Tuesday, September 26, 2023

A Million Miles Away

This is a really heartwarming story of a migrant farmworker in California with a teacher who can see how far he can go and persuades his parents that stability for his education is more important than following the harvest.  Eventually he goes up on STS-122.  

There are lots of bright kids out there coming from suboptimal homes.  The Social Darwinists liked to imagine the poor were that way because they were genetically inferior, unlike the aristocrats.

A point that I make when anyone notes that there are IQ differences between races and ethnic groups is that there are always a fair number of people two sigmas above the average for group A who are smarter than the average for group B.  Every individual deserves to be evaluated as an individual, not as a member of A or B.  There are plenty of As smart enough to compete with the average B.  

Even real differences in averages may only explain average differences in outcomes.  Those differences may be the result of inherited differences in ability or a history of social abuse.  (Example: until 1948, Southern blacks received 2/3 the hours of education per year of school as whites.)


  1. "Those who care about human excellence and its cultivation can't therefore ignore the problem of human groups, because individuals don't arise randomly out of vats, but are born and bred, come from long-established groups, with long-established marriage patterns and long-established physical, intellectual, and behavioral traits. The discussion of natural differences or excellences of individuals is therefore not so easily separable from the discussion of natural differences between groups, and indeed in some cases of human groups 'traditionally defined,' historically known and concrete groups, that is, tribe, phyle, nation, ethnos, race, kin, genos, and so on. Modern conservatives would very much like to get around this by emphasizing 'education,' and in particular the universalizing, civilizing effect of a classical education. But it is strange that so many of the sources in that classical education, so many of the great authors, don't think education is nearly capable of this much, and seem to emphasize that inborn qualities, breeding, and so forth, matter at least as much."
    - Costin Alamariu

    This doesn't directly contradict you, but it represents an important perspective you and most other mainstream conservatives seem not to want to think about for ideological reasons.

    PS: People on the far right aren't arguing that individual members of different races should be judged and treated as representatives of their group average. The argument is that liberals and conservatives should stop pretending that those average differences don't exist, and more importantly, should stop attempting to erase them with social engineering that has a long, sordid track record of failure.

    1. I would agree that pretending they do not exist and cannot be adequately explained by actual racist policies (either explicit or accidental) leads to stupid results. Disparities in results might well happen without any racist barriers causing them.