Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Fido on Pinker on Race

I've been meaning to link to Fido the Yak, because the posts are consistently good, and if nothing else, I want to remember to go read them. The recent post on Pinker's "dangerous idea" makes for a nice linking opportunity. First of all, Fido gets Pinker exactly right. As I've said many times, Pinker has a nasty habit of speaking authoratatively about topics on which he is anything but an authority (like, say, gender differences in mathematical ability). And Fido also links to this very informative forum on race and genomics, titled "Is Race 'Real?'" Like Pinker, I'm not an expert in genomics, or anything remotely related to genetics, but unlike Pinker, I'm not going to comment on the issues discussed in the forum as though I am an expert. You should just go read the articles, which were written by people who are, in fact, experts. But the best part of the post is its discussion of "conventional wisdom" vs. "common sense." Fido writes:
[W]hat's this business about going against conventional wisdom in favor of common sense [in Pinker's comments on the biology of race]? Is that particularly scientific, or even reasonable? Common sense tells us that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Conventional wisdom among astronomers, at least since Copernicus, is that the earth orbits the sun while rotating on its axis once every twenty-four hours or so (a period astronomers call "mean solar time"--go figure). The common sense view of sunrises and sunsets is not invalidated by conventional astronomical wisdom, although with advances in technology, we see that it in some regards common sense, like conventional wisdom, is open to revision. The common sense view is rooted in the experiential world, encompassing certain facts of perception like the way we inhabit perspectives, the way we pattern our everyday activities in accordance with environmental, cultural and physiological regularities, and also some hard physical realities like being relatively puny bipeds dwelling on the surface of a planet that stretches farther than the eye can see.
And ends the post with:
The antithesis to "convential wisdom," I've decided, is not common sense at all, but "invidious stupidity." Whatever problem you're having with conventional wisdom, invidious stupidity is not likely to solve it. That's just common sense.
That's just good stuff. And it means I can finally get my link to Fido in.


Fido the Yak said...

Thanks for the kind words. And the recognition--but it does scare me a little. Your readers should know that all intellectual pretensions to the contrary, Fido is neither a scientist nor a scholar, and has absolutely zero academic credentials to talk about philosophy, the field he is most likely to ramble into.

My take on Pinker *has* been influenced by a discussion you began on scientists speaking authoritatively about topics outside their primary areas of expertise. I've been mulling over the interface between specialized and popular discourses, but it's not something I could theorize or even conceptualize very firmly.

Anonymous said...

You know, there is a bit of an echo chamber effect going on. thanks for the heads up, fido.

Lars said...

The validity of the concept of race is typically obscured by semantics, but for anyone interested in what biology has to say, the criteria used to conceptualize and distinguish subspecies (races or breeds) within the animal kingdom unambiguously classify the human species into a minimum of five races.

Anonymous said...

nike tnEnter the necessary language
translation, up to 200 bytes winter, moves frequently in Chinanike chaussures showing that the deep strategy of the Chinese market. Harvard Business School, tn chaussures according to the relevant survey data show that in recent years the Chinese market three brands, Adidas, mens clothingpolo shirts Li Ning market share at 21 percent, respectively, 20%, 17%. The brand is first-line to three lines of urban competition for mutual penetration. Side of theworld,announced layoffs, while China's large-scale facilities fists. The sporting goods giant Nike's every move in the winter will be fully s strategy. Years later, the Nike, Inc. announced the world's Fan

Anonymous said...

China Wholesalers has been described as the world’s factory. buy products wholesaleThis phenomenom is typified by the rise ofbusiness. Incredible range of products available with China Wholesale “Low Price and High Quality” not only reaches directly to their target clients worldwide but also ensures that wholesale from china from China means margins you cannot find elsewhere and China Wholesale will skyroket your profits.china wholesale productsbuy china wholesalewholesale chinawholesale productsbuy products

Adi said...

Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa pages. Thank you So much.
Oes Tsetnoc | Semangat Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa

Anonymous said...

gucci replica handbags
men gucci shoes
Gucci men sneakers
Gucci men moccasins
gucci women sneakers
gucci women boots
Gucci men boots
Gucci shop
Gucci bags
Gucci shoes
wholesale gucci shoes
cheap Gucci handbags
Gucci ON sale
Gucci Belts
Gucci small accessories
Gucci hats & scarves
Gucci wallets
Gucci Handbags
Women Gucci shoes
Men Gucci shoes
discount gucci shoes
cheap Gucci shoes

ally said...

It is very stylish and sleek. In the casual attire category tracksuits and tank tops rule for men. The most popular t-shirts this season would be the ones with funny sayings on them.cheap abercrombie fitch clothingdiscount abercrombie fitch T-shirtsdiscount abercrombie and fitch hoodiesabercrombie fitch outletwholesale abercrombie fitched hardy wholesale
cheap ed hardy wholesalediscount ed hardy wholesale
wholesale ed hardyed hardy outletdiscount abercrombie and fitch outletdiscount abercrombie outletdiscount abercrombie clothingdiscount abercrombie jacketdiscount abercrombie shirtdiscount abercrombie and fitch outletdiscount bercrombie and fitch clothesdiscount abercrombie and fitch hoodiediscount abercrombie and fitch shirtsdiscount abercrombie fitch jacketBesides, the urban trend, vintage clothing will also rule this season. This includes tight jeans and leather jackets and embroidered clothing.This season it seems like we are going to have a handful to choose from because the trend is a nice mix match of clothes from different seasons. So go ahead flaunt your style your own way.

ally said...

Apart from these military fashion tops and ripped and torn jeans are also hip and happening this season.2010 fashion trends for men would be dominated this season by denim. By denim we don't need to just stick to jeans but also sport denim jackets and casual pants as well. wholesale LV handbagsdiscount moncler jacketsmoncler coatsmonclermoncler vestmoncler outletmoncler t-shirtmoncler jacketsmonclernew moncler coatsmoncler vestmoncler outletmoncler polo t-shirtCoach handbags outletCheap Coach handbag 2010Discount Coach hand bagAuthentic Coach handbagNewest Coach handbags outletLouis Vuitton handbagsLV handbags 2010Discount LV handbagsCheap Louis Vuitton Outletnewest Louis Vuitton handbagscheap rain weardiscount rainweardog rain jacketscolorful rain bootsrainboots outletCheap Ture Religion Jeans outletDiesel JeansLevis JeansWholesale Ed Hardy JeansDiscount Dior Jeans outlet Jerseys and sneakers are never out of fashion. It is very urban and very hip hop.ust as leather is in trend for women it is also true for men. Leather jackets are a must in the wardrobe this season.