with different personality types than the ‘Other’ Guerrilla. Meanwhile the Other Guerrilla is only significantly associated with Openness with an R2 of .043. The only personality trait outside of Agreeableness and Openness that a generalized “Guerrilla” category was (barely) related to on the personality factors was neuroticism, with a negligible R2 of .022.


The Wary Guerrilla, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Terrorism
3. Predictions
4. An Experiment
5. Results
6. Absolute Guerrilla
7. Those Who Cause Less Pain
8. Future Research
9. Political Implications
10. Bibliography

Children’s Minds and Brains

Years ago, the husband-and-wife team of John Tooby and Leda Cosmides argued that culture arises from our innate psychological make-up (Tooby & Cosmides, 1992). The authors of The Scientist in the Crib seem to take a different view, holding that our phycologies arise from the external culture we are built to learn. As Gopnick, Meltzoff, and Kuhl (1999) write, “Our view is that children’s whole conception of people, objects, and words changes radically in the first three years of life. And it changes because of what children find out about the world” (149). The authors describe other views (they note that changing behavior “mis tjust involve a genetic blueprint that unfolds on a particular maturation timetable” (148), they do not spend much time on genetic-environmental interaction or alternative ethological theories. Below, I will outline an alternative theory of long childhoods, and alternative to their Western-centric approach, and lastly an alternative explanation of fascination with science.

The authors note that the human childhood is unusually long: “We have the most immature and dependent offspring” (158). Well, perhaps, but what is said next is clearly not true: “No creature spends more time dependent on others for its very existence than a human baby, and no creature takes on the burden of that dependence so long and so readily as a human adult.” There any in fact any number of co-dependent groups in the world: for instance, the eusocial insects (Wilson & Holldobler, 2005). Indeed, depending on others for existence is the very essense of the war-instinct, which we share with wolves, dogs, and chimpanzees (Wrangham, 1999). Co-dependence in these creatures is not for learning, but for better social functioning. One can easily imagine children as a form of Wilson & Holldobler’s “anatomically distinct worker caste” — creatures who can work for the hive (their parents) but are unlikely to compete with their parents for mating resources. Perhaps the reason that human beings are for many years able to work but unable to reproduce is the same reason that many bees and ants are able to work but unable to reproduce: for those creatures in those years, they are adapted to be groupish.


Another concern is the authors apparently Western-centric perspective. On the same page as the above questionable comments, the authors write “During our immaturity, we don’t have to commit ourselves to act in any particular way in order to survive.” Perhaps this is true of America, but do the authors believe this is true in much of Africa? Are the authors arguing that there is no significant correlation between child temperament and child mortality in much of the third world? Along with this, it is interesting to wonder if perhaps children in different parts of the world had to commit themselves to different acts in order to survive. Among the three populations of Africans, East Asians, and Europeans, for instance, different sets of genes had been favored by natural selection” (Wade, 2006). Could there be behavioral differences in infancy resulting from this?

A way to excuse the above oversign would be to think the authors only meant that some childred do not mean to worry about behavior. Here, of course, they are right. Worldwide, whites in general are somewhat better off – thus it may be misplaced to expect the book’s (white) authors to particularly care about children who look different from theirs. Additionally, some children simply don’t act differently depending on events. Certain children are genitically predisposed to be more sensitive to tragic events (Caspi et all 389, 2003), meaning that perhaps only certain children are designed to pay attention.

Lastly, the authors appear to be confused about the nature of science. In attempting to explain an early, universal presence of a scientific mindset, the Gopnik, Meltzoff, & Kuhl write, “Our pleasure in reading popular science is a kind of vicarious pleasure in seeing how problems can be solved and oddities can be explained.” I hope the authors do not believe that the process of solving and explaining problems is the same thing as science! Just-so stories and pseudoscience fill the same roles (Russo, 2004). Indeed, it seems likely that only an infentesimile percentage of methods that gave us an “Aha!” moments were generated by anything like the scientific method (Jung-Beeman, et al., 2004). So why pretnd that insights come mostly from science? Pseudoscience and other bunk are all too common among humans (Sagan, 1996), and that such things could be so overwhelming and science so rare may imply that science is only tangential to the way we are built to learn things.

Bibliography
Capsi, A., et al. (2003). Influence of Life Stress on Depression: Moderation by a Polymorphism in the 5-HTT Gene. Science. Vol. 301 No. 5631 pp. 386-289.
Gopnik, A., Meltzoff, A. N., & Kuhl, P. K. (1999). The scientist in the crib: What early learning tells us about the mind. New York: HarperCollins.
Jung-Beeman M, Bowden EM, Haberman J, Frymiare JL, Arambel-Liu S, et al. (2004) Neural Activity When People Solve Verbal Problems with Insight. PLoS Biol 2(4): e97 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0020097
Russo, E. (2004). Mind – the adaptive gap. The Scientist 18(4): 26.
Sagan, C. (1996). The demon-haunted world: Science as a candle in the dark. New York: Random House.
Tooby, J., & Cosmides, L. (1992) The Psychological Foundations of Culture. In The Adapted Mind, Jerome Barkow, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, eds. New York: Oxford University Pres.
Wade, N. (2006). Still Evolving, Human Genes Tell New Story. New York Times. March 7, 2006 edition.
Wilson, E. O., & Holldobler, B. (2005). Eusociality: Origin and Consequences. PNAS 102(38)-13367-13371.
Wrangham, R. (1999). Evolution of Coalitionary Killing. Yearbook of Anthropology 42:1-30.

Reactions to The Scientist in the Crib, part of Biopsychological Development
1. A Young Science and Young Scientists
2. Learning About People and Things
3. Children’s Minds and Brains

The Wary Guerrilla, Part VI: Absolute Guerrilla

The absolutism questionnaire used is an extension of Alford & Hibbing’s (2006b) scale for measuring absolutism in political orientation. Running a basic test of correlations on answers immediately highlighted two items on the political absolutism scale. It should be noted that for technical reasons, data here is only available for self-reported Republicans and Democrats. Ten classic wary cooperators identified as independents and were not asked to answer the political orientation section of the survey.


Wary Guerrillas?

The variable asking participants whether they feel society works best when it speaks with one voice or many voices (HOneVce) was a highly significantly correlated variable. The variable has an R2 of .377. Additionally, the variable HEtCode, asked participants whether they feel society works best when behavioral expectations are based on an eternal code or when behavioral expectations are allowed to evolve over the decades. This variable was significant at the .05 level.


After finding a correlation with Absolutist Orientation, which was calculated through answers to general questions, the analysis then determined whether answers to specific political questions were also correlated. An Authoritarian Politics scale, taking the “conservative” position on a variety of political issues, (Calculated as HPolitC = hdeathp – habortd + hpray + hiraqwa – hgaymar – hforaid + hdepill – htaxric + hwireta – hgunctr) was created. (See Appendix B for variable operationization). The null hypothesis is rejected, concluding that Authoritarian Politics do significantly impact Wary Guerrillaism with an R2 of .171.

Hypothesis 7: The Wary Guerrilla Type is correlated with Absolutist Beliefs.

The same test was conducted for specific questions relating to views on gay marriage (HGayMar) and belief in progressive taxation (HTaxRic). These variables produced R2 values of .188 and .132, respectively.

In order to further the research, political orientation or affiliation was tested to see if it predicted the emergence of Wary Guerrillaism. The null hypothesis, The Wary Guerrilla Type is not correlated with Political Party, was tested in spite of warnings that party affiliation may not translate into gameplay. The results led to rejection of the null hypothesis; indeed more “Republican” players were more likely to be Wary Guerrillas. With the exception of a single self-identified Democrat, every Wary Guerrilla was a self-identified Republican (None of the ten Independent Wary Cooperators were Wary Guerrillas, 1 of the 11 Democratic Wary Cooperators were Wary Guerrillas, and 6 of the 19 Republican Wary Cooperators were Wary Guerillas.)

Hypothesis 8: The Wary Guerrilla Type is correlated with Political Party.

The model inclusive of the prime orientation and issue related variables, (ie ‘one voice: HOneVce’, ‘eternal code:HEtCode’, ‘gay marriage:HGayMar’, progressive taxes:HTaxRic’, and ‘Republican:HRpDmin’), produced an adjusted R2 value of 0.447 (p=0.002). A model including variables measuring three personality traits, (ie Hardworking:HHardWo, Carefulness:HCarefu, and Kindness:HUnkind) generated an adjusted R2 value of 0.425 (p=0.000). A model merging the key political orientation, issue stance, and personality variables yielded an adjusted R2 value of 0.745 (p=0.000).


The Wary Guerrilla, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Terrorism
3. Predictions
4. An Experiment
5. Results
6. Absolute Guerrilla
7. Those Who Cause Less Pain
8. Future Research
9. Political Implications
10. Bibliography

Learning About People and Things

What world do babies think they are in?

Most of this reaction paper is dedicated to examining some claims the authors make about the permanence of objects. I attempt to understand their reasoning, present an alternative rival hypothesis, and then describe a short experiment which may help resolve the issue.


The world of babies is closer to ours than we previously believed. There is not a “blooming, buzzing confusion” (Gopnik, Melzoff, & Kuhl, 65) for newborns. Rather they are equipped with mental modules that allow them to distinguish shapes (64), read lips (69), and many of others. However, babies can still have strange ideas about the nature of invisible objects. On page 81, the authors write that babies “assume that an object that traces a particular path of movement is the same object” but that “young babies are not particularly interested if a blue toy car goes in one edge of a screen and a yellow toy duck emerges at the far edge on the same trajectory!” Such a view does not make sense if one lives in a world of three dimensions, height, width, and depth, that extend to infinity and are identical in their nature. Yet such unusual beliefs become natural if very young children hold one of two views of space.

The baby’s belief make sense with the addition of bounded space. As adults, we assume that space as we know it exists beyond what we can see. As I am writing this, for instance, I assume that the entryway (which is separated from me by a wall and by an glass door) exists in the same manner regardless of it is behind the glass door or behind the wall. Thus babies may believe in our three dimensions, but add a divide between the finite space they know and transfinite space where unknown rules may apply.

Another possibility is that babies use a different coordinate system all together. Imagine that babies understand three dimensions: pitch (rotation about the vertical axis), roll (rotation about the horizontal axis), and extension (distance). Unlike our understand of dimensions, which are in absolute terms (five feet up, six feet over, seven feet across) these values would be fractional. So instead of having to map an object in our dimensions system, an object would be 50% up, 50% over, and 50% extended.

These systems give different predictions of how children understand the permanence of objects that are out of sight. In a traditional system, the difference is from a magical to a scientific world view However, a roll x pitch x extension system is closer to a child’s discovery of negative numbers. Instead of having to discover a whole new world out there, the child merely realizes that extension can go beyond 100% in a way that roll and pitch cannot.

Early, I mentioned that authors describe an experiment with a car that becomes a duck at after occulting itself while maintaining a fixed velocity. The experiment is odd in that implies babies understand objects to have a permanence of speed while not a permanence of shape. I believe that these two systems of coordinates give different predictions about the behavior of small children in a modification of the experiment. The difference relies on how distance is understood in the two systems, and the fact that babies understand perspective (se the discussion on “size constancy” on page 68). Create a series of blinds such than an object becomes visible and invisible in succession such that the distance between the baby alternates between five feet and ten feet, and make the object change shape from a duck to a car. Have backdrops behind the toy that are either immediately behind or or twice the distance away.

Then present the following sequence of vistas, in (toy distance, backdrop distance, toy) format: (5 ft, 10 ft, duck), (10 ft, 20 ft, car), (5 ft, 20 ft, duck), (10 ft, 10 ft, car). If the baby understands distance in absolute terms, this pattern should habituate relatively quickly (as a 5 foot distance gives a duck and a 10 foot distance gives a car). However, if the baby understands distance in terms of distance relative to the backdrop, the pattern is more surprising: 50% gives a duck, then 50% gives a car, then 25% gives a duck, then 100% gives a car. Then return the experiment with distances of (5 ft, 10 ft, duck), (5 ft, 5 ft, car), (10 ft, 20 ft, duck), (20 ft, 20 ft, car). This experiment should give the opposite result, with a baby believing in extension becoming habituated but a baby believing in absolute distance being more interested. Simply compare the results between the experiments, and you should be able to tell if babies (or at least certain babies) hold to one coordinate system or the other.

Of course, chapters three and four dealth with more than the physical world. The discussion on on language on chapter four is quite good, though there is only want to focus on a few lines. On page 100, the authors write that by “the time they are in kindergarten, children have mastered almost all of the complexities of their particular language, with no conscious effort or instruction.” However, on the very next page they write that “the babies’ Language problem is not so much the scientist’s problem – find out what the world is really like – as it is a kind of sociological or even anthropological problem”: find out what the folks around here do and learn to do it yourself.” I am not sure how they make this distinction. In the previous reaction paper I noted that scientific-type thinking might be detected through brainscans. If this is true, the authors would here be suggested that learning language requires very little prefrontal cortex use. Actually I agree with this, though I find their switch their scientific-antrhopological division to be arbitrarily defined.

All in all though, these chapters were thought provoking and lead to testable hypotheses. Good show!

Bibliography
Gopnik, A., Meltzoff, A. N., & Kuhl, P. K. (1999). The scientist in the crib: What early learning tells us about the mind. New York: HarperCollins.


Reactions to The Scientist in the Crib, part of Biopsychological Development
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The Wary Guerrilla, Part V: Results

The experiment detected 33 classic wary cooperators, of whom 33 were identified as wary cooperators and 7 of whom were wary guerrillas. Additionally, there were 117 classic egoists or altruists who accepted the unfair allocation. Of these 117, there were 97 other cooperators and 20 other guerrillas.


Wary Guerrillas: Fighting the Stereotype

Hypothesis 1: The Wary Guerrilla type correlates with small town origin. (Spopula) Failed
Hypothesis 2: The Wary Guerrilla type correlates with family income. (SFIncome) Failed
Hypothesis 3: The Wary Guerrilla type correlates with sex. (SGender) Failed
Hypothesis 4: The Wary Guerrilla type correlates with religious feeling. (SReligi) Failed
Hypothesis 5: The Wary Guerrilla type correlates with absolutism. (HOrienC) Success
Hypothesis 6: The wary Guerrilla type correlates with Greek status. (DisGrek) Failed


Demystifying the Wary Guerrilla

The initial attempts to predict the emergence of Wary Guerrillas were, essentially, failures. The analysis did not find a relationship with either of Sautter’s measurements, Family Income and Age, nor did it reveal the expected relationship with sex. Further, there was no correlation with relationship status, Greek status, or religious status. However, the correlation with Absolutism was particularly intriguing and warranted further investigation. The tools conventionally used to analyze political choices could also be organized around interpersonal questions. As Absolutist Orientation was the only one of the initial hypotheses that was accepted, a series of derivative hypotheses were formulated in order to test ideas that should be related.


The Wary Guerrilla, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Terrorism
3. Predictions
4. An Experiment
5. Results
6. Absolute Guerrilla
7. Those Who Cause Less Pain
8. Future Research
9. Political Implications
10. Bibliography

A Young Science and Young Scientists

I was impressed by the opening section of Gopnik, Meltzoff, and Kuhl’s work The Scientist in the Crib: What Early learning Tells Us About the Mind. I enjoyed their discussion of the tools they use, though it is important to keep in mind that even newer tools allow us to test some hypotheses they could only dream about. The author’s emphasis on the unique nature, at birth, of all human beings is a welcome reprive from those who would believe we are born blank slates. Likewise, their focus on communication as opposed to speech opens the vista of possible science. I like this book.

When scientists speak of their discoveries, they are really speaking of how their tools let them see the world. Galileo’s description of the moons of Jupiter were heavily influenced by the use of a small optical telescope. He would have described those bodies differently had he had access to the Arecibo radio telescope. This does not make his findings wrong, but it emphasizes that they were incomplete.


Gopnik, Melzoff, & Kuhl’s work is similarly incomplete. Their tool is the videocassette camera All of their conjectures and statements seem to be based on this technology. Numerous videotaped experiments are described, and the authors sum of the method saying “With the help of videotape, scientists have developed ingenious experimental techniques to ask babies what they know.” However, it is incomplete. If it is true that the “job [of] developmental psychologists is to discover what programs babies run” (6) is an external monitoring device appropriate for such an internal reverse engineering?

For instance, consider their statement that “Babies and young children think, observe, and reason. They consider evidence, draw conclusions, do experiments, solve problems, and search for the truth” (13). Yet the trust tool of videotape does not let scientists see this. Videotape will show a child eye’s, or hands, or mouth. It will show all manners of expression and all expressions of mannerisms. But it will not let you know if a child is solving problems is the same mental way that we mean that phrase for adults and older children.

Fortunately, now some tools are available that would allow us to test this claim. FMRIs – Functional Magnemetic Resonance Images – give great temporal resolution for specific areas of the brain. To run an fMRI test of the hypothesis, determine which brain areas activate during problem solving, or experimental execution in adults and older children. Then run the same fFMRIs on infants as they perform behavior was identified through videotape. If the areas are the same, it would give support to the claim that babies are thinking as older humans do – that the same words we use to describe the exploration of more mature people apply to infants. If not, then such a conclusion should be discouraged.

More broadly, I enjoyed the authors’ emphasis on interpersonal differences. They acknowledge that behavioral differences between people exist from birth (for instance, talking about autistics on page 54) and that there are genetic components to these differences. As I wrote in a paper for another class, this tracks well with our increased scientific understanding of humanity. Conditions like suicide which were once blamed on the environment (Johnson, 1965 ; Pope 1975) now are also looked at with an eye on DNA (Kolata, 1986; 1987; Lubar, 1985).

Another area I liked was the authors’ de-emphasis on speech. Gopnik et al. Remind us that “before babies can talk, they can communicate” (35) and that “very young children are already beginning to go beyond an ego-centric understanding of other people” (41). While Vygotsky’s emphasis on mentoring was important, and he correctly taught that “to describe an isolated human mind is to miss the point. Human minds are never isolated” (Ridley, 2003, 208), his focuses on the verbal dialectic may mislead Babies as young as eighteen months will help complete strangers (Warneken & Tomasello, 2006), a behavior that is unusual among chimpanzees (Silk, 2006) but common among human beings (Alford & Hibbing, 2004, 2006; Smith 2006). Likewise, language never becomes the exclusive means of communication – it is not just that babies pre-linguistic behaviors are rough tools to be discarded once words are learned. As Gopnick, Meltzoff, & Kuhl write, “Like grown-up flirtation, baby flirtation bypasses languages and established a more direct link between people” (31). This implies that speech and cooperation are two species-typical traits, and not that cooperation is just an effect of the species-typical trait of language.

Bibliography
Alford, J. & Hibbing, J. (2004) .The Origin of Politics: An Evolutionary Theory of Political Behavior. Perspectives on Politics, 2(4), 707-723
Alford, J. R., & Hibbing, J.R. (2006). The Neural Basis of Representative Democracy. Paper presented at the Hendricks Conference on Biology, Evolution, and Political Behavior.
Johnson, B.D. (1965). Durkheim’s one cause of suicide. American Sociological Review 30(6): 875-886.
Gopnik, A., Meltzoff, A. N., & Kuhl, P. K. (1999). The scientist in the crib: What early learning tells us about the mind. New York: HarperCollins.
Kolata, G. (1986). Manic-depression: Is it inherited? Science 232(4750): 575-576.
Kolata, G. (1987). Manic-depression gene tied to chromosome 11. Science 235(4793): 1139-1140.
Lubar, J.F. (1985). EEG Biofeedback and Learning Disabilities. Theory into Practice 24(2): 106-111.
Pope, W. (1975). Concepts and explanatory structure in Durkheim’s theory of suicide. The British Journal of Sociology 26(4): 416-434.
Ridley, M. (2003). Nature via Nurture. Harper Collins: New York, NY.
Silk, J.B. (2006). Who are more helpful, humans or chimpanzees? Science 311(5765): 1248-1249.
Smith, K. (2006) Representational Altruism: The Wary Cooperator as Authoritative Decision Maker. American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 50 No. 4, pp 1013-1022.
Warneken, F., & Tomasello, M. (2006). Altruistic helping in human infants and young chimpanzees. Science 313(5765): 1301-1303.


Reactions to The Scientist in the Crib, part of Biopsychological Development
1. A Young Science and Young Scientists
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