Boy Wrestler Refuses To Compete With Girl

We’re all adults here, so I’m going to come right out and reveal my misogynistic thesis: men are better athletes than women, in the sense that if you pick any group of men and an equal number of women, such that the way both sexes are picked is identical, more men than women will on average be found to be better, faster, stronger.

Further, at the highest end of performance men will greatly outnumber women, again on average. Although statistics aren’t kept, it’s my guess that men will greatly outnumber women (on average) at the lowest end, too, since many of my sex are natural practitioners of the gentle art of indolence.

The reason for these gross discrepancies is because the biology, as yet uncontrolled by the government, of men and women is different. This is sad for women, of course, but (again, so far) an inescapable fact. Equality is not written in our genes, however much it is in our hearts.

Now, there lurk among us many who agitate for equality between the sexes (still largely just two). Many of these souls are satisfied if they can discover a strict—it must be strict, even though strict is probabilistically unlikely—statistical equality in employment or in other monetary terms.

The battle having largely been won in this arena, the agitators found themselves without a hobby. And so they turned to sports, where enormous statistical incongruities between males and females still existed. The activists started with money, an arena with familiar rules and turf. And it wasn’t even a battle. Equality, at least for public funding of sports, soon reigned.

But what to do about performance? The statistics of difference were plain, and most activists could understand enough biology to see that these differences were likely to continue even if laws were passed demanding these differences unjust.

Enter the wits: a clever minority who had no patience with activist antics. Or, better said, a too clever minority. They thought they could shut the mouths of the activists by pushing the activists’ arguments to their logical conclusions. Want real equality between boys and girls? Then eliminate separate sports programs and throw the boys and girls together! Don’t have boys’ football and girls’ football, just have football. Don’t create boys’ wrestling and girls’ wrestling, just have wrestling.

The wits thought that the activists would see that since participation on sports teams is merit based, the level of participation of females would drop like an “I voted for Reagan” comment at an Upper West Side dinner party. But the wits were wrong. Activists, whose minds are always in delicate balance, are often unable to appreciate sarcasm. They called the wits’ bluff.

In Iowa, girls can now wrestle with boys—and not just in cars in the parking lot at the Friday night dance. But in the rings and on the mats. The news reports that one young man refused to wrestle with his female opponent in the State final. He did so because he was a gentleman of the Old School. We commend him. But his forfeit allowed the girl to “win,” thus beginning an accumulation of statistics showing equality between girls and boys.

Of course, at the distant end of the 1970s at good old St. Mary’s High where yours truly matriculated, allowing boys to wrestle girls would have produced a surge of enrollment on the wrestling team. But today’s youth are more in tune with the near desperate desire for equality, it having been inculcated in them in every class in every grade. So most will play along.

However, that pesky boy-girl dimorphism will haunt equality efforts. In that same Iowa tournament, the only other girl lost her match with a boy not as reticent as his teammate. Yet equality must be had! So how long before the first sexual harassment charge which will be used to cancel a boy’s win? How many new rules—in football, basketball, wrestling, and on and on—will be instituted delineating just how hard, when, and especially where a boy may touch a girl? These rules will be implemented not just because some women hate the idea of boys touching girls, but to increase the advantages of the girls whose biology otherwise limits them.

Constraining and restraining boys thusly will, of course, bring the object of desire, but it will also hurt the sports themselves. Who would want to watch football game where the boys are not allowed to tackle the girls? Or a wrestling match were the boys must maintain a strict distance between his hands and most of the girls’ bodies?

Remember folks: it was predicted here first.

Why Memes Are Stupid: The Short Version

In 1976, in his The Selfish Gene, a book which revealed that most of us are slaves to our genes, biologist Richard Dawkins “discovered” the meme which, in one definition, is any “cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.”

Dawkins snuck memes into the last chapter of The Selfish Gene, after readers had been softened up by edematous arguments of how “selfish” genes are responsible for (mainly) reprehensible or harmful behaviors; yet behaviors and actions—approved of by Dawkins—outside the iron grip of genes were also (somehow) possible. He spent the next several years defending this bizarre thesis (presumably with the cooperation of his genes), making sounds like the yip yip yip of a lapdog affixed with a studded collar under the delusion he is a pit bull.

Most of his efforts were expended explaining how “selfish” didn’t really mean “selfish“, but sometimes “selfish” other times “selfish.” Strangely, only devotees had the power (via genetic mutation?) to understand this amorphous word. In an infamous review article which demolished Dawkins’s ideas, the philosopher and true pit bull Mary Midgley seized Dawkins by the throat and rattled him until she bored of it.

Dawkins reacted to this attack just as a lap dog would: with sullenness. One imagines him sitting in a quiet corner, a single tear escaping from the welling in his eyes, as he wrote, “[Midgley's paper is] hard to match, in reputable journals, for its patronising condescension toward a fellow academic.” This coming from a man who boasted he would jam a black hood on Pope Benedict and toss him in a dungeon.

So “selfish” genes had difficulties and were not universally accepted. But memes had an easier time, at least at first. Now, a “cultural item” that is transmitted from one human to another is anything: a name, a joke, racism (of course), even a theory like memetics. Memes spread by changing, even creating, the behavior of the “host” such that the host, well, is made to pass on its mind viruses. This is not facetious: Dawkins himself prefers this phrase.

In one sense, “memes” are just a re-labeling of a trivial truth: people pass ideas to one another. Calling this mundane process a “transmission of memes” isn’t wrong, but an unnecessary obfuscation, a bureaucratic complication. The word also means a short-lived asinine idea passed between a small fraction of the Earth’s population who have leisure and access to a computer.

But Dawkins and his acolytes mean more than these. The philosopher David Stove, quotes from one of Dawkins’s works1 (all markings original):

Memes are living “are living structures, not just metaphorically but technically. When you plant a fertile meme in my mind2, you literally parasitize my brain, turning it into a vehicle for the meme’s propagation in just the way that a virus may parasitize the genetic mechanism of a host cell. And this isn’t just a way of talking—the meme for, say [Pythagora's Theorem] is actually realized physically, millions of times over, as a structure in the nervous systems of individual men…”

Stove continues:

One might try saying to Dr. Dawkins: “Look, you are in the phone book, and they print millions of copies of the phone book—right? But now you don’t believe, do you, that you are there millions of times over ‘in the form of’ printed letters, or ‘realized in’ the chemistry of ink and newsprint?” But I would so afraid of being told by Dr. Dawkins that he does believe this that I do not think I would have the courage to put the questions to him.

Memes are also said to reproduce themselves, or to cause themselves to be reproduced, for their own “benefit.” But it is impossible for one copy of a meme to benefit from other copies. It is like saying a chair on sale as Walmart benefits by there being copies of itself for sale at other Walmarts.

Midgely asks

Why are we supposed to need the general word ‘meme’? It brackets together indiscriminately such mixed items as ideas, customs, beliefs, traditions, fancies, fashions, art-forms and art-works, tricks of the trade, opinions, doctrines, theories, images, concepts, attitudes, practices and habits. When we are actually trying to study culture, it is not helpful to blur these differences so grossly. Why do memeticists want to do this?

They do it because they think this simplification is scientific. They aim to explain changes in all these things by a single cause, and one of the same kind which is used to explain large-scale changes in evolution. This naturally has to be a cause quite outside our actual thinking. So they treat the various elements of culture, not as aspects of human life – ways in which people act and think – but as distinct entities, quasi-organisms or quasi-genes, substantial things existing on their own and somehow acting on people. These entities’ behaviour has then to be understood, like that of genes, in terms of their own supposed reproductive interests, their own competitive interactions with one another, bypassing all reference to human psychology.

Memes are often welcomed by those who want freedom from responsibility for their own actions. If a man can’t point to his “selfish” genes and say “They made me do it!”, then perhaps memes are the real culprits. People aren’t really racists, they have racist memes. Criminals rampage because of memetic influences, not because they are evil. Yet some of us (like Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and of course yours truly) have the ability to “move beyond” the influence of these pernicious mind viruses. We can will our minds to do other than what the memes (or genes) would have us do.

These arguments are identical with those saying there is no free will. “We must not punish the criminal! He has no free will, no choice to have done what he has done.” If you cannot spot the fallacy here, chances are good you will remain convinced memes are a viable scientific concept.

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1Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity, and Other Fables of Evolution pp 194-195.

2Oh, baby!

Time Travel

I uncovered this photo of yours truly and one Robert E. Beamon Jr of (then) Chicago, Illinois. It was taken, with respect to our time, some twenty-eight years ago, in 1983, ostensibly in San Antonio, Texas. I am the one with the bigger, longer, and manlier gun. William Matt Briggs and Robert E. Beamon Jr.

This is shown because I have been asked many times to show my mug, and this example is as good as any other. This is as my personage was at one point in time. Little has changed except for the addition of depth and a fine chiseling due to maturity. My hair, for example, is of the same length, though my hat is now brown.

The phrase “with respect to our time” is necessary, because this picture was taken when Beamon and I were in the Air Force at Lackland AFB. It my belief that there we were subjected to a military experiment, during which the scene in this photo occurred.

Part of the experiment involved sleep deprivation coupled with extreme physical stress. I vividly remember being made to stand in line to receive drugs via an electric syringe. We also were made to eat substances which, judging by their taste, must have been laced with purposeful reagents.

From the photographic evidence I can only guess that we went back in time, and that, when in the past, we participated either in some nefarious activity or were part of a squad to quell such activities. I have no memory of which.

Since I cannot remember what happened, obviously the experiment was a success. But at least we have the evidence you see before you today.

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I am on jury duty starting this morning. Posts may be somewhat irregular until I am released.

Posted in Fun

Scientific American Proposes Socialism As Means To Eliminate Murder

The once great magazine Scientific American has actually had three lives. Around the turn of the last century and for many years after, there was a magazine called Scientific American, but it was a different magazine than the Scientific American that came after.

The progenitor’s target audience was scientists, engineers, and other hardcore professionals. The ads—always the best place to learn about who reads a periodical—were for ball bearings, vacuum tubes, and various mechanical and electrical apparati. The magazine sponsored an in-depth investigation into seances led by Harry Houdini.

The original died but the name was bought by another company. The audience remained the same, however; only now it was more affluent. The ads were for now cognac and Cadillacs. The writers were the readers and vice versa. The going could be rough but it was always rewarding. Martin Gardner had a column.

Then just before the turn of our current century, the magazine changed hands once more and began a slow spiral into the perfunctory style of leftism learned from lectures in “J” school of the new, non-scientist writers.

The official break from the old ways of strict objectivity came in 2002 when the magazine published a series of articles under the heading “Science defends itself against The Skeptical Environmentalist“, the book written by Bjorn Lomborg whose heretical thesis was, “Yes, global warming is real, but the economic solution lies elsewhere from where the non-economist climatologists say it is.” (I canceled my subscription immediately after this idiocy.)

The magazine is now a politicized version of Popular Mechanics, though it emulates the blood and muscle of that title poorly. The graphics are glitzy but not especially informative. The writing is dumbed down so that the reader thinks he understands what he doesn’t. Think New York Times Health & Science section and you’ll have what I mean (random quotes from a scientist and his rivals).

When the magazine underwent its third life, it hired journalist John Horgan, a genuine J-school graduate. An example of his reasoning power is contained in his “A modest proposal for curbing homicides: Socialism.”

Evidently, Horgan was incensed that Jared Loughner used a gun to shoot up the Tucson Safeway parking lot. “Common sense” told him that “unbalanced people” should not have guns. Like most journalists, Horgan reflexively jerked his knee right onto the “send” button (there is a positive “correlation between levels of household gun ownership and homicide”). He later acknowledged this view to be wrong.

So wrong that he said, “As much as I hate to admit it, these statistics support the slogan that guns don’t kill; people do.” What’s revealing about that is not the statistics, but his admission. I hate to admit the truth. Why?

He later develops another thesis, which is neither here nor there for our purposes, and says, “Naturally, some researchers have reported data that fail to support [my] theory of homicide. But I find [my theory] persuasive, especially because it points toward an attractive solution.” His solution is socialism.

Ignore the socialism, that cure for all ills, and look instead to how a journalist willingly and eagerly prods himself into over-certainty. In effect, he tells himself to ignore the rival theories, evidence, and data, and concentrate of the solution which to him is most attractive. The data he has do fit into that solution, and for him it is enough.

This is the nature of politics. Theories come first and are chosen for their beauty, for their conformity, because of their emotional appeal. It is only then that the search for evidence for that theory begins. Any will do, the smallest scrap marshaled to do its duty to uphold a cherished belief. The same evidence might and often says a rival theory is more likely true, but the rival theory is discarded for its ugliness or some unpalatable asymmetry which makes it unacceptable. As long as there is any evidence whatsoever for the desired theory, it is just true.

That is the way the “science” in Scientific American works routinely today. It is a weak engine to discover truth, but perhaps a good one to sell magazines.

Hats Are Back! Staring At Women’s Breasts Lowers Math Scores!

Fedoras For Fellas

While watching an exquisite interpretation of the classic hose-in-the-face by one Curley “Babe” Howard on television, I inadvertently saw a commercial for the movie The Adjustment Bureau starring, among others, Matt “I’ve Just Realized War Is Wrong” Damon. The Adjustment Bureau

The story is an adaption of a readable, but almost certainly unwatchable, story by Philip “They’re Out To Get Us” Dick. The trailer looks asinine enough; however, that is not important. What is is that the bad guys, and even Damon himself, all wear hats.

I don’t mean ratty baseball caps, either. These are manly, grownup dressy head coverings, always appropriate in any situation. True, the images so far provided show that these men are unused to their hats, and that most of them look fresh-out-of-the-box. Fred Astaire knew that all clothes should never be worn in public unless they had been lived with, at least a little, in private. Wardrobe departments should heed this advice.

But given how many of our countrymen learn their life’s lessons from Hollywood movies, perhaps seeing famousosities on screen such as Damon wearing adults hats will induce our citizens to start donning better looking chapeaux. We can only hope.

Imagine The Area Under These Curves

New research suggests that news reports that begin with the words “new research suggests” (or the like) are almost always fundamentally flawed. So it is with the report that tells us “Ogling women makes them worse at math” printed in the Christian Science Monitor.

A group of researchers, led by one Sarah Gervais whose focus is “subtle prejudice“, decided that if they sat a man next to a woman about to take a math test, and if that man had secret orders to goggle at that woman’s breasts long enough for the woman to notice that her chestal projections were the object of lusty adoration by that man, then that woman would not score as well as a similar woman who lacked an admirer.

80085 Lo! When the researchers ran that study, they found—almost inexplicably—that the women stared at had slightly lower scores than women left alone. Thus, the researchers conclude that unrestrained male eyes are responsible for the stereotype “Girls are bad at math” and that the lower-scoring women were under the spell of a psychological phenomenon called the “stereotype threat.” If only we could, perhaps even chemically, change men so that they weren’t such bad boys, we could remove this threat and women would soon swell the ranks of professional mathematicians.

Except that is not all our indefatigable researchers discovered. They also found that the men tasked to hang their tongues out and take it all in scored worse than the men who had nothing but blank pages to stare at. What was on their minds? We can conclude that women’s breasts are responsible for the flagging test scores of young men in this country. Let’s get those things covered up or moved out of sight before any more damage is done!

And it gets worse. Our lab-coated friends were shocked to learn that the women who were ogled “were more likely than the non-ogled women to say they wanted to interact with their partners more.” They called this return of interest on the part of the women “self-defeating desire.” Sarah Gervais (no doubt furrowing her brows) speculated that these women “might have seen the flirtatious look as a sign he was attracted and returned that attraction.”

Sarah Gervais did not run an experiment in which women were asked to stare at men’s crotches, so we don’t yet know whether objectifying looks such as this will also negatively affect men’s test scores, or just lead to more, ahem, “interaction” between boys and girls.

I don’t know about you, but this is what it’s all about. People laboring for years in the lab just to learn that staring at a woman’s breasts distracts both the man and the woman. It’s science!

CliffsNotes for CliffsNotes: Now With Even Less Reading!

If there’s one thing that’s wrong with this country, it’s that our poor, overworked, not-nearly-pampered enough children have too much reading to do. Why, there’s Twitter (“#lindsaylohan Hate when i record a show, then i dont have the episode that follows it!”), Facebook (“Yassi is missing old the days”), SMS (“I was like LOL”), not to mention a myriad of long and complex bus and roadway signs.

Pajamas Media

What a shock it must be, then, for these little darlings to show up at school and be told by a teacher that they have to go through the entire 250-page Tom Sawyer! (Bowdlerized version, of course.) Or, Lord help them, the massive 600-page Invisible Man. And let’s not even mention the cruelty inherent in assigning any Dickens novel…

Continue reading at Pajamas Media.

As those who read the comments, and threads mentioned in those comments, to yesterday’s post will understand how difficult it is to have our students read. And now, thanks to the miracle of iPhones and so forth, they don’t have to!

Thanks to Pajamas’ David Steinberg for the tag and head lines.

Citizen Zings Deepak Chopra With Bolt Of Logic

From regular reader Bruce Foutch comes this video of a citizen asking “quantum healing” guru Deepak Chopra and some “Bishop” a simple question.


Deepak Chopra Flummoxed

The transcript reads:

Emcee: I want to take another question. There’s a gentlemen in the red shirt who’s had his hand up for awhile to come up to the microphone.

Citizen: My questions are for Deepak and the, uh, and the Bishop. Now you stated before that all belief is a cover-up for insecurity, right?

Chopra/Bishop: Uh huh.

Citizen: Do you believe that?

Chopra/Bishop: Yes.

Citizen: Thank you (tumultuous applause and cheering).

Chopra/Bishop: (sitting stunned, flummoxed, chagrined, dumbfounded in equal parts).

Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Our red-shirted brother held them down and gave ‘em a few in the kidneys. Then just walked away, his opponents lying prone, either too frightened or stupefied to return to the battle. The camera doesn’t show it, but I’d like to believe our hero casually walked to the door, pausing only to light a cheroot in the shadows before his disappeared.

Pop, progressive, and various other failed philosophies are chock full of self-defeating statements like Chopra’s that, were they actually examined show the philosophy to be empty. My favorite is due to multiculturalism: “There is no truth.”

What’s yours?