calling a spade a spade

so, the 2009 PISA results are out. (see also here, and steve sailer here, here and here.)

i took a look at vol ii, “Overcoming Social Background: Equity in Learning Opportunities and Outcomes” [.pdf file], which, amongst other things, examines how immigrants in various countries did on the PISA tests.

here’s what they had to say [pgs. 77-78]:

Performance, immigrant status and country of origin

“The relative performance of students with an immigrant background cannot be attributed solely to their country of origin. Figures II.4.11 and II.4.12 show the performance of students with an immigrant background from the OECD and other countries across a number of host countries, before and after accounting for the socio-economic background of the students or the host country. These figures highlight how performance varies for students with the same country of origin across different host countries. They also show how students from different countries of origin fare within the same host country.

“Figure II.4.11 shows, for example, that students with an immigrant background from Turkey perform 69 points lower in Austria than in the Netherlands, even after accounting for their socio-economic status. In Luxembourg, students with an immigrant background from Portugal perform 65 score points below students with an immigrant background from France, after accounting for their own socio-economic status. Students with an immigrant background from Germany perform 44 score points higher in Switzerland than in Luxembourg, while students with an immigrant background from Portugal in Switzerland outperform students with a similar background in Luxembourg by 65 score points (Table II.4.5).

“The performance of students with an immigrant background from countries and regions outside the OECD are represented in Figure II.4.12. Students from China perform well above the OECD average (above 560 score points) in Australia and New Zealand. Students with an immigrant background from South Africa also perform above the OECD average in Australia and New Zealand, even after accounting for socio-economic background. Students with an immigrant background from Pakistan perform above the OECD average in the United Kingdom but well below it in Denmark, even after accounting for socio-economic background (Table II.4.5).”

so. what does this tell us, besides the fact that the writers of this report must be mentally retarded?

it tells us diddly-squat. zip. zilch. nada. it’s just a waste of paper binary code.

why?

because different peoples is different (duh!).

take their example about turks. they said: “students with an immigrant background from Turkey perform 69 points lower in Austria than in the Netherlands, even after accounting for their socio-economic status.” right there they’re assuming that everyone from turkey is the same. have they ever been to turkey? (i have to guess not.) there’s a big, BIG difference between the people in hellenized western turkey versus central turkey versus eastern turkey which is full of kurds. why — WHY — would the PISA people assume that all these people would do equally well in school ANYwhere? i betcha they don’t do equally well in school back in turkey.

and, ’cause of chain migration, turkish immigrants in different countries in europe come from different regions of turkey:

“So, one quarter of the Turkish immigrants over 18 who live in Belgium was born in Afyon Province (Western Anatolia). There is a similar concentration of Turks from notably Karaman Province (Central Anatolia) in the Netherlands. The Turks living in Sweden come primarily from Kulu (Konya Province, Central Anatolia), while 60% of Denmark’s Turkish immigrants come from the Kurdish areas of South-east Anatolia.”

i dunno what the differences are between these different “turks”, but i betcha a brewski that there are some!

and that’s not even the worst of it. look at the bit about portugese immigrants (just look at it!) — or about german immigrants: “In Luxembourg, students with an immigrant background from Portugal perform 65 score points below students with an immigrant background from France, after accounting for their own socio-economic status. Students with an immigrant background from Germany perform 44 score points higher in Switzerland than in Luxembourg, while students with an immigrant background from Portugal in Switzerland outperform students with a similar background in Luxembourg by 65 score points.”

sounds interesting, but when they say “students with an immigrant background from Portugal,” they mean ANYbody from portugal! from ethnic portugese to brazilians! *facepalm* again, “students with an immigrant background from Germany” might mean anyone from an ethnic german to an ethnic turk or kurd to an ethnic iraqi.

gibberish! that’s what it all is — gibberish! as sherlock holmes said, “how can you build on such a quicksand?”

answer: you can’t.

all of this reminds me of this hysterical story about a new yorker swpl woman who was horrified when her toddler called a black man (laurence fishburne, actually) “doggie” out in public. this woman was distraught thinking that her child was (*gasp*) a racist, when really all he was was a kid who didn’t have a word for “black man” or “african american male” or whatever (probably because he’d never been taught those words) and he was struggling for a word to express the fact that he was looking at someone who looked different than himself and his family (i.e. not white).

from the mouths of babes, eh?

what’s really sad is when you think about all the pc-thinking people around the world today (like the PISA people) performing linguistic and mental gymnastics in order to not be “racist” when even little kids can see there are differences between different peoples.

and, even worse, the absolute confusion they (including/especially journalists) are causing with their word games (eg. is this man really swedish? i bet not!).

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you, too, can become a brilliant evolutionary theorist!

amaze your friends! astound your co-workers! after just 10,000 hours of thinking about biology reeeeally hard you, too, can become a brilliant evolutionary theorist!

consider (at great length) finch beaks! (huh?) come up with brand, new ideas about selection – naturally! write a lot about topics related to sex! (bonus!)

all it takes is 10,000 hours of your spare time! (and maybe a big, bushy beard.) really!!

(no, not really. hint.)

previously: you, too, can become the fastest man on earth!

update: see also “The Talent Debate” and “No You Can’t”

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you, too, can become the fastest man on earth!

amaze your friends! astound your co-workers! after just 10,000 hours of sprinting around your backyard you, too, can become the fastest man on earth!

be faster than a speeding bullet! more powerful than a really powerful thing! able to leap those really tall hurdles in a single bound!

all it takes is 10,000 hours of your spare time! (and maybe some nominative determinism.) really!!

(no, not really.)

previously: you, too, can become a physics genius!

update: see also “The Talent Debate” and “No You Can’t”

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psychobabble

wtf is this guy talking about?:

“Why genes are leftwing”

“When the map of the human genome was presented to the world in 2001, psychiatrists had high hopes for it. Itemising all our genes would surely provide molecular evidence that the main cause of mental illness was genetic – something psychiatrists had long believed. Drug companies were wetting their lips at the prospect of massive profits from unique potions for every idiosyncrasy.

“But a decade later, unnoticed by the media, the human genome project has not delivered what the psychiatrists hoped: we now know that genes play little part in why one sibling, social class or ethnic group is more likely to suffer mental health problems than another….

“…Genes hardly explained at all why some children have ADHD and not others.

“That was illustrated recently in a heavily publicised study by Anita Thapar, of Cardiff University. Although she claimed to have proved that ADHD is a “genetic disease”, if anything, she proved the opposite. Only 16% of the children with ADHD in her study had the pattern of genes that she claimed causes the illness. Taken at face value, her study proved that non-genetic factors cause it in 8 out of 10 children….”

james is (was?) a clinical child psychologist so he oughta know that adhd is NOT one thing. so, why would he presume that, if there is something genetic to these conditionsss, that it would be just ONE gene or ONE pattern of genes involved??

just because there’s not one single gene or one pattern of genes causing adhd doesn’t mean genes are not involved. and, just ’cause genes are involved does not mean that the environment is not!

nature AND nuture, already! duh.

lame, mr. james. very lame. (guess we wouldn’t want book sales to drop, would we?)

not hbd chick

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you, too, can become a physics genius!

amaze your friends! astound your co-workers! after just 10,000 hours of studying physics you, too, can become a physics genius!

uncover the mysteries of the universe for your fellow man! delve into the uncertainties (or not)! find out if the kitteh is alive or dead inside that box!

all it takes is 10,000 hours of your spare time! (and maybe a funny hair-do.) really!!

(no, not really.)

update: see also “The Talent Debate” and “No You Can’t”

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hallelujah!!

here’s a t-shirt for sale @ richarddawkins.net:

ridiculous! that’s like saying “wolves are all north americans” or “marsupials are all chinese.”

come on, dick. don’t insult our intelligence like that!

update: we may all be descendants of africans people who came from africa, but we’re not all africans. duh!

update 10/13: glad to see i’m not the only one irritated by the “we are all africans” slogan. so is peter frost over @evo and proud (so i feel i’m in good company!). he posted back in april (via commenter mk over @gnxp):

“In the same interview, Stringer went on to say that our species is so young that differences among humans can only be skin-deep:

“Since so little time has passed since they [modern humans] decamped from Africa, dispersing to the far regions of the world — 100,000 years being a mere paleontological moment — ‘only slight differences, if any, in intellect and innate behavior are likely to have evolved between modern human populations.’ We are ‘all Africans under our skin.’

“Uh, 100,000 years is not a mere paleontological moment. A population can undergo significant physical and genetic change in as little as eight generations. In fact, many animal species go back only to the last ice age (25,000-10,000 BP). Evolutionary change is due primarily to the intensity of natural selection and only secondarily to the passage of time. Indeed, the faster such change has occurred, the more important it must be, since it is being driven by intense natural selection and not by adaptively neutral processes like genetic drift or founder effects.

“I can forgive journalists for not knowing the above. I find it harder to forgive Chris Stringer, who is fully aware of how fast natural selection can operate. There is no point in winning a debate if you inflict a lot of collateral damage in the process….”

read the whole post here.

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sins of the father…

people just have to stop apologizing for what OTHER people did IN THE PAST:

“US apologizes for infecting Guatemalans with syphilis in 1940s study – October 02, 2010”

i mean, no one can apologize for what someone else has done — unless they’ve been an accessory somehow. but that’s not possible if something was done in the past, now, is it?!

sheesh.

if there absolutely has to be some apologizing for this (and, let me be clear on this, THERE SHOULDN’T BE ANY APOLOGIES AT ALL FOR THIS, except possibly from the people who actually did this, if they’re still around), then i hope — i hope — the guatemalan gov’t has apologized to its own people as well, ’cause obviously they (or, rather, their counterparts of sixty some-odd years ago) were involved, too.

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