Re: to PC, or not to PC (was Re: Genius and Y chromosomes).

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Tue, 7 Jan 1997 12:47:03 -0800 (PST)

> PC is an argumentative technique, where inadequately (according to their
> lights) represented groups try to discredit their opponents by applying
> emotionally loaded, ad hominish argumentation ("perfectly obvious... you
> are a Commie/Nazi/paedophile if you think XY").
> The scientific work of de Garis is not connected to his world views at
> all. Perhaps, we should discuss the instrumentality of CAM-flavoured
> systems in artificial cognition, not whether the person de Garis eats
> baby bacon crisps for breakfast.

The instrumentality of CAM-flavored systems in artificial cognition is
not as universally relevant to extropians as is the nature of genius.
And I think it is not unfair to point out to a researcher in artificial
cognition that his own organic cognition--which will have an impact on
his work--is faulty. de Garis's manifest sexism is, as you say, no
more relevant to his field of study than Teller's alleged racism was
to nuclear fusion. But sexism itself, and de Garis's outrageous use
of it, /is/ worthy of discussion in itself.

As Eli points out, the fact that the extra Y chromosome gives males
a 2% advantage in genetic diversity is suggestive--but only that. To
use this as a post-hoc justification for the historical dominance
of men in the face of clear evidence of social causes rather than
biological ones is a disgraceful misapplication of science, and it is
quite proper to call him on it.

The question for extropians is what is the nature of genius. The
fact that by some particular measure (say SATs), men dominate in
large numbers tells us interesting things that deserve study. What
is it about the different ways boys and girls are raised, the ways
they are treated in society, the ideas about sex propogated by the
popular media, and yes, even their biology and social evolution,
that may have led to this state of affairs, and how can we apply
these conditions to more potential geniuses? What is it about the
nature of our measurement that might be biased?

Let us strive to find more facts not to justify prior conclusions,
but to suggest, criticize, and realize new possibilities.