Saturday, May 10, 2014

Strange logic about race and cognition at New Scientist—and by Vox Day

How your ancestors' farms shaped your thinking - life - 08 May 2014 - New Scientist: "students from all-wheat areas were 56 per cent more likely to think analytically than students from all-rice areas. For example, when asked to match the two closest of sheep, dog and grass, they grouped sheep and dog, which appear most similar. Students from rice-growing areas grouped sheep and grass, as these have the closest relationship to each other in real life, and to them this relationship mattered more than physical resemblance."

Vox Day shared that to support his belief that "culture is genetic". But if a single test with variables that aren't mentioned in the article is significant, the students from the rice-growing areas are the ones who think more analytically. A slightly higher percentage of students from the wheat-growing areas made the superficial connection of sheep and dog based on their appearance, while a few more students from the rice-growing area saw the deeper relationship: A sheep is not a dog, but sheep eat grass and dogs do not.

Ah, well. Some people are just desperate for a reason to feel superior, no matter how silly the example. Confirmation bias can make fools of us all, and the stronger our belief, the more likely we are to accept the flimsiest support for it.

ETA: New book on race by Nicholas Wade: Professor Ceiling Cat says paws down « Why Evolution Is True