Not Science

An Initial Association Test (IAT) purports to signal whether the testee (I nearly wrote something else) displays an inherent bias against something or someone. It’s called “science” (mostly by the charlatans who dreamt it up) but it isn’t, as the redoubtable Heather MacDonald writes in City Journal:

There is hardly an aspect of IAT doctrine that is not now under methodological challenge.
Any social-psychological instrument must pass two tests to be considered accurate: reliability and validity. A psychological instrument is reliable if the same test subject, taking the test at different times, achieves roughly the same score each time. But IAT bias scores have a lower rate of consistency than is deemed acceptable for use in the real world—a subject could be rated with a high degree of implicit bias on one taking of the IAT and a low or moderate degree the next time around. A recent estimate puts the reliability of the race IAT at half of what is considered usable. No evidence exists, in other words, that the IAT reliably measures anything stable in the test-taker.

And it gets better:

But the fiercest disputes concern the IAT’s validity. A psychological instrument is deemed “valid” if it actually measures what it claims to be measuring—in this case, implicit bias and, by extension, discriminatory behavior. If the IAT were valid, a high implicit-bias score would predict discriminatory behavior, as Greenwald and Banaji asserted from the start. It turns out, however, that IAT scores have almost no connection to what ludicrously counts as “discriminatory behavior” in IAT research—trivial nuances of body language during a mock interview in a college psychology laboratory, say, or a hypothetical choice to donate to children in Colombian, rather than South African, slums. Oceans of ink have been spilled debating the statistical strength of the correlation between IAT scores and lab-induced “discriminatory behavior” on the part of college students paid to take the test. The actual content of those “discriminatory behaviors” gets mentioned only in passing, if at all, and no one notes how remote those behaviors are from the discrimination that we should be worried about.

In other words, the stats don’t add up, and the subject of the test (racial bias) cannot be established beyond cooking the numbers and faulty projection.

Sound like global warming theory.

If you read the whole piece — it’s long, like all City Journal articles — what will strike you the most (as it did me) was not the bullshit of the IAT, but the degree to which the IAT has become embedded in government and the corporate world.

This is yet another reason why I could never find employment in today’s business world: not only would I refuse to take the test, but I’d also pour scorn on the whole process, loudly. Exit Kim, on Day One at Global MegaCorp, Inc. And I wouldn’t even get a chance to be fired for complimenting some harpy on her outfit, or for carrying my 1911 into the office.

But I digress.

Once again, as with global warming “science”, this whole IAT thing smacks of people having a theory (people are prejudiced / the Earth is over-heating because of SUVs), then creating the pseudo-science underpinning to support and prove the theory. So it’s complete bullshit, just like Glueball Wormening. (Of course, the appearance of “Harvard” in the credentials of one of the IAT’s developers should have been a warning to everyone.)

I should also remind everyone that Heather MacDonald is a statistician, not just a journalist. Hers is the scientific method; what those other two tools are doing is selling snake oil.

Wanting Equality, Getting Equality

While I hate the idea, I nevertheless applaud this little announcement:

The Pentagon says the country should stick with mandatory registration for a military draft, and it advocates a requirement for women to sign up for the first time in the nation’s history.
The recommendations are contained in a Defense Department report to Congress that serves as a starting point for a commission examining military, national and public service.
Congress ordered the Pentagon report, and the office of the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness completed it in the early months of the Trump administration.
Currently, only male citizens and residents age 18-25 are required to register, for a pace of about 2 million each year.
Women, whom the government has never ordered to sign up, would add 11 million to the Selective Service System database “in short order,” the report says.

To paraphrase Mencken, equality is the theory that women know what they want, and they deserve to get it good and hard.

Girlyman Alert

Oh good grief. Apparently there’s a talk show for men scheduled to appear on TV sometime soon.

I use the term “men” in its most penumbral sense because:

“We have all the shows in the world that empower women to talk about these things – which they should exist by the way because, let’s be honest, women deserve a safe space to have these conversations – but men don’t talk,” he says. “Even the idea of this show made men scoff, like, ‘Oh, who’s going to watch men talking to each other?’ That’s how rare this is. This is not The View for men. This is a conversation show. This is a show where men create a comfortable space for each other to go deep and have a conversation and we hope that this stuff happens in real life, too.”
Topics include personal subjects like body image, fatherhood and dating/relationships, but Baldoni also hopes to cover current events when appropriate.

My prediction: this show is going to tank worse than the upcoming “Lena Dunham Gives Harvey Weinstein A Pityfuck” Christmas special on the Disney Channel.

For those who can’t get it: men don’t talk about their feelings, body image or dating relationships. We already have a comfortable space; it’s called a pub or bar, and it’s there where we discuss our problems: the broken transmission on the truck, the dickhead boss, why [insert sports team of choice] sucks so badly this season, why we did badly in [insert relevant competition] last week, and why we have to call off the annual fishing trip (because the doctor says that the wife’s going to have the baby prematurely, or some such bullshit).

Discussion of dating relationships is of the “So, did you score last night?” variety, followed by a sympathetic shake of the head if negative, or a high-five if positive. If we talk about “body image” it’s of the “The Doc says I need to do something about this gut or I’m gonna die soon” type. That’s it.

You got it right, Baldoni: men don’t talk, and we don’t watch shows about men talking either. Maybe if your guest list included actual men (e.g. Clint Eastwood), we might be tempted; but the problem is that such a show would include a few terse sentences, lots of nodding and even more sips of single malt. Unless the men start showing off their latest gun- or new car purchase; oh, then the conversation will flow, you betcha. But that’s not your typical modern-day TV entertainment, is it? Oh no: just look at the list of participants, and note that one is a transgender butch dyke of indeterminate gender who specializes in Wokedom or some such crap. That’s yer conversation fodder eight there, you betcha.

So having turned off real men, all the viewers of this crappy little show will be women and girlymen, and no doubt these same viewers will start Volume-11 whining and hashtagging the moment any one of the participants says anything remotely manly or controversial, or anything that isn’t part of the Universal Pussification Zeitgeist.

Then the show will be ignominiously canceled, and it’ll be All Men’s Fault, as usual. So much for a masculine “safe space”. What bollocks.

I’ve told the story before about my incredulity towards the stupid Hollywood production process as portrayed in the movie “The Player“, and the acid comment from The Mrs., “They aren’t even that smart.”

Here’s proof of that statement.

Not Wanted Here

Following the anti-tourist demonstrations in Majorca last week comes this new outburst of hatred for tourists — this time, sadly, in one of my favorite cities in the whole world: Amsterdam.

AMSTERDAM has launched a city centre crackdown against holidaymakers as anti-tourism riots gather pace across Europe.
Souvenir shops and bicycle hire, as well as fast food outlets boasting ice-creams, waffles and cheese, have now been blocked from opening in the Dutch city.
Officials say the shutdown is in a bid to stop “mass tourism” ruining Amsterdam’s “magnificent streets”.
It is the latest city to hit back at holidaymakers, with rioters and protesters intimidating tourists in Spain and Italy claiming they are ruining the country.
Mayor of Amsterdam, Kajsa Ollongren, said: “Tourists are very welcome, but we want to avoid mass tourism taking over our magnificent streets, canals and neighbourhoods.”

Ms Ollongren added: “We want to make sure the city centre remains attractive and liveable for the residents of Amsterdam.”

Let’s be honest, here. “Mass tourism” is a euphemism for “masses of drunken foreigners, especially Brits” because like Marbella and Ibiza, Amsterdam has become a destination — this time for bachelor parties — with ultra-cheap airfares and ferry fares making it less expensive, in many cases, for partygoers to travel there than to, say, hire a bus to take the party from Manchester to Margate. And with the high cost of hotel rooms in Amsterdam, the drunks don’t stay overnight — at least, not in hotel rooms: they simply drink themselves into a stupor, pass out in the streets and parks (Amsterdam has a very tolerant police force), and then catch the morning flight back to Britain, severely hungover (or still drunk). Here’s an example — and imagine if this happened at your favorite restaurant:

So I can appreciate the Amsterdam government’s point. Like the Balearic Islands, there has to be a point where you draw the line and say, as the mayor did: we’re going to put our residents first. And for those who don’t know this, Amsterdam, unlike tourist meccas such as Paris or London, is actually a tiny city: you can walk it flat in three days — I have — and pretty much see all the sights (unless you’re an art aficionado and spend hours in the Rijksmuseum, as I also have). So yes, it’s easy for the city of Amsterdam to be swamped and overwhelmed by tourists — more tourists than they’ve normally had to deal with in the past — and especially by tourists who act like the foul slobs above instead of like well-mannered guests.

And let’s be clear about this: if the wonderful, civilized and tolerant Dutch people are getting pissed off about these invasions, then things have really deteriorated.

I’m sad about this because in the past I’ve tried constantly to be the absolute antithesis of the above-mentioned unspeakables: I’m quiet, try to fit in by acting like a local, eat the local foods and in general, be a traveler more than a tourist. In other words, I’ve always been aware that I’m not a local, and there under sufferance. But thanks to the bad behavior of some revolting louts, it looks like I’m going to be caught in whatever net the various tourist cities erect to preserve their sanity.

Which sucks.

I love to travel, and it pains me to think that one of my great pleasures in life is going to be restricted because of the baleful outcome of the coarsening of Western society.


Update: I forgot to include the official anthem of Amsterdam. (Okay, it isn’t; but it should be.)

Waste Of Time

So I went for my annual checkup last Wednesday, and caused the usual response from Dr. Whatsit: “Bugger off and stop wasting my time; I have sick people to look after.” (Oh, and I’d lost nearly ten pounds avoirdupois since my last check-up — most, I suspect, since I returned from Britishland and stopped consuming all those pies, fish & chips, Turkish Delight and Wadworth 6X.) But that’s not the topic of this post.

All the staff were wearing pink instead of their normal blue scrubs, so of course I had to ask the (stupid) question: “Why are you all wearing pink?” and met with the obvious response: “To raise awareness of breast cancer.”

FFS: is there a sentient human being living on this planet who isn’t aware of breast cancer?

The PGA golfers (male and female) wore those silly little lapel ribbons; the NFL players, back before they became unpatriotic little shits, also wore them; and the entire South African (male) cricket team wore all-pink uniforms during an international competition a couple years back. It looked like a Mary fucking Kay convention with cricket bats and helmets, not to mention gay.

By now, I think that if you wanted to raise awareness of breast cancer, you’d have to charter a skywriting aircraft to fly over the jungles of Borneo or the Amazon, because those poor ignorant savages don’t play golf or watch football and probably don’t know the first thing about cricket (thus joining 99% of Americans, but that’s a topic for another time).

What Americans do know a great deal about is breast cancer — but basically, that awareness is worth exactly diddly, because as with so much doubleplus feel-goody bullshit, you can’t do anything with that information — other than to give money to the American Cancer Society, which already has more money than the average Central European nation, but which always seems to need more for… what, exactly? It’s not like the ACS owns cancer hospitals (like the Shriners); no, it seems as though the ACS needs more money to “make people aware” of a disease which everybody fucking knows about already. So basically, raising awareness really means “raising money”. I don’t have a problem with this, I just want people to be honest about their motives.

Oh, and get this: death rates from breast cancer are down 39% since 1989 (from the ACS website, no less). No doubt it’s because of increased awareness of cancer, not vastly improved medications and treatment. (And yes, I know the ACS funds research into the thing — I just think that they could fund even more if they stopped all these timewasting “awareness” drives.)

Cancer is a horrible, lousy, terrible disease. We all know this — some of us, like me, from first-hand or immediate second-hand experience of it — and honestly, I think we can stop with the childish pink ribbons and such because we run the risk of trivializing it.

And by the way: death rates from breast cancer among women are about 21.2 per 100,000.

For men, the death rate from prostate cancer is about 20.1 per 100,000 — statistically about the same as female breast cancer — yet I’ll bet that more people are “aware” of breast cancer than of prostate cancer. I wonder why that is?

Simple Question For The NFL

…and in fact for all the people who are refusing to stand for the National Anthem:

If you don’t stand for the National Anthem, what DO you stand for?

And I mean that in every sense of the word — because my immediate reaction is: you don’t stand for shit. Also, I don’t want to hear any bullshit about your First Amendment right to protest. This nation’s Constitution proudly protects that right — and the very least you can do is acknowledge that protection by showing respect to its anthem.

This picture turned my stomach:

…and today, after wearing it proudly for thirty years, I will be throwing my Dallas Cowboys coat in the trash because that’s where it belongs.

So you listen to me, Jerry Jones, you arrogant, bloviating fuckwit: you’ve just lost the right to call yourself “America’s Team” because you don’t get to have it both ways. And that goes for the preening, pampered and overpaid prima donnas who call themselves your “players” as well, may they all die from football-related concussion. You’re nobody, you’re nothing, you’re dead to me: you, your team, all the other teams and the whole fucking NFL.

You don’t exist anymore. Fuck Off And Die, the lot of you.