tweets of the week – 11/16/14

https://twitter.com/johndurant/status/533299548484288513

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https://twitter.com/jokeocracy/status/533363400060174337

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something’s rotten in the state of denmark

i really don’t know how the danes can claim they’re the happiest people in the world year after year, when the place must STINK to high heaven thanks to how very rotten the place has apparently become.

in an unbelievably nightmarish case of déjà vu, professor helmuth nyborg has been watsoned for crimethink. again. in happy, happy denmark.

professor nyborg has come under fire for a paper which he published in 2012, The decay of Western civilization: Double relaxed Darwinian Selection. (no, i haven’t read it.) dr. james thompson has the details here on his blog: Helmuth Nyborg gets Watson’d (see also My letter to Scientific Dishonesty Minister).

in short what has happened this time is that three girlie men — and they must be girlie men, because real men — real scientists — would’ve just submitted a rebuttal paper to Personality and Individual Difference, the journal in question here — but, noooo — these three girlie men, these three harpies, complained to a committee about professor nyborg’s paper.

see? girlie men.

professors jens mammen, jens kvorning, and morten kjeldgaard took it upon themselves to complain to the danish ministry of love’s science, innovation and higher education’s danish committees on scientific dishonesty (dcsd) about what they viewed as problems with nyborg’s paper. these included accusations of plagiarism. there were, if i understand it correctly, six original charges. the dcsd has found professor nyborg guilty of two of them. you can read the decision and the entire case here [pdf] — if you read danish. a reader at dr. thompson’s blog has given a brief synopsis of the decision.

most amazingly: “Denne afgørelse kan ikke påklages til anden administrativ myndighed, jf. § 34 i lovbekendtgørelse nr. 1064 af 6. september 2010 om forskningsrådgivning m.v.”

google translation: This decision can not be appealed to any other administrative authority under § 34 of Act No. 1064 of 6 September 2010 on research consultancy, etc.”

wtf, denmark?!

these danish committees on scientific dishonesty have a colorful history. from wikipedia:

“Previously obscure, the DCSD became embroiled in controversy after its January 2003 decision that the 2001 book The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjørn Lomborg was ‘clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice’, due to the author’s systematically biased choice of data, and objectively was scientifically irredeemable, but Lomborg himself could not be subjectively convicted of intentional or gross negligence. Lomborg had argued in his book that claims by environmentalists about global warming, overpopulation, deforestation, and other matters are not scientifically substantiated. The DCSD further held that because of Lomborg’s lack of scientific expertise, he had not shown intentional or gross negligence, and acquitted him of the accusations of scientific dishonesty.

“In February 2003, Lomborg filed a complaint with the Ministry, and in December 2003, the Ministry found that the DCSD’s handling of the investigation in the case had been improper, and remitted it for re-examination. In March 2004, the DCSD stated that since its finding had been to acquit Lomborg of the charges of scientific dishonesty (although they had criticized his biased selection of data), there was no basis to re-open the investigation, and dismissed the case.

“The original DCSD decision about Lomborg provoked a petition among Danish academics. 308 scientists, many of them from the social sciences, criticised the DCSD’s methods in the case and called for the DCSD to be disbanded.” (see also nature.)

ah ha! i see. so the dcsd is the place to go in denmark if you want to whine about some politically incorrect research/opinions and hope to scupper the career of whomever the crimethinker happens to be. gotcha.

from that wikipedia article, we learn that professor mammen, one of the whiners to the dcsd this time, was formerly a member of this board of inquisitors the dcsd, but he resigned in a huff the last time professor nyborg was brought before the committee to recant…er…i mean, defend himself:

“The DCSD was involved in another controversy investigating a paper on sex and intelligence authored by Helmuth Nyborg. After the DCSD cleared Nyborg of the charges of scientific misconduct, two Aarhus University professors, Lise Togeby and Jens Mammen resigned from their positions in the DCSD, citing that the DCSD operated from too narrow of a framework.”

maybe they were disappointed that they couldn’t test whether or not professor nyborg would float.

we’ve recently been discussing on the blog here authoritarian personality types and behaviors — including left-wing authoritarianism which van hiel, et al., found in the populace in flemish belgium, but only in extreme left-wing parties like the communist and stalinist(!) parties of that country. i think that, perhaps, we may be seeing an example of left-wing authoritarianism in action in this case.

van hiel, et al., only looked at willingness to use violence and willingness to submit to a strong leader as characteristics of left-wing authoritarianism, and i’m certainly not accusing any of these men of being willing to use physical violence against anybody (there’s no evidence at all for that) — however they do seem willing to go to some extreme measures to shut nyborg up. rather than simply provide evidence that his conclusions are wrong, which is what a scientist ought to do, they attack him in the danish media (apparently) and drag him repeatedly before ridiculous committees. in other words, they have been trying to destroy his reputation and his career, rather than to engage with his arguments.

all of this sounds extreme to me — left-wing authoritarian, in fact. and — surprise, surprise! — one of these three fellows, professor mammen, was actually a member of a communist party in denmark for fourteen years (1974-1988) [in danish]. not that there’s anything wrong with that! he’s perfectly entitled to belong to any party he wants. but a communist party, according to van hiel, et al., is exactly where we should expect to find left-wing authoritarians in western europe.

professor kjeldgaard has also acted in some extreme ways wrt professor nyborg. he, in fact, keeps an entire blog/website devoted to tracking nyborg. yeah. weird. google translation:

“The most advanced eugenics (eugenics) advocacy in Denmark is Emeritus Professor Helmuth Nyborg, a former employee at the Department of Psychology, University of Aarhus.

“Eugenik.dk dedicated to documenting the international network of eugenicists, their scientific tinkering, and the so-called ‘Nyborg case’ a case of scientific misconduct raised by Aarhus University against Helmuth Nyborg in 2002.”

again, he’s perfectly entitled to be weird like this imho, but it does come off as rather…stalker-ish. (why not just write rebuttal articles??)

i am tired of these watsonings, richwinings, derbyshearings, and nyborgizations. GROW UP PEOPLE!! act like academics engaged in the search for facts and the truth for a change!

someone over at dr. thompson’s blog quoted steven pinker on the last time professor nyborg was watsoned. i think i’ll quote him, too:

“I am writing to protest the shocking and disgraceful treatment of Dr. Helmuth Nyborg following publication of his report on possible gender differences in average IQ scores. Dr. Nyborg may be mistaken, but the issue he is addressing is a factual one, and can only be evaluated by an open examination of the evidence. To ‘investigate’ him, shut down his research, or otherwise harass him because his findings are politically incorrect is unworthy of an institution dedicated to the understanding of reality. It is reminiscent of the persecution of Galileo, the crippling of Soviet science and agriculture under Lysenko, and the attempt of the American religious right wing to inhibit the teaching of evolution in the schools.

“No one has the right to legislate the truth. It can only be discovered by free inquiry, and that includes investigations that may make people uncomfortable. This is the foundation of liberal society, and it is threatened by attempts to interfere with Dr. Nyborg and his research. If he is incorrect, that will be established by a community of scholars who examine his evidence and arguments and criticize them in open forums of debate, not by the exercise of force to prevent him from pursuing his research. These are the tactics of a police state, and bring shame on any institution that uses them.”

hear, hear!

update: see also – Danish Government Tries to Censor Science it Doesn’t Like by helmuth nyborg @american renaissance (thanks, elijah!).

previously: “to disbelieve in witchcraft is the greatest of heresies”

(note: comments do not require an email. girlie men.)

linkfest – 09/15/13

Sir David Attenborough: Humans have stopped evolving“Human beings have stopped evolving becoming the only species to ‘put halt to natural selection of its own free will’, Sir David Attenborough has said, as he predicts the ‘cultural evolution’ of the future.” – lots of responses to that including: Humans are still evolving, and soon we’ll know a lot more about it – from john hawks; Evolution – it’s not over yet – from tom chivers; and Sir David Attenborough is wrong – humans are still evolving – from ian rickard.

Fate of new genes cannot be predicted“New versions of genes, called alleles, can appear by mutation in populations. Even when these new alleles turn the individuals carrying them more fit to survive and reproduce, the most likely outcome is that they will get lost from the populations. The theory that explains these probabilities has been postulated by the scientist J.B.S. Haldane almost 90 years ago. This theory has become the cornerstone of modern population genetics…. The research team … has now experimentally tested Haldane’s theory.”

Poorest Costa Ricans live longest“Biological markers confirm unusually slow ageing regardless of wealth, at least in one population.” – h/t jayman!

Uros people of Peru and Bolivia found to have distinctive genetic ancestries“Genographic project research shows ancestry may date to Altiplano’s initial settlement.”

African-American study identifies four genetic variants associated with blood pressure“‘We anticipated that individuals of African ancestry share similar biology to other populations. However, differences in genomic make-up between African ancestry and other populations have uncovered additional genes affecting blood pressure, in addition to genetic variants that are specific to individuals of African ancestry….'” – via amren.

Handedness GWAS Leads to Suspected Left-Right Asymmetry Genes“A team from the UK and the Netherlands has garnered evidence suggesting left- and right-handedness may involve genes from some of the same pathways that produce other features differing on right and left sides of the body.”

Functional genetic variation in humans: Comprehensive map published“European scientists, led by researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE)’s Faculty of Medicine in the context of the GEUVADIS project, today present a map that points to the genetic causes of differences between people. The study, published in Nature and Nature Biotechnology, offers the largest-ever dataset linking human genomes to gene activity at the level of RNA.”

Insect leg cogs a first in animal kingdom“Toothed gears enable young plant hoppers to synchronize limbs for jumping.”go home, evolution, you are drunk.

The Science of What Makes an Introvert and an Extrovert

Testes Size Correlates With Men’s Involvement in Toddler Care“Men with smaller testes than others are more likely to be involved in hands-on care of their toddlers….” – h/t hbd bibliography!

Can Your Language Influence Your Spending, Eating, and Smoking Habits?“[S]peakers with weak future tenses (e.g. German, Finnish and Estonian) were 30 percent more likely to save money, 24 percent more likely to avoid smoking, 29 percent more likely to exercise regularly, and 13 percent less likely to be obese, than speakers of languages with strong future tenses, like English.” – (“but where does language come from?” hbd chick mumbles to herself in the back row….)

‘Love hormone’ may play wider role in social interaction than previously thought“The new study, to be published Sept. 12 in Nature, pinpoints a unique way in which oxytocin alters activity in a part of the brain that is crucial to experiencing the pleasant sensation neuroscientists call ‘reward’…. ‘People with autism-spectrum disorders may not experience the normal reward the rest of us all get from being with our friends….’ Some genetic evidence suggests the awkward social interaction that is a hallmark of autism-spectrum disorders may be at least in part oxytocin-related. Certain variations in the gene that encodes the oxytocin receptor – a cell-surface protein that senses the substance’s presence – are associated with increased autism risk.”

More Money, More Children“‘[N]ow better-off people seem to be having more children; in the U.S., the fertility rate of wives whose husbands are in the top decile of income is back where it was a century ago.'” – h/t puzzle pirate!

Ashkenazi Jewish gene pool derives from ‘recent severe bottleneck’ of 300-400 individuals ca. 800 years ago – @race/history/evolution notes.

Morality and the Epiphany of Joshua Greene“The manifestations of morality are complex, but its origins are simple. Evolved behavioral predispositions are the ultimate reason for its existence…. Those behavioral traits evolved without a goal, and without a purpose. They exist because they happened to increase our chances of surviving and procreating at a time when our mode of existence as well as our social and physical environment were radically different from what they are now.” – helian’s on fire! (not literally … i hope.)

Are Women Less Corrupt?“Women are more likely than men to disapprove of — and less likely to participate in — political corruption, but only in countries where corruption is stigmatized…. ‘When corruption is stigmatized, as in most democracies, women will be less tolerant and less likely to engage in it compared with men. But if ‘corrupt’ behaviors are an ordinary part of governance supported by political institutions, there will be no corruption gender gap.'” – h/t jayman!

Politicians like power – from steve sailer.

Study: The Neg Works – (~_^) – @heartiste.

Some people are feminine – get over it“Whenever you have one group of people who believe one thing for ideological reasons, and another who believe something else because their business model depends on it, I tend to trust the latter. Who do you think knows more about the minds of girls and boys — the academics who’ve spent years discussing gender feminism, or people who sell toys?” (~_^) – from ed west.

A Brief Word On Pedophilia – scharlach reminds everyone what pedophilia is. THANK you!

Stephen Hsu on Cognitive Genomics“At the extremes, there are some academics and social activists who violently oppose any kind of research into the genetics of cognitive ability. Given that the human brain — its operation, construction from a simple genetic blueprint, evolutionary history — is one of the great scientific mysteries of the universe, I cannot understand this point of view.”

Heritability estimates and unexplained variance“Nobody owns unexplained variance.” – from dr. james thompson.

Study sheds light on genetics of how and why fish swim in schools“‘The motivation to be social is common among fish and humans…. ‘Some of the same brain regions and neurological chemicals that control human social behavior are probably involved in fish social behavior as well.'”

Why do haters have to hate? Newly identified personality trait holds clues“New research has uncovered the reason why some people seem to dislike everything while others seem to like everything. Apparently, it’s all part of our individual personality – a dimension that researchers have coined ‘dispositional attitude.'”

Everyday sadists take pleasure in others’ pain“[P]eople who score high on a measure of sadism seem to derive pleasure from behaviors that hurt others, and are even willing to expend extra effort to make someone else suffer.” – yeah. you know who you are.

How an evolutionary model is better at explaining decisions than neo-classical and behavioral economics models: A review of Douglas T. Kenrick and Vladas Griskevicius, The Rational Animal: How Evolution Made us Smarter than we Think.

Making The Right Mistakes: Error Management And The Evolution Of Errors“Human cognitive mechanisms evolved to deal with the problems of the past, where we spent 99% of our history, not those of the present. We should, therefore, hardly expect our brains to perform well all the time in modern settings where the social and physical environment is so different.”

From Slavs to Slaves“Between 1500 and 1650, Eastern Europe exported 1.5 million slaves to North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Western Europe exported a little over a million between 1530 and 1780.” – from peter frost.

The Madonna or the Whore? – @thosewhocansee.

E.O. Wilson has a new explanation for consciousness, art & religion. Is it credible?

The Evolutionary Case for Great Fiction“Might reading literature help with species survival?” (species survival? hmmmm.)

2013 ig nobel awards were announced this week! my favorite this year: the probability prize – “[T]he longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely that cow will soon stand up; and Second, that once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon that cow will lie down again.” (^_^)

Mayan mass grave containing 1,400-year-old remains of DECAPITATED prisoners of war discovered in Mexico

Plans to evict Botswana Bushmen revealed by leaked report – @survival international. h/t andrew badenoch!

bonus: Parasite Ants Drafted as Mercenaries

bonus bonus: Inheritance of lifespan is sex-dependent in fruit flies

bonus bonus bonus: ‘Time travel is easy — in one direction,’ says Prof Brian Cox – but the time lords figured it out!

bonus bonus bonus bonus: The sound of interstellar space…” (or not!) – h/ts michael anissimov and nelson!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Wherever there is red tape, the truth will be stranger than fiction“As the [u.k.’s] Government reflects on a bureaucratic obsession with ‘equality’, we ask: which of these tales of political correctness are made up?”

(note: comments do not require an email. all that’s required for successful time travel.)