Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Political Correctness Prevents Advancement Of Science

Discussing:  Nathan Cofnas. "Science Is Not Always 'Self-Correcting': Fact–Value Conflation and the Study of Intelligence." Found Sci 21: 477. Published online: 1-Feb-2015. DOI: 10.1007/s10699-015-9421-3

Science can make us uncomfortable. Astronomy proved that the Earth goes around the sun, upending centuries of geocentric theology. Physics tells us that our universe will someday come to an end. DNA sequencing can reveal our true ancestry or genetic predispositions to cancer and Alzheimer's disease, forever changing our life's trajectory.

As unsettling as those discoveries have been for society, some research is so politically controversial that few dare to speak of it in public for fear of running afoul of the PC police. And this fear, argues Nathan Cofnas in the journal Foundations of Science, obstructs the self-correcting nature of scientific inquiry.

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.

Discussions about the causes of homelessness also fall under the purview of the PC police. The politically correct explanation is that homelessness is the result of poverty. While obviously a factor, often left out of the debate is the fact that, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 20% to 25% of homeless people are severely mentally ill, a prevalence that is roughly four times that of the general population. The same group estimates that 38% and 26% of homeless people are dependent on alcohol and drugs, respectively. In fact, NCH states that, "Substance abuse [is] the single largest cause of homelessness for single adults."

Certainly, many -- perhaps most -- people prefer to ignore reality in favor of feel-good fallacies. Mr. Cofnas believes this phenomenon is rooted in a "deep human impulse to conflate facts and moral values." In other words, (positive) statements that describe the world as it is are often interpreted by people as (normative) statements that prescribe the world as it ought to be.

This fundamental confusion distorts debate and impedes progress. If Mr. Cofnas is correct that this cognitive dissonance is hardwired into us, then that makes the goal of evidence-based policy sadly unattainable.


London Police chiefs ‘are so worried about being called racist they refuse to crack down on Muslim officers with extremist views’

A former police sergeant has claimed she stood down from her counter-terrorism role because her bosses refused to look into complaints about extremist views held by its officers.

Muslim Javaria Saeed joined the Metropolitan Police after the London bombings but stood down after her comments were not followed up on for fear that they would look Islamophobic.

The 35-year-old flagged up two incidents in relation to the same officer, who said that female genital mutilation was a 'clean and honourable practice' that should be legalised, and that female Muslim victims of domestic abuse should take their cases to sharia courts rather than police.

However, according to The Sunday Times her managers failed to act because they were scared of appearing to be racist.

She said: 'Racism in the Met is not from white officers in my case, but from Muslim officers who the service refused to properly investigate because they were afraid of being called Islamophobic and racist'

The former SO15 sergeant added: 'My experiences were that it was Muslim officers being racist towards my individual views; also in private, holding racist views against white officers, and sexist views against females.

'If such views were held and expressed by white officers, they would be fired.'

She also claims she was called a bad Muslim by some of her colleagues because she does not wear a hijab.

Ms Saeed previously made headlines when a project that she had devised to turn Muslim teenagers away from extremism featured an American rapper who angered Islamic community leaders.

Scotland Yard was roundly criticised after blowing £80,000 on the MYPD roadshow, including £26,000 for artist Adam Saleh for less than two weeks' work, but they had no idea that he had previously been forced to make a grovelling apology over a hoax anti-police video that claimed US officers had abused him over his religion.

His video was viewed more than 200,000 times and the controversy it sparked was covered by news websites worldwide.

In the video, Saleh and a friend are seen being shouted at, pinned against a wall and frisked, apparently by a uniformed officer during an argument over their traditional Islamic robes.

But the incident was staged, with an actor dressed as a policeman.

It follows West Midlands Police's announcement that it would consider letting officers wear a burka in a bid to boost force diversity.

The constabulary said it will discuss allowing the traditional Islamic dress - which covers the entirety of a woman's face and body - to become part of Muslim female officers' uniform.

But the idea was even attacked by the Muslim Women's Council, who said in a statement: 'In the media the term burka is used to describe the full face covering but the veil with the slit for the eyes is actually the niqab.

'The burka is actually the full gown which goes from shoulder to ankle with the face remaining clear.

'It would be very surprising if West Midlands Police were in favour of full-face coverings.

'The actual percentage of women wearing a niqab is very, very small and the women who do would probably not want to be in the police.'


Police across the country ‘want to make misogyny a hate crime’ after sexist abuse crackdown sees one serious complaints every three days

Police across the country are considering making misogyny a hate crime.

The plan was revealed after two men were arrested for sexist abuse during a pilot scheme in Nottinghamshire that may be broadened out across the country.

Threatening words and assault will be tackled in the pioneering crackdown on offensive behaviour towards women.

Nottinghamshire Police has launched more than 20 investigations in the two months since the pilot was announced.

But despite initial concerns from the public, no men have been reported for wolf-whistling at women.

Forces around the country, from Devon and Cornwall to Durham, are now sending officers to the county to discuss the experiment.

Dave Alton, Nottinghamshire Police’s hate crime manager, said: ‘The reality is that all of the reports so far have required some form of police action.’

The force is planning to release a film about street harassment to encourage more victims to come forward.

Experts predict a surge in reports when students arrive for the new academic year.


Cardinal Burke: Christians and Muslims Do Not Worship The Same God

Catholic Cardinal Raymond Burke, an American and former head of the highest court at the Vatican, said that Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God because the Islamic god “is a governor,” and Islam is Sharia, the law “which comes from Allah” and which “must dominate every man eventually.”

“I hear people saying to me, well, we’re all worshipping the same God, we all believe in love,” said Cardinal Burke in an August teleconference about his latest book, as reported by EWTN’s National Catholic Register.

“But I say stop a minute and let’s examine carefully what Islam is, and what our Christian faith teaches us both,” he said.

The cardinal, who is an archbishop and the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, explained that in Christianity God is the creator of reason and the “giver of revelation,” and His law is written “on our hearts” and “we’re given a divine grace to live according to that law.”

“This is not true in Islam,” said Cardinal Burke.

“I don’t believe it’s true that we’re all worshipping the same God, because the God of Islam is a governor,” he said.  “In other words, fundamentally Islam is, Sharia is their law, and that law, which comes from Allah, must dominate every man eventually.”

“And it’s not a law that’s founded on love,” said Burke.  “To say that we all believe in love is simply not correct.”

“And while our experience with individual Muslims may be one of people who are gentle and kind and so forth, we have to understand that in the end what they believe most deeply, that to which they ascribe in their hearts, demands that they govern the world,” he said. 

“Whereas, in the Christian faith we’re taught that by the development of right reason, by sound metaphysics, and then that which leads to faith and to the light and strength that’s given by faith, we make our contribution to society also in terms of its governance,” he said.

“But the Church makes no pretense that it’s to govern the world,” said Cardinal Burke. “But rather that it’s to inspire and assist those who govern the world to act justly and rightly toward the citizens.”

If we follow the relativistic idea that there is no real difference between Christian teachings and Islam, if we think we are all worshipping the same God, said Cardinal Burke, “ultimately it will be the end of Christianity.”

Our Catholic ancestors “had to fight to save Christianity,” said Cardinal Burke, “[b]ecause they saw that Islam was attacking sacred truths, including the sacred places of our redemption.”

“We have to have a profound respect for right reason, for the natural law which God has written in every human heart,” said the cardinal.  “I think most people don’t realize that there is no natural law doctrine in Islam and neither is there an ocean of conscience -- everything is dictates of the laws that are given by either in their sacred text or by those who are entrusted with interpreting the law.”

Cardinal Raymond Burke, 68, is the former bishop of LaCrosse, Wisc., and former archbishop of St. Louis, Mo. Between 2008 and 2014, he was the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the head of the highest court at the Vatican.  He is an expert on Canon law, the law that governs the Catholic Church and its teachings. He also is a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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