Posted without comment:
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Via Sippican Cottage, where it is noted:
it costs 11 large a year per student to send a child to public school around here. Mail my wife 22 grand every year and see how much better she’ll do.
[This is here so I can find this stuff again.]
Here’s a study in which Jesse Graham, Brian A. Nosek, and Jonathan Haidt
investigated the moral stereotypes political liberals and conservatives have of themselves and each other. In reality, liberals endorse the individual-focused moral concerns of compassion and fairness more than conservatives do, and conservatives endorse the group-focused moral concerns of ingroup loyalty, respect for authorities and traditions, and physical/spiritual purity more than liberals do. 2,212 U.S. participants filled out the Moral Foundations Questionnaire with their own answers, or as a typical liberal or conservative would answer. Across the political spectrum, moral stereotypes about “typical” liberals and conservatives correctly reflected the direction of actual differences in foundation endorsement but exaggerated the magnitude of these differences. Contrary to common theories of stereotyping, the moral stereotypes were not simple underestimations of the political outgroup’s morality. Both liberals and conservatives
exaggerated the ideological extremity of moral concerns for the ingroup as well as the outgroup. Liberals were least accurate about both groups.
In my quick skim (I need to read this paper more closely) one issue this study does not seem to address is the difference between private and public morality, that is, what is the group justified in controlling individual behavior? I think that right now, liberals are willing to criminalize a far wider range of behaviors than conservatives are, and I believe the reason is that conservatives expect individuals to be responsible for themselves, while liberals expect individuals to have less self control. This is at odds, though, with the usual conservative portrayal of liberals as assuming the perfectibility of man, while conservatives regard themselves as being infected with original sin.
One of the authors, Jonathan Haidt, has wwritten a book exploring the question in more detail, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Religion and Politics.
“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”
Women need men like men need women, as Roy F. Baumeister explains by way of answering the modern question, “Is There Anything Good About Men?”
When you think about it, the idea that one gender is all-around better than the other is not very plausible. Why would nature make one gender better than the other?
[There are] three main theories we’ve had about gender: Men are better, no difference, and women are better. What’s missing from that list? Different but equal.
Natural selection will preserve innate differences between men and women as long as the different traits are beneficial in different circumstances or for different tasks.
The tradeoff approach yields a radical theory of gender equality. Men and women may be different, but each advantage may be linked to a disadvantage.
Today’s human population is descended from twice as many women as men.
Most men who ever lived did not have descendants who are alive today.
We’re descended from men who took chances (and were lucky).
…[Men] outnumbered women both among the losers and among the biggest winners.
Here’s his conclusion:
To summarize my main points: A few lucky men are at the top of society and enjoy the culture’s best rewards. Others, less fortunate, have their lives chewed up by it. Culture uses both men and women, but most cultures use them in somewhat different ways. Most cultures see individual men as more expendable than individual women, and this difference is probably based on nature, in whose reproductive competition some men are the big losers and other men are the biggest winners. Hence it uses men for the many risky jobs it has.
Men go to extremes more than women, and this fits in well with culture using them to try out lots of different things, rewarding the winners and crushing the losers.
Culture is not about men against women. By and large, cultural progress emerged from groups of men working with and against other men. While women concentrated on the close relationships that enabled the species to survive, men created the bigger networks of shallow relationships, less necessary for survival but eventually enabling culture to flourish. The gradual creation of wealth, knowledge, and power in the men’s sphere was the source of gender inequality. Men created the big social structures that comprise society, and men still are mainly responsible for this, even though we now see that women can perform perfectly well in these large systems.
What seems to have worked best for cultures is to play off the men against each other, competing for respect and other rewards that end up distributed very unequally. Men have to prove themselves by producing things the society values. They have to prevail over rivals and enemies in cultural competitions, which is probably why they aren’t as lovable as women.
The essence of how culture uses men depends on a basic social insecurity. This insecurity is in fact social, existential, and biological. Built into the male role is the danger of not being good enough to be accepted and respected and even the danger of not being able to do well enough to create offspring.
The basic social insecurity of manhood is stressful for the men, and it is hardly surprising that so many men crack up or do evil or heroic things or die younger than women. But that insecurity is useful and productive for the culture, the system.
Again, I’m not saying it’s right, or fair, or proper. But it has worked. The cultures that have succeeded have used this formula, and that is one reason that they have succeeded instead of their rivals.
The Whole Thing is not very tightly organized, I’m afraid. It’s a talk, not a paper, and it lacks references.
But read the Whole Think anyway. These are ideas that are almost completely ignored by the loudest voices in our culture. Those voices are not trying to improve the role of women; they’re trying to tear down the culture.
As it turns out, men and women both serve important roles, but in differing spheres of influence. Men serve the group, women the family.
It is insanely self-destructive for a culture to devalue either sphere.
The whip is in the roll over text:
Cue letters from anthropology majors complaining that this view of numerolinguistic development perpetuates a widespread myth. They get to write letters like that because when you’re not getting a real science degree you have a lot of free time.
Of course, it’s not just anthropology; see my comment a few posts down about Truth.
My mom’s book club watched this today, and she loved it. I saw it when it first came out, and am surprised to find I don’t have it here on the blog. It’s a wonderful piece, well worth watching. In any event, I wanted to save references to it so we could find it again.
Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture website is here. There’s a book, and you get the lecture on DVD. There are class and book group study guides.
I just watched the whole thing again, and folks, this is something everybody needs to watch, and hear.
There’s a lot of gloom and doom on this site — in my heart and mind, to tell the truth. Things are about to get really, really, bad.
“The best gold,” says Pausch, “is at the bottom of a barrel of crap.”
We’re about to be swimming in oceans of crap.
The gold at the bottom is going to be just fabulous.
It was 1979 and the boy was 7 and playing a Mattel electronic soccer, and Karen was 3 and resting her head on her mother’s thigh, but the other part of it was that they were in the hospital and her mother was dying.
The accident put the mother into a coma immediately, but left her that way for another ten hours, nine of which were dreadful waiting. Waiting for something to happen, waiting for it to be too late to stay any longer, waiting for a doctor to come and tell them what the test that they had waited for was going to show.
The father was there, just coming up to sober. He had given the kids the soccer game to distract them so he could process his grief.
There was a nurse there as well, she tried to offer the girls some juice, but Karen didn’t want any juice. The boy scored a goal so no one offered him anything.
The mother let out a gasp, then there was some sort of rushing and organized chaos as the medical staff moved parts of her body around and family asked frenzied questions, within a few seconds more doctors were there, more nurses, and both kids were pushed to a corner where they both stared at futility.
Eventually it was over. It had actually been over well before that. But.
There is a moment, it comes immediately after the doctors stop working and immediately before you understand that the person is forever dead, where time pauses. Everything stops. That stillness is inviolable, it is at that moment when you witness quantum physics choosing between potentialities, you are watching it decide that this not that will be, this is what will be what has happened.
It was in that sacred moment that Karen chose to sing. “Frost-y the snowman! Was a very happy soul–”
She never actually got to “soul,” because by “Frost-” the back of her father’s hand slapped her in the face with such impulse that she fell over.
It was a reflexive slap, the song was such an affront to the family and to quantum mechanics that his hand got to her face even before his eyes did. Everyone winced. No one said anything. The staff looked away, down, up, at machines and papers. The original nurse put a smile on and lead the kids by the hand outside. Maybe there was some ice cream there, let’s leave the grown ups to talk.
“But I want to sing Frosty!” said Karen. ” Just one time?!”
…And then the next thirty years happened, and you will be poorer if you don’t read about them.
The experimenters note that they don’t know whether this shows differences between the subjects, or just random chance.
Trials aside, this is also relevant to any kind of fact-finding process — including science itself. It’s a big part of the reason that safeguards such as double-blinds and repeatability are so crucial.
I’ve seen demands that police lineups prohibit detectives familiar with the case from participating, from being in the viewing room with the witness.
Suggestion for crime lab directors: don’t hand a sample to your squint and ask “did this come from Mr. I-have-a-lawyer-and-powerful-friends in our holding cell?” (Much less something like, “We really need to find this thug’s blood on this dress, or we’re going to have to let him go.”) Instead, try something like “Here’s six samples in rack A, and six samples in rack B. Do any of the As match any of the Bs?”
Should we talk about attorneys presenting highly refined, well groomed evidence to juries? How about putting jurors through little demonstrations showing just how fallible their perceptions are, how much their prejudices affect their judgement?
Suggestion for these experimenters: Some interviewees should see the same guy both times. The interviewers must not know whether or not a given subject saw a different guy or not. Oh, and “guy”?
Suggestion for climate researchers: don’t do the data analysis yourself. Hand a bunch of datasets, some real, some dummy, some pure random noise to point up biases in your software, to a few statisticians, and ask them to (independently) report any trends they can find in the data. Don’t even tell them the variables or units involved.
I know there are huge problems with the crude approach I just outlined. I understand all too well that a certain amount of fudging and trickery is absolutely necessary during the investigative phase when the researchers may not know what they’re looking for, and are accounting for biases and errors they know their equipment and procedures show — but something like this as a sanity check ought to be required for any research underlying public policy.
[Edit 21 Dec 2009: fix some small problems in word choice and flow.]
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