Showing posts with label Cliques. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cliques. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The National Review Takes on Neil Degrasse Tyson and Nerd (God I hate that word) Culture

This month The National Review published an article by Charles C. W. Cooke skewering Neil DeGrasse Tyson and what he calls the new "Nerd (God I hate that word) Culture' where individuals adopt characteristics of a culture to look cool.  Cooke begins with a discussion of the clip below from the TV show Portlandia where a beautiful blonde states that she wants to give up modeling because she saw The Avengers 2 which makes her a nerd (did I mention I hate that word I'm calling it my N word from here on out this link will tell you why).  The video below shows what happens next.

On Real Time with Bill Maher, Tyson responded to the article as can be seen in the clip below.  Maher stated that conservatives hate Tyson.  Tyson responded by saying that N words (at comic con) tend to vote democratic and the right wishes that more N words would vote with their side.


The article doesn't denounce Tyson so much as N word culture.  It does say that just because you attend comic con doesn't make you a bonafide intellectual.   I don't read comic books or go to comic-con conventions.  They hate the 60's Batman TV series, I think it's hilarious. Cooke correctly criticizes those argue in favor of climate change while not really understanding the theory.  This he claims is a result of the wedding of Hollywood, science, and politics.

The article did not mention climate change or evolution but it did talk about how N word culture shuns researchers Cooke admires such as Charles Murray (author of the Bell Curve which argues for a racial hierarchy of intelligence) and anti transsexual Paul McHugh.  Cooke also claimed that there was conclusive evidence that the government programs Medicaid and Head Start do not work (I've read considerable evidence to the contrary).  


With all of this complaining about the supposed snobbery of those who engage in intellectual pursuits, I'm reminded of the founder of The National Review, William F. Buckley who debated Noam Chomsky in this clip about US foreign policy,  Both men engage in high sounding words but Chomsky speaks in opposition to US power while Buckley is in favor of the war in Vietnam.  Snobbery is only a problem when you're on the short end.

Understanding of complex phenomenon is aided by presenting scientific principles in novel ways as the series Cosmos did in 1980 and in 2014.  The science was sound but it did not jive with what the right wanted to hear at least with the 2014 version.  I don't know if the National Review criticized Carl Sagan and the original Cosmos but SCTV did a pretty good spoof of both of them in The Battle of the PBS stars.


**Related Posts**

Cosmos Redux?

 

The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science | Mother Jones 

 

Why Elites Fail | The Nation

 

My N Word (not what you think)

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Morsel of Mensa Measurement


For those of you who don't know, Mensa is an organization of individuals who score in the top 2% or 98th percentile of intelligence tests. Founded in 1946 in Great Britain in has 100,000 members worldwide and 57,000 members in the US.  If the IQ tests normative data were correct, there would be 6 million of the over 300 million people in the US eligible for membership in the US.  Their site says their membership ranges in age from 2 to 102 and includes actress Geena Davis, Dilbert creator Scott Adams, and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov.


This month (January 2013) the US organization is letting individuals take the short form of their admission test online for free.  Out of curiosity I took the test.  They asked me for personal information like where I lived, my age, gender, and other demographic info.  Items include object rotation, word association, and math reasoning to make them as culturally and age unbiased as possible.  It has four sections and you're given 8 minutes for each section.  Another reason that they are doing this is to test out items for their comprehensive entrance examination  that people who want to join would have to pay to take.  

I scored 56 out of a possible 80 in the raw score which they estimate (I assume is a 95% confidence interval) would put me between the 62nd and 88th percentiles on their comprehensive exam which at best is 10% below Mensa's cutoff.  Of course I had the TV on in the background but I have no intention of taking the big Mensa test.  

With the right practice and coaching, I could conceivably beat the Mensa test just as Kaplan makes a lot of money off of SAT test takers trying to get into the Ivy League but why?  In my post My N Word I argued that those who are studious and intelligent who have been shunned sometimes create their own elite group in response to that shunning.  While it may be fine for Geena Davis, Scott Adams, and Isaac Asimov (I wonder how many times they took the test before they got in?) I believe that this is the wrong response.  I believe it is better to share it with the masses.  Former Dallas Coach Jimmy Johnson is said to have an IQ in the Mensa range but is not listed as a member.

This January's opportunity to take their test is a chance to see behind the curtain. You can see how you measure up to the Mensans for free until January 31 here after that you will have to pay.  After you give them your information they will send you a key to login to the test and it may take a few hours before you receive the email with the key.



**Related Posts**



My N Word 

 

Testing Question

 

The Audacious Epigone

 

ADHD, Genetics, and Causality: A Chicken-Egg Problem

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My N Word

This post is not about that word that African Americans might say to each other but would get really upset is someone else called them by that word. You know the one that Dr. Laura Schlessinger said 11 times on her radio show and that she is now ending her show over (Sarah Palin has since told her to "reload" on Twitter) or Rick Santorum may or may not have said on the campaign trail. I totally understand the love-hate relationship that they have with that word.

This post is about the N word that Bill Gates, Woody Allen and Stephen Hawking can afford to wear as a badge of honor. By trying to turn a word that was used to define a group of kids who did not fit in with normal ones they are just creating a new club that is exclusive to others. As I argued in my post Bullying and Society what goes on in our schools is just a microcosm of our society where groups need to define other groups
to make themselves feel important.

In my post
Senate, House, Governor Races, Making Sense of Just One Race I presented the inner workings of exit poll data from the PA Senate race to deconstruct the inner workings of polls that are often presented on the news to the masses from on high as Bible truth. In this modern world of ever specialized knowledge, understanding of how and why things are the way that they are is in fewer and fewer hands. Would Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and their enlightened ilk have wanted to call themselves anything other than ordinary men?


**Update**


In the article

Why geeks make better adults than the in-crowd

a study by Alexandra Robbins argues that the personality traits that are shunned in high school tend to serve them better when they're done with school.  She relies mostly on case studies so I would be cautious about generalizing from the high school experiences of Steven Spielberg, Stefanie Germanotta (a.k.a. Lady Gaga), and Angelina Jolie to everyone who has been shunned in school.  She does make some interesting proposals for treating kids equally.  Robbins book may be an interesting read.