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Insanity & Doom Update XXII

This week: academics gone mad.

Item It’s Official: The Left Says Statistics Are Racist

According to Campus Reform, a paper authored by three British professors argues that statistics “frequently encode racist perspectives beneath the facade of supposed quantitative objectivity.”

The paper argues that supposed practices encoding racist perspectives “serve white racial interests” and need to be replaced by a framework that incorporates critical race theory into statistics.

The article — titled “QuantCrit: education, policy, ‘Big Data’ and principles for a critical race theory of statistics” — was written by David Gillborn, a professor at the University of Birminginham, along with Paul Warmington, a sociology professor at the University of Warwick, and Sean Demack, a sociology lecturer at Sheffield Halam University.

Published in September in Race, Ethnicity and Education, the paper argues that raw statistics are just too racist to be trusted.

You’re a racist for reading this far. If you’re a statistician who has read this far, you’re a double racist. And if you deny being a racist, you’re a triple racist. You racist.

Item Furniture matters. From a peer-reviewed journal (thanks to Mavis Emberson).

This philosophically driven work is intended to trouble the position of the small chair in early childhood settings. It is theoretically driven by an aspect of sociological and cultural theory called hauntology, and by the theories of new feminist materialism. The work of Sara Ahmed influences the direction taken here. An assemblage of personal narratives, memories, works of fiction, history, conversations and media reports, along with the documentation of a performative act, is produced. The methodological approach is intra-active and diffractive. The article argues that the small chair is a contentious and ambiguous artefact, which is taken for granted in early childhood settings, but also problematic when considered from different perspectives – an apparatus that both supports and betrays the body/ies that are in contact with it. Chairs, as objects that furnish human lives, can also haunt those lives and give contradictory messages of power, comfort and suffering. Now and to come, the chair is a trace, a symbol, an instrument of torture and object of desire.

Many, many academics are raving lunatics. And you’re still a racist.

Item Individual differences in bitter taste preferences are associated with antisocial personality (pdf)

In two studies, we investigated how bitter taste preferences might be associated with antisocial personality traits. Two US American community samples (total N = 953; mean age = 35.65 years; 48% females) self-reported their taste preferences using two complementary preference measures and answered a number of personality questionnaires assessing Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism, everyday sadism, trait aggression, and the Big Five factors of personality. The results of both studies confirmed the hypothesis that bitter taste preferences are positively associated with malevolent personality traits, with the most robust relation to everyday sadism and psychopathy. Regression analyses confirmed that this association holds when controlling for sweet, sour, and salty taste preferences and that bitter taste preferences are the overall strongest predictor compared to the othertaste preferences. The data thereby provide novel insights into the relationship between personality and the ubiquitous behaviors of eating and drinking by consistently demonstrating a robust relation between increased enjoyment of bitter foods and heightened sadistic proclivities.

Alert! Alert! Wee p-values exposed! Dumb theories aired!


The research suggests that your biology has a bigger influence over your personality than you might be comfortable admitting and is the first evidence that musical preference has a biological root.

The study, published online in Personality and Individual Differences, found a correlation between personality type and musical choice, and hypothesized that hormone levels could be the ultimate cause of this connection. For the study, the team looked at 37 males and 39 females and had each listen to 25 pieces of music and then rate them on a scale of one to 19 for how much they enjoyed the song. In addition, the volunteers had their testosterone levels measured through a saliva sample, New Scientist reported.

Gratuitous wee p-values waving in the breeze! A full 37 males and 39 females standing in for all of humanity! Of course they do! That’s the magick of wee p.

4 thoughts on “Insanity & Doom Update XXII Leave a comment

  1. I’d refer the authors of the furniture study to Dr Bob Hartley’s thorough analysis in “The Importance of Office Furniture in Psychology.” The condensed two-page version will suffice.

    The Bob Newhart Show, Ship of Shrinks episode.

  2. It’s true. In our advanced calculus class, after taking an oath of secrecy, we were informed that the calculus was actually invented just to confuse and frustrate women and people of color and Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica is actually a rape manual.

  3. In a thorough investigation ( conducted by me ) over many, many, many years in various clubs I have arrived at the following question ( not peer reviewed cause most of my peers were a wee bit snookered at the time );

    Do you
    A) Like to think about it
    B) Like to feel it

    If you answered A you like jazz, if you answered B you like blues.

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