MEMETICS: The Triumph of Reason

Lyle Burkhead (
Tue, 21 Jan 1997 01:54:54 -0500 (EST)

On January 5, David McFadzean wrote,

> While exploring Hugo de Garis's web site on brain building
> I came across this rant on political correctness. He claims that
> genius is an undeniably male trait. I would be interested
> if anyone has a reasonable argument against his views

Here are two samples of the reasonable arguments that appeared on the

1. From Eliezer Yudkowsky:

> Dr. de Garis, you are a raving lunatic with no more chance of
> matching my SAT scores than you have of flying, regardless of
> how many Y chromosomes you happen to be born with.
> Let me share a secret with you. A test designed by *any*
> socio-political-economic group, any group whatsoever, will
> weed out all those not of that group. If the poor designed tests,
> they would weed out the rich. It would come as absolutely
> no surprise whatsoever to find that the 14:1 SAT ratios you cite
> are being achieved on an SAT designed by a committee with
> 14 male members and 1 female member... or certainly one with a
> male committee chairman.
> It's all very well to place oneself at the apex of a hierarchy you
> design... until you wind up at the bottom of someone else's hierarchy.
> I am a member of an SAT-scoring group which damn well certainly
> excludes you, regardless of how many females happen to be in it.
> I've decided to form a club of geniuses. You, of course, are not
> invited. It's not in your genetic destiny. You'll never match a
> *real* genius, because I don't recall any *real* geniuses
> (think of exclusionary criteria...) with a Japanese email address!
> Yes, virtually every invention I've ever heard of was designed by an
> American, and no genius *I've* ever heard of was Japanese.
> In fact, although I happen to be making this statistic up, only 1 out of
> 14 top SAT scorers, in the Midwest, are Japanese.

2. From E Shaun Russell:

> 'Genius' can (obviously, IMO) be either male or female.
> If one person says that this fact is otherwise, I don't understand how
> the majority of the listeners don't just brush it off as foolhardy.
> That is mainly the reason why I wished the "Political Correctness"
> thread to be is insulting to our intelligence (again, IMO).

That's pretty much what I would expect from Shaun Russell. I would
expect better from Eliezer, but when the dogma of equality is challenged,
apparently even he is eager to reduce himself to the same level as Shaun.
What happened to those fine proclamations about Truth? -- "I think that
the truth takes precedence over anyone's feelings, including my own."
Never mind.

Now David Musick asks: Is there any reason to be optimistic that
Reason will finally prevail?

David answers in the affirmative. I disagree. I don't think reason will
finally prevail. I think what will happen is, the word "Reason" will be
increasingly invoked as a code-word, but reason itself will not prevail
on the internet any more than anywhere else. On the contrary:
the very people who go on and on about "Reason" will be the first to
*quell* inquiries into matters that they don't want to see discussed.