Indirectly inspired by this gentleman.

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Discussion (84)¬

  1. atombrn says:

    Ha! The YouTube link was posted by “Think Islam”. How oxymoronic.

  2. JohnM says:

    Love it!

  3. Necessary+Evil says:

    Mo is right. A baby in its mother’s womb grows, not randomly, but according to patterns embedded in the DNA of its parents, which in turn depend on its grandparents and so on. Not hard to understand. No one believes that babies appear like the Lego helicopter from a shaken bag of bricks. When copies of the DNA aren’t exact, but are subject to just a bit of random shuffling along the way then that can have an effect on the embryo. Often that results in the embryo becoming non-viable and a miscarriage results. But sometimes that shuffling results in a change that makes the resulting human more fit, better adapted to its environment than its parents. That gives it a better chance of surviving to adulthood and of passing that improved DNA on to its own offspring. Not really that hard to understand at all. But, as they say, you can’t reason someone out of a position that they didn’t reason themselves into.

  4. Like Dawkins wrote in his book, “The Blind Watchmaker”, the design argument has been thoroughly thumped for centuries, I think it was Hume that really burned it to the ground in the 1700s. It’s really discouraging that these Religiously Impaired™ Nutballs are still trotting out the tired and terribly flawed 747 in a junkyard garbage in this day and age.

  5. blackflag1961 says:

    Emergence. A one-word refutation of the whole theistic argument.

  6. Matt says:

    I watched the video and am now converting to Islam. Hold on a moment, I’ve changed my mind. Oh crap, I’ve just signed my death warrant. Oh hold on again, a nice young woman just told me Islam is a religion of peace and that only 30% of young muslims in Britain believe apostates should be killed. Phew, that’s a relief!

  7. jb says:

    Of course all right thinking modern people know that evolution is true! In addition, all right thinking modern people also know that evolution stopped dead for human beings tens of thousands of years ago. To believe otherwise would require us to open our minds to the possibility that different human populations might have followed different evolutionary trajectories even to the present day, and might differ on average in attributes such as, say, intelligence or temperament, and that’s just inconceivable! I mean, let’s not go crazy — some ideas really are heretical!

  8. nothere says:

    It’s not their unreason that pisses me off, it’s their dogdamn smugness.

  9. opposablethumbs says:

    wow, jb, you mean to say you’ve actually found a genetically isolated human population??!?!? One that has been completely genetically isolated for long enough??!?

    And a thousand times wow, you mean to say you’ve succeeded in finding a scientifically valid method for distinguishing purely congenital attributes from cultural ones? You mean to say you’ve succeeded in establishing that there are any purely genetically inherited attributes unaffected by cultural, educational, nutritional etc. etc. etc. factors?

    And your findings have passed peer review in actual scientific circles – as opposed to being lauded by a bunch of right-wing cranks?

    Amazing! You’ll be on the front pages everywhere, then – for your unprecedented discovery of a whole alternative reality!

  10. Muscleguy says:

    A xian believer knocked on my door last week with a bible open and read me some verse based on seeing the world. Well that was just an open door. I asked her if she didn’t think that we understood rather more about how the world and the universe worked thanks to science and progress than some seer 2kya+ ago did? Unfortunately she was one of the stupid ones and most of my points sailed blithely over her head.

    Still it was an unusual occurrence. Nobody, literally nobody has knocked my door to proselytise for about a decade. I’ve watched and heard them do the neighbours but our door? unknocked. You can just step over the knee high wall from the neighbours through the party wall to our front door, less if you do it doorstep to doorstep. Yet they left us alone. Why? Well about a decade ago two JW’s an old and a young one knocked on our door. The young one made the mistake of asking me why that was when I told him I was atheist. I then spent the next 20min doing my scientific best to implant as many mind worms of doubt in his head as I could. The lack of attention in the intervening period suggests to me that I must have succeeded. Until last week. Maybe they hoped I’d moved.

  11. Alastair says:

    Depressing video. You realise that, although appearing to argue a point, it’s just a dialogue of the deaf. J&M preaches (rather amusingly) to adherents of one world view, and that video smugly preaches to adherents of another. They don’t get us and vice versa.

  12. opposablethumb, thank you for that. You put it much more clearly and succinctly than I could have done.

    Jb insults scientists by implying that investigating human differences is a taboo area of research. They’ve been investigated. They are still being investigated. For example:
    And here’s a video that is less academic, more interesting and entertaining:

    The thing is, these studies do not claim a genetic difference as a cause of their results. The difference is claimed is cultural. And that makes sense, because the same genetic background found in a different culture doesn’t show the differences.

    Rushing this morning. No timne to proo fread. Home this makes sense.

  13. “But, as they say, you can’t reason someone out of a position that they didn’t reason themselves into.” From Necessary but Evil, above. Who actually said this? I would like to know as the sentiments expressed make a super motto for my website.

    David Amies

  14. plainsuch says:

    I absorbed my fundamentalist christian beliefs from my parents. The only reason was that parents told me so. And I reasoned myself out of that mess when in my teens. I would say that it’s difficult to flim-flam someone out of a position they reasoned themselves into, but you can reason someone out of an irrational position – if they are willing to be rational.

  15. b1gr1d3r says:

    I have a supplementary theory of evolution that attempts to explain why there are apparently different species of humans presently inhabiting the planet.

    This theory has not been scientifically investigated and is supported only by my own personal observations.

    We are told that we are all homo sapiens – the wise human, but I would suggest that although there are quite a few of these there are far more who are not. These others fall into at least three categories. There may be more but I’ve not identified them yet.

    The first is homo rapiens. These are the folks who seek ever more wealth and/or power. They are never satisfied and will do anything to satisfy their cravings even if their actions are self destructive or destroy life itself.

    The second is homo papiens. These people must be threatened with some kind of punishment in order to behave ethically. And of course they will define what ethically means. Homo rapiens often claim to be homo papiens in order to justify or cover up their destructive behaviour.

    The third are those whose primary motivation in life is fear. They fear those who are different. They fear change. They can be manipulated by unfounded fears. They are of course homo phobiens.

    Comments from the esteemed folks at the C&B?

  16. nothere says:

    @b1gr1d3r: I’ve always thought of us as ‘homo cunning linguist’ ie clevertalker or smartmouth.

  17. K P Spong says:

    And who doesn’t like “cunning linguist’?

  18. Jerry www says:

    Cunning Linguist? The description seems to roll off ones tongue.

  19. Nassar+Ben+Houdja says:

    Evolution, what silliness is this?
    Don’t be ridiculous, give it a miss
    Like intelligent intervention
    Also foolish to mention
    After a million years neither are worth a splash of piss.

  20. jb says:


    I wasn’t really talking about scientists, although I’ll get to that in a moment. My point is that most people on the Left who aren’t scientists — people like opposablethumbs, to pick a random example — have minds that are utterly closed to even the possibility of important genetic differences in intellectually ability between human populations. They don’t know the science, but they know with absolute moral certainty that all human populations are precisely equal in this regard. Further, many of them will mock you if you express unbelief, typically repeating talking points that they don’t really understand, taken from a conventional wisdom that is widely evangelized. Worse, they may ostracize you (which is bad if they happen to be someone you care about), or even try to derail your career (look up Watson, James). This is faith, every bit as much as the faith of the creationists. At root it’s the same thing. In fact I’ve seen this attitude characterized as “Liberal Creationism.” Religion at its root is not about the supernatural, it’s about the sacred; and for a very large number of people on the Left (and many on the Right as well), to express skepticism about human equality is to defile a sacred taboo.

    For scientists — at least for scientists who study intelligence — it’s different. They don’t have the option of denying intellectual differences between different groups — let’s say American blacks and whites — because they take intelligence tests seriously, and nobody has been able to design a plausible test that doesn’t show such differences. Still many scientists (not all!) take refuge in their own version of the conventional wisdom: Yes the differences are real. Yes, American blacks, on average, really do seem to somewhat less intelligent than American whites, while East Asians seem to be a little smarter, and Ashkenazi Jews significantly smarter. Yes, these results are repeatable. But the difference is not due to genes, it’s due to, um, culture, or the legacy or racism, or stereotype threat, or the Flynn effect, or something, but not genes!

    And you know what? The defenders of the conventional wisdom could be right! (The conventional wisdom is often correct after all.) I’m not arguing a particular side here; I’m pointing out that when it comes to evolution, there is closed-mindedness on the left that mirrors that on the right, and that, at root, draws on the same emotions.

    If you are interested enough to plow through it, there is a lot that’s of interest in the link below. Note that this is only one point of view in a debate involving several participants who were chosen to represent differing point of view, and therefore there is much disagreement. But that’s as it should be! What’s wrong is suppressing the debate.

    You can find a lot to chew on at Wikipedia as well, e.g.:


    Here’s a clue: Populations don’t have to be isolated to be different. For example, there is gene flow between wolves and coyotes, and always has been, yet the two populations are quite different. The animal kingdom is chock full of this sort of thing. Think about this a little, and then come back and see if you can explain the point you were trying to make about genetically isolated human populations.

    And afterwards maybe we can talk about burden of proof.

  21. plainsuch says:

    The way I hear it we would all be healthy, wealthy and wise if it weren’t for the rare and elusive Homo Scapius. This mischievous species is the cause of everyone elses problems but I haven’t been able to locate one. My only clue is the word scapegoat which implies that Homo Scapius has a goat like appearance.

  22. jb, I am not equipped to debate this issue with you. For all I know, there may be differences in human beings caused by genetics. What I do understand is that any time somebody claims this, they have been shown to be wrong. Maybe they weren’t really wrong, but the point is not clear cut – cultural differences have a huge impact on human beings. Maybe they were the victim of leftist political correctness. But confirmation bias is a very strong part of human nature.

    It seems to be analogous to the differences between men and women. There’s no question that, on average, men are taller and stronger than women. But this tells us very little, if anything, about any individual man or individual woman. I’m a tall, strong man, yet I’ve met women who could pick me up and throw me away without breaking a sweat.
    So let’s say, for the sake of argument, that blacks are not as intelligent as whites, on average. What is the value of this information? A good argument is being made that Beethoven was black. Does anybody question his genius? Does this mean that when you meet a black man you should assume he has a lower intelligence than you, assuming you are white? Does this mean that whites need to band together to preserve their racial purity?

    I guess what I’m asking is, what the hell was your point?

  23. LastResort says:

    Let us assume that the poor, dumb Africans really are poor because they are dumber on average than the Caucasians in addition to all of the other effects. Does this not lead us to one inevitable, ineluctable conclusion: that the only humanitarian thing to do is to allow them to interbreed *massively* with Whitey to improve their lot? Surely, any other project or support program must be given second place to this genetic improvement effort? And a long way second, too?
    We must instantly set up clinics, genetic improvement clinics, where the thickest and most unintelligent Blacks are allowed to mate with the best, brightest and prettiest Whities, and vice versa, to up the level of inherited intelligence. We must also allow the best and brightest Blacks to impregnate the best and brightest of the Snowflakes so the bar is constantly raised.
    Surely any KKK, neo-nazi, White Supremacist would instantly agree that forcing Honkey baby-factories to have mildly brownish babies by the barrel-load is the only truly godly, Christian and White Power thing to do?
    It’s Darwinism, jb, it’s *Science*, it’s Christian to share the genetic wealth to improve the Chosen People.
    So, when, jb are you going to offer up your wives and daughters to the great effort to help those poor, lost, genetically inferior Blacks become real human beings?

    Or does your logic stop with hate?

  24. LastResort says:

    Slightly offensive previous post, folks, but intentionally so.
    I was under the impression that racism based on IQ tests had been so thoroughly discredited that even KKK-ers were ashamed to use the “argument”. IQ tests are culturally biased and deliberately so. They don’t test wit, they test how like the setters of the test the test subjects are. They are “people-like-us” filters.
    Trotting out the obsolete notion that there is a real correlation between melanin and intellect is so 1950’s, quaint and laughable.
    And if it is the best the KKK-ers can do their position is demonstrably ludicrous.
    Almost as ludicrous and fatuous as that of the Lego-user in the video cited above by Author.

    jb your are funny.

  25. LastResort says:

    jb you are funny.”

  26. white+squirrel says:

    the islamic person is a total fail on every count

    but why a helicopter?

  27. hotrats says:

    white squirrel:
    Because it’s easier to misrepresent the argument with something built from disparate, inert pieces of plastic than it would be with something capable of auto-combination – like a set of precursor chemicals.

    The Miller-Urey Experiment of 1953 showed that you can indeed take a ‘bag’ of the gases thought to be abundant on the primitive Earth – methane, ammonia, hydrogen and water – ‘shake’ it with electricity (analagous to lightning), and produce most of the amino acids needed by proteins in living tissue, even some components of DNA.

    A lot more impressive, and unlike the helicopter stunt, it needs no trick photography.

  28. martin_z says:

    A similar argument is the one that reckons that women and men are fundamentally different. You know – men are better at spacial ability which is why they are better at DIY and parking.

    There is a very good book which debunks this argument too – it’s called The Myth of Mars and Venus by Deborah Cameron. In it, she basically says that the differences between men and women, if they exist at all, are so very minor that to treat people differently based on these differences is just pointless. It’s like if a group of people have an average height of 5 ft 6 and another group have an average height of 5 ft 6 1/2, you should put the first group in accommodation with smaller ceilings as they don’t need the higher ceilings.

    Similarly with race differences. There may be differences in intelligence based on race – and these differences may even be genetic. But if they exist, they are tiny and not enough to justify treating people differently in any way.

  29. CanuckAmuck says:

    The Cato Institute? Really? What next, some “unbiased” studies from Answers in Genesis?

  30. oldebabe says:

    Chance? Maybe. It does seem to me that 50% of the human race isn’t as intelligent as the other 50%…

  31. Here’s something from PZ for jb. You see, we do know a whole lot about the genetic diversity of humans. It ain’t a big deal. Certainly not a taboo area of research.

  32. LastResort says:

    At the beginning of the video with the smug git and the Lego, he has maybe 30 bricks and a bag. He then has maybe an hour’s worth of shaking, edited down to a few seconds by the magic of TV. The argument is that expecting the bricks to form a helicopter, or any specific shape, in that time is ridiculous.
    And it is a very, very valid argument. Shake a bag of bricks with a million of them in it for a billion years and you will *never* form a heiicopter, a house or a dinosaur. The Lego bricks don’t click together spontaneously, they need considerable force and precise alignments to do so.
    So the idea of something so complex as DNA spontaneously coming together from a sludgey soup of atoms is equally ridiculous and we must insert a magical super-being to do the organising?


    If jostled by heat, vibration or electricity, or even radiation from unstable atoms, atoms will be in an excited state that can easily be relaxed to a more grounded state by them combining with other nearby atoms. In a soupy mixture atoms of any particular element are likely not to encounter others of the same element but to encounter others of different elements. That means that it is highly likely, indeed almost impossible to avoid, that chemical compounds will form. Small ones, to be sure, but still compounds.
    In the primordial atmosphere of Earth there were many, many molecules of methane. This has carbon in it. Carbon is an element that can combine with just about every other and with itself to make amazingly complicated molecules and it does this with ease. Nothing else in the universe works as well as carbon when it comes to building chemical compounds. It does it so well and makes so many of them that chemistry is divided into two branches: Organic Chemistry, which is the chemistry of things made with carbon and Inorganic Chemistry, which is the chemistry of all of the other 92-odd elements.
    When methane is ionised by heat, impact with other molecules, radiation from space or lightning it immediately reacts with the nearest atom or molecule. It is probable, in the early airs of Earth, that that would be a hydrogen molecule which would leave us with methane again. However, it may react with an ammonia molecule, a carbon-dioxide molecule, a free nitrogen molecule or something else. Those reactions would make heavier, more complex molecules which would rain out into the seas.
    Sure, building bigger ones out of smaller ones is rarer than building smaller ones and by a very larger factor, but we have many, many, many millions of collisions per second per litre of airs and we have a whole, entire world full of litres of airs and we have huge, fantastically large amounts of seconds. Millions of years full of seconds. Hundreds of millions of years full.
    Put methane, water, ammonia, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in a flask, run lightning through it and the wetness at the bottom will turn to soup in a matter of days. Earth had a flask the size of a world and many millions of years and it was using atoms that fit together by sheer physics.
    It is the vastness of Earth and the deepness of Time that the fundies don’t get, that and the ease with which carbon combines with just about everything heavier than helium and with hydrogen, too.
    Earth had fire, lightning, volcanoes, raw sulphur, molten metals in rivers of lava, acids by the gigaton and time unimaginable to play with.
    And she had truly gigantic numbers of atoms and molecules to work on.
    It is not surprising that something as simple as RNA was spontaneously created at least once, and once is all it would take.

    There are clouds of extremely thin gas and dust scattered al over the galaxies, including ours. Some are supernova remnants, some are primordial aggregates. These are 99% hydrogen and helium, the atoms created at the beginning of time. Some of the dust is carbon and carbon compounds, some is silicon and silicate compounds. And some of the gas is alcohols, aldehydes, cyanogen, sulphur compounds and even amino acids, the foundations of life. Not many atoms in those near-vacuum clouds get to meet other atoms and even fewer small molecules meet sufficient others to form larger molecules, nonetheless there are enough molecules of amino acids in galactic dust clouds for them to be detectable from Earth. That means there are enough to outweigh Jupiter, perhaps even our Sun.
    A couple of atoms per cubic metre and time is all it takes to make oceans of amino acids.
    The idiots behind that pathetic, childish video are incredibly stupid, myopic and ignorant.
    They have no idea how big and how long-lived this cosmos is.
    Yes, an octopus is improbable but divide improbable by four thousand million years and a soup the size of a planet and it becomes something very close to *inevitable*.

  33. LastResort says:

    1953. That is 61 years and the religious still don’t get it.

    That does not exactly inspire hope for them ever reaching enlightenment.

  34. JohnM says:


    I’m considerably puzzled by the contention that there is little difference between men and women. When I look at the women around me I see that (at least in those that allow me to examine their anatomy) they don’t possess testicles, they have mammary glands that can lactate, and internally there is a uterus capable of forming a new human being within it. Seems more than the 1% difference you imply 🙂

    They also think differently. In problems needing lateral thinking – my wife beats me to it every time. But when a logical solution is available, I get there first. And in some recent research to which I have lost the reference, the average male brain and the average female brain have differences in the ‘cross wiring’ between the hemispheres. This probably explains why women are so much better than men at multi-tasking, and related things like language skills.

  35. AlexanderTheGoodEnough says:

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.”
    — Jonathan Swift

    Our friends Jesus and Mo may indeed understand evolution only too well. But there is a very profound reason why they cannot accept it and why the science vs. fundamentalist Christianity (in particular) “debate” is so persistent. And I rarely see it explained.

    For both sides, the core issues are utterly existential. For any minimally thoughtful Christian, the problem with much of science in general, but most specifically with the theory of evolution, is that it perforce reduces the Adam & Eve story to mere myth or fable. Without a literal, actual Adam & Eve transgressively partaking of their “apple,” there would be no original sin. Instead, God, or evolution for that matter, made us just as we are and any flaws or mistakes in our being are His creation and His responsibility and not our fault. So, if the original sin did not actually occur, just what was the point of the coming of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who somehow in the process of being crucified obtained for us “atonement,” “forgiveness” and “salvation” from a nonexistent original sin? The necessity of Christ is rendered superfluous and thus the central conceptual edifice of Christianity collapses without an interpretation of Genesis that is substantially literal. Jesus would go “poof!”

    OTOH, if the notions of creationism/Intelligent Design etc. were taken to be acceptable as viable alternative “scientific” theories, or indeed were to be considered valid in any way, it would render our understanding of virtually all of modern biology, and major parts of the other sciences as well, nonsensical. Of course, Biblical myth doesn’t even rise to the level of scientific conjecture, let alone theory, and therefore creationism/I. D. merits no place whatsoever in the study of science.

    Science and many of the other religions can comfortably ignore each other because the other religions haven’t an “original sin” issue that is so utterly central to their theology. But it is quite obvious that any religious faith, even a “liberal” one, based on Jesus (who was very likely a fictional character in any case) and Christianity is intrinsically incompatible with modern science, and vice versa. For a host of reasons, there are far too many people who hold fast to their fundamentalist beliefs, and worse, think that the rest of us ought to somehow be compelled to do so as well. In short, that is why the science vs. creationism debate continues to be so persistent and so compelling for so many people.

  36. jb says:


    But confirmation bias is a very strong part of human nature.

    Yes, yes, yes — that is exactly my point! And imagine how strong confirmation bias is when your bias is backed by the full force of the local cultural establishment!!! What I’m arguing is that people on the Left are almost entirely blind to the intensity of their own confirmation bias when it come to issues involving race, because, in a very literal sense, the idea of racial equality is sacred to them, and they see unbelief as an evil to be fought and extinguished.

    I guess what I’m asking is, what the hell was your point?

    I’m really torn. You asked some good questions, and I have what I think are some good answers, but it’s late, and I have to go to work in the morning, and I just write too slowly to give you a good account. You seem more fair minded than the others who have replied to my comments, and I wish I could sit down with you for an hour and talk about all this. I wouldn’t necessarily be able to persuade you that I am right, but I think I could convince you that there is another side to the issue that you are just aren’t hearing, and that the debate isn’t nearly as one sided as you have been led to believe. Maybe I’ll be able to get back to this on the weekend, but the comments section of a webcomic really isn’t the best place for an extended debate, and by that time there will probably be a new comic anyway.

    I will say though that I’m familiar with PZ Myers, who is well known as a passionate defender of the conventional wisdom on race. (The conventional wisdom is always going to have passionate defenders!) I don’t think he is stupid or crazy or anything, I just think he is wrong on this issue. For example, in the post you linked to, I don’t believe the conclusion in the final paragraph is supported by what came previously. Myers is suggesting that because the the genetic differences between human populations are smaller than is the case with other apes, it follows that those differences must be unimportant. Sorry, that doesn’t follow! But if you don’t know much about genetics, and if the picture seems to be telling you something that you want to believe anyway, what are the chances that you are going to question Myers’ argument?

  37. jb says:

    Ooops, sorry about the botched HTML tag.

  38. suffolk+blue says:

    *DH* – Proo Fread? I like it. Good idea for a new handle.

    *jb* – and what would you like us to do with this knowledge that you have so generously imparted to us?

  39. Robert,+not+Bob says:

    I see we have a racist among us. Notice how he (or she) dropped his (or her) arguments like a stink bomb into the entirely unrelated discussion, then proceeded to pour on highly emotional and irrational defensive reactions to, and I reiterate, a discussion nobody was having. We have all, I’m sure, seen this pattern many times. I suggest we ignore him (or her) and hope that he (or she) will presently go away.

  40. hotrats says:

    Given the rubric of …talk, to exchange jokes and ideas, to engage in profound philosophical discussion, and to ridicule the sincerely held beliefs of millions it is quite hard to go off-topic here at the C&B, but jb seems to have managed it.

  41. HaggisForBrains says:

    jb – If you want to continue your discussion at length with DH, may I suggest that you take it over to his own blog – just click on his name. It’s well worth a visit in any case.

  42. WalterWalcarpit says:

    DH To my mind this is JB’s point: “This is faith, every bit as much as the faith of the creationists. At root it’s the same thing. … for a very large number of people to express skepticism about human equality is to defile a sacred taboo.”
    And as it happens Last Resort’s practically Godwin rant rather proves the point.
    Nowhere in JB’s post was there any suggestion of inferiority, pogroms or homogenisation. It was more to declare “What’s wrong is suppressing the debate.” Which is precisely the effect of the vitriolic reactions of both opposablethumbs and LR appear designed to achieve.
    It is not dissimilar to the contortions of people who defend a woman’s cultural right to be be imrisoned in a burqa or even mutilate their children’s genitals. There is a fervour to political correctness that conflates sacred with sacrosanct that impoverishes all of us in the guise of enriching society. I don’t just see it on a left/right divide myself.

  43. Mary2 says:

    Jb, Bullshit. I have no doubt you are theoretically correct in that genetically isolated populations will potentially have different capabilities – i.e. some populations are generally taller than others. I don’t think anyone disagrees with you. After all, some populations have Neaderthal or Denisovan DNA and others don’t.

    The problem with your theory is that there is no evidence that it is manifest in the real world: a) as stated (beautifully) by OpposableThumbs no human population has been isolated for long enough to make a discernible difference, and b) there is much more variation within groups than between groups which would smooth out any capability differences. Even your “tens of thousands of years” would be but a minor blip in the evolution of a species unless that species is the fruitfly. Aboriginal Australians were isolated on the continent for 50,000 years before European colonisation and they have been subjected to more scientific testing than just about any other group on the planet. I’m sure someone would have noticed if they were genetically more or less clever than anyone else. (I’m assuming you meant they should be less clever because, coincidentally, most of those who believe in a hierarchy of races put themselves on the top).

    Even worse, as far as I am concerned, is your linking of the belief that all humans are still the one breed, with ‘the Left’. Huh? God, I hate it when people give ideas which have nothing to do with socialism or libertarianism to groups they label ‘Left’ or ‘Right’. Please tell me what the hell ideas about DNA and/or evolution have to do with either ‘Big Government’ or ‘Individual Liberty’.

    You also misunderstand what is meant by ‘human equality’. No one on the planet thinks all humans are equal unless you think I should be able to run in the Olympics if only I trained hard enough. Human equality means all humans are equally deserving of the same rights.

    Perhaps people mock you because you have mock-worthy ideas.

  44. Mary2 says:

    Last Resort, Your interbreeding theory to increase intelligence is pretty close to the govenment policies in Australia until about the 1950s except the idea was to remove ‘half-caste’ children from their Black parents and raise them like and breed them with Whites. It was believed that, by three generations, you could “breed out the black”.

  45. WalterWalcarpit says:

    My previous post appears to be in moderation but it seems I should have refreshed first anyway.
    R-B, I have encountered jb in the C&B longer than I remember yourself so please do not presume him to be a fly-by-night. And I don’t see why you get to charge hem as a racist.
    Suffolk Blue (is that a sheep or a cheese?), that is a pertinent question.
    Hotrats, if not ridiculing, jb is certainly questioning the sincerely held beliefs of millions.
    HfB there is plenty of room in the Cock & Bull for this discussion – and just because DH is joining it intelligently, i.e. without hyperbole, is no reason to send it away.

  46. Mary2 says:

    WalterWalcarpet, I agree in theory but disagree in this particular. I am always willing to discuss ideas with people with whom I disagree and have even been known to change my mind on occasion but just because two opposing views are expressed does not mean they are worthy of equal consideration. When one side of a debate expresses ideas which date from the 1830s and have been disproved numerous times then those on the other side are not obligated to take these arguments seriously.

  47. jb says:


    *jb* – and what would you like us to do with this knowledge that you have so generously imparted to us?

    Well if you think about it — I mean honestly, not just looking for ways to snark — it does have a number of public policy implications. But don’t knowledge have value for it’s own sake? Aren’t you interested? Don’t you want to know the truth, even if it’s possible the truth might turn out to be something other than what you would wish it to be?


    jb – If you want to continue your discussion at length with DH, may I suggest that you take it over to his own blog – just click on his name. It’s well worth a visit in any case.

    It’s more a matter of time. DH made a number of points I think are well worth addressing, and I could easily spend 20 or 30 minutes writing a paragraph on each, because I tend to tie myself up trying to get everything right. I’m not a facile writer. I used to get involved in all sorts of extended Internet debates (remember Usenet?), and then I realized this was self-indulgent and I was wasting just far too much time, so I mostly stopped. You can cover ground so much faster in a face to face conversation, which is why I said I wished that were possible.

    But it’s more than just the time. The thing is, I’m really addressing the whole forum, not just DH. I’m an atheist myself, and I enjoy the comic, but unlike most atheists I am not a member of Team Left, which makes me an outsider here. From that position I often find myself bridling at what looks to me like self-satisfied group-think, and I want to step in and say something contrarian, even if I don’t really have the time, and even if a webcomic forum isn’t the appropriate place for the sort of extended discussion required. So I’ll make my best efforts here from time to time, but if I should some day find I have the time for really extended discussions, I’ll do the right thing and get my own blog.

  48. Mary2 says:

    WalterW, Apologies, I should have held off til after your second post. I agree entirely that the C&B is the appropriate place to have such discussions and think we should be loath to send away anyone who has a serious point to put forward. Red cards should be reserved for trolls who come here to bait us. Perhaps I am not always as gentle as I could be with what I consider poorly thought-out or presented arguments but I do find such conversations good sport and welcome any player to the game!

  49. Mary2 says:

    jb, We have only one comic per week and sometimes over 100 comments evolving from it. This is definitely the place for extended discussion but you are correct in that several of us have similar values and ontalogical positions so you may have to go up against more than one. Self-satisfied some of us may be but group-think? I think not.

  50. Mary2 says:

    jb, I found a link showing evolution in humans where different groups evolved at different times:

    “It’s long been known that after humans transitioned from hunter gatherers to farmers, many populations also evolved the ability to tolerate lactose, a sugar found in dairy.
    But new DNA evidence now shows that this ability evolved much later in certain populations – and for 4,000 years ancient Europeans were eating cheese, despite not being able to stomach it.
    The study, which has been published in Nature Communications, analysed DNA taken from the remains of 13 human skulls dating from 5,700 BC to 800 BC.
    The results show that cultural shifts thoughout human history can also be linked to genetic changes.”

  51. Reid+Malenfant says:

    I tend to agree with WalterWalcarpit’s assessment here. Irrespective of any sentiment, desire or socio-political leaning we all share but one reality and one objective truth which has indelibly traversed it’s path through history since time immemorial.

    The challenge has always been how best to discern this through the intellectual fog of human culture, subjectivity and inherent biases that are our genetic legacy. It does not follow that just because you’ve escaped from one cognitive straight jacket, namely religion, you are automatically immune to any other.

    True open mindedness is not a default trait and at some levels, it is all but impossible because you can never entirely escape being a product of your culture. The true value of scepticism is the permission it gives to constantly reassess those thoughts and feelings that you and your culture hold most dear, well it does in principle if not in practice.

    The wholly laudable concept of Equality exists on another level which depends more upon ideals of fairness and social cohesion than it does upon reality or objective truth. But by deeming certain areas of reassessment sacrosanct, uncomfortable or off limits you merely invite the imposition of yet another straight jacket.

    If we put a value on objective truth and intellectual honesty nothing should be beyond investigation irrespective of how uncomfortable or squeamish that makes us feel; this is, after all, the means by which so many have escaped religion.

    As the saying goes, people deserve respect, ideas do not.

  52. white+squirrel says:

    familar with miller-Urey and the inumerable similar experiments since

    i was thinking more of – why a toy helicopter as opposed to a toy car or an AK 47 [never toys] or a toy skyscraper etc

  53. happy transwoman says:

    As a transwoman I can accept that my condition is the result of random variation

    but what sort of ‘god’ would put a female hyperthalamus in a male body ?

  54. WalterWalcarpit,
    “DH To my mind this is JB’s point: “This is faith, every bit as much as the faith of the creationists. At root it’s the same thing. … for a very large number of people to express skepticism about human equality is to defile a sacred taboo.”

    I understood this very well. I just happen to disagree with it. And the point I’ve been trying to make to jb is that this question is not taboo. It has been discussed extensively. Originally it was discussed in the context of European exceptionalism and the white man’s burden. When that fell apart, on examination, it was discussed in terms of everybody has equal abilities. As jb shows, it is still being discussed, though now we are far more aware of our cultural biases and we don’t tend to generalize entire populations as the same. Which is why I asked him what the hell his point might be.

    And his point seems to be that he is rattling chains, being a contrarian, which is a polite way of saying being a troll. He kicks a stink bomb into the thread and then tells us he doesn’t have time to discuss it.
    Oh, he also makes the point that “it does have a number of public policy implication”. I’d like to know what those are. Is he saying that miscegenation is bad, or good? Is he in favour of apartheid? Is he in favour of the voting rights act? Does he support affirmative action? He seems to have thrown us into the lefty bag, hollus bollus, and has accused us of being as fundamentalist as the religious. I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that he’s full of shit.

    “Nowhere in JB’s post was there any suggestion of inferiority, pogroms or homogenisation.”

    No, because that wasn’t what he was talking about. He was talking about our collective inability to be open minded about a certain subject, which he equated to fundamentalist faith. He tossed in some buzz words designed to get people’s backs up, and he succeeded.

    “It was more to declare “What’s wrong is suppressing the debate.” Which is precisely the effect of the vitriolic reactions of both opposablethumbs and LR appear designed to achieve.”

    Yes, exactly. He was trolling, and quite successfully. He didn’t really tell us what his position might be on this issue. He just said that it is off the table for discussion. I’ve been trying to argue that it is very much on the table, and that the fact that people like opposabletthumb and LR get vitriolic about it is only to be expected.

    “It is not dissimilar to the contortions of people who defend a woman’s cultural right to be be imrisoned in a burqa or even mutilate their children’s genitals. There is a fervour to political correctness that conflates sacred with sacrosanct that impoverishes all of us in the guise of enriching society. I don’t just see it on a left/right divide myself.”

    Neither do I. We have racists on both the left and the right. It just amazes me that anybody can claim this is a taboo subject, given the constant and vitriolic debate it generates. Just recently we saw Bill Maher and Ben Affleck fly at it with charges of “islamophobia” and “racism”.

    So, is jb a racists? We don’t know. What makes him think that he is different from us lefties? We don’t know. I’m interested in hearing his response to the points I made, but the big one, the question of what knowing that one population is, on average, less intelligent than another population would mean in practical terms, is the only question that really matters since genius has been found in all human populations.

    BTW, attacking political correctness is also a way of shutting down debate. Personally, I take pride in being politically correct. If a word, phrase, or characterization is offensive to a group of people I think it is only polite and kind to refrain from using it. I don’t think it impoverishes our language to speak respectfully of people, and to not use derogatory terms. This doesn’t mean we have to respect their ideas. But we can express our disdain without resorting to words like “towel head” or “retard”. I admit that it gets confusing some times. I recently met a man in a wheel chair who objected to the word “disabled” on a sign. I’m not sure how he would like me to characterize his condition, and I’m pretty sure that “cripple” wouldn’t be to his liking, but if “disabled” offends him I’m happy to find another. In China I saw a sign reading “Deformed Person Walkway”, but I don’t think that would make him happy either. “Handicapped”? I suppose the only way to solve this is to ask the man which word he would like us to use. And then use it. That is being politically correct.

    Mary2, I’m more in love with you than ever.

  55. JohnM says:

    I see one very good reason why science should never, ever, search into the question of whether one population of people is smarter than another. It is axiomatic among our species that we are more intelligent per se than all other animals. Were it to be discovered that some human race or other was smarter, it would immediately invite that race to relegate the others to the status of lower animals. So until this endemic specism among humans is eliminated world-wide there needs to be a moratorium on the kind of research ‘jb’ is proffering. It’s just too dangerous.

  56. LastResort says:

    Darwin, old chum, I wasn’t being vitriolic, not even in my comment that jb’s only and ultimate mission is to spread hate, I was seeking the ultimate logical conclusion of his premise.
    If, as he stated, any sub-species of H. sap. sap. is deficient in wits compared to any other then the only charitable, christian and scientifically justifiable action is to breed the dumbness out of the species, to breed for intelligence.
    No vitriol, no angst, no anger, only cold logic.
    OTOH, if intelligence isn’t valued, if we value character, faith, gullibility or something else more, then his point about some populations having less wit than others is moot. If we value intelligence then we should be force breeding it into the disadvantaged populations, if we don’t then jb’s entire point is meaningless.
    We don’t give a rat’s fart in a tornado whether Inuit have stronger fingernails than Caucasians, because strong fingernails don’t matter. If intelligence doesn’t matter then it is not important that some peoples have more of it.
    jb’s division of races is only worth noting if intelligence is a vital characteristic of being human and if it is then we must share it.
    His logic not mine.
    I just wanted to see if the KKK-ers among us recognised what their “white supremacy” and “scientific facts” led to. Them offering their women to help what they call the less fortunate.
    So far, jb hasn’t mentioned that point.
    I’m not politically inclined in any direction, I’m not trying to close down our resident KKK-er’s discussions. I’m merely asking if he realises how far the logic of his position leads him. Most of his kind do not.

    Mary2 I did hear about Oz’s experiment in “breeding out the black” but the lesser point they missed is that three generations is nowhere near enough. It takes at least seven or so before one can definitively state that a genetic characteristic has been eliminated from a population. Even then it may return through regressive mutations. Truly, it is almost impossible to dilute a gene sufficiently for it to vanish, one can only wait and let others replace it entirely. That can take scores of generations, even in fruit-flies.
    The other point they seemed to have missed is that Abo’s ain’t “black”, they are in fact “whiter” than modern Europeans. So we should be becoming them, not the other way around. I would love to have had the opportunity to witness that point being made in a upper class dining room in Sydney in the early 1900’s.

    Darwin, the only time I ever called myself “disabled” was to make full use of the anti-disabled-discrimination laws. I preferred “cripple” or “broken” or just “sick’.

  57. LastResort says:

    Just to be slightly provocative, I do not treat all people equally.
    Not even close.
    I ignore seven milliard of them as background furniture with little or no impact on my daily rounds. Of the few I treat as actual beings, most I interact with for less than ten seconds and those I treat with fairly warm but quite impersonal politeness. A few are “sisters” of one degree or another and those I protect and help whenever they need it. Politicians and priests I treat with barely concealed contempt most of the time, with the concealing spells being less and less effective as their ranks increase in their various hierarchies.
    There are exceptions to that general rule. For reasons too numerous to mention I do like and respect Queen Liz and her Anne and I wish I could devise a neat way of ensuring the latter inherits from the former. There are even a few priests I get along with quite well as people.
    I treat helpdesk support personnel and supermarket till manning girls with considerable respect, as I do anyone trying to help me, from waiters to plumbers. Librarians, Teachers and medical folk I see as heroes.
    I am in awe of musicians. Especially good ones. “Good” being according to my personal taste, of course.
    And I totally admire anyone whose wish it is to soldier so I don’t have to. That they protect me is awesome and beautiful and so very, very human. I know they don’t protect me personally and many of them wouldn’t even like me much, but that is what their job leads to, me being safe when they are not. That is something magnificent.
    I’m nowhere near being ‘politically correct’. I am courteous and polite to ladies, even teeny little ones, more so than I am to males. And I will snarl in words of many syllables to any cripple in a motorised chair who sneaks up behind me and hits me, even gently. If he’s too broken to be able to manage ‘please, excuse me” then he should get a stephen-hawking voice machine.
    I’m a bigot. I divide the people of the world into the good guys and the shitheads. I assume that seven milliards of them are basically good guys, though I’ll never meet them to test the hypothesis. The shitheads, I dislike for many and sundry reasons.
    Some of the shitheads are fat cripples on motorised chairs. Being fat or being a cripple or being both does not exclude the possibility that you are also a shithead.
    At least in this I recognise equality of opportunity. Even the most pathetic cancer patient, palsy victim or whatever can be an obnoxious arse.
    I know this. I am one when I’m crippled-up.

    Which leads me to my most vast and meaningful bigotry. All of the many species of Man and his relatives through all of Eternity and in however many galaxies they may spread are irrevocably, utterly and absolutely divided into two completely different bits: Her and not-Her.
    I love the Her part of Humanity with all of what I am for all of the time I have. The rest I like, accept, tolerate or ignore.
    That bigotry will probably never lessen.

  58. LastResort says:

    JohnM, I can see your point that should we actually find a meaningful variation in intellect between peoples we might “Brave-new-world” the lesser beings into the Delta working class forever but I see that as essentially impossible when considering H. sap. sap. That species is too cantankerous to make good underbeings. As we’ve proven many times.
    What I think to be more likely is that we would see under-achievers as basically “sick” and we’d want to “medicate” them up to our standard of “health”. That is what the medical professions do with many other forms of illness. If lack of ‘white normal’ intelligence is seen as an illness, like dementia or schizophrenia or any other mental condition, surely we would be humane enough to wish to cure it?
    You think we’d be tempted to exploit the lesser beings, I think we’d be tempted to help them.
    I am very, very glad that this is all theoretical rubbish and that we’ll never know which of us would have been right.
    I love the human species but I must admit that I don’t altogether trust the better angels of his nature.
    I have a nagging suspicion that the worst of them would prevail.
    It has before.

  59. I haven’t thought about Dunning-Kruger in a while. Reading this thread makes it float up to the top again. Oh, and on an unrelated note, thanks to everyone for supporting Author and the Patreons.

  60. Mary2 says:

    Last Resort, Three generations is not enough to breed out a characteristic only if we are talking about genetics. A.O.Neville and co. were not attempting to change DNA but more of a cultural assimilation. They were only concerned with ‘half-caste’ children i.e. those of mixed race. ‘Full-blood’s’ were to be left to themselves but those of a lighter skin colour – and it was literally determined by pulling up a child’s shirt – were to be assimilated into the White race. Even then the half-caste kids who were pulled away from their mothers to be brought up in dormatories were raised to be only maids or labourers in the hopes that they would eventually marry and breed into the lower classes of Whites: miscegenation may have been considered to improve outcomes for Blacks but it was never honourable for the Whites.

    This is another reason why I dislike arguments like those of jb’s. It might be just science to him but these kind of ideas filter into politics and have real world consequences as well. Splitting the atom may have seemed a fabulous idea to the scientists who did it (and I’m not suggesting they shouldn’t have – pure knowledge is a reward for all humanity) but things should never be done without some acknowledgement of the potential outcomes for real people living real lives.

    Last Resort, Love your description of equality.

    DH, 🙂

    cosmicsg, You tricky sod. By writing as you did none of us who have pontificated throughout this thread can know whether to applaud you and shout ‘hear, hear’ or whether we are the one being DK’d. My ego has been thoroughly pricked!

  61. It is pretty obvious who the cement heads are 🙂

  62. JohnM says:

    You think we’d be tempted to exploit the lesser beings, I think we’d be tempted to help them.
    Having watched the progress of human treatment of nature and the lesser beings all my life, from the slaughter of cetaceans to the poisoning of top predators, I do consider my position to be the stronger, even as I fervently hope that yours is correct.

  63. LastResort says:

    Mary2, sorry if I misremembered but I was sure there was a genetic component to Oz’s grand assimilation experiment. I always thought the endeavour was misconceived and a little strange as they were basically mixing pure Caucasians with mongrel European Caucasians. That doesn’t seem like a job that really needed doing.
    But who am I to criticise another country’s policies?
    So, they were really trying to breed a permanent set of Deltas? Well, that certainly supports JohnM‘s interpretation of human nature more than it does my little hopes.
    That is rather sad.
    I am still awaiting our friend, jb‘s reasoned response to my extension of his thought processes with eager interest. I’d be very interested in how a really rabid KKK-er takes the ideas, too.

    cosmicstargoat, me? And here I thought I was doing so well, too. Maybe it is time for me to slink off, tail tucked away, to gently mope with some rather nice tea.
    I recently found something called “coconut rings” which have jammy middles (“jelly” middles in USAlien). They are quite low in dairy, quite low in bad sugars and gluten-free but they are quite nice. I discovered that I have t eat the slip of paper the jam sits on, which is truly bizarre but it’s not as gruesome as I expected it to be.
    I think I’ll have the last two of those with my tea.

  64. hotrats says:

    Last Resort:

    Joy of your macaroons.

  65. Mary2 says:

    Cosmicsg, The whole point of Dunning-Krueger is that those of us who are stupid will believe we are the clever ones and join you in scoffing while the clever ones are now all second guessing themselves! Cruel, cruel but clever! 😉

  66. blackflag1961 says:

    coconut ring can be treated with amoxicillin, apparently.

  67. Thomas says:

    One way to think about the possible mean neurological differences between groups (“races” being far to vague a term) would be to look at it though the idea of selective pressures. That is are there groups were people of above average intelligence are more likely to survive and to breed and to have more surviving desendants. As even records on births only go back a couple of hundred years in the best cases and recorded on intelligence as suspect at best even they did start to turn up the only responsible thing to say that there isn’t enough data so for the purposes of general happiness I’ll say there isn’t.

    So they only way to vaguely look into whether it might possibly be possible. The difference in intellgences between dog breeds (at least in type) suggests that differences in intelligence could have occured over human history if selective pressure was both strong and precise enough. Looking at animals once again it seems these presure at harsh climate environments that are highly variable in both time and space and complex social lives. Putting aside the last one as I’m not touching that with a 20 foot pole the selective pressures would be lowest in western country as technology was even more tamed fairly benign environments, Behoudin and Artic Dewellers would rate high for the difficulty of their climate and tribes of the amazon and other rainforests for the sheer variety of there environment the polynesians for the sheer number of ecosystems they would be familar with. They would also be cultural selection pressures for which Jews are most obvious candidate due to the 3000 years of everybody beings shitheads to them for no good reason there have had to adapt to.

    I think that the main reason that people reject evolution is that is it horrifying. Evolutions makes it explicit that for the last 4 billion years life has been a constant story of living beings murdering, raping, infecting, paratisising cannibalising, mutalating and generally being horrible to each other and that the only ones that survived were those that were meaner they all the rest. Possibly worst of all is that their is no reason for it other then to make it continue and that it isn’t leading to something better. Its even worse for theists because they beleive their is a omipotent omniscient being that is sees all of it in detail we could never know and he just frigging watches and he’s been watching this murderfest for 4 billion years. That is terrifying, that pretty much disproves the idea of a benavolent god.

    So any theist that as truely understood evolution as 3 options. Ditch God. Ditch Evolution. Accept the universe the plaything of an omnipotent pyschopath. That’s a hell of choice, small wonder they are pissed at us for forcing them to make it.

    Or maybe there just not as smart as I’m giving them credit for.

  68. Mary2 says:

    Thomas, I like your thinking. Still nowhere near enough time or population isolation to make a discernible difference and doesn’t allow for social living which would slow the process even further. In human societies, especially with birth control, improved intelligence might keep the whole group going but those people are not necessarily the ones doing the breeding.

  69. jb says:

    This is frustrating! There are so many things that have been said here that I think are wrong, and so many points worth making, and I just don’t have the time to write the essay that would be necessary to do it properly. I do want to thank WalterWalcarpit though, for offering me some support, and Reid+Malenfant, for what I think is the best observation made here: “It does not follow that just because you’ve escaped from one cognitive straight jacket, namely religion, you are automatically immune to any other.”

    I’d also like to recommend again a link I posted earlier:

    It’s interesting that the Dunning-Kruger effect came up. Part of what makes this frustrating for me is that I’m trying to debate people who think they know something about the issue, but in fact don’t. Quite honestly, nobody has advanced an argument here that I was unfamiliar with, and most of those arguments have been uninformed. I’m recommending the link in case anyone wants to get an idea of what an informed debate looks like. Note that there are four participants, and that only one of them, Linda S. Gottfredson, takes my side of the debate, so you can’t accuse me of stacking the deck. I linked directly to one of her contributions, rather than to the starting point of the debate, because it backed up what I was saying in my comment, and reviews certain information that is well established, but pointedly excluded from the conventional wisdom. But the other participants are not stupid people, and they have a lot to say as well. You know, I really wasn’t kidding when I acknowledged that the conventional wisdom could be right! But it’s a much more difficult and subtle debate than right-thinking people have been led to believe, and, contrary to the conventional wisdom, it has not been definitively settled!

  70. plainsuch says:

    You don’t have time to explain yourself and I don’t have time to wade through the whole cato-unbound. Unless there is a point other than the default Libertarian view that poor people are morally and intellectually inferior.

    Metaphorically speaking, genetics gives you a bucket and your environment puts things in it. An IQ test only guesses how much is actually in the bucket not how big the bucket is. Please link to the part where they explain how to parse the difference between genetics and the myriad environmental factors, including but not limited to the mothers health and nutritional status, childhood health an nutritional status, socioeconomic status, quality of education and local sub-culture norms.

  71. plainsuch says:

    A thousand years of selective breeding should be enough to produce breeds of people with recognizable genetic traits. Thinkers, fast talkers, fast runners and heavy object lifters. But humans don’t breed selectively, lust and convenience seem to be the priorities.

  72. JohnM says:

    humans don’t breed selectively, lust and convenience seem to be the priorities.
    That is not universally so. And interestingly, one of the groups highlighted a few times in this discussion thread has a thousand year history of carrying out very explicit selection, though slowing up recently. Also interestingly, it’s a group thought to possess rather more smarty-pants than other groups.

  73. hotrats says:

    John M:

    If it’s the ‘race’ I’m thinking of, the selection experiment has been a complete failure – aren’t they the ones now shown to be genetically indistinguishable from the ‘enemy’ they have been recently bombing to rubble? And as for smarty-pantsness, from the perspective of group intelligence they seem to have got it badly wrong over the morality of bacon sandwiches, the existence of a ‘Promised Land’, ‘chosen’ status in general and genital mutilation in particular.

  74. JohnM says:


    Yup. They’re pretty damn useless at genocide too. Over 40,000 tank shells fired, not to mention all the other sundry ordinance, and only a couple of thousand plus, dead bodies to show for it. They need some lessons from the Kmer Rouge, Serbs or the Rwandans as to the proper way to do it.

    That said, the government of Netanyahu is vicious and fascistic in many ways and I despair of seeing any change now the 3rd intafada has begun. If both sides could simply stop deluding themselves they are right because they have the one true message from the one true god, they could settle down with their foreskins and clitorises intact, and enjoy a beer and a bacon sandwich together, whatever the time of year.

  75. blackflag1961 says:

    I wish I loved the human race
    I wish I loved its stupid face
    And when I stood and talked to one,
    I wish I thought
    what jolly fun.
    Spike Milligan.

  76. Empiricist says:



    So, religion has degenerated into sub-species, now? And when does Dear Author or his merry ISP come to chop off our heads, or, less metaphorically, wires?

    If there’s one thing the experiment in segregation that took place in the good old US of A and the golden land of South Africa has taught us it is that poor, downtrodden black guys and girls are *definitely* intelligent enough to resent being put upon. One of the things other bits of the less happy chunks of human history have taught us is that the Chosen People were not chosen for their wit in escaping the horrors cast down upon them by their neighbours. They aren’t smart enough to avoid getting caught and slaughtered by the million.
    What these two things have in common is that it does not seem to make much of a difference who is smarter than what, the bad guys still do bad stuff to good people, and to bad people. This tells us, without a doubt that IQ tests don’t mean a goat’s fuck in the grand scheme of things and that using the seventy-year-old results of several biased tests applied by biased people with prejudices and biases inbuilt does not guarantee the reality of a spread of the quantity or quality of wit in any sub-population or group.
    In short, our good friend, LastResort was right, it’s all fucking bollocks.
    Not that he put it in exactly those words but I think his intent was clear, he mocked the idea.
    He was right to.
    True, no Black guy has invented Relativity or Quantum or even a Hyperdrive, and there are few Black Mozarts and da Vincis, but that is due to culture and cultural opportunities more than anything else. (And to the fact that we already had a Mozart, and already have Relativity and QM. We could really do with a nice, cheap Hyperdrive, though; so, if anyone, Black or not, is working on it …). Give it several centuries, give it until we literally are totally blind to the minor differences between cultures in the species and there will be.

    Everyone happy, now?
    Can we get back to the fun stuff of basting Muzzies and laughing at Maryan fundies?

    I used to enjoy it when we were poking at the Mormons through the bars. This dreary, boring, weak, limp tripe of luke-warm, recycled racist pablum is nauseatingly tiresome.
    jb, if you really think Hebrews are a superior species and Blacks aren’t then don’t marry them. No one’s forcing you to. Not even LR. He was just suggesting it was your Maryanic duty.
    The rest of us don’t give a toss who you bed. Nor what.
    And I’m not sure he did, either.

    As a Politically Correct issue, is it racist to note that the spread of wit inside “races” is far, far, far larger than the systematic differences between them (if any)? To note that some white guys are thicker than two short planks? Which rather elbows “white supremacy” out of the room, does it not?

    Yes, jb we do see the thinly veiled theory behind your “facts”. It’s not difficult. Every hate-monger on the planet has begun with : ” … let us suppose there really *is* a difference …”.
    It’s old, tired and bloody offensive. Not to our sensibilities, but to our own intelligence. We’re offended that you’d think such a stupid ploy would actually work.


  77. blackflag1961 says:

    “and there are few Black Mozarts…”
    Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. A great musician who deserves a place in the pantheon of classical composers. It’s lack of opportunity that keeps black folks down, not lack of ability.

  78. Empiricist says:

    blackflag1961, I did say “few”. Also, I mentioned the opportunity thing. It’s difficult to do orchestral pieces when your entire musical instrumentality is a tin whistle. This also applies to many, many poor white folks, of course.

    As recently as 1930, and in many countries even today, my skills with computery bits would be completely useless. As I don’t have much else I would not be the wealthy bugger I am now.
    There are undoubtedly millions of geniuses who will never be recognised for what they are simply because their skills can not be used in their place and time. While sad, that is inevitable. Unless we go hunting for them.
    And should we do so we must recognise that genius can be found anywhere. Even, though many scholars would deny this, in female persons.
    A fact that I have always taken as bloody obvious but that seems to bother quite a number of religious cults for some reason.
    Another aspect of their nuttery I will never understand.

    Parenthetically, perhaps, I should note that I know women can be very, very bright. I’ve met some exceedingly clever ladies. And there are always our very own Ophelia, Mary2 and others. It really baffles me that anyone would ever have doubted this. It’s like ignoring gravity.

  79. hotrats says:


    Hmmmmm….. “Clitores”?

    A POTWA on you sir for quibbling where you should have nodded wisely. ‘Clitorises’ is the correct English plural, though if you want to get get technical about it, it’s Greek – ??????????? or ‘clitorides’ (pronounced klee-toh-REE-dees).

    From somewhere comes the faint echo of a gag – Roy Chubby Brown perhaps? – “Plural of clitoris? Lucky Bastard!”

  80. hotrats says:

    the ???? is greek text, which ‘got lost in the post’.

  81. plainsuch says:

    I don’t think you can judge a persons brain by looking at their crotch. Not to mention their pigmentation or their religion for that matter. The size of our brains is a evolutionary trade-off between the usefulness of more intelligence versus the metabolic cost of maintaining more energy burning brain matter. Apparently evolution only considers intelligence useful in terms of the number of viable grandchildren that are produced.

  82. Empiricist says:

    hotrats, yes, but mine was funnier.

  83. Robert+Andrews says:

    If you want to see some of the stupid and funny questions asked and answered by theists on evolution, and other things, go to ‘Yahoo Answers, Religion & Spirituality’ board. Click to ‘Religion & Spirtituality’.
    I don’t have the exact url

    “Philosophy has questions that can’t be answered; religion has answers that can’t be questioned.” from the web

  84. Bones'sDog says:

    Hey this was a good … is “discussion” a good word for it?

    LastResort wants the bigots to breed their best and brightest with the less well-endowed to make a super-human species.
    Mary2 thinks the Australians once tried to “improve” a native population to the level where they would have made useful house robots.
    So why not do both?
    We could even bring in the chimps and bonobos to add flavour to the soup.
    Maybe even gorillas to gain a little strength and athleticism, gibbons for flexibility and orang-outangs for grace and power combined.

    According to the Christians, genetics isn’t much of a barrier to these sorts of things so the best traits of all of them should combine to produce something wonderful.

    Okay, where in the ooks does it tell us not to boff bonobos?


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