Implications and values

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This comment by Luis Kuhelj is one that I think deserves more prominence than buried at the end of a long string of comments, so I'm posting it here ... you may wonder why. I believe what he states is that those that found Mr. Watson's comments as bigoted made an implicitly bigoted slime against those that are less intelligent.

Louis Kuhelj said:

The outcry of those who are against the statement made by Dr. Watson clearly show how little value they place on a human being. Since when has the intelligence or the lack thereof been the sole determination of value of a human being or a particular racial group? It seems to me that even if he is right, it in no way diminishes the value of both the black community and the individuals comprising it anywhere in the world. They are as valuable as any white counterpart because we are all made in the image of Him who created us.

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23 Comments

zimzo said:

Translation:

Just because we think you're stupid, black people, doesn't mean there aren't other things we like about you, like your sense of rhythm, for example.

zimzo,

My son is developmentally delayed. I don't think calling people with less intelligence stupid is appropriate in any situation. I would think you would know better.

zimzo said:

You've got to be joking, Brian. I didn't call anyone stupid. I was mocking your and Louis Kuhelj's patronizing attitude. Did you honestly not get that? If you want to exploit your son to bash me with, please save it for a time when it is actually appropriate.

Kevin said:

which would be never.

How do you mean developmentally delayed, Brian?

Zimzo, all past history aside, you're kind of being a dick here. You guys are not actually piling on Brian, are you?

Kevin said:

I'm not at all. I was just asking out of sudden curiosity, Joe, you know me. As I said, the assertion that z made that there might be a time or place for Brian to bring out his son to exploit. . .well I guess I didn't SAY it but THAT'S CRAZY RUDE and the time and place is NEVER.

zimzo said:

Exactly, the time is never. I thought it was pretty low for Brian to accuse me with mock outrage of somehow insulting his son when he knew very well I was making fun of Brian himself and Luis Kuhelj for for thier braindead assertion that people who think Watson was bigoted for saying that blacks have smaller brains than whites are really the bigoted ones. It really is a twisty hall of mirrors of idiocy. If you can't follow it, Joe (and I have to say it makes my head spin a bit) then maybe we can find someone who is artistically inclined to put this chain of events into a flow chart for us.

1) Watson says blacks have small brains.
2) Most rational people say that Watson is a bigot.
3) Luis Kuhelj says that the rational people are actually being bigoted against people with small brains.
4) Brian thinks this is intelligent and repeats it.
5) I mock Brian, Kuhelj and Watson using hyperbole and sarcasm, forms of humor Brian is apparently unfamiliar with.
6) Brian out of the blue accuses me of insulting his son.

Kevin said:

BTW, did you know that Maryland ranks 44th in the country for the way they provide and treat their developmentally disabled? Of which there are some 96,000, thousands of which are currently on waiting lists to receive services that are very much needed.

What I found heinous is that zimzo was pulling out the word "stupid" and applying it to those of low intelligence. I personally find equating intelligence to worth the same as I would racism. The reason I posted Louis' message was it brought out the implicit bigotry of those that equate intellect with worth. Those that argue so arduously against Dr. Watson in the messages seem to be equating intellect with worth -- I could not disagree more with that implication. That imprecatory attitude toward any person or group of people strictly on the basis of intellect rather than on character is just another form of prejudice that ought be exposed and purged.

Zimzo, what you stated as patronizing I see as appropriate. That you find it patronizing just shows the bias you have and prejudice you show toward those that are less intelligent. You would not be disagreeing with him, but supporting his statement if you did not have at least the seed of thinking those that might attribute lesser intellect to one people group as attributing lesser worth to that people group.

My son to whom I attribute just as much worth as anyone else here at four is nowhere near age level in many respects. His speech patterns are about those of a two year old. While in some ways he operates on par with those his own age, there are many ways in which he does not.

For me, you thinking that Louis is patronizing is near insulting. I placed the post at the front because I agree with his statement -- and I thought it worthwhile to say more prominently that worth is not based on intelligence. Even if there is some genetic rational for lower intelligence in one race verses another, it cannot lower the worth of those that would be of lower intelligence. I hold that to be sincerely true -- just as I value my four year old as much as I do any of my children.

Implying that people cannot hold that as a possibility shows an implied acceptance that intellect does in some way equate to worth. I'm sorry if pointing that out hits close to home, but if you really didn't think intelligence equates to value, then you would be upset not at his finding, but at those that say discovering a difference in intellect would be racist. It might be possible for such a difference to exist, but that still would not do anything other than allow study.

Kevin,
Presuming your question is honest, my son appears to have several areas in which he is not progressing normally. There are several possible reasons. One is that during the early part of gestation he had a cyst in his brain. That is one that cannot be overlooked, but we also were told it was unlikely to be a cause for the problems (it went away on its own by the 20th week). The other known possible cause is he had abnormally large adenoids which caused him to snore even at 12 months. About a year ago we finally convinced the doctor to have him referred to an ENT, who then operated on him, removed the tonsils and adenoids (he stated someone that young should never be snoring regularly). He now sleeps soundly, but there is the possibility that his early development may have been affected by disrupted sleep patterns. There are always unknown factors as possibilities as well -- why we don't know.

Kevin said:

Brian,

Indeed I was asking honestly and I appreciate your telling me a bunch of stuff which is absolutely none of my business to know, really. And I was asking how, as you probably already well know, because there are sooooo many different ways that someone can be, or become, developmentally delayed. It's not an area that I'm incredibly familiar with but am becoming more so because of work. I'm finding it fascinating. IQ is quite an interesting thing. I've seen people with the same IQ at completely different functioning levels, it's very interesting. The reasons, and the areas, and the deficits, like the brain, are kaleidoscopic, to me. Your son is lucky to have (I don't think it's any leap to assume) attentive and caring parents who love him very much and value him exactly for who he is and who he will continue to become. Thanks for sharing!

jacob said:

Brian,
Dont answer zimzo in this. He only looks for an excuse to call you a racist or whatever. I have him on record as saying the article was to long and he was just tryiong to get my goat. The guy is not honest in his arguments, because he never seeks common ground, nor does he ever concede anything; the dolt thinks ignoring hard question goes unnoticed. He deliberately confuses policy with policy goal, etc. Think gadfly.

zimzo said:

Brian, I already said in the other thread that I think the terms "intelligance" and "race" are so vague and arbitrary that you cannot even say that one race is more intelligent than another. So I was not the one calling people stupid. You were the one lending credence to the ridiculous idea that you can say one race is less intelligent than another and I was making fun of you not only for saying that but for taking it to an absurd length.

Maybe you will understand the absurdity of your post through an analogy:

Let's say I was at a party with James Watson and he said my wife was ugly. I think naturally I would be offended and disagree vehemently with his description even though my wife's looks would have no bearing on her worth as a person. At that point you and Luis Kuhelj come up to me and say that I am displaying bigotry toward unattractive people and Luis accuses me of insulting his wife. Would that not be ridiculous? Would I not be justified in mocking such an absurd argument?

Jack said:

First, there can be value in people of all intellectual levels, and many intelligent people, such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, are worthless scum. Louis point was that these truths apply whether, on average, people of one race aremore intelligent than those of another.

Zimzo, I do not follow your analogy at all.

Perhaps a better start might be someone saying, "Japanese women are generally prettier that Korean women," and you take offense because your wife is Korean. The problem is that the "insult" is generalized, and is not extendable to the individual.

zimzo said:

No, Luis's point was to try to turn the tables and attack people who correctly pointed out that what Watson said was at best wrong-headed and at worst racist by absurdly claiming that they were the ones who were bigoted. Then Brian tried to turn the tables on me by absurdly accusing me of attacking his kid and expressing mock outrage at my supposed insidiousness.

Jack said:

I think you are misreading Louis, zimzo.

Anyway, I still do not follow your analogy.

ACTivist said:

Zippo,
Are you throwing a tantrum again? Why must you always need to be right and justified? Your analogy doesn't make sense. Further, why would you try a defense of illogic by putting "wife" and "ugly" in your comment? Are you goading us to make further comment on this issue?

Zimzo,

The big difference is saying "your wife is ugly" is a lot different than saying "there appears to be justification for saying women from Virginia have less beauty then other parts of the country." (I'm presuming your wife is from Virginia.) The first is a positive singular assertion of negative ("you are stupid") as opposed to a statistical comparison of groups ("people from the south have an average intelligence 2 points below people from the west").

Statistical means do very little to sway me -- if you tell me that one jar contains coins that have a median value 2 cents greater than another jar, but the standard deviation of the lower value jar is $1000 dollars, I'd rather search through the lower median value jar for coins I want to keep.

But more importantly, saying that I am not as intelligent as Carl Sagan was is no insult to me (if it is true or not). In a sense, even if he was more intelligent, he at least appears to have been a fool (from a Biblical perspective). I do not know his state and standing before God, but I do know that he seemed to have rejected Christ, and to tread the son of God underfoot is a dangerous thing.

Jack,

Even though I believe the Clintons have done what is evil in many cases, and I do not believe them either sincere or in Christ, they do reflect the image of God (even as I) and so are valuable as persons. They will have to answer for their own sins, but it is not for me to call them to account. I am not an elder in their church, or an officer of the law. I have no authority by which I should judge them as individuals.

zimzo said:

So now you're saying, Brian, that not only are blacks less intelligent than whites but Jews like Carl Sagan (and, I suppose, Albert Einstein) are less intelligent than Christians? But if anyone points out that that is ridiculous and insulting to blacks and Jews, then they are the ones who are bigots?

Jack said:

I think zimzo's just upset because his wife is ugly.

ACTivist said:

Leave it to you, Jack. :-)
I just think that Zippo's disc drive has been corrupted and that it has rewritten his programming as to "sniff the air" for racisim, bigotry, homosexuality or conservatism. I wonder is he is writing a book called "What, Logic?"

Zimzo,

Read the post. I stated that I believe Sagan may have been more intelligent than I. I also stated he was a fool from the Biblical sense (which is not to say he was less intelligent, but that he immorally rejected God). Sagan was, from everything I read, an atheist. While he may have been Jewish from a heritage perspective, he certainly was not from a faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob perspective. A fool in the Bible is not someone without intellect, but someone that has said "there is no god".

As for Einstein, he was brilliant, and I know for a fact that he would have thought Sagan a fool for being an atheist. Einstein was a man of faith, even if misguided. While he may have been mistaken in some things, he did not see the universe and deny the revelation God has written there. He said: "I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details."

If you are going to put words in people's mouths, at least have the sensibility to know what they are saying in the first place. If you read the paragraph, and tried to understand it, you would have seen clearly that I was picking someone that I believe would have been of greater intelligence. Yet you cling to the idea that intelligence is worth, so you think I was talking about intelligence when I said he appeared to have been a fool. If you had read the post carefully, you would have seen I the opposite claim to have been made. Being a fool (Biblically) and being the greatest intellect ever are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Being a fool is a moral deficiency not an intellectual deficiency.

zimzo said:

My beef with you, Brian, is that you quoted a dimwitted comment that attacked people who attacked Watsons dimwitted comment. Then you trotted out your son and effected mock outrage to accuse me of insulting him, which was stooping pretty low. If you had read my comment in that thread, you would have seen that you are completely mischaracterizing my point of view and the point of view of most rational people who thought what Watson said was absurd. Here is my entire comment from the original thread (and my comment about this discussion shining a light on people's prejudices is more true than ever):

The problem with this whole discussion is that both "race" and "intelligence" are imprecise, amorphous and arbitrary terms.

Race is a term that was created for social and political reasons and is practically meaningless in genetic terms as Watson well knows. There are a large number of mixed race people on the planet and there is a large genetic variance within races.

There are only two reasons to categorize people by race: 1) to discriminate against them and 2) to protect them against discrimination. Race, of course, is just an arbitrary means of categorizing people for the purposes of discrimination and as the Hutus and Tutsis showed us it is not the only one.

There is no way to separate race from social, economic and cultural factors and there are no intelligence tests that filter out these factors.

"Intelligence" itself is an arbitrary term. There are plenty of people who seem very intelligent in one area and very stupid in another. For example, didn't you say, Jack, that you have a high mathematics degree or something? See what I mean? (Just kidding.) Watson is another perfect example of someone who is very intelligent and very stupid.

The only real purpose of this exercise is to bring out the prejudices of people like some of the commenters here and for that I suppose this discussion is useful.

Zimzo,

I don't know if you really understand what either Louis or I was saying. Louis stated:

"As a Christian, I disagree with the statement made by Dr. Watson. However, I also disagree with the actions taken against him by London's Science Museum. The intolerance shown by the Museum shows them to be in no position to claim the moral high-ground or in any way feel superior to Dr. Watson."

If you missed the first part of that, Louis states: "I disagree with the statements made by Dr. Watson" (in agreement with you, in case you didn't know). He also castigated those that acted harshly toward Dr. Watson which seems to be a reaction to what could be called knee-jerk reaction to something that might be taken as a racial slur.

The later post (the one I quoted) was more pointed toward the reason for finding the issue as knee-jerk rather than reasoned.

Next point. You say there is no real data on race, and nothing that it could be used for other than discrimination against or protection from discrimination against a group. I'd like to point out that Tay-sachs, Sickle cell, cyctic fibrosis, Huntington's disease (these are the ones I happen to know off the top of my head) are more prevalent in one race than another. The idea that this is just to discriminate is outrageous -- the medical community gathers data on disease not to discriminate, but to help in finding cures. Knowing who gets a disease and that it is much more prevalent in one group than another can help prevention of the disease. High blood pressure, at least at one time, was thought to be more prevalent in black populations than others. If that is true, then taking additional measures to monitor blacks for hypertension is not discriminatory in the negative sense, it is discriminatory to help people to be aware of health risks and manage their health better.

Your penultimate paragraph I find very interesting, and it seems to half agree with what I was saying. While you rail against any possibility of saying intelligence is not useful in valuing people, you half state the same yourself, but in much weaker terms.

It may be true that it is difficult to separate race from all those other items, but is it impossible to measure "intellect" among people of the same race (whatever you want to define that as meaning) in the same area, with the same social status? If it is possible (if a mentally retarded individual really does has less intellect than Einstein) do you really want that to be a means of saying Einstein is more valuable than the retarded individual?

My statement is that Einstein is no more valuable than anyone else even if he was the most intelligent person in the world. His value is contained in his being human. There is no greater or lesser value for humans. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" is not saying that they all have the same intelligence. What it does say is that the most brilliant is no more valuable than the most simple. I cling to that, and hold that as the standard. I don't try to explain away the idea that Einstein or Sagan were no more intelligent than I, but I do know they are no more valuable than you or I. Marilyn vos Savant is smarter than you or I. She is no more valuable than you or I.

Your position of saying it isn't possible to get an accurate measure of intellect is weak -- there are cases in which there is no doubt that one individual is in fact more intelligent than another individual. If you allow that intellect is a criteria for valuation, then you just allowed one person to be more valuable than another. I do NOT admit intellect to be a criteria in valuation of an individual. A severely, profoundly, retarded individual is just as valuable as you or I. They deserve life and dignity just as much as you or I.

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