"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jul 27, 2010

Required Reading

I read fast. Catholic school, in the seventies. A local generation of middle and lower class speed readers. With no upper class prospects.

But some books require a slow, methodical read. Ethan, over at 6th or 7th, has recently offered comments  on one such book.

I have another.

Halfway through Shlomo Sand's The Invention of the Jewish People.

What a book. Despite the singularity of the subject, Sand deconstructs ethnicity and nationalism in general, on his way to the specifics of the top at hand.

It may seem like a simple idea, but the effect (for me at least) rockets into the profound:

Ethnicity resides in ideas. Not in the blood.

Hot damn...


Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Ethnicity resides in ideas. Not in the blood.

Pretty much proved when two humans of "different ethnicity" copulate and create a new baby human, eh?

Jack Crow said...

Ayup. But, those ideas have real effect, all the same.

I could, with a piddling amount of wrangling, trade on ethnicity that means jack squat to me, and end up with rights in Israel that a person whose family has lived there for ten centuries can not by law or fact possess.

Swing Batter Batter said...

Ethnicity resides in phenotypes, not in ideas.

Jack Crow said...

A phenotype carries a social construct? Really?

Anonymous said...


...I could, with a piddling amount of wrangling, trade on ethnicity that means jack squat to me, and end up with rights in Israel that a person whose family has lived there for ten centuries can not by law or fact possess.

Don't even get me started. >:

-- ms_xeno

Ethan said...

Yeah, and another problem with ideas is that ones idea of oneself and others' idea of one can be very different things.

Funny you should mention reading speed: I usually read very, very slowly, but I tore through Endgame (relatively for me, that is). I'm probably going to be dissecting it for the rest of my life, and rereading it frequently, but the first pass zoomed by.

Swing Batter Batter said...

"Social construct" is a subjective floating abstraction and resides in the confused mind. Phenotypes are expressions of genes and exist in an objective manner - regardless of your understanding, bias, or opinion, there are group IQ differences between ethnic groups. This has been verified repeatedly.

That, of course, has no bearing on whether one should treat individuals differently because of their ethnic background. But the proper response to possibly 'dangerous' outcomes to the fact of human biodiversity is not to pretend it's all a social construct. Is "men are taller than women" a social construct?

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Bwaaah hah hah hah.

"Group IQ differences" as a focal point.

Bwaaaah hah hah hah.

Trolling with overstatement is such fun!

/sarcastic dismissal

Swing Batter Batter said...

Sarcastic dismissal is definitely more fun and cognitively safe than having your unfounded axioms threatened.

All the results of scientific experiments - they mean nothing against the belief that it can all be explained away by 'social constructs' and institutional something or other. I understand how people can still believe in biblical literalism. Faith is a powerful thing.

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Oh, I see. "Scientific," invoked as a term of reverence, trumps all.

Pay no attention to the Batter behind the curtain!

fwoan said...

I think I already know what your response will be but Batter, pray tell which races have a higher IQ and which have a lower IQ? This should be entertaining.

Andromeda said...

An I.Q. test itself is somewhat useless. It's geared toward proving your intelligence within a particular modern construct---that is to say, if you took a man with an extremely high I.Q. (but with no survival skills) and dropped him in the middle of the jungle among one of the very few native tribes who are still completely separate from society, how much would his I.Q. matter at that point?

Likewise, one of those natives from the jungle would score low on an I.Q. test because he would not be familiar with the constructs in the test, and yet he is able to make his own clothing from raw materials, hunt and capture his own food, make his own abode from raw materials, treat illness with particular herbs and plants, etc.---and so he has his own "I.Q." that allows him to be successful in a very real way, but is not measured on a standard I.Q. test.

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Ssssshhhh, Andromeda. The Swinging Batsman is busy mis-directing everyone with straw-man creation and destruction. Don't interrupt! His science-ish-ness is a lesson for all... the lesson being, "science" can be as much a fantasy construct as religion, especially when it is prostituted and/or mis-applied for rhetorical ends!

We're all entertained, aren't we?

(never mind that Andromeda has pointed out the flaw of "IQ test" relevance)

Swing Batter Batter said...

It's amazing a flawed test that tests nothing can repeatedly show differences among ethnic groups - itself an imaginary social construct!

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Ourobos, you are worshiped by The Swinging Batsman!

Swing Batter Batter said...

I mean, really, what are the odds?

You'd think such a flawed test would generate quasi-random (noise) results, not provide any kind of repeatable metric. Even when you account for economic-social-culture differences, you still find difference between ethnic groups. Unless there is some kind of unknown particle that transfers social constructs between people (like a progressive Higgs boson), it is strange that something that doesn't exist outside of subjective beliefs exert itself so objectively.

I especially liked the example of taking people directly from the jungle. Another example of the racism of low expectations.

Jack Crow said...

Inkberrow, that you, clown?

You have the same obsessions (IQ, race), and the same fundamental misunderstanding of the meaning of "phenotype" as Inky.


A phenotype does not carry information, fucktard. The genes carry replicative data, but they do not carry an ethnic plan of organismic development.

A phenotype expresses that data, but not because of inherent racial signature. We see the patterns, and assert them, according to a humanly created set of classification categories. Not according to a your supposed pre-existing ethnic template.

We create "ethnicity" out of phenotypical similarities, sure. But the ethnicity doesn't exist in the phenotype. It's an idea imposed by the assertion of self-similarity in patterns.

Fucking racialists are a hoot, though. Thanks for that, at least, you fucking bum.

Swing Batter Batter said...

"We create "ethnicity" out of phenotypical similarities, sure. But the ethnicity doesn't exist in the phenotype. It's an idea imposed by the assertion of self-similarity in patterns."

Good lord that's some impressive gymnastics. Let's parse it out.

Human characteristics are shaped by the genes that make them up. Everyone is a precious unique snowflake, with their own unique DNA, but genes tend to replicate and do not create random genes (like comes from like). Hence, related groups of people tend to have related gene clusters (which we see as similar phenotypes). Individual variation trumps any kind of group similarity, but it does not negate the fact that there are group differences.

Now you can try to hand-wave this all away by saying that we create categories out of human ideas, but that really explains nothing. No shit, humans create and use concepts. And these concepts are formed by our cognition and our understanding of the world we experience. We separate the world into various colors by virtue of the fact that our eyesight 'sees' certain wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation differently. That in no way negates the fact that there is a spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. It really exists, and is not a creation of human beings, although the words/concepts used to describe it are.

fwoan said...

But wait, I'm still waiting on hearing with race is superior to others! I need to know where I stand, help me Batter!

Which race(s) have high IQ and which have low ones?

Andromeda said...

Admittedly, perhaps "jungle" was not the best term---rain forest is more appropriate---but you are seeing racism where there is none.

I had to contrast the "I.Q." test with a competent, skillful group for which it would have no relevance whatsoever. Thus, I choose to paint a scenario using a group that was completely untouched by "modern" society. The only groups that can possibly fit this bill are a handful of native tribes that live in the rain forest or in Africa.

If you think it's racism simply because the only groups that could possibly fit this bill are not white, I'm not even sure where to go from there.

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Human characteristics are shaped by the genes that make them up.

More overstatement!

Phenotypes may include human "characteristics" or they may not. It really depends on what you're classifying as a "characteristic."

You know, if you simply stuck to "phenotype" as defined in genetics, you wouldn't be such an Ourobos-worshiping, tail-chasing mutt of a pseudo-intellectual!

Anyway, thanks for the laughs, even if you didn't intend them.

Jack Crow said...


Lamarck erred.

Anonymous said...

Is Batty that same poster who brought such merriment to IOZ's page about a month back?

-- ms_xeno

Jack Crow said...

Ms Xeno,

Methinks Batty resembles Inkberrow rather distinctly. Same obsession with race and IQ. Same fundamental misunderstanding of the meaning of the word "phenotype." Nearly identical misuses of genetics and genomics. And a marked incapacity to comprehend that actual researchers have long debunked "inherited acquired characteristics."