Sunday, July 31, 2011

Media-types are hacks

Journalists are a bunch of clueless sub-mentals. A constant refrain on MSNBC is that the American people are foursquare against not raising the debt limit. Clearly the opinions of typical Americans are shallow and poorly based, but according to a recent poll of a national probability sample of 904 people, 60 percent oppose raising the debt ceiling.

Don't rely on the media for facts. Do your own homework because these people are hacks.

Friday, July 29, 2011

More on migraines

As a follow-up from my post on migraines, this is from
Why do migraines disproportionately afflict women?

Hormones, probably. About 18 percent of women suffer from migraines, compared with just 6 percent of men. Doctors have proposed several explanations for the disparity, including different levels of external stress and gender-related differences in the psychological response to pain. The best research, however, now suggests that sex hormones are to blame, and loads of circumstantial evidence support this theory. In women, the headaches typically begin after puberty and tend to decrease in both frequency and intensity after menopause. (Migraines are one of the few neurological disorders to subside with age.) They are also more common during menstruation and less common during pregnancy. Intriguingly, doctors treating male-to-female transgendered people have noticed that after their patients begin hormone therapy, they start to experience migraines with the same frequency as genetic females.

Although the research is still unsettled, there is growing scientific evidence that estrogen is the primary culprit. Migraines occur when inflammation around the brain triggers trigeminal nociceptors—cells responsible for pain sensations around the face—to transmit chemical signals. Nancy Berman and Kenneth McCarson, neurology researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center, have shown that in mice these cells have estrogen receptors. Also, rats exposed to estrogen exhibit significantly worse migraine symptoms—except for nausea, since rats don't vomit—than their estrogen-starved counterparts at the same level of inflammation. At a biochemical level, they've documented changes indicating that pain signals are stronger when estrogen receptors are activated. Such evidence suggests the possibility that men might experience the inflammation associated with migraine just as often as women but their pain receptors have a less forceful response to it.

Interesting, but my favorite part is the male-to-female "transgendered" people. A guy's junk is removed, and he's pumped with hormones, but doctors refer to his status as a social construction--"gendered." Hilarious.

Adult religious affiliation among those with no religion as teenagers

Do children with no religion remain that way as adults, or do they eventually join up with some religion?

Out of those who had no religion at age 16, I calculated the percent who still had no religion in their 20s, 30s, 40s, etc. I also computed the percent who had switched to Protestantism--by far the most popular choice.

Percent of all those with no religion at 16

Ages 20-29
Stayed unaffiliated 67.6
Switched to Protestant 22.1

Ages 30-39
Stayed unaffiliated 54.4
Switched to Protestant 33.5

Ages 40-49
Stayed unaffiliated 48.4
Switched to Protestant 37.1

Ages 50-59
Stayed unaffiliated 37.8
Switched to Protestant 44.6

Ages 60-69
Stayed unaffiliated 36.7
Switched to Protestant 52.3

Ages 70-79
Stayed unaffiliated 30.9
Switched to Protestant 58.3

Ages 80-89
Stayed unaffiliated 26.2
Switched to Protestant 59.5

While two-thirds still had no affiliation in their 20s, by the end of their lives all but 26 percent had switched, and 60 percent of the total had joined some Protestant denomination.

(In order to maximize sample size, all survey years since 1973 were used, so age groups are from multiple cohorts.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Liberal education predicts skepticism about the Bible, net of IQ

Half Sigma has done an interesting GSS analysis that shows that of the following three choices: 1) "the Bible is a book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by men"; 2) "the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally"; or 3) "the Bible is the inspired word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally, word for word"-- a disproportionate percentage of high-IQ college graduates choose answer number 1. He concludes from the results that the Christian Right's view that liberal professors increase the skepticism of students is therefore false.

He would be correct if the Christian view were that a liberal education were the only cause of biblical skepticism. But I don't know of any Christian who claims this. A liberal education would be added to a list of other items like the influence of the wider culture--both elite and popular--and the dominance of the naturalistic worldview that non-mechanistic events are not possible. (Of course, a Christian would also include stubbornness/rebelliousness.)

Using the same GSS question, I created three dummy variables: 1) fables vs. literal word, 2) fables vs. inspired word, and 3) inspired word vs. literal word. The predictors are years of education and Wordsum--the proxy for IQ.

Logistic regression coefficients

Fables vs. literal word
Education .19*
IQ .23*

Fables vs. inspired word
Education .04*
IQ .05*

Inspired word vs. literal word
Education .16*
IQ .22*

In all three models, greater education predicts the more liberal position, net of the influence of IQ. The strength of the net influences of education and IQ are similar in each model. While the larger IQ coefficients makes it look like IQ is the more powerful predictor, the coefficients reflect the scale of the predictors, and education has twice as many categories as Wordsum. (The influence of education is actually probably a little stronger than IQ.)

Notice also how the coefficients in the fables/inspired word model are tiny: Smarter people and more educated people are only a little bit more likely to take the fable position. (In Half Sigma's table, very low-IQ people are more likely to think the Bible is a book of fables than average or above-average respondents. Based on his table, Half Sigma's conclusion really should be that the fable view is the view of geniuses and retards.)

The valid conclusion to draw from GSS data is that the Christian view is correct: liberal education (among other things) does increase skepticism.

Political orientation of young evangelicals remains stable

Some strategists argue that Republicans need to become more moderate since young people, even young evangelical conservatives, are more liberal than previous generations. The number of young people who voted for Obama is frequently hyped.

I generated the above graph which is of born-agains ages 18-29 (sample size = 4,446). The political orientation of this demographic has remained stable across four decades. As you move left to right, you can see small changes, but they are probably just noise.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Marriage equality for all!

Prominent law professor Jonathan Turley makes the case for legalized polygamous marriage. 50,000 polygamists are waiting for their turn. They're living in the shadows, folks. Let's regularize their status so they can spread even more! It's the era of "whatever consenting adults want to do." J.S. Mill, the new God! Happy day.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sex differences in migraine headaches

What does the Michele Bachmann migraine story teach us about society? According to many feminists in the media, the predictable lesson to be learned is that we still have a sexism problem. But the much more interesting (and valid) story is that men and women really are different in fundamental ways. Research shows that, compared to men, women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines, and that the medical problem is roughly 50 percent heritable (meaning that half of the variation in the illness is explained by variation in genes).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Old news: Liberal family researchers report conservative results

In this new study from American sociology's flagship journal American Sociological Review, self-assessment of overall health of women at age 40 is significantly higher if they had no children out of wedlock. Single mothers experience higher levels of stress, psychological distress, and social isolation. According to the authors, Hispanic women escape the negative effects because their cohabiting more closely resembles marriage, and they have closer kinship networks. Overall, cohabiting or getting married after the nonmarital birth does not mitigate the negative effects. Only an enduring marriage to the biological father improves health. (They adjust for selection effects.)

By the way, it puts a smile on my face to see IQ as a control: not surprisingly, it predicts better overall health.

Atheists and liberalism

I was curious if atheists might have moved right politically in the past decade. Here are the percentages of atheists who voted for the Democratic presidential candidate minus the percent of the general population who did (GSS data):

Eighties +16.8 (n = 56)
Nineties +20.7 (n = 121)
Last decade +12.3 (n = 191)

Atheists are still more liberal than the overall population, but perhaps a little less so nowadays. On the other hand, I suspect they have gotten more liberal on social issues. Here is the percent who think a women should be able to get an abortion for any reason minus the percent for the total population:

Nineties +34.1 (n = 96)
Last decade +36.0 (n = 103)
This decade +44.7 (n = 41)

Atheists are more socially liberal than generally liberal, and this appears to be on the increase. They have reached the Jewish level of lifestyle liberalism.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Personality traits and academic achievement

One practical use of research on IQ and personality is deciding how much to invest in a child's education. If it is clear he is going to be an average student, public school might be all he needs. If an ordinary school is not going to maximize his potential, spending a lot of money for a better one makes sense. I never attended anything but public schools and was rarely challenged. (Let's not even get into the fact that my mind was conditioned into a naturalistic view of the world from the earliest grades. That's a subject for another post.)

We all know that IQ is highly predictive of academic success, but HBD-ers should not fall into the trap of believing it is everything. Personality traits matter as well.

This new study published in Personality and Individual Differences reports that conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness, and grit (or perserverance) all predict academic achievement. The reasons seems obvious enough except for agreeableness. I suspect that disagreeable students are punished academically for being less cooperative. 

UPDATE: I forgot to list negative emotionality. It lowers academic achievement. Being controlled by anger, depression, and anxiety, I'm sure, impairs function in many areas.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Since I'm already setting off anti-Christian readers, I'll get one more item off my chest. There's a meme floating around which is Internet crankery; the idea that Jesus was not a real person. The belief is based on outdated history from about a century ago. Mainstream historians--many of them non-believers--today agree he was a real person.

Encyclopedia Britannica popped into my head as a random encyclopedia, so I looked up "Jesus Christ." It says, "Jesus, also called Jesus of Galilee or Jesus of Nazareth (born c. 6–4 bc, Bethlehem—died c. ad 30, Jerusalem)... He was born a Jew in Bethlehem before the death of Herod the Great in 4 bc, and he died while Pontius Pilate was Roman governor of Judaea (ad 28–30)."

By contrast, the same encyclopedia uses words like "flourished during early 2nd millenium"  for Abraham or "flourished 14th–13th century bc" for Moses where there might be some question about whether these were actual individuals.

Mex-Am fertility is now driving their growth

Here's a good analysis by Pew which shows that even if the U.S. closed its border today, we would still see amazing growth in the Mexican-American population since their age structure is so young, and since they have so many babies--especially immigrant parents. (They don't mention shorter generations, but that is part of the story as well). (Just last night, I took my wife to the ER for a kidney stone and sat next to a Mex-Am mom with six kids. Don't tell me a little Hispanic women has no power.)

The authors project that, based on current trends, Hispanics will be 29 percent of the total population by mid-century. That is more than double the size of any other ethnic group. Add blacks and Jews, and you're--what--about 45 percent of the country. That means that conservatives will have to get the vote of just about every non-Jewish white person to win elections. Given the white proclivity for self-destruction, good luck with that.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I'm not a moral philosopher, but I can't resist a word concerning the first anonymous comments in the last post. (Thanks for your indulgence. The next post will return to our regularly scheduled un-PC data analysis.)

The model of God as a non-transcendent boss man who capriciously makes up moral rules is clearly incorrect. God is a transcendent being, outside space and time. He does not create morality. It is a necessary part of His essence, His nature. Objective goodness/morality that humans--even atheists--intuit (imperfectly) is in the nature of God.

Physical laws offer a nice analogy. The laws that compel matter and energy to behave in certain ways are in the nature of the universe. Similarly, the moral laws that obligate human behavior are in the nature of God.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My years as an atheist taught me how they think: "Let's fool ourselves and pretend that life has objective meaning, value, and morality."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

IQ, SES, and incarceration

This graph is taken from a new study of more than 11,000 people. You can see that, while increasing SES  lowers the risk of incarceration only a little bit, increasing IQ lowers the risk sharply.

So much for the liberal claim that social class is everything.  

Blacks are disproportionately born-again

Think of a born-again Christian, and you probably imagine a white person. According to the GSS, blacks are much more likely to fall into that category. The figures look like this: 34 percent of whites, 62 percent of blacks--well over half--and 38 percent of Hispanics. (Keep in mind that born-agains belong to many different denominations. For example, 28 percent Hispanic Catholics say they had a "turning point in their lives when they committed themselves to Christ.") Blacks are an important reason why evangelicals are not uniformly conservative. The expanding Hispanic populaiton is liberalizing born-agains as well.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Liberal morality

Liberal smugness nauseates me when it doesn't make me laugh. Mocking Michelle Bachman's husband's clinic for treating men for homosexuality is just the latest example. (I'm not defending here the malleability view of some conservative Christians.)  We all know the liberal reasoning: Science has demonstrated that a homosexual orientation is genetic so, therefore, it is normal. The thinking that has gone into this talking point belies typical liberal shallowness.

First, twin studies have estimated the heritability for homosexual orientation to be well under 50 percent. Alcohol abuse, by contrast, is over .5. (If you're offended by my example, simply substitute shyness, negative emotionality or any of a very long list of traits.) To be consistent, liberals should be arguing that alcoholism is even more genetic than homosexuality and therefore should be enthusiastically embraced by society, and the notion of treatment is absurd.

Although they leave their beliefs unexamined, they consider alcoholism to be problematic because of the costs that it imposes on people. (Of course, many progressives still deny that genes are important for just about anything other than homosexual orientation.) Their morality is that sexual behaviors are good if people have a desire to do them, and nobody gets hurt. But that doesn't explain their discomfort with, for example, polygamy, prostitution, or bestiality, so throw in heavy doses of public image work (i.e., propaganda) done by cultural elites, and we have an moral-psychological explanation for why liberals equate biology with goodness in the case of homosexuality.

Liberals are blind to how their view of the goodness of homosexuality is at its base moral, not scientific. (One can very easily make that case that, assuming an evolution-based morality, homosexuality is pathological because it works against reproduction.) Conservative Christians are very open about their values. Liberals, on the other hand, delude themselves into thinking that their beliefs are science. Christians believe in an eternal objective morality. (Flawed humans don't apprehend it fully, but it is there nevertheless.) Progressives look to Hollywood for today's right and wrong. When I was a little boy, gay men were portrayed as villains in movies. Today they are saints and martyrs. Right and wrong change so quickly, I can't keep up. Elites change their minds so often, one begins to think they have no idea what they're talking about.     

Monday, July 11, 2011

Humans are messed up

I learned something about human psychology while watching Casablanca last night on TCM. Who is the most likeable character in that film? It's not clear to me whether it's Bogart's Rick or Claude Rain's Captain Renault. Bogart is, of course, the reluctant hero, but Renault is the charming knave. The idealistic resistance leader, Victor Laszlo, isn't even in the running. There is no preachy hypocrite in the story, but if there were, he would certainly be the villain.

So let's get this straight: We love a man who has no principles and flaunts the fact. We love a man who is cynical about ideals, but who affirms them in the end. At an emotional level, we are indifferent towards a man who has high ideals and lives by them without fail (a person who, by the way, is not found in real life). And we hate anyone who sings the praises of high principles, but who is inconsistent in following them.

I'm sorry, but humans are messed up.  Have we always been this way?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Black attitudes on race relations

The Survey of Chicago African Americans is a random sample of more than 700 people. Respondents were asked a number of questions about race relations.

Percent agreeing

"Is it more important - one, for schools in Black neighborhoods
to hire Black teachers OR two, for these schools to select the
most competent teachers regardless of race?"

Select the most competent 90.6

"Is it more important - one, for Blacks to build good relations
with Whites OR two, for Blacks to build pride and respect
for themselves, even if it means causing tension between Blacks
and Whites?

Build good relations 52.2

"Is it more important - one, to promote Black culture as a
separate culture OR two, to emphasize what Americans have
in common?

Emphasize common culture 75.1

"Is it more important - one, to help those who are worse off,
regardless of their color OR two, to concentrate on helping

Help regardless of color 93.1

"Is it more important - one, to promote racial harmony between
Blacks and Whites OR two, for Blacks to fight for their rights,
even if it means creating tension between Blacks and Whites?"

Promote racial harmony 68.1

"As things now stand, is it more important to - one, treat
Blacks and whites the same OR two, to first overcome the
effects of past discrimination?

Treat Blacks and Whites the same 62.7

"To make real progress in achieving equality, is it better for Blacks - one, to work together with whites OR two, to work together mostly with other Blacks?

Work together with whites? 83.7

"In general, do you think it's better for people of different
races - one, to keep to themselves as much as possible OR
two, to live and work together so they can learn to understand
each other?"

Live and work together 98.7

Blacks should always vote for Black candidates when
they run for an elected office?"

Agree (strongly or somewhat) 19.2

"Blacks are better off living with other Blacks in Black neighborhoods rather than living with whites?"

Agree (strongly or somewhat) 18.4

"Black people should shop in stores owned by other Blacks whenever possible?"
Agree (strongly or somewhat) 59.5

"Blacks should have control over the economy
in mostly Black communities?"

Agree (strongly or somewhat) 62.2

"African wise men who lived hundreds of years
ago do not get enough credit for their contributions to
modern science?"

Agree (strongly or somewhat) 84.3

"The Ancient Greek philosophers copied many
ideas from Black philosophers who lived in Egypt?"

Agree (strongly or somewhat) 75.1

The numbers indicate that most blacks want to be integrated with whites, but they do not feel that they are respected as much as they should be. They are not equal to whites in business so they are willing to abandon color blindness when it comes to buying from black businesses and having blacks control business in their own neighborhoods.

The large number of blacks who do not feel they get enough credit for their scholarly and scientific achievements reveals their desperation to feel intellectually equal to whites.  Mythical black philosophers are invented who are smarter than those thieving Greeks--Plato and Aristotle. George Washington Carver has not been given his proper place next to Isaac Newton. The psychological hang-up that needs to be treated is not white prejudice but the black inferiority complex.

How about some reality therapy? To all black folks: 1) don't focus so much on the assessment of groups; focus on yourself as an individual; and 2) if you're going to focus on groups, relax--music, singing, dancing, sports and charisma aren't enough? Do you have to be good at everything?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Belief in God and MPQ Traits

The Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) is an alternative to the Big 5. In the analyses that I have conducted, MPQ traits have been more predictive of outcomes than the Big 5. I calculated means for atheists, agnostics, those with no religious preference, and all others (sample size = 3,946). 

Mean MPQ scores

No religious preference 8.76
Atheist 9.07
Agnostic 9.13
Others 8.99

Social Potency (likes to take charge)
No religious preference 10.29
Atheist 10.73
Agnostic 10.60
Others 10.20

No religious preference 12.18
Atheist 12.61 
Agnostic 12.35
Others 12.25

Social Closeness (likes to be with others)
No religious preference 11.03*
Atheist 10.71*
Agnostic 10.32*
Others 11.94

Reactivity (easily upset)
No religious preference 6.30
Atheist 5.17*
Agnostic 6.62
Others 6.19

Aggression (confrontational)
No religious preference 5.74*
Atheist 5.40
Agnostic 5.53
Others 5.38

Alienation (life is unfair to me)
No religious preference 5.21
Atheist 4.21*
Agnostic 4.72
Others 5.14

Control (plans before acting)
No religious preference 9.45*
Atheist 9.56
Agnostic 9.47
Others 9.79

No religious preference 6.75*
Atheist 4.88*
Agnostic 5.53*
Others 8.66

Harm avoidance
No religious preference 11.57*
Atheist 9.93*
Agnostic 11.07*
Others 12.13

*significantly different from "Others" group

Compared to people who have a religion, those with no preference are significantly less social, more confrontational, less planful, much less traditional, and more danger-seeking. The image that emerges here is a lone rebel.

Turning to atheists, they are less social, less likely to get upset, less likely to think life is unfair to them, much less traditional, and more danger-seeking. Atheists seem like a milder version of those with no preference: solitary, danger-seeking, anti-traditionals who are not confrontational, who plan ahead, and who don't think the world has given them a raw deal. 

Agnostics are less social, less traditional, and more danger-seeking. All three non-religious categories have three traits is common: they don't like people as well; they really dislike tradition and authority; and they like risk more than others.

I don't see any necessary connection between disbelief and anti-traditionalism--I certainly did not dislike religion or tradition when I was a skeptic--but they are psychologically like oil and water.

The depravity of men

The Casey Anthony trial has revealed the depravity of men. I don't mean the depravity of Man, or the depravity of women. I mean the depravity of men. While watching the coverage, all I could think was, "Okay, so she's a child-killing psychopath; I'd still do her."

(Honestly, I should drop the last letter to get: "The depravity of me.")

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The GSS samples a disproportionate number of females

Folks who use General Social Survey (GSS) data should know that, except for the first year of the survey--1972--the sample has always been lopsided toward women. GSS workers knock on doors during the daytime hours and are more likely to find women to interview.

The percent of the sample that is female is typically in the mid-to-high 50s; men are typically in the low-to-mid forties. NORC has evidently made no effort in almost 40 years to get a balanced sample.

Analysts should take this into account, especially when they generate national estimates that differ significantly by gender. For example, if you are estimating the percent of adult Americans who favor the death penalty, your figure will be low since men disproportionately support it but are underrepresented in the sample.  On many political attitudes, the country is a bit more conservative than the GSS indicates.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Calling for the murder of Republicans

Talking about the debt ceiling fight, Chris Matthews just called Republicans terrorists. Let's react to that statement like a liberal would. Americans respond to terrorists by killing them. Matthews has just called for the murder of Republicans.

What do those clever liberals call it--exterminationist language?

And this from a guy who was blaming Palin for the Arizona shooting days after it was clear that she had nothing to do with it.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Retards voted for Obama

It's the 4th: let's do a post that will bring everyone together.

Liberals like to pat themselves on the back for being the smart voters. They seem to think this proves that they are right. While various data analyses by HBD-ers like myself have shown that the claim of having higher IQs is a myth, GSS data indicate that, based on their way of reasoning, conservatives are right.

Of the 19 people surveyed in 2010 with IQs of 70 or lower, 14 or 74 percent voted for Obama. Sixty-one percent of the retarded sample voted for Kerry (n = 67). The most mentally limited Americans vote for liberals.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Only 25 percent of very religious Hispanics are Republicans

According to Gallup numbers, the hope that Evangelicals will gradually turn Hispanics into conservatives turns out to be wishful thinking. Only 25 percent of Hispanics who self-identify as very religious say they are Republicans. Compare that to the 62 percent of very religious whites. It's is probably safe to say that Latinos will never vote like whites.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Belief in God and drug use

TGGP asked about the relationship between belief in God and use of illicit drugs. Based on GSS data:

Percent who have used illegal drugs in the past year (sample size = 885)

Doesn't believe 13.6
No way to find out 9.5
Some higher power 4.7
Believes sometimes 6.7
Believes but doubts 1.8
Knows God exists 2.2
Compared to believers, atheists are six times as likely to have used drugs. (There are only 22 atheists in the sample, so the difference is not statistically significant. If we calculate the chi-square for the overall relationship between belief and drug use, it is statistically significant.) 

Are gun owners mentally ill?

  Some anti-gun people think owning a gun is a sign of some kind of mental abnormality. According to General Social Survey data, gun owners ...