Strangeness and anger:
I read a short review in a journal. It seemed more important than the half column it got, so I thought I’d go over it. But the more I thought the more context it seemed to need, so I’ll go over some things before addressing it.
There are some remarkable things about the universe. It is predictable in one direction of time but indeterminate in the other direction. It is also capable on having things that are capable of abstract reasoning. This is scientifically impossible, but so obvious that we barely notice it. A British code cracker, Alan Turing, pointed out that a computer can not do abstract reasoning, and a computer can address anything science can study. This is quite strange.
The result, after a goodly dose of selection, and ignoring which ideas are mine and which are Morris’s, was an ape with little body hair like other marine mammals, (although some later had descendants move to cold weather and regain some body hair), a diving reflex that still means an occasional child can be caught under ice for half an hour and make a complete recovery, airway defenses that – in my case – include being able to seal the nostrils with the upper lip or failing that pinching them closed, a soft palate that can seal the airway, lips, teeth which can act as a stop or a filter depending on the tongue, a tongue that can seal the airway at multiple levels, false vocal cords and true cords. By contrast, a dolphin has only a single sphincter at the blow hole (Most dolphins die of pneumonia.). Our fingerprints are better at grasping when they are wet. Also, humans, particularly children, take delight in swimming.
Then there are out feet. Standing up on two feet would be a bit tricky in the water, requiring nice balancing. A quick shuffle for balance would have to deal with water resistance. But our big clodhoppers give us a nice broad base. Their shape lets us swim using only a kick, and of course swim fins, which function so well, are just extensions of feet. You will remember the Australopithecus, pre-human, nicknamed Lucy. She had over-sized feet. Evidently our sojourn on the shore had already happened.
One might be forgiven for fantasizing of ancestors, the women with their long hair for the babies to hold, picking up shellfish in shallow water while the men lounged on the beach, only going in occasionally for bigger shellfish in water too deep for the encumbered women. These men might have had beards to protect their throats even at such an early time and lack of hair up front, so they could get some protection from the sun with the hair swept front but not have to worry about being grabbed by the hair when the hair was swept back.
Those useful feet turned out to have another advantage when the ancestors came back on shore. They run really well. Not many land animals can outrun an athletic human. If it’s cold enough, some dogs might. Horses can’t although I’m not so sure about cracker horses. A cheetah might clock out at 70 miles an hour, but would be exhausted in a few seconds. A good horse might be able to say ahead for a few days, but eventually a human on foot will catch up. There is a film, once and maybe still, a standard of anthropology, that shows a few men, not more than five, chasing a giraffe. At the beginning, they hit it with a “poisoned” spear. I doubt the poison had much effect, but it did get the giraffe to run away. Maybe three days of running in huge circles later, the beast could go no farther. It stopped and presently fell dead.
Getting the animal to run away is of course part of the strategy. I would hate to go up against a red deer stag that was spoiling for a fight. I have a speculation. Of course, the stone axe was a marvelous technological advance. One axe head and a few young men and a stand of saplings, and by the end of the afternoon you have a formidable array of men with spears. Now occasionally, if memory holds, workers will find a place where stone axe heads were made. Among the objects are sometimes rather mysterious flat stones that had been chipped to a sharp edge all the way around. This makes them less useful as tool, lacking a good, safe hand hold. I imagine the use was to fling such a stone at a tasty looking beast in order to hurt it enough for it to choose fleeing rather than standing to fight. Then it would be just a matter of putting those marvelous feet down many times, and the quarry would at last drop. I don’t know. I wasn’t there.
In other words, every human is racist as is effectively any other animal. It is just an inevitable consequence of natural selection. And it does not serve any purpose. However you define race, if there are more than about a couple hundred in it, random mating within that race will lead to extinction. You have to keep the numbers down to an extended family size, like a flock of birds. Race won’t help you. But alas people identify with race and this can lead to dreadful behavior. Our capacity for abstract reasoning leads us to perceive a population that in fact has no biological significance.
Since it is instinct it is nothing to be ashamed of. Sure, you urinate in private, but you aren’t ashamed of the very fact that you urinate. Those who cannot and must wear a bag to accomplish the same thing would be quite happy miraculously to return to urinating the old-fashioned way.
Years ago, somebody worked out evidence that the reason zombies are supposed to look scary is that they look kind of human but not quite. It’s called the “uncanny valley.” Monkeys are in the valley and we find them intensely ugly. Lemurs are far less related to us, and they are about as inoffensive looking as cats. People of quite different descent may fall into the uncanny valley. It is, of course, not a useful guide to biologically productive mate choice. But it may have the opposite function.
Imagine a nicely successful animal species, extending over a large area. It has multiple populations which essentially never interbreed. As any population gets a bit bigger, its fertility falls, and when one gets a bit smaller its fertility rises. You know this if you have read the kinship and fertility link.
Now suppose one of these populations gets a mutation that makes it break mating discipline and starts to interbreed with adjacent populations, and suppose the mutation gives it a short-term advantage. It is now a danger to the whole species; the selective pressure to shut it down and make it go extinct is intense. Over the half billion years that complex life has been evident, and over the entire planet over that time, there have been any number of opportunities to save a species by snuffing a local population.
I do suspect that we are seeing evidence of multiple such mechanisms. Male organ sizes are smaller, sperm counts are down, I have never had good statistics on female pelvis sizes but cesarian births are up suggesting smaller pelvises, autism is up particularly where there has long been urbanization, people are more conspicuously choosing intimate partners who do not offer the possibility of biological productivity, more women seem to be doing things other than staying home with the bairns, more young people seem to be staying on the parents’ couch (been there so don’t call me out on the subject), fewer young people seem to be sexually active at all, more people marry outside their identity group, leaders seem hell bent on dragging immigrants in even if many of the immigrants adapt and contribute poorly and I’m sure there are more that I am not clever enough to notice. I’ve spent most of my adult life in pursuit only of the methylation mechanism I lay out in the kinship and fertility link.
A Black policeman with relevant personal experience has said of BLM. They are all white racists with a bad conscience. Indeed, although we are all racists at heart, most of the world is quite comfortable with the fact. Somehow, and most mysteriously to me, people who identify as White (Not I. I do not consider the concept of race to have any biological significance, or at best a bad one leading people to make mating choices on the basis of a false notion.) think they should NOT be racist and wallow in guilt, hating themselves and others they identify the same way.
Now I think we can agree that a lot of humans are smarter than the average dog. But if it is a mob of humans, then the dog is probably just as smart. Each is capable of doing horrible things if told to. My impression of a mob is either a group, unruly, agitated, unwashed, jobless and chaotic we call rioters or a group organized, serene, well kempt, well paid and focused we call a government. Both are subject to Pavlovian conditioning and no smarter than a dog, if that. Look back over a bit of history to see what I mean. Thirteen British colonies decided they wanted independence from the British Empire. Reasonably, they should have petitioned the British monarch or parliament, but they had no representation – which was one of their gripes – and there was nothing to do but fight it out. The secession was a success. I should point out that at the beginning it was estimated that about a third of the population were secessionist, a third loyalists and a third didn’t care. Now I have had friends who were direct descendants of secessionists but have not even heard of descendants of loyalists except for a small group living in the Bahamas. I shudder to think what happened to a third of the population.
Time passed and thirteen states decided to secede from the Union. This time they had a representation and a Supreme Court, which would surely have decided in their favor since the constitution of the Union makes it quite clear that secession was legal. But instead of going through a legal process, they started a war, which turned into an invasion and defeat. They just did what had worked before. After the conquest, the Union punished the secessionists and impoverished them. Time passed and WW I began. It was nobody’s fault. There were plans to mobilize for war, but none for demobilizing. The German side was defeated and the Allies did what had worked the last time; they impoverished and punished the Germans. The result was the rise of Hitler and attendant horrors. So, after going through all that again, the victorious allies decided on a new course. They were generous in victory.
It is said that it is a poor workman who curses his tool. But it should be added that a good workman looks carefully at his materials. I may be wrong, but the story comes to me that during the Renaissance, the Italians pulled an amazing block of marble out of the quarry in Carrera. An artist was engaged to turn it into a statue, but he had hardly started when he found there was a big hole deep inside it. His plan would not work. So, they brought in Michelangelo. Now Michelangelo had done many statues. He always began by making a careful drawing on each face of his marble before doing anything else. He then removed marble in keeping with the drawings. But this time, Michelangelo being a genius and neither dog nor mob, he just looked at the stone, and looked, and looked for days. At last he said, “Yes. There’s a statue in there,” picked up his mallet and chisel and took a whack. In time an enormous statue of the young David emerged, perhaps the greatest, most incredible single work of art ever.
Had the allies looked at their material, they should have seen: Germany – in the 1800’s the most liberal and advanced country in Europe, Italy – traditional Christians with the moral responsibility that entails and Japan – totally loyal to each other, with social rules that remain breathtakingly deft to this day. All became free, prosperous and friendly.
Skip to 1949. Red China is ruled by a regime that is more terrible than Russia under Stalin, in turn more ghastly than Hitler. But under Richard Nixon we opened diplomatic relations with them and were quite generous. After all, it worked last time. Had we eyeballed the marble, we would have seen just how horrible the regime was. Check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_China#People's_Republic_of_China_(since_1949)
We took the attitude, well we made those others rich and it turned out great, so we do it again.
Just a vignette of what we have got for our pains: Red China will demonize some group, Muslims, Christians or Falun Gong that we know of, persecute them, imprison them and harvest their organs. I wasn’t there, but I have seen the accusation many times and have never heard a whisper of denial. I await somebody who claims to know otherwise in spite of a secretive and totalitarian government.
The money so raised or its equivalent goes to the one thing the Red Chinese want most of all. Getting rid of President Donald Trump. He is the first world leader since Nixon to stand up to them in spite of the dastardly things they do. Even Russia began to go easier on them after we threw open our arms. So, they have infiltrated and subverted with oriental patience, Harvard, Stanford, the CDC, the WHO, Lancet, Science, any number of news outlets and government officials have been inveigled, intimidated or bribed into joining the chorus, “Orange Man Bad.”
I have heard him called a racist with no basis in fact, although as I said everybody is so it’s a cheap shot. He is called sexist on the basis of a single remark many years ago, and he did not mention whether the remark he made was a matter of outrage. The economy was doing pretty good. There was an attempt to control immigration, which you must by now realize is bad for the migrants as well as the host country since it essentially kills babies in both groups as laid out in the kinship and fertility link. And now he has turned against the most evil regime ever, calling on allies and taking no guff. Of course, they hate him. They have been bullying people successfully for decades and now suddenly it doesn’t work.
The Black Lives Matter protests produce unrest even though we all agree that police reform would be well worth the money it would cost and even though we all can agree that all human lives matter. Incredible. The board of directors of that organization includes a convicted terrorist, pardoned by Clinton. Are we supposed to believe they have not been infiltrated by BLM? Do they vet their members better than Harvard vets their professors? And Harvard doesn’t even have a terrorist on their board of directors.
For me, any bit of money that comes through Red China stinks of stolen human livers. BLM stinks of it. All their supporters and members, those who agree to kneel to them, the hundreds of businesses that have come out in support of them, they all stink of liver. Ever clean a deer? If so, you know what guts smell like, and those are nice wholesome guts taken out in a fairish hunt for venison bound for human consumption, not prisoners of conscience being victimized. Of course, the Reds don’t deny it. They are following the dictum, “Let them hate so long as they fear.” I do not fear.
Most who comment take prissy care to distinguish between the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese people. Well I would feel a lot warmer toward the people if there were not so much organized crime among them, ranging from pickpockets to kidnapping and child trafficking. The regime rules at the pleasure of the people. Sure, that government has all the guns and will take your liver if they are suspicious of you. But guns can be smuggled easier than children. Officials can be corrupted. They are not really helpless. They are either evil or afraid.
I pass over the fact that Hong Kong has lost its freedom, which was guaranteed when the UK gave it back to China. It was supposed to be an arrangement of one country, two systems that lasted many years. Red China simply went back on their word. In retrospect, I wish the UK had added a clause that if China did, indeed, break the deal, the city would belong to the UK. But of course that did not happen. Nobody would stand up to Red China until Trump.
Red China has its problems. One way they have bullied nations has been with a virtual monopoly on a bunch of metals, maybe seventeen of them, called the rare earth elements. But when they threatened to withdraw them from Japan (the elements are all bunched really close together on the periodic table of the elements, giving them subtle chemical differences exploited by modern technology) Japan was able to get them from places like India. We, thank you Trump, are developing sources within the US.
Then there is a lot of bad weather. Hammered by the pandemic and with their export markets evaporating, they have had floods unlike anything for thousands of years. It will take them a lot of money and work to get their agriculture going again. They have bought 30 million tons of grain from Ukraine, the biggest grain deal in history. It’s unlikely that this can be repeated without money. Grasshoppers descend and might morph into a plague of locusts. Today I hear that in central China a storm is brewing that around the end of July will lay 40 inches of water down in two days. I have seen a Florida thunderstorm lay down an inch in an hour, but it was over within a couple more hours. My joke was, “It isn’t raining. That’s bubbles rising.” Nobody laughed, of course.
When I look over all the publicly handy data, I see no reason next year should not be worse for Chinese weather.
Then there is the sleeping dragon. Japan has decided to arm up after a lifetime of being essentially pacifist. Not many years ago there was a terrible earthquake, and the Japanese navy was sent to give assistance. So, the fleet started north. The time from the earthquake shock until the last ship cast off was 45 minutes. It would take a corrupt official in Red China that long to figure out how to make money off the event. Last century Japan invaded China and didn’t have much difficulty. There were the Flying Tigers, the name given by the Chinese to something like a half dozen to a dozen American volunteer fighter pilots. Otherwise Japan soon owned the sky. They have just bought something like a hundred American fourth generations stealth fighters and remarked that they were not above a pre-emptive strike. It’s hard to see how even Red China could be crazy enough to attack them OR us. They’d not even be able to afford BLM.
Somehow the Red Chinese tumbled to the fact that people who identify as White wallow in guilt over the fact that they are as racist as anybody else. So they hate themselves. Others are easily led to identify as victims of the Whites, and hate whites accordingly. I see the red hand of China behind promoting this and small the sickening odor of stolen entrails.
So, we begin. There is an article: Science vol 369 no 6500 10 July 2020 p 156 Greater Variability, Greater Punishment reviewing Ding et al. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 118, 1101 (2020) where they set some volunteers up to play a little game. The game gave some an opportunity to cheat and an opportunity for others to punish players who had cheated. What they found was that the greater the diversity of a crowd, they more they punished cheaters. Does this sound familiar? I’m sure somewhere in this paper I have stepped on the sensibilities of everybody in the world. You have reason to hate me. But now you have stuff to think about as well as to get worked up over.
Look again at public life. Pandemics, demographics, China, economics, and civil unrest be damned. The worst thing is that we hate each other and hate ourselves, if we identify as White, so much. And it comes right down to our vaunted diversity. “Diversity is our strength.” No, it is our deadly sickness.