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Friday, February 26, 2010

Another Reason for Right-Wing Extremists To Hate Evolution 

A new study published in the March 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Social Psychology Quarterly advances a new theory that more intelligent people are more likely than less intelligent people to adopt "evolutionarily novel preferences and values." It's summarized on the front page of ScienceDaily.

"Evolutionarily novel preferences and values"?

Apparently, humans are not biologically designed to stay up late, for example, for the obvious reason that our earliest ancestors had no artificial lighting. So ... "Being nocturnal is evolutionarily novel" (which makes my 19-year-old nephew, and many other college students, about as novel as they come).

Innocent enough, perhaps. But here's where the study gets political: "...humans are evolutionarily designed to be conservative, caring mostly about their family and friends, and being liberal, caring about an indefinite number of genetically unrelated strangers they never meet or interact with, is evolutionarily novel. So more intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be liberals."


There is measurable data to support this hypothesis: "Young adults who subjectively identify themselves as 'very liberal' have an average IQ of 106 during adolescence while those who identify themselves as 'very conservative' have an average IQ of 95 during adolescence."

Double ouch.

But here's the money shot: "Similarly, religion is a byproduct of humans' tendency to perceive agency and intention as causes of events, to see 'the hands of God' at work behind otherwise natural phenomena. 'Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid,' says [the study]. This innate bias toward paranoia served humans well when self-preservation and protection of their families and clans depended on extreme vigilance to all potential dangers. 'So, more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to go against their natural evolutionary tendency to believe in God, and they become atheists.' "

Let the head-exploding commence.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When Crying "Liberal!" Just Isn't Enough 

Lee Teague, Mecklenburg County's GOP chairman, has volunteered some interesting political wisdom for 2008:

Teague says, "This shouting Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! stuff is not going to work this year." Teague calls it a mistake for Republicans to "nationalize" this year's election by linking local candidates to Washington "liberal" politicians. "You nationalize an election when your party is popular in national polls, not when it's unpopular," Teague said. Bush's approval is under 30 percent in many polls. "We've got to win the voters back again."

What prompted such honest talk from the chair of the Mecklenburg County Republican Party? Patrick McHenry, 10th Dist. Congressman, that's who. McHenry had just issued a press release calling Daniel Johnson, his Democratic opponent this fall, a hand-picked Pelosi Democrat, yadda yadda yadda. Which peeved Teague no end. So he sent an e-mail to a reporter.

The resulting story that the journalist wrote also includes pretty interesting quotes from other Republican big-wigs, all pretty much agreeing with Teague.

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