Merry Christmas.

I know it's not politically correct, but neither am I. None of this "Happy Holidays" crap.

It's Merry Christmas and best wishes to my small band of readers.

Intellectual Ebola and HIV.

The Ebola virus was first recognised in 1976 and is one of the most deadly viruses on earth. It has a mortality of close to 80% (depending on the figures) and cuts a spectacular path of destruction. Spread is through the exchange of bodily fluids(including semen). The illness initially resembles a a typical cold but rapidly progresses to altered consciousness, bloody vomiting and diarrhea, bleeding, and a quick and gruesome death.

First recognised in 1981, the HIV virus is also spread by bodily fluids.  Infection initially causes a cold like illness and then the virus apparently seems to do nothing for a long period of time. The host, bearing no stigmata of the disease or any ill effects, carries on with the same behaviours that initially caused infection. Slowly the individual realises that something is wrong as opportunistic infections take hold. Without treatment, the mean time to death is ten years. Untreated, mortality is close to 100%.

The mode of death between the two illness is worth noting. In Ebola, the stigmata of the disease become readily apparent and the patients death is spectacular. In HIV, death's ensnarement is more leisured. For a long while the individual appears unaffected, even healthy initially, dying only years after infection.

The HIV virus is estimated to have killed approximately twenty five million people. Ebola, on the other hand, has killed roughly 1,800.

Two viruses, roughly discovered at the same time and with approximately the same mortality, yet the the death toll of one is four orders of magnitude greater than the other. Why?

Ebola's spectacular viciousness in claiming its victim alerts those unaffected of the danger in their midst. The malignity of Ebola is obvious and individuals can easily recognise the danger approaching and take appropriate steps to stop it. The afflicted are obviously unwell and the unaffiliated flee from them. Ebola consumes it's host before it is able to spread. It path of destruction thwarted by its obvious efficiency in killing.

HIV, on the other hand, is a more congenial fellow. After a mild illness, it leaves its host alone for years, minding its own business and slowly spreading. Bearing no stigmata of illness, the afflicted does not affront anyone and normal precautions are not implemented by others, allowing the virus to silently spread. The threat of HIV is not obvious, yet it kills to a greater degree than Ebola. It's evil is subtle as opposed to Ebola's gaudy display.

HIV is a less apparently obvious killer than Ebola, and its this subtlety which makes it far more dangerous. It's subtlety allows complacency.

Ideas can resemble viruses as well. Some, such as fascism, are seen as malignant early on and thwarted.  Others, such as communism, are just as malignant but for many years not recognised as such by huge swathes of the community. Over a hundred million dead trying to implement the Communist idea, that superficially, was meant to make the better place.

What got me thinking about this topic was this comments thread over at Jim Kalb's. Commentator Thursday wrote.
Yes, they do. Slumlord/The Social Pathologist, he who has posited absolute truth as the sole basis for conservatism, and the one who pointed out the Feser article to me, has made the argument that everybody is always the worse for having sex outside marriage. Plus, being raised in church and going to church schools, we were always being told about how the minute you had premarital sex, your life would just fall apart and you would be permanently damaged by it.
Perhaps the most dangerous ideas are the ones, which in the short term, seem harmless or are beneficial but which are toxic in the long run. The aim of diabolical genius is to allow tactical victories whilst aiming for strategic defeat.  The bovine populace, fixated as it is on the "here and now", never sees anything in particular going wrong in any single or particular act, yet not being able to see the big picture, wonder why society is crumbling around them.

Take radical liberalism for instance. It seems to have wilted both the identity of the West and its ability to respond to external threats. This comment by Steve Sailer deserves quite a bit of reflection.

In WWII and the Cold War, we faced enemies the caliber of Wernher von Braun and Andrei Sakharov. In the War on Terror, however, a strikingly large fraction of Muslim would-be terrorists, such as the recent Underpants Bomber and the Times Square Fizzler, are screwups.
Criminal masterminds turn out to be more common in movies than in real life. Even Osama bin Laden got lucky. A video shows him admitting gleefully that he hadn’t expected the World Trade Center towers to come down. And without George W. Bush’s campaign against airport profiling of Arabs, Mohammed Atta likely wouldn’t have even made it onboard.
Conservatives of all stripes bemoan the rise of Islam, but they look at the problem the wrongly. Sailer has got it right. Objectively, the Islamic world would be utterly crushed by a determined West. Islam is only relatively strong because the West's current cultural ideology renders it weak. Islam is opportunistically expanding in the West.

Secular democratic liberalism may yet  prove to be Western Society's cultural HIV.

(Image from Life magazine)

Intelligence and Wisdom.

Ferdinand Bardamu has put up quite a good post on the subject of intelligence. For the most part I agree with his views but it has got me thinking on the subject of wisdom and intelligence.  I suppose want to start with a few definitions.

Intelligence: The capacity to process information.
Wisdom: The ability to get things right. (I've chosen this definition because by implication the wise man always chooses the correct course of action, while the foolish man gets it wrong)

Now, I disagree with Ferdinand, in that I think we can measure intelligence. From the moment Binet started measuring intelligence, naysayers had always found "flaws" in his testing and all sorts of objections were raised against them. Binet's response to his critics was that the people who society considers intelligent are the ones who do well at his tests. I think this is fairly self evident.

The HBD crowd place a great deal of emphasis on the faculty of intelligence, seeing it as a some sort genetic Calvinism, separating the elect from the damned. Personally, whilst I think it is very important, I feel it's uber-elevation in amongst the HBD crowd is misplaced.

To make crude analogy IQ can be rougly compared to computing power. The high IQ man having a supercharged Intel processor, the common dullard, a simple transistor.

Now the quality of the processing is only as good as the data being fed to the processor, as the old computer adage goes, "garbage in, garbage out". What's happening right now amongst many of our high IQ set is that many of their input variables are simply rubbish.  Despite their high IQ, the conclusions that they form from their thought processes are wrong.

In a specialist fields such as physics and maths, reasoning is constrained by hard data, universally agreed upon constants and formulae,  and the rules of logic. There is very little "garbage in". As such the quality of the output is contingent upon the quality of the processor. Ultimately the test of any theory is its concordance with reality, and amongst the physical sciences this is easy to demonstrate.
Smart people have it easy in these fields and thrash their lesser endowed competitors.

The problem of the clever sillies really starts to rear its head when it comes to less defined subjects or subjects requiring data from broad spread of seemingly unrelated inputs. Here data does not resemble X=y, rather I believe X=y or let us assume that X=y. Here the predicate data may or may not have any bearing on reality. Crappy inital data produces crappy output, no matter how good the processor and the problem with many of the "high intelligence" advocates don't seem to recognise is many of the high IQ crowd have problems when it comes to non-rigidly defined input data.

The silly physicist does not approach the subject of the weight of carbon as an opinion, but as a fact. On the other hand, that same physicist's love life may be miserable because his assumptions about women, which are completely wrong, are treated and processed like facts. Likewise his finances may be a mess because of his financial beliefs, i.e house prices always go up, which are similarly treated as facts. In my experience, many of the intelligent people I know are usually very smart within their fields but go along with the crowd for everything else(SWPL). High intelligence is no protection against unrecognised erroneous assumption.

Sometimes the assumption is not erranous, but deliberately willed and information which directly contradicts it is filtered away. (See Orwell. Crimestop and Thoughtcrime). Paging Phil Jones.  Sometimes the assumption is simply not investigated because of time or dispositional constraints. The bottom line here is that no matter how good your brain is, if the underlying assumptions under which it operates are false then its conclusions are going to be wrong. The implicit assumption by the  HBD crowd seems to be that universal data objectivity is somehow correlated with high IQ. That assumption is tenuous at best.

These assumptions, with which a person operates with on a day to day basis, can best be thought of as a person's weltanschauung, and the average upper middle class man's assumptions can be thought of as conforming to the Liberal world view. As I have argued before, many of the liberal assumptions are wrong. It's no wonder that our managerial class gets it wrong on so many issues, despite it being the best and brightest.

Wisdom in a certain sense, precedes intelligence. Since wisdom requires an accurate(and reality conforming) weltanschauung. Wisdom's quality, lies not so much in an ability to process information, but rather, in not having faulty premises which will corrupt reasoning. It is a form of knowledge, and its correlate with age, simply a result of false assumption being "mugged by reality". It's also why simple people with modest intellects can frequently get things right whilst their smarter "betters" get things wrong: They don't start off with stupid premises. Wise people have a global grasp on reality.

Klaus Fuchs was without doubt a brilliant nuclear physicist. But his naivete about the rest of the world was astounding. He confessed in the false hope that he would be allowed to return to top secret nuclear weapons research work (after being found out as a spy for the Soviets!). His confession, an excellent example of the clever sillies.

Gig Guide

Thursday 16 December 2010

Catch the Thesis Pop Store at Loxion Live and all Thesis Tshirts will be retailing for R100.

Mmino, South African –Norwegian music cooperation, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, has been working at promoting indigenous SA live music while trying to forge the re-kindling of a live circuit for music in SA under the banner of ‘Mmino Live’. The NAC has partnered with Mmino in this initiative and after the successful Back to eKasi tour with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Kristin Asbjørnsen, we now introduce the Loxion Live music festival.

Loxion Live, co-produced by Street Pop Industry, will take place in Mofolo Park, Soweto on 16 December 2010 from 13h to 21h00. Loxion Live brings you a stellar line-up of eight South African bands each representing a distinct SA music genre.


17 December 2010 at Thesis Concept Store

It is the middle of the festive season. Holiday preparations are the order of the day. For those who were not smart enough to plan a trip out of town or simply can not afford it, House With No Wings is to your rescue. The last time was bumpy at the Steak House 010, this time we are at the Thesis concept store.

Friday the 17th of December 2010 will be a night of deep and soulful House music with exiting DJs on the ones and twos will be the Two Handsome Mother Funkers; Bobo; Deep Catz; Linda; Choice; Wireless Gee; Boere, Kid Fonque and Omi.
R20 gets you through the gates and refreshments
will be on sale.
Prepare for an epic night, so look good and Wear your own


18 December 2010 The Lighthouse

Dope Store will be celebrating their belated birthday party on the rooftop of Joburg’s most happening club, The Lighthouse on the 12 December. This won’t be another birthday

party, it’s going to be the first of what will be a creative collaboration between youth collaborations agency Instant Grass, Soweto’s home grown fashion brand Thesis Concept Store and the hosts; Dope Store.

Expect a day with filled with cream of Joburg’s most creative individuals and an opportunity to share ideas, insights and collaborate with SA’s most happening brands. There’ll be a braai, free drinks for the first (no of entrants) to enter the venue, live acts, djs, exhibitions and so much

more. To RSVP or get more info click (facebook).