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Archive for February, 2011

My knowledge of human biodiversity is a constant comfort in my family’s homeschooling efforts.  I’ve seen many parents stress themselves out about academics, and the sheer plethora of materials and teaching methods are overwhelming.  By necessity, women like my wife are usually the primary homeschooling parent, and one thing I’ve noticed about Christian homeschooling mothers is the deep sense of guilt and anxiety they seem to have concerning their homeschooling competence.  Add to this the selection of extroverted “Perfect Mommy” (if you believe their blog) homeschool bloggers and it’s enough to make any mother feel inadequate.  Unlike men, women don’t seem to be able to write off obsessive outliers as weirdos (men, for better or worse, have stronger egos typically), but rather doubt themselves and their decisions based on a blog post she read about how someone’s four year old is supposedly learning calculus with play-doh while doing copywork out of the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

I try to comfort my wife with scientific reality.  Among my conclusions:

1. All of these various methods of homeschooling, whether Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unit Study, whatever, NONE OF THEM have been subjected to a scientific controlled study documenting whether one or the other is better (and no study would likely show any difference between reasonably robust curriculums because of #2).  All of the “evidence” presented is anecdotal and useless, or based on an elaborate system of untestable hypotheses about how learning is supposed to occur.  My family chooses to do a more-or-less classical-based curriculum, but that’s based on a personal preference (specifically that my children are exposed to the heritage of their civilization and don’t become just narrow-minded Biblicists, i.e. Bible idolaters who reject the notion that all truth is God’s truth).  I have no illusions that my choice of curriculum will make a difference in any child’s academic outcomes.  I am also prepared to abandon our curriculum choice if it seems in the best interest of a child, the family or their mother.

2. Human Biodiversity: identical twin studies have pretty much proven that intelligence is about 70% genetically determined.  Of the remaining 30%, about 70% of that is based on non-genetic developmental biology, i.e. proper maternal nutrition during pregnancy, breastfeeding, sufficient iron intake during childhood, a safe and stable home environment etc.  That leaves 9% up for grabs for our homeschooling efforts, which is approximately the same maximum difference in IQ outcomes you see for identical twins (i.e. same genetics) raised in different homes.  Do your best, as in all things, but there’s no need to shorten your life with anxiety over homeschooling.  E. O. Wilson, the world’s foremost living biologist, put it this way, as summarized by Tom Wolfe:

Every human brain, he says, is born not as a blank tablet (a tabula rasa) waiting to be filled in by experience but as “an exposed negative waiting to be slipped into developer fluid.” You can develop the negative well or you can develop it poorly, but either way you are going to get precious little that is not already imprinted on the film. The print is the individual’s genetic history, over thousands of years of evolution, and there is not much anybody can do about it. Furthermore, says Wilson, genetics determine not only things such as temperament, role preferences, emotional responses, and levels of aggression, but also many of our most revered moral choices, which are not choices at all in any free–will sense but tendencies imprinted in the hypothalamus and limbic regions of the brain, a concept expanded upon in 1993 in a much–talked–about book, The Moral Sense, by James Q. Wilson (no kin to Edward O.).

Science is proving Calvinism, folks.  There is no free will.

Don’t let the evolution word above scare you.  That’s just Wilson’s worldview poking out (to the extent he is not talking about microevolution), not the nugget of his scientific work.  Wilson is a brilliant Alabama native who did his research work on the world of ants.  One of the results of Wilson’s work was his finding that ants exhibit extremely complex behaviors naturally, without any sort of training.  This breakthrough research showed that genetics can not only determine physical characteristics of organisms, but also quite complex social behaviors, which culminated in Wilson’s theory of sociobiology.

Whether we believe it is by evolution or design, Wilson showed that genetics have a major impact on behavior.  Wilson is hated by Marxists, for he destroys their social theory of the blank slate.  If inequalities between people are due to inherent differences and not exploitation, then the whole Marxist theory collapses.

Interestingly, many Christians, under the influence of biology deniers like Ken Ham (who essentially denies microevolution in humans with his illogical and unbiblical assertion that we are all equal), have now adopted the Marxist theory of the mind’s development.  I prefer to relax and know that God has taken care of the details in a genetic code that I and my children inherited through no effort of our own.

In short, you don’t have to “let go and let God.”  You can let go because God already did.  Your child’s genetic code has already been providentially decreed.

As I’ve covered elsewhere in my body of work, this reality of the overwhelming role of genetics also has implications for marriage and adoption.  In short: genetics matter.  Marry well and have your own children if you can.  The Christians of Jane Austen’s world did not talk about “good breeding” because they were racist, atheist evolutionists.  They simply noticed God’s design, in both animals and humans, before it was crimethink to recognize human differences.

3. Moral Development: This is the big area that your parenting efforts can impact.  Again, this is subject to a Pareto effect.  Assuming your family practices Christian morals, 80% of the benefit of homeschooling is that your children are not subject to the moral sewer of the public (and, for the most part, private) schools.  80% of what’s remaining will come from your direct instruction, discipline and your children’s observation of your moral behavior, and their genetics (see Dobson’s The Strong-Willed Child for references on how “difficult” children are hard coded that way from birth, and the distinction can only be mitigated by stronger parenting, not eliminated).  When you walk out of a store with something you didn’t pay for, your child seeing you walking back in to pay for it is ten times more powerful than their memorizing the catechism questions on “Thou shalt not steal.”  The Bible speaks of moral development as a casual, continuous and largely oral process of discussing God’s Law with your children just as a normal part of life.  And this is yet another reason not to worry about their religious academic work.  Make a reasonable choice based on your particular Christian beliefs and let go of the anxiety.

4. Political Economy and Worldview: This is an area where I feel a particular conviction.  My comments above are based on an assumption of curriculum equivalence and reasonableness.  Any popular homeschooling math book will probably be fine, as math is not a controversial subject.  However, since so many Christians have huge gaping holes in their worldview when it comes to the Human Equality Delusion, and this delusion has such a serious impact on the structural rot of our society, I am largely on my own in developing antidotes to these delusions so my children can truly understand how the world works.  I am working towards these ends.  My best idea so far is to particularly avoid contemporary religious writers.  When someone like John Piper writes with the authority of a minister of God, and presents ideas as true (for example, the Human Equality Delusion) which are not true and are outside the domain of his expertise, children can be influenced to believe bad ideas because they are coming from a religious source.

I would much prefer my children get their doctrine and instruction from theologians who lived before the Equality cult became predominant, or who actively fought it during their lifetimes.  The best authors seem to be those from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, theologians like Warfield, Thornwell, Van Til, Dabney, Rushdoony and to some extent, even C.S. Lewis (Lewis’ epilogue to The Screwtape Letters, “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” skewers the Equality cult).  While many earlier theologians were heavily influenced by the Enlightenment idea of the blank slate, these later men were exposed to a more developed theory of genetics and biology which better informed their worldviews, and had the luxury of digesting these truths of nature into a solidly Christian worldview before the current oppressive regime of political correctness took hold.

At some point I will publish a comprehensive list of recommended historical sources and textbooks for developing a proper worldview.  Since my children are young (our oldest boy is eight), I do not want to recommend anything we haven’t yet used.

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From my children’s catechism:

How does God reveal Himself?

In His Word and in nature.

From the leading US obstetric journal:

Adverse perinatal outcomes among interracial couples in the United States.

Getahun D, Ananth CV, Selvam N, Demissie K.

Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, 08901, USA. getahuda@umdnj.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: We examined the association between parental race and stillbirth and adverse perinatal and infant outcomes.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis using the 1995-2001 linked birth and infant death files that are composed of live births and fetal and infant deaths in the United States. The study included singleton births delivered at 20 or more weeks of gestation with a fetus weighing 500 g or more (N = 21,005,786). Parental race was categorized as mother white-father white, mother white-father black, mother black-father white, and mother black-father black. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the association between parental race and risks of stillbirth (at > or = 20 weeks), small for gestational age (defined as birth weight < 5th and < 10th percentile for gestational age), and early neonatal (< 7 days), late neonatal (7-27 days), and postneonatal (28-364 days) mortality. All analyses were adjusted for the confounding effects of maternal age, education, trimester at which prenatal care began, parity, marital status, and smoking during pregnancy.

RESULTS: Although risks varied across parental race categories, stillbirth was associated with a higher-than-expected risk for interracial couples: mother white-father black, relative risk (RR) 1.17 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.10-1.26) and mother black-father white, RR 1.37 (95% CI 1.21-1.54) compared with mother white-father white parents. The RR for stillbirth was even higher among mother black-father black parents (RR 1.67, 95% CI 1.62-1.72). The overall patterns of association for small for gestational age births (< 5th and < 10th percentile) and early neonatal mortality were similar to those seen for stillbirth.

CONCLUSION: There is an increased risk of adverse perinatal outcomes for interracial couples, including stillbirth, small for gestational age infants, and neonatal mortality.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II-2.

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Growing up in the dispensationalist stew of the Deep South, my childhood opinions of Jews were of a purely historical nature.  The Jews were “God’s Chosen People” in the Bible and my awareness of them as a contemporary people was present to some extent but not much of a practical concern.  We simply did not know any real life Jews in my rural county.  Only later, as I began my investigation into the root causes of our societal decline, did I become aware of Jews as a distinct, contemporary people group and the necessary but not sufficient role some of them played in our civilization’s decline.  The work of Kevin MacDonald is particularly useful.  Yes, I know MacDonald is an “evolutionary psychologist,” which tends to scare off Christians, but MacDonald’s evolution is of the micro variety (i.e. relatively small differences in personality between people groups) and his primary contribution is that of a historian, not a biologist.  MacDonald’s analysis of the outright academic fraud of Freud, Boas, the Frankfurt School and the 1965 immigration debate are invaluable.  However, since I still live in the Deep South, my knowledge of Jews is still mostly academic.  Though Hollywood does what it can to malign my people here in the South, the primary personal victims of Jewish intelligence, aggression and unethical behavior are Yankee WASP’s in places like New York and California, where our domestic Jewish population is heavily overrepresented.  This is why movies like The Social Network are particularly interesting to me, for they can provide a visceral appreciation of these differences beyond an academic understanding.

It is important to note that MacDonald’s research shows that only a particular type of Jew has been historically problematic in the United States.  Western European Jews largely contented themselves with making lots of money, largely due to their higher intelligence and the opportunities created by pietist Christians who saw the pursuit of wealth as inherently immoral.  These Jews were very small portions of antebellum America, and were loyal citizens.  MacDonald shows that it is in fact the recently immigrated Eastern European Jews who stir up most of the trouble that gets blamed on Jews generally.  These Jews have a more fundamental hatred of Western peoples and culture, probably stemming from their historical role as middlemen used by Eastern European elites to manage their estates.

The Social Network tells the story of Mark Zuckerberg, the Jewish, likely Eastern-European-descended founder of Facebook and the world’s youngest billionaire.  The most interesting facet of the story is Zuckerberg’s deep-seated resentment of WASP’s, particularly the Winkelvoss twins, members of an exclusive WASPy Harvard club that excluded geeky Jews like Zuckerberg and also Olympic-class rowers on Harvard’s crew team. The movie spends quite a bit of its early plot detailing the feelings of Jews like Zuckerberg: the dorky parties thrown by the Jewish fraternity compared to the old-money exclusive WASP clubs, the general physical attractiveness and greater size of the WASP athletes and Zuckerberg’s obsession with ascending the social order.

Early in the movie, Zuckerberg makes a reputation for himself as an extremely gifted, rebellious programmer when he creates a website called Facemash that pairs up female Harvard undergraduates in “faceoffs” where the user is asked to click on the face they find most attractive.  Zuckerberg then feeds the data into a fuzzy ranking algorithm that, over time, would reveal a fairly robust ranking of the pecking order of beauty among the female undergrads.  He has to hack into several computer systems to get access to the pictures, breaking numerous university policies, and landing himself on academic probation along with a reputation as a creepy jerk on campus.

Meanwhile, the Winklevoss twins have come up with an idea for a website: Harvard Connect, a site like Myspace but with the exclusivity of only allowing members with harvard.edu email addresses (one of the early issues with Myspace is that its heavy concentration of musicians and other artists gave it a distinctly prole, uncouth vibe, which ultimately led to its decline into a sort of Internet ghetto).    After seeing Zuckerberg’s work with Facemash, the twins contact him to be their programmer in a joint venture to create Harvard Connect.  Over the next month, Zuckerberg steals their idea to create his own website “The Facebook,” all the while leading on the Winklevoss with various excuses for his delay in programming their site.  Zuckerberg’s actions, of course, are illegal intellectual property theft, but as with all things legal, possession is 9/10 of the law and there is little one can do in the short term to prevent it outside of a grinding, slow, expensive and uncertain lawsuit.

The Winklevoss find out about Zuckerberg’s betrayal and are furious.  However, in a particularly revealing scene, they refuse to sue him.  They have their father’s attorney send a cease and desist letter to Zuckerberg, which he ignores, but other than that the twins insist that they are “Harvard men of honor” who would not do something as vulgar as suing a fellow undergraduate.  They appeal to the President’s office, again revealing the WASPy naievity, as the Jewish head of Harvard, Larry Summers, tells the boys that Harvard will not get involved even though Zuckerberg’s actions violated the student handbook.  You can see the incredulity in their eyes as they confront Summers.  This Zuckerberg guy broke the rules, and you’re supposed to enforce the rules.  Their gentile brains, with their universalist delusions that everyone shares their innate sense of right and wrong (“good sportsmanship” and all that – which Jews see as a delusional, degenerate weakness on our part), simply cannot compute that Summers would refuse to follow Harvard’s own rule book.

Filed early, a lawsuit could have shut down Zuckerberg’s project before it reached critical mass, but their delay only served as evidence that an injunction was unnecessary, reducing their negotiating leverage.  Months later, the Winklevoss sue, but it was too late.  They end up settling for $60+ million, a small fraction of the value of Facebook.  Arguably, under the law, all of Zuckerberg’s profits and equity should have been seized and given to them.  Yet, legal reality is different.  As their lawyers no doubt advised them, when the Pharisees run the courts (which is especially true in the rats’ nest along the New York-Boston-DC Axis of Evil) it’s going to be nearly impossible for good Christians to get justice.

Zuckerberg is a particularly pathological character, of course, but he is an extreme archetype of Jews, particularly those hailing from Eastern Europe where the hatred of Gentiles was most acidic.  If the Winklevoss had inherited some of their ancestors’ old-fashioned anti-Semitism, they would have known that it’s generally a bad idea to do business with Jews.  Lacking the Christian sense of fair play and good sportsmanship (that even nominal, cultural Christians like the Winklevoss still largely possess, and reinforced through athletics), nursing resentments against our culture and people, the temptation to cheat is almost impossible for them to overcome.  The lesson for Christians is simple: avoid dealings with Jews, for they are too risky.

Now, some of you will be shocked by that statement.  But think about it: these are highly intelligent, aggressive people who are completely unregenerate and devoid of the Holy Spirit.  Not only that, they do not share our cultural heritage, which makes most non-Christian white Gentiles fairly Christian in their behavior (thankfully, and illogically, and dissipating as we get further from our heritage of genuine belief).  Many of you will protest that my prescription is illegal.  Actually, only employers have any sort of restriction on religious discrimination, and then only when you have 15 employees or more.  You are perfectly free to discriminate when hiring contractors, professionals like attorneys and accountants and business partners.  Since these are the individuals who can do you the most harm, making use of one’s right of free association is a key protective business strategy.  As a Christian, if you really believe regeneration is real and the Holy Spirit is real, I don’t see how you can not discriminate.  To say within the Church, that only believers are truly capable of good works, and then to totally ignore that theological postulate outside the Church is inconsistent.  It’s against the spirit of our age certainly, an age in which Christians are expected to never utter a word about the exclusivity of their faith and the absolute Kingship of Jesus Christ, but it’s not wrong.

The second lesson from the Winklevoss: we as Gentiles need to lose some of our naivety and natural trust in others.  We’re no longer living in a German village where everyone is your third cousin and theft, adultery and lying are unheard of (the analysis of the Roman historian Tacitus of the pagan Germans), such that you have the luxury of trusting everyone.  Quite simply, we need to involve lawyers and other advisers early in our business decision making process; the legal system in this country is a racket, not a justice system, and you have to hire an expert to make sure you play the racket correctly.  There’s a saying in legal circles, which I can confirm with painful experience, and it’s an acronym: ELAINE, which stands for Early Legal Advice Is Not Expensive.  If any of the characters cheated by Zuckerberg had bothered to have their own reasonably competent attorney review documents or create basic documents (for example, a non-disclosure agreement before sharing the idea with Zuckerberg), they could have avoided much heartache.  They might even be billionaires instead of multi-millionaires.  At the root of this though is another is another WASP defect: we’re cheap.  The Winklevoss, instead of having their own attorney vet and protect their business venture (an expense of a few thousand dollars to a family worth millions), used their father’s in-house corporate counsel to send the cease and desist letter.  They then held off for months before hiring an attorney to pursue their interests.

A wise man learns and profits from others’ mistakes.  Go and do likewise.

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