Click here for a nice piece on the problem of iron-manning and the spread of ignorance. Here is a taste:
Self-deprecating, too liberal for their own good, today's progressives stand back and watch, hands over their mouths, as the social vivisectionists of the right slice up a living society to see if its component parts can survive in isolation. Tied up in knots of reticence and self-doubt, they will not shout stop. Doing so requires an act of interruption, of presumption, for which they no longer possess a vocabulary.
Perhaps it is in the same spirit of liberal constipation that, with the exception of Charlie Brooker, we have been too polite to mention the Canadian study published last month in the journal Psychological Science, which revealed that people with conservative beliefs are likely to be of low intelligence. Paradoxically it was the Daily Mail that brought it to the attention of British readers last week. It feels crude, illiberal to point out that the other side is, on average, more stupid than our own. But this, the study suggests, is not unfounded generalisation but empirical fact.
Also via Leiter, an interesting podcast on fallacies of reasoning.
*fixed crazy typo in title. Silly me.
**Had to change picture; I was getting malware warnings from Google Chrome.
2 thoughts on “Too timid to object”
Not sure what work the study on correlations between intelligence and conservatism is supposed to be doing vis-a-vis political debate. It is interesting, but what does it tell us about conservatism exactly?
Liberalism is correlated with education level, which is not news to anybody. Education level is correlated with IQ – also not news. It may give a very weak prima facie reason to privilege the opinions of liberals over conservatives, but not much. It certainly doesn't go very far in addressing the actual object-level correctness of liberal vs conservative political philosophy.
I'm a compatibilist about free will. Suppose somebody does a study (with high N) that shows compatibilists are on average 2 IQ points below libertarians. Should this really give me a lot of pause? I don't think so. It's probably just some spurious correlative relationship.
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