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Old 08-10-2018, 12:30 PM   #2266
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Re: icymi above

Quote:
Originally Posted by sebastian_dangerfield View Post
I hate the whole concept of "groups." Recall, I'm the one coming to this critical of identity politics.

But that's an aside. We agree that a "group" (since we must lump individuals together for reasons I'm still not certain of) can be responsible for certain of its disadvantages.
I'm not sure I agree with you on this because I don't understand what you mean by some of the words you keep using. In particular, I don't understand how a "group" can have "responsibility." If you want to make some argument about what that means, go for it, and I'll respond. If you want to make broad statements and ask me whether I categorically disagreeing, I'll repeat: Maybe there's a counter-example, so I'm not going to rule it out. That's not the same as agreeing with you.

And the part of what you've said that is utterly incoherent (and which I keep asking you to explain, to no avail) is that it's somehow possible to "assess" this putative responsibility with "science".

Quote:
I agree it'd be difficult as all hell.
No, we don't agree. I said it's nonsense. Swimming to Hawaii would be difficult as hell. Swimming up Mt Everest is nonsense.

Quote:
But the framework for such an analysis (determining when certain disadvantages are more or entirely attributable to behaviors of the group rather than outside oppressive forces) exists. The notions of superseding cause, and comparative negligence, are not that complicated.
Please see my post in response to Adder. Tort law concepts cannot be used to assess whether tort law itself is unfair.

Quote:
The difference is oppression either ends, as in the case of Nazi persecution, or it decreases over time, as in the case of bigotry and racism. (Please don't argue "It has not!" I'm measuring relative to the past.) At a certain point following the end of the oppression or the decrease of the oppression to a certain level, the victims begin to bear some personal responsibility for circumstances. (Again, I hate this analysis, as personal responsibility is an concept focused on individuals, not groups [another of many reasons the concept of identity politics is built on sand]). If you disagree with that point, necessarily, you support the following: "The victims of oppression, even when that oppression ends or decreases, never again share responsibility for their circumstances." That cannot be true, of course.
Let's set aside the group aspect, which is difficult enough, and focus on your responsibility concept.

During World War II, Mr. X, a Gypsy in Tirana, Albania, bought a ticket to sail on a boat from Tirana to Lisbon, where he would be beyond the reach of the Nazis. The day before he was to leave, he went to visit his cousin in the mountains to say goodbye. I say his cousin, although they were not blood relatives, because Mr. X shared a bond with him that other Romany would understand though we would not. That evening, as he walked back to Tirana, he heard horses coming and hid in some bushes, worried (perhaps unreasonably) that local villagers, not fond of Romany, would rob him or worse. In the dark he stepped on his bag, and without realizing it he broke his alarm clock. It was a cheap clock, the best he could afford after a winter without much work, and maybe it had broken before he stepped on his bag -- who is to say? When the horses had passed out of earshot, Mr. X resumed his walk, but between drinking with his cousin and the long walk and having to hide in the bushes it was quite late when he got home. The next morning, his broken alarm clock did not go off, and he overslept, missing the boat to Lisbon. Not too long after that, the militia detained him and turned him over to the Germans, who put him on a train to a concentration camp, where he later died.

Multiple choice

1. Which is true?
a) Mr. X bears no responsibility for his plight because the Nazis killed him.
b) Mr. X bears some responsibility for his plight.

2. If your answer is a), which is true?
a) Mr. X never bore any responsibility for his plight because eventually the Nazis killed him
b) Mr. X bore some responsibility for his plight because he was oppressed by non-Romany Albanians who were not Nazis and who did not kill him, even though he was later killed by German Nazis.
c) Mr. X bore some responsibility for his plight at points before the Nazis killed him, but then his responsibility for his plight disappeared because the Nazis killed him.

3. If your answer to 2. was c), at what point did Mr. X's responsibility for his plight end?
a) When he heard the horses on the road and feared for his safety.
b) When the militia seized him.
c) When the Germans put him on a train.
d) When he got to the concentration camp.
e) When he was killed.

4. If your answer to 1 was b), apportion responsibility for Mr. X's plight among the following groups:
a) Romany __%
b) Albanians who live in the mountains __%
c) Albanians who live in the city __%
d) Albanians who make shoddy clocks __%
e).Albanians who join militias __%
f) Germans __%
g) Other __%
All percentages must add up to 100%

Quote:
....[A] clinical/scientific/anthropological assessment of "group responsibility" can be performed.
Presumably, to get the group score, you just average up all of the aggregate scores of the life histories of everyone in that group, correct? That's a pretty simple analysis. Except that I really only picked a few facts from Mr. X's life -- maybe I need to develop his story a little more. And then all the other Romany, in Albania and elsewhere. Once that's done, we can move on to this country, yes?

Extra-Credit Question! Please identify a good one that someone has done. Just one, that you are willing to stand by as an example that such a thing is possible. I know that you will be all tired out after answering my little quiz, so I suspect you'll pass on answering this question, but it would help your final grade.
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Old 08-10-2018, 12:34 PM   #2267
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Re: icymi above

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Originally Posted by sebastian_dangerfield View Post
Harris makes the excellent point in his podcast that the end game is to think of people exclusively as individuals. It's not possible at the moment, but that doesn't mean we should abandon that aim.
Setting aside whether Harris says this, why is this a good thing? We are not atomized individuals with no connection to other people? We are members of groups -- countries, religions, trade associations, companies, states (and commonwealths), neighborhoods, ethnic groups, families, benevolent and protective fraternal orders named after fauna, etc. Why on Earth would people want to ignore all that? How ever could they?
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:02 PM   #2268
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Re: icymi above

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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop View Post
I'm not sure I agree with you on this because I don't understand what you mean by some of the words you keep using. In particular, I don't understand how a "group" can have "responsibility." If you want to make some argument about what that means, go for it, and I'll respond. If you want to make broad statements and ask me whether I categorically disagreeing, I'll repeat: Maybe there's a counter-example, so I'm not going to rule it out. That's not the same as agreeing with you.

And the part of what you've said that is utterly incoherent (and which I keep asking you to explain, to no avail) is that it's somehow possible to "assess" this putative responsibility with "science".



No, we don't agree. I said it's nonsense. Swimming to Hawaii would be difficult as hell. Swimming up Mt Everest is nonsense.



Please see my post in response to Adder. Tort law concepts cannot be used to assess whether tort law itself is unfair.



Let's set aside the group aspect, which is difficult enough, and focus on your responsibility concept.

During World War II, Mr. X, a Gypsy in Tirana, Albania, bought a ticket to sail on a boat from Tirana to Lisbon, where he would be beyond the reach of the Nazis. The day before he was to leave, he went to visit his cousin in the mountains to say goodbye. I say his cousin, although they were not blood relatives, because Mr. X shared a bond with him that other Romany would understand though we would not. That evening, as he walked back to Tirana, he heard horses coming and hid in some bushes, worried (perhaps unreasonably) that local villagers, not fond of Romany, would rob him or worse. In the dark he stepped on his bag, and without realizing it he broke his alarm clock. It was a cheap clock, the best he could afford after a winter without much work, and maybe it had broken before he stepped on his bag -- who is to say? When the horses had passed out of earshot, Mr. X resumed his walk, but between drinking with his cousin and the long walk and having to hide in the bushes it was quite late when he got home. The next morning, his broken alarm clock did not go off, and he overslept, missing the boat to Lisbon. Not too long after that, the militia detained him and turned him over to the Germans, who put him on a train to a concentration camp, where he later died.

Multiple choice

1. Which is true?
a) Mr. X bears no responsibility for his plight because the Nazis killed him.
b) Mr. X bears some responsibility for his plight.

2. If your answer is a), which is true?
a) Mr. X never bore any responsibility for his plight because eventually the Nazis killed him
b) Mr. X bore some responsibility for his plight because he was oppressed by non-Romany Albanians who were not Nazis and who did not kill him, even though he was later killed by German Nazis.
c) Mr. X bore some responsibility for his plight at points before the Nazis killed him, but then his responsibility for his plight disappeared because the Nazis killed him.

3. If your answer to 2. was c), at what point did Mr. X's responsibility for his plight end?
a) When he heard the horses on the road and feared for his safety.
b) When the militia seized him.
c) When the Germans put him on a train.
d) When he got to the concentration camp.
e) When he was killed.

4. If your answer to 1 was b), apportion responsibility for Mr. X's plight among the following groups:
a) Romany __%
b) Albanians who live in the mountains __%
c) Albanians who live in the city __%
d) Albanians who make shoddy clocks __%
e).Albanians who join militias __%
f) Germans __%
g) Other __%
All percentages must add up to 100%



Presumably, to get the group score, you just average up all of the aggregate scores of the life histories of everyone in that group, correct? That's a pretty simple analysis. Except that I really only picked a few facts from Mr. X's life -- maybe I need to develop his story a little more. And then all the other Romany, in Albania and elsewhere. Once that's done, we can move on to this country, yes?

Extra-Credit Question! Please identify a good one that someone has done. Just one, that you are willing to stand by as an example that such a thing is possible. I know that you will be all tired out after answering my little quiz, so I suspect you'll pass on answering this question, but it would help your final grade.
I'll address all of this in detail, but I don't have time at the moment.

I do have time, however, to say this: Any flaws or difficulties in an analysis attempting to show that a historically oppressed group's current disadvantages are caused in part by the group's own actions are equally applicable to any analysis attempting to show they are entirely caused and perpetuated by the oppression. You can't assert that you can prove one, but using the same tools you'd need to prove that, it's impossible to test whether the other applies.
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:42 PM   #2269
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Re: icymi above

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Originally Posted by sebastian_dangerfield View Post
I'll address all of this in detail, but I don't have time at the moment.

I do have time, however, to say this: Any flaws or difficulties in an analysis attempting to show that a historically oppressed group's current disadvantages are caused in part by the group's own actions are equally applicable to any analysis attempting to show they are entirely caused and perpetuated by the oppression. You can't assert that you can prove one, but using the same tools you'd need to prove that, it's impossible to test whether the other applies.
In tort cases, contributory negligence is used to reduce an award of damages. A plaintiff who has been harmed $100K and who is deemed to be 10% at fault will recover $90K from a defendant deemed 90% at fault. As I bet you know, in some states and the District of Columbia, a plaintiff who has been harmed, say, $5M, say because a bus driver recklessly ran a red light and hit her, might recover nothing because the bus company's lawyer convinces a jury that she was 1% at fault, unjust as that seems.

When we talk about issues of systemic bias and oppression, and about what society might do to achieve a more perfect union, we don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly how much of the inequality we see is the direct and proximate cause of bias and oppression. Beyond any reasonable dispute, the people who devote themselves to discussing how much the victims of oppression brought it on themselves are opponents of doing anything, on the margin, to ameliorate past harms, and are often working to reverse things that society has done to reward the content of people's characters rather than the color of their skins. Even assuming the best of intentions and perfect execution, I have to ask whether there would be any benefit to society from trying to use "science" to "assess" a marginalized group's "responsibility" for their own situation. What sounds like an intellectual exercise has the practical effect of saying to someone who got hit by bus, "sorry, you should have been more careful, you're out of luck."
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Old 08-12-2018, 08:26 PM   #2270
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Re: icymi above

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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop View Post
In tort cases, contributory negligence is used to reduce an award of damages. A plaintiff who has been harmed $100K and who is deemed to be 10% at fault will recover $90K from a defendant deemed 90% at fault. As I bet you know, in some states and the District of Columbia, a plaintiff who has been harmed, say, $5M, say because a bus driver recklessly ran a red light and hit her, might recover nothing because the bus company's lawyer convinces a jury that she was 1% at fault, unjust as that seems.

When we talk about issues of systemic bias and oppression, and about what society might do to achieve a more perfect union, we don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly how much of the inequality we see is the direct and proximate cause of bias and oppression. Beyond any reasonable dispute, the people who devote themselves to discussing how much the victims of oppression brought it on themselves are opponents of doing anything, on the margin, to ameliorate past harms, and are often working to reverse things that society has done to reward the content of people's characters rather than the color of their skins. Even assuming the best of intentions and perfect execution, I have to ask whether there would be any benefit to society from trying to use "science" to "assess" a marginalized group's "responsibility" for their own situation. What sounds like an intellectual exercise has the practical effect of saying to someone who got hit by bus, "sorry, you should have been more careful, you're out of luck."
This is an argument against engaging in research on certain topics. It doesn't address the issue of whether such research could be done.

But it does get to the point Klein hinted at -- that people like Harris should be careful about what sorts of inquiries they make. I don't know why he didn't say it as plainly as you have here, but my suspicion is he's uncomfortable, as am I, with stating, "Some studies, some data, some analyses, are better left undone, unexamined." That may be what caused me to accuse Klein of attempting censorship. It's not really censorship to say certain inquiries can embolden bad policies and should be avoided. But any open minded person recoils a little bit at the suggestion we should avoid certain questions and investigations. Or allow social or policy concerns to control how they're done.

I think we'll see a lot more controversy over research in the future. Our technological capacities increase at multiples over our abilities to consider the policy and potential social impacts of what they uncover. An endless number of potentially impolitic questions are going to be raised an answered over our lifetimes.
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:24 AM   #2271
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Re: icymi above

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Originally Posted by sebastian_dangerfield View Post
This is an argument against engaging in research on certain topics. It doesn't address the issue of whether such research could be done.

But it does get to the point Klein hinted at -- that people like Harris should be careful about what sorts of inquiries they make. I don't know why he didn't say it as plainly as you have here, but my suspicion is he's uncomfortable, as am I, with stating, "Some studies, some data, some analyses, are better left undone, unexamined." That may be what caused me to accuse Klein of attempting censorship. It's not really censorship to say certain inquiries can embolden bad policies and should be avoided. But any open minded person recoils a little bit at the suggestion we should avoid certain questions and investigations. Or allow social or policy concerns to control how they're done.

I think we'll see a lot more controversy over research in the future. Our technological capacities increase at multiples over our abilities to consider the policy and potential social impacts of what they uncover. An endless number of potentially impolitic questions are going to be raised an answered over our lifetimes.
I'm still waiting for you to answer my Albanian quiz, the point of which is that the intellectual exercise you propose is futile.

Klein is more charitable than me. He thinks that Murray's work, if it is going to be discussed, should be put in context (not "censored"). But one has to say that with Murray because it's clear after many decades that he is going to continue to pump noxious ideas into the discussion.

Your project is different. Apart from being utterly nonsensical, no one is doing it. (Once again, please post a good example if you know of one.) That being the case, my question is: why? If it could be done, why would you do it? Would the world be a better place if you could do a lot of research and work and conclude scientifically that Albanian Romany were 87% responsible for what Germany Nazis did to them? Or 26% responsible?
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Old 08-13-2018, 09:24 AM   #2272
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Re: icymi above

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I'm still waiting for you to answer my Albanian quiz, the point of which is that the intellectual exercise you propose is futile.

Klein is more charitable than me. He thinks that Murray's work, if it is going to be discussed, should be put in context (not "censored"). But one has to say that with Murray because it's clear after many decades that he is going to continue to pump noxious ideas into the discussion.

Your project is different. Apart from being utterly nonsensical, no one is doing it. (Once again, please post a good example if you know of one.) That being the case, my question is: why? If it could be done, why would you do it? Would the world be a better place if you could do a lot of research and work and conclude scientifically that Albanian Romany were 87% responsible for what Germany Nazis did to them?

One of the more entertaining threads a few weeks ago was when the Historian Kevin Kruse began taking on and responding to everything Dinesh D'Souza was writing about history. Kevin ripped it all to shreds pretty quickly but carefully and systematically. For about three days it was informative and interesting, because Kevin's knowledge is vast and he did a great job on the background historiography and pulled in great amounts of detail, and watching D'Souza get trashed was entertaining.

But D'Souza of course kept his head down and admitted nothing, and just resorted to endless ad hominems on Kruse and various other actual historians, and learned zero from all of this. And after a while it got tedious, because Kevin needed to keep reposting old threads and keep making the same point over.

Such is Murray and all the purveyors of this trash. He's been debunked thousands of times over the last few decades. His professional associated released a report saying he was full of bunk. Top real scientists of all stripes stepped in to explain why he was bunk. Yet he continues. How dumb and how vacant do you have to be to bother with him at this point? Why not just have an astrologist on? At least they won't blame their victims.
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Old 08-13-2018, 11:25 AM   #2273
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Re: icymi above

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It's not really censorship to say certain inquiries can embolden bad policies and should be avoided.
It's much closer to censorship, and would actually be censorship if enforced, than suggesting that context is needed to avoid misleading people.
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Old 08-13-2018, 11:41 AM   #2274
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Re: icymi above

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It's much closer to censorship, and would actually be censorship if enforced, than suggesting that context is needed to avoid misleading people.
I agree with this. But if the context is offered to make the argument that a group, once oppressed, bears no responsibility for its circumstances at any point in the future, that's not mere context, but an effort to abridge factual inquiry. It's actually avoiding context, as full context necessarily includes assessment of that group's own actions.
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:11 PM   #2275
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Re: icymi above

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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop View Post
I'm still waiting for you to answer my Albanian quiz, the point of which is that the intellectual exercise you propose is futile.

Klein is more charitable than me. He thinks that Murray's work, if it is going to be discussed, should be put in context (not "censored"). But one has to say that with Murray because it's clear after many decades that he is going to continue to pump noxious ideas into the discussion.

Your project is different. Apart from being utterly nonsensical, no one is doing it. (Once again, please post a good example if you know of one.) That being the case, my question is: why? If it could be done, why would you do it? Would the world be a better place if you could do a lot of research and work and conclude scientifically that Albanian Romany were 87% responsible for what Germany Nazis did to them?
I would say that if the "plight" of the Romany person is his having been killed, he bears zero responsibility. The Nazis killed him, and they own that 100%.

If his "plight" is defined as disadvantages he suffered prior to his murder, we don't have enough facts.

A better hypothetical would reverse the facts and use controls. Let's say he and his brother are kidnapped by Nazis. They survive the ordeal and go back to their home village. One brother decides to go into carpentry. The other goes into fishing. Carpentry has huge upside, as people have to rebuild. It's so in demand that purchasers of such services forget the local bigotries (they're happy to have anyone do the work). Fishing, OTOH, is a glutted industry. The carpenter tells his brother to stop fishing and join his growing contracting business, but the fisherman, being proud, keeps fishing. The carpenter lives out his retirement in comfort. The fisherman survives retirement near poverty.

To what extent are Nazis responsible for where these men are at the ends of their lives versus each man's personal choices? I don't know. It's tricky.

But what I do know is that to assert the person is not at all responsible for his circumstance because of oppression, one has to make exactly such a measurement. (One has to prove there are no other causes which may be placed under "personal responsibility.") This assessment involves exactly the same nebulous analysis you have said is impossible. If it's impossible to analyze comparative responsibility, it's logically impossible to reach a finding there's no personal responsibility.

This is where I agree with Klein a bit. Asking how much comparative responsibility an oppressed individual bears invites excuses not to redress the oppression. But where the Left raises the argument that a person from a group oppressed cannot bear any responsibility going forward, which it does (and even moderate people here have done so, excepting you), the comparative responsibility argument becomes necessary. Otherwise, something that is logically provable as false is allowed to stand without question. That's obviously not acceptable, except under a "positive ends justify the means" reasoning. I'm never comfortable with that sort of reasoning, on any subject. And I don't think anyone else should be.

ETA: Once more, I include the caveat that discussion of this using "groups" is, I believe, invalid. People must be taken one on one because, yes, we are ultimately atomized. I may never raise the argument that my behavior can be credited to or blamed upon my European heritage. I cannot state that a personal decision I have made is consistent with my similarly socio-economically situated neighbors. I cannot state it's the kind of thing a man, or a Christian (lapsed), does. Ultimately, I own the decisions my limited free will allows me to make.
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:11 PM   #2276
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Re: icymi above

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One of the more entertaining threads a few weeks ago was when the Historian Kevin Kruse began taking on and responding to everything Dinesh D'Souza was writing about history. Kevin ripped it all to shreds pretty quickly but carefully and systematically. For about three days it was informative and interesting, because Kevin's knowledge is vast and he did a great job on the background historiography and pulled in great amounts of detail, and watching D'Souza get trashed was entertaining.

But D'Souza of course kept his head down and admitted nothing, and just resorted to endless ad hominems on Kruse and various other actual historians, and learned zero from all of this. And after a while it got tedious, because Kevin needed to keep reposting old threads and keep making the same point over.

Such is Murray and all the purveyors of this trash. He's been debunked thousands of times over the last few decades. His professional associated released a report saying he was full of bunk. Top real scientists of all stripes stepped in to explain why he was bunk. Yet he continues. How dumb and how vacant do you have to be to bother with him at this point? Why not just have an astrologist on? At least they won't blame their victims.
If you want to discuss censorship, there are people who are actually losing their jobs because of what they say? Murray and others (like Milo) are capitalizing on the attention.
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:13 PM   #2277
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Re: icymi above

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I agree with this. But if the context is offered to make the argument that a group, once oppressed, bears no responsibility for its circumstances at any point in the future, that's not mere context, but an effort to abridge factual inquiry. It's actually avoiding context, as full context necessarily includes assessment of that group's own actions.
For someone who says he doesn't like treating individuals as members of groups, you return to the need to assessed people as members of groups quite a bit.
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:26 PM   #2278
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Re: icymi above

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If you want to discuss censorship, there are people who are actually losing their jobs because of what they say? Murray and others (like Milo) are capitalizing on the attention.
Completely agreed.

And losing a job because of what one says doesn't necessarily count as censorship. For example, one hopes that Universities still occasionally fire faculty who prove to be idiots.
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:38 PM   #2279
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Re: icymi above

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For someone who says he doesn't like treating individuals as members of groups, you return to the need to assessed people as members of groups quite a bit.
I'm not fighting the hypo. You see the meta point.

The whole act of chopping people into groups and comparing them is futile. And yet the Right and the Left are telling us this is how we must have the debate.

All of what I've said about the Left's poor reasoning applies to the Right. The only valid analyses are those done on individuals.

Example: Murray cites Asians as a monolithic group and then tells Harris, "This was tough, because we had very little solid data on Chinese people." So half of the Asian population is represented by sketchy data in his study? How's that a "study" at all?

The same applies to races, religions, etc. here. You can never tease out how many outliers skew the group IQ upward or downward. Murray was about four or five layers too high in terms of granularity. Someone will get there in the future, and I'm pretty confident they'll reach the conclusion, "It's really only useful to assess people one on one."

ETA: By the way, Murray does the same sort of lazy analysis of whites in Coming Apart. I've not read it, and probably won't because of its flaws. But there, Murray argues that poor whites and affluent whites are turning into culturally unique groups which, via assortative mating, will eventually diverge genetically in terms of ability. For all the same reasons I find the Bell Curve unpersuasive, this too is unpersuasive.
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Last edited by sebastian_dangerfield; 08-13-2018 at 12:46 PM..
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:41 PM   #2280
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Re: icymi above

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Originally Posted by Greedy,Greedy,Greedy View Post
Completely agreed.

And losing a job because of what one says doesn't necessarily count as censorship. For example, one hopes that Universities still occasionally fire faculty who prove to be idiots.
You're right. It's Orwellian.

I'm just glad we have enlightened sorts like you to tell us who's an idiot and who's not.
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