Arnold Kling  

Trust Cues Understood

Confirming Arnold's and Bryan'... Political Irrationality and th...

Christopher Chantrill clearly gets my concept of trust cues.

[Nicholas] Wade tells his readers other disturbing facts. Genetic analysis strongly suggests that all men are descended from a single male, and all women from a single female. On top of that, race is clearly genetic in origin, and not a “social construct” as the American Sociological Association insists.

With all this unwelcome news to print, Wade and his publisher did the sensible thing. They put a Darwinian devotional at the top of every chapter. They knew that even though their readers proudly read The New York Times Science Tuesday every week, they really don’t like science once it moves out of the tenured university laboratory into reality. They are all for science until it interferes with their politics. But they all believe in Darwin.

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COMMENTS (15 to date)
aaron writes:

Sad but true.

Gotta wrap everything in PC bull to be trusted.

Matt McIntosh writes:

"Genetic analysis strongly suggests that all men are descended from a single male, and all women from a single female."

LMAO. What on earth is so "disturbing" about this near-tautology?

Tom West writes:

Gotta wrap everything in PC bull to be trusted.


First, it's laughable to call Darwin "PC bull".

However, the real reason that many shy away from sex and race based differences is that they are well aware (either consciously or unconsciously) to what purposes such "facts" will be put.

For example, Larry Summers deserved his ignominious end not because of the content of his speech directly (although that his how it was attacked), but because his comments made it harder for females to get a decent science education in a multitude of ways (more confirmation for the old science teacher who knows girls can't do math, more confirmation for physics professors who turn down female applicants because they can't really do physics - both misapplications of Summers words, but *absolutely* the way they'll be used.)

The use of trust cues in this book is a necessity of trying to assuage the natural distrust that those desiring an egalitarian society have of science that will almost inevitably lead to further forced inequality.

(And by the way, trust cues work every direction. Notice that big, ol' American flag flying behind the president...)

Robert writes:

This is all very understandable in terms of the consensus of experts problem: if one has to make decisions based only on the advice of a panel of advisors, how can one best collect meta-information as to which advisors give the best advice in which situations? The heuristics collected generally involve that the advisors and combinations thereof that gave good or bad advice last time, are those who are likely to give or bad advice in the future.

This is well illustrated in the case of presidential elections. One candidate says, I will do A, B, and C, and this will make you economically better off. The other candidate says, I will do X, Y, and Z, and this will make you economically better off. The typical voter is typically not able to determine a priori whether A, B, and C, or X, Y, and Z, form the better recipe for the economy, so even if the economy is the number 1 issue they care about in choosing a candidate, they will not really be basing their decision on the candidate's economic proposals, but rather on the other parts of the candidates platform that they do feel able to evaluate the truth value of. Hence the importance to the parties of maintaining hot-button issues, like abortion, and seemingly now immigration: they allow candidates to gain trust with the voters by telling them what they already know. A candidate who says, Abortion is bad, loses credibility with voters who "know" that abortion is not bad, in the evaluation of their economic proposals, even for voters that care more about the economy than abortion, and vice versa.

Bill writes:

Wow. You have to be quite a fool to think that the concept of race is not a social construct.

Consider two people--a man and a woman--one a black African and the other a white Scandinavian: Can they not mate and produce children? Yes, in general they can. To think that differences in melanin content mean anything substantial beyond resistance to the sun's rays is idiocy.

Bill writes:

My point was not to argue that skin color is not of genetic origin, but that it does not justify a concept of race. My wife is German and I am a mix of Swedish, German, English, and Irish. Her skin has a yellowish tint and my skin has a reddish tint. (Both are due to genetics.) Are we different races? No, then why not?

Since the assignment of race is obviously arbitrary, the concept of race has no basis in objective reality and, therefore, it is nothing other than a meaningless social construct.

Tracy W writes:

Isn't the all men are descended from a single male and all women descended from a single woman pretty obvious, regardless of your opinions on evolution or intelligent design?

We each biologically have to have had two parents, and our parents have to have had two parents each too, and their parents have to have had two parents too, and so forth. So the number of ancestors you have goes up as a square every generation you go back (you have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 16 great-grandparents, etc). In 29 generations you get to over 1 billion ancestors. Assuming 3 generations a century, that's only a thousand years - well within anyone's estimates of how long humanity has been around. Since we cannot possibly have had more ancestors than there were alive on the planet, there must have been a lot of inter-breeding and we must have been descended in multiple ways from some of the same people. Extend the generations back further and it becomes nearly mathematically certain that we must have had the same ancestors.

FXKLM writes:

The fact that people of different races can interbreed does nothing to prove that race is a social construct. Race and skin color are not the same thing. There are numerous genetic markers of race. Racial categories might be blurred at the margin, but they are entirely arbitrary.

How Bizarre writes:

Consider two people--a man and a woman--one a black African and the other a white Scandinavian: Can they not mate and produce children?

I've seen a Labrador Retriever mate with a Beagle. Next you'll be telling me that they're the same breed.

prestopundit writes:

"Genetic analysis strongly suggests that all men are descended from a single male, and all women from a single female."

this is not true. part of our DNA comes froma single male and part from a single female -- and other parts come from other males and females.

The fallacy here is discussed in several important books on "Eve", etc.

Robert Speirs writes:


To think that genetic differences - you know, like those that cause differences in skin color and hair texture - can't possibly cause differences in, say, intelligence is to deny a hundred years of scientific data. Oh, but that's right. There's no such thing as "relatedness" or "families". Right. And everyone's exactly the same height and has the same susceptibility to all diseases. This denial of reality is right up there with "women can't get good science education" when women have been favored in science programs, for "PC Bull" reasons, for decades.

Bill writes:


What does genetic variation within the species have to do with the concept of race? Nothing. One can find all sorts of correlations, but almost none are predictive. Can you tell how intelligent an individual is by determining their race?

There are intelligent "black" people and their are stupid "white" people. So, I guess that white people are stupid and black people are intelligent. Oh, wait, that's not what you were getting after, was it?

Racists will always see what they want to see from data. Oh, BTW, I hate political correctness. The supporters of PC and racists are similar beasts, since they both lie to support their oppressive ideologies.

aaron writes:

Tom West and Bill just demonstrated why PC Bull is so important.

Tom imediately assumed that I was referring to Darwin as PC bull, rather than that it was used take the edge off of an undersirable observation.

It's that type of absolutionist mindset that makes it necessary.

And I believe prestopundit is correct that "one male" and "one female" is a common ancestor. I'm guessing that the misinterperatation of that line is what brought out the ID vs non-ID soldiers.

Race is a social construct of derived from observable phenomon. Everybody happy?

Tom West writes:

From the article:
They put a Darwinian devotional at the top of every chapter.

Aaron's post:
Gotta wrap everything in PC bull to be trusted.

Since the thrust of the article was that each chapter was wrapped in Darwin in order to be trusted, I'm sure how it's in any way odd that I assumed that you equated Darwin with PC bull.

You couldn't have been much clearer. Unfortunately, apparently that wasn't what you meant :-(.

aaron writes:

Good point, but the post wasn't about Darwin, it was about uneccessarily writing about Darwin in a paper. Context is important.

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