A Dubious Claim

My vote for Best Unintentionally Stupid Sentence of the Day goes to Jeannie Suk Gersen writing in the New Yorker, who says: Because our legal doctrine prohibits racial quotas, it is currently impossible to have an honest discussion of these questions. Please, enlighten me. Why would you need a racial quota to have an honest…

What the Standards are and How We Know

Google employee James Damore was fired three days ago for posting a memo on an internal listserv suggesting that entirely scientifically supported generalizations about sex-based cognitive differences might play enough of a role in explaining why Google doesn’t currently have a gender-balanced workforce that it should rethink some of its diversity initiatives. Predictably, the memo…

Comrade Detective (Review)

Comrade Detective seems likely to finish 2017 at the top of my (purely hypothetical) Best of 2017 list, but just what is it? Not what it presents itself as, that’s fer shure. It frames itself (literally – there are cut-in scenes of the producers making these claims) as a recently- (and at great effort and…

On Ken Livingstone’s Attitude Problem

Now that Venezuela is in full crisis, Ken Livingstone is in the news a lot doubling down on his support for the failed regime. Can’t ask the leopard to changes its spots, I guess. But I was surprised to learn from all this that Red Ken is suspended from the Labour Party for "bringing it…

A Disingenuous Comparison

Noah reminds me that I need to be keeping up with /r/socialism – just to marvel at the senselessness. And it doesn’t disappoint. Right out of the gate I find this post on gun control. It shows this juxtaposition of Marx and Reagan with cherry-picked quotes aiming to show that Marx is ironically less in…

Faith, Hope and Charity in Academic Arguments

Some friends and I got interested in the controversy about Nancy MacLean‘s book *Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. If you’re a libertarian, historian or political scientist, then you’ve heard about this. If not, the short version is that it’s a typical entry in the Koch Brothers…

The Forever Surplus

Hard to say whether it’s Brexit or the Trump election or just the clock running out, but one of the good things that seems to have come out of all the recent shakeups is that pressure is mounting on Germany to do something about its persistent, huge, and growing current account surplus – specifically its…

Why Accuse?

Michael Mills, PhD, poses an obvious, deceptively simple question: Why don’t women ask men out on first dates?. Being an evolutionary psychologist, he naturally has an equally obvious and deceptively simple answer: it’s because of "female reputational defense theory" – which is a fancy way of saying that because paternity of a child is less…

Politics, Law and Concerts

Oh look! It’s one of those situations where everybody’s wrong! Wrong the first: Roger Waters is all over Thom Yorke because he wants to play a concert in Tel Aviv. Waters is a big supporter of BDS – a kind of comprehensive boycott of Israel that mirrors the actions taken in the 70s and 80s…