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Links With Your Coffee - Darwin Day

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But, drawing on a sample size of several thousand, correcting for both education and socioeconomic status, the new study looks embarrassingly robust. Importantly, it shows that prejudice tends not to arise directly from low intelligence but from the conservative ideologies to which people of low intelligence are drawn. Conservative ideology is the "critical pathway" from low intelligence to racism. Those with low cognitive abilities are attracted to "rightwing ideologies that promote coherence and order" and "emphasise the maintenance of the status quo". Even for someone not yet renowned for liberal reticence, this feels hard to write.

This is not to suggest that all conservatives are stupid. There are some very clever people in government, advising politicians, running thinktanks and writing for newspapers, who have acquired power and influence by promoting rightwing ideologies.

I have been casually tracking stem cell research over the years, especially for neurological indications, primarily to have a feel for where we are in the course of research. It takes years to develop a new therapy, and stem cell therapy is a tricky new technology. Right now we are in the post-hype era – the peak of media hype seems to have passed (probably just a short-attention-span effect) while the hard research continues to grind along. We are also in the snake-oil phase where heartless con-artists are capitalizing on the premature hype to sell fake stem cell treatments to desperate patients.

Recommended reading:

Much of the same information as in Kahnemann's Book Thinking, Fast and Slow but a little more accessible.



The best thing about "Conservatism Thrives on Low Intelligence and Poor Information" is the link to the review of Thomas Frank's new book, Pity the Billionaire.

Indeed the findings of the research have simply served to confirm the observation J S MIll made about the British Conservative party in 1861 - 'The Conservatives..being by the law of their existence the stupidest party'. I recall he refined this by saying that all the stupid people he met were conservatives. What he would have made of the present Republican party can hardly be imagined.


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