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    Telegraphic ‘Twizzlers’
    By Robert H Olley | December 5th 2012 11:19 AM | 8 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Robert H

    Until recently, I worked in the Polymer Physics Group of the Physics Department at the University of Reading.

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    Next to Science 2.0, one of my most frequently visited websites is Telegraph Blogs.  Among those issues which most raise the hackles of the readership is that of Climate Change.  Many of them regard Anthropogenic Global Warming as a religion based on spurious science.  It is very tedious even to contend with a single one of them.  The latest thing to arouse their ire is

    £2bn of UK aid to help Third World go green

    Britain yesterday pledged almost £2 billion in “climate aid” to help finance foreign projects including wind turbines in Africa and greener cattle farming in Colombia.

    Regarding which, someone commented:

    So we borrow money from the Chinese and give it to the Danes to build windmills to be erected in Africa and then pay the loan back over lets say 25 years at our children’s expense.

    So, question 1: any suggestions as to how to disentangle the science from the politics and economics?

    Another hot issue is that of immigration.  The native Brits are naturally disgruntled that our powers-that-be have taken encouraged competition on our own soil from people, some of whom are actively hostile to our identity.  However, among the commentators, there are a few prolific ones who bring up the issue of IQ, often invoking the name of James D. Watson.  One particularly extreme person has stated that African women have narrower hips because they give birth to babies with smaller braincases.  That one is a shouter, and there is no contending with him.

    However, on the issue of IQ, I did read, perhaps in something I was drawn to via the Science Codex or Real Clear Science, that over a hundred years ago, Russian peasants scored badly in tests of the type which required one to recognize that dogs and cats are members of the ‘animal’ class.  It became apparent that they simply did not classify things the way we do, because to them a dog was primarily a guard-thing and a cat was primarily a vermin control-thing.  With modernization, these apparent differences have evaporated.

    Question 2: does anyone know where I can find this information again?

    (A note on the title:

    One of Bernard Matthews’ formed-meat products, ‘Turkey Twizzlers’, became a subject of debate in January 2005, when they were singled out for particular criticism by the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in his television series Jamie’s School Dinners. The product became an emblem of the mass-produced processed food that Oliver wanted to remove from school meals. In the wake of the programme, several major catering organisations announced that they would no longer serve Turkey Twizzlers in schools.  Bernard Matthews discontinued the product in 2005. ­

    But Hank will tell you they were still safer than similar organic products!)

    Comments

    vongehr
    does anyone know where I can find this information again?
    Why?  Just to beat down his argument with one that is objectively less relevant but sounds good to a politically correct, progressive, Westernized mob?  If you think such is science, you are simply part of the very reason for why those people you want to battle against do not trust science!

    The way to discuss for example IQ scientifically, is not to subscribe to IQ as a status symbol and distorting it until all, according to current marketing/HR people enforced consensus, socially to be accepted as equally functioning groups have precisely an average of 100 and the same distributions in the tails.  I am fine with the fact that East Asians, according to a reproducible measurement protocol, score above my own ethnicity.  You know why?  Because knowing "science" has long since taught me that IQ isn't that important.  IQ does not equal "good", and many if not most of the important issues are not intrinsically difficult such as to require much IQ, but people (are evolved (bio/social) to) simply refuse the answers, and those with high IQ do it most cleverly, period!

    Scientists are way too often the more clever cheaters and truly extreme in their religious self-deception, and I am sick and tired in collaborating to paint "science" as good.  I get way too little money in order to do so!
    rholley
    Sascha,

    In answer to your “why?”, I suspect the two main commenters are cherry-picking their sources, almost certainly practising proofiness (slightly different than Stephen Colbert's truthiness) which is basically finding statistics you want to believe to enhance your confirmation bias.  The word was coined by Charles Seife, a long-time science writer who teaches journalism at New York University, because he was outraged at skewed representation on both sides of the aisle, like Al Gore for cherry-picking data about global warming and George Bush for cherry-picking data about how tax refunds would save poor people money.   He wrote a book on it called "Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception" to clobber everyone he found doing it.  (Hat tip to Hank.)

    In response to your question, I have been considering the two meanings “so that”: one is related to intention, the other is to outcome.  It is certainly not my intention
    to beat down his argument with one that is objectively less relevant but sounds good
    but the outcome could well end up being as you have described.

    Your other points are well, if somewhat vehemently, put.  Alas, these questions of mine have generated no response other than yours.

    Returning to the matter of Africa, though, do researchers really take into account the difference being raised in the bush makes?  I remember a white Afrikaner telling me about what happened when soldiers of his people were captured by the North Koreans in the Korean War.  The North Koreans went in for systematic brainwashing of prisoners, but this proved ineffective with the Boers because (putting it colloquially) they “didn’t have a brain to wash”!
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    vongehr
    I got that the first time around:  They have an unwanted opinion, thus they are to be accused of confirmation bias and good people should cherry pick a Russian peasants' story.  Race IQ studies took black people only from the bush.  And ... all is ok - it does not matter anyway.
    Gerhard Adam
    Robert

    Regarding the IQ issue, I still fail to see how this type of testing is anything except pseudoscience.
    Russian peasants scored badly in tests of the type which required one to recognize that dogs and cats are members of the ‘animal’ class.
    What is the rationale for presuming that knowing animal classifications is an indication of intelligence?  It seems like it's simply cultural bias and a continued abuse of a testing method that was never intended for this purpose.

    So, in my book, whenever a scientist advocates anything to do with IQ, I already know he doesn't know what he's talking about.

    Regarding the separation of science from politics/economics.  That's not going to happen, because these are all political issues that wish to use science as their lever [arguments from authority].  Even television commercials do it, and many scientists are only too willing to go along.

    One can easily see that many of the scientific discussions regarding these issues [climate change, genetic modification] aren't really about science as much as they are about advocacy.  Arguments aren't met with counter-arguments, they are met with name-calling and labeling. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    vongehr
    "whenever a scientist advocates anything to do with IQ, I already know he doesn't know what he's talking about"
    Yeah - had to be said.  And now about that Obama dude, wait, I need to let my bitch make me a sandwich first - be right back
    rholley
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Gerhard Adam
    Excellent!!!
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    What's next, dogs and cats living together?!?