Gene Callahan regards that story as largely mythical. Those knowledgeable about the past are invited to toss in their two cents.
August 21, 2013
August 12, 2013
This isn’t “frequency illusion” because my subjective frequency is unchanged, but the “Baader-Meinhof phenomenon” is likely making this diavlog on the psychology of optimistic bias more salient. That’s because I was reading a bit of Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast & Slow” yesterday concerning how good & bad moods affect System 1 vs System 2 thinking. The actual segment of the diavlog I linked to is titled “The optimal level of optimism”, but (as is made clear by the participants) that level is not “optimal” for accuracy. The depressed are known to be more accurate (this is called “depressive realism”) except in regard to the persistence of their depression. Tali Sharot claims in the link that the severely depressed are also less accurate, and that the mildly depressed are most accurate.
On the other hand, while searching on Overcoming Bias for support regarding “depressive realism” I came across this old post casting doubt on the concept.
On an unrelated note, Kahneman made a big deal out of priming in the book, beginning with the experiment where the word “Florida” causes people to walk slower (though he mentions later that those who dislike the elderly can react in the opposite way). He even says “You have no choice but to believe that you react this way”. So kudos to Kahneman that he has been so adamant about the need to replicate the priming studies in the wake of some failures to do so.
August 5, 2013
June 12, 2013
Steve Sailer referenced some of the controversies (aside from writing racy novels) Father Andrew Greeley was involved in, but didn’t give too many details. Casey Mulligan was more interested in Greeley’s legacy in social science such as helping to initiate the General Social Survey (for which, as you might guess, I am very grateful) but he did link to a very interesting piece on Greeley’s machinations (themselves the result of manipulation) to oust (and at minimum stymie the ascent of) Cardinal John Patrick Cody.
June 3, 2013
May 1, 2013
April 7, 2013
I asked Dalliard at Human Varieties about how “real” the Big Five personality factors were and he responded linking to a paper looking at the “facets” or sub-components of those factors. I thought folks might be curious what those facets are, so here goes.
Social confidence versus anxiety
Trustfulness versus cynicism
Compassion versus sensitivity
Humility versus arrogance
Self-discipline versus distractability
Idealism versus conformity
April 2, 2013
It wasn’t that long ago that I last did a post on this subject, and then discussed it with Karl Zimmerman in the GNXP Discover comments. Some more interesting studies on the subject are pointed out at the Freakonomics blog, inspired by Ray Fisman & Tim Sullivan’s book “The Org”. Hat tip to Tyler Cowen. Those interested in that book might want to check out some relevant posts at OrgTheory.
April 2, 2013
And I’m about half a year late in noticing. I guess that means I won’t have to keep any material duplicated here from there, but I’m too lazy to remove anything and don’t see the utility in doing so.
April 1, 2013
March 29, 2013
As of today.
I was going to say that’s the first time a blogger I read a significant amount from has died, but then I remembered Lee Sigelman of the Monkey Cage. I don’t expect many fans of Auster are also fans of Sigelman, but those who haven’t heard of Lee may enjoy The Hobbesian World of Democrats.
March 28, 2013
March 14, 2013
Lot’s of people have heard of that study predicting traits by Facebook “likes”. I saw a reference to the mypersonality.org url, which then directed me to where you can be analyzed at youarewhatyoulike.com. It says I am:
Liberal and artistic rather than conservative and traditional
Spontaneous and flexible versus well-organized
Shy and reserved rather than outgoing and active
Assertive and competitive rather than warm, trusting and cooperative
Calm and relaxed as opposed to stressed
The “likes” they considered most indicative were Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, Electric Wizard, Pelican and Motörhead (all of them bands). They don’t mention it, but the second probably makes them think I use drugs. The only descriptors I’d definitely agree with are “calm and relaxed” and I suppose “shy and reserved” at times. “Liberal and artistic” is probably the wrongest, but it’s true that I’m not well organized either (I don’t think there’s a way to get the descriptor “dislikes any change to their familiar disorganization”). Of course, I can’t even remember when I last “liked” anything on Facebook. About a month or so I saw one of them that I didn’t even recognize and had to wikipedia it, only to find it was a jazz fusion drummer.
March 3, 2013
February 24, 2013
For a while jokers like Noel Ignatiev have been promulgating “whiteness studies” claiming that groups like the Irish were not initially considered “white”. My comment no longer appears at Reason, but I tried pointing out to Ron Bailey that even turn-of-the-century racialists who embraced the concepts of “Nordic”, “Alpine” and “Mediterranean” still considered European immigrants to be white. Lothrop Stoddard’s notorious book “The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy” (which you can read for free online) is quite explicit on that point. At the same time, what we consider salient depends on the context. So if the only people who can effectively vote are white men (an important legal distinction inclusive to these supposedly non-white immigrants), intra-white distinctions are going to be salient in politics. In other situations where people are homogenous in race and language they might divide over religion, as in Northern Ireland.
Recently I came across one of the rarest of things, an anonymous comment at the iSteve blog which is actually worth reading. It links to the American Journal of Sociology paper Defining America’s Racial Boundaries: Blacks, Mexicans, and European Immigrants, 1890–1945 by Cybelle Fox and Thomas A. Guglielmo. The paper is unfortunately gated, but anonymous provides an excerpt:
In stark contrast [to the black-white boundary], there was essentially no SEE-white boundary [SEE=Southern and Eastern Europeans]. Contrary to the arguments of many whiteness studies historians and the social scientists who have drawn on their work, we contend that wherever white was a meaningful category, SEEs were almost always included within it, even if they were simultaneously positioned below NWEs [=Northern and Western Europeans]. Some individuals and an occasional institution questioned—or appeared to question—the whiteness of SEEs and other Europeans, blurring the boundary in limited contexts. But the categorization of SEEs as nonwhite was neither widely recognized nor institutionalized. In fact, quite the opposite. Federal agencies including the census, the military, the immigration service, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and others all counted by race and placed SEEs firmly within the white category. No court ever denied Europeans the right to naturalize as free white persons at least in part because race scientists and the “common man” placed SEEs within the boundaries of whiteness. Furthermore, when SEEs saw Whites Only signs in movie theaters, restaurants, swimming pools, playgrounds, buses and streetcars, and at places of employment, they could—with near certainty—be confident that those signs were not meant to exclude them. Similarly, when housing covenants restricted the sale of homes to whites, when unions declared that their membership was restricted to white workers, when schools declared that their doors were open to white children only, and where marriage laws prohibited miscegenation, SEEs quickly learned that the category “white” included them, too.
So yes, Jim Crow really existed, and it did apply to blacks and not European immigrants. This also came up when a bunch of people got irritated at Fabio Rojas for writing about our “post-racist society“. It would be understandable if he said something extreme like “racism doesn’t exist”, but nobody says that (although if race didn’t exist, that’s what you’d expect). He was quite clear in his original post that he was saying that the end of legal sanction for explicit racism was a significant change, which I’d think would be hard to dispute. But perhaps for reasons of “mood affiliation” (and a better example than most of the time Tyler Cowen uses the phrase now), people got upset for him saying positive things about what improvements had happened rather than focusing what bad things exist now. Further back Mencius Moldbug and his acolytes tried to claim that after the civil war slaves were still sharecroppers, so their lot was not meaningfully different. Economic historians actually gather data on what folks earned back then, rather than relying on mere assertion, so I was able to point out that was false.