Back In CA

We flew home yesterday. I hadn’t been here in six weeks or so. Trying to catch up, and I’ll have to go back to FL. We have an agent there whom we feel like we can finally trust, but there are some things to be done that only I can do, in terms of determining dispensation of things in the house should it sell (she is fairly confident that it will, with the spruce up, and repricing). Hope to be back to blogging today, but when you’re away for a month and a half, there are a lot of things to take care of at home first.

Getting Over “Apolloism”

I’m heading back to California tomorrow, for the first time in about six weeks (the longest I’ve been away from home since I moved back in 2009), but meanwhile, my long-awaited piece in The New Atlantis is on line.

[Update a few minutes later]

Sorry, that’s just a preview, unless you’re a subscriber. The full piece will be free on line in the future, but I’m not sure when.

Yes, I Am MIA

Thanks for the concerned emails, but I am alive, despite the lack of posts (and tweets). This week has been the final throes of getting the house ready to sell, and we’re doing open houses this weekend.

[Monday-morning update]

We got several bids on the house, but none high enough to accept. Now that it’s in showable condition, we’re going to continue to list by owner. I’m going back to CA tomorrow (after six weeks of not being home) but I’ll be back. We’re probably going to add a laundry room. Millennials seem to want that. Doing laundry in the garage was good enough for us, but apparently not for them.

Was It Between Golf Rounds?

Barack Obama sends a memo to Louisiana officials to not discriminate in the distribution of federal funds.

This is the worst natural disaster since Sandy. If Bush was on the links during it, imagine the howls from the media.

Which brings me to another sore point. I think the demand that presidents should show up to a disaster to “feel peoples’ pain” is emotional and stupid. It’s not part of a president’s job description, and like many terrible traditions, it was started by Bill Clinton, after the idiotic media outrage over the GHWB response to Andrew. But I just wish that the media would be consistent, and not hypocritical, in modulating their outrage depending on which political party is in the White House.

Trump’s Lincolnesque Moment

I’ve been saying on Twitter that I’ve been waiting for years for a Republican to call out the Democrats on not just their historic, but current cynical racism and oppression of the black community that turns out to so reliably vote for them. I’m just sad that it took Donald Trump to do it. FWIW, I’ve never accused Trump of being either a racist or a bigot, but I do think that he is cynical himself in allowing racists and bigots to think he is.

The Advancement Of Science

…is held back by political correctness:

Mr. Cofnas begins the paper with the story of Socrates, who was executed for “corrupting the youth” of Greece. Forebodingly, he adds, “[T]he philosophy of his prosecutors — that morality-threatening scientific investigation should be prohibited — flourishes even today.”

To support his case, Mr. Cofnas focuses on the taboo subject of group differences in intelligence, which he says is suppressed by those who believe that even discussing the topic is “morally wrong or morally dangerous.”

Those who embrace such a viewpoint obviously do so with the honorable intention of preventing discrimination. However, the proverbial road to hell is paved with good intentions. Such misguided efforts to maintain perfect equality can hamper the advancement of knowledge. Mr. Cofnas states:

“[W]hen hypotheses are regarded as supporting certain moral values or desirable political goals, scientists often refuse to abandon them in the light of empirical evidence.”

Is he right? Absolutely, yes.

Not only do intellectuals refuse to abandon politically correct beliefs in the face of contradictory evidence, but simply questioning them can ruin a person’s career. Lawrence Summers’ tenure as president of Harvard was cut short because he suggested that there are intellectual differences between men and women. As a result of such punitive pushback, some researchers are afraid to investigate differences between male and female brains, which certainly exist. Without a doubt, this reticence is holding back the field of neuroscience.

A similar chilling effect can be seen in climatology. The only politically correct belief regarding the climate is that humans are 100% responsible for everything bad that happens and that the Four Horsemen are already marching toward Earth. Questioning that apocalyptic and unscientific belief has resulted in multiple researchers being labeled “climate deniers.” Climatology would greatly benefit from the more skeptical approach of so-called “lukewarmers,” but far too many are ostracized and demonized.

This is why I always laugh when I hear about “the Republican war on science.”

I’d add that, as I’ve long said, the results of studying statistical differences among groups should have zero effect on public policy. If you think it should, you are a collectivist, not an individualist. Or to put it another way, you are a leftist.

This is related: The analysis of Integrated Assessment Models create a trillion-dollar error. I’m glad that Nic Lewis does analyses like this (not sure how he’s funded), even if it has to be published at Judith Curry’s blog, instead of the journals.

Related: Winter is coming.

Again, this is a scientifically legitimate, but completely politically incorrect view.

“Wise Guidelines” For Space Policy

At first glance, these suggestions from my long-time friend Linda Billings seem sort of anodyne, but she gives away the game at the end:

Deep in my brain and in my heart I think and feel that colonizing other planets and exploiting extraterrestrial resources would be immoral at this stage of human development. I’m not at all sure that Eilene Galloway would agree with me. I wish I could talk with her about it.

I’m pretty sure that Eilene would disagree. I know for certain that I do.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!