I must admit that my primary motivation for publishing a post today is I want the number of views for the month of January to reach a level not seen since last January. While it is likely this level would be reached without a post today, I wanted to leave nothing to chance.
One of the reasons experiments in human behavior cannot always be trusted is that when people are aware they are being watched and their actions recorded, many will alter their behavior. This truth is one reason why so-called “Reality TV” is nothing of the sort.
Speaking of the motivation of human behavior, the following concept ascribed to Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit religious order, has always resonated with me. “An intolerable disparity between the hugeness of their desire and the smallness of reality.” I became aware of this idea many years ago in David Maraniss’ excellent biography of Vince Lombardi, When Pride Still Mattered.
I wrote yesterday that it is not in my nature to simply accept whatever happens. As someone who once bridged the gap between the hugeness of their desire and the smallness of reality (by fashioning a 20+ year career in major league baseball), I have seen that actions can make a difference. However, actions don’t always make a difference. That disparity is a knife, not a thorn, in my side.
I have written here and elsewhere that DEI = Deny Excellent Individuals. DEI stands for efforts to “broaden” Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This post from Why Evolution Is True is titled, “White House plan to foster equity and excellence in STEMM is all about equity, not excellence.” (The extra “M” represents Medicine.) From the post:
“Can you increase excellence by increasing equity? That seems to be the tacit assumption of this program, but one for which there is very little evidence. [emphasis mine] The classic paper supporting the idea that diversity itself increases net excellence is this 2004 PNAS paper, arguing that diverse groups do better at solving math problems than groups of high achievers. But this was a mathematical model with no empirical data, and was later found to be fatally flawed. There are no strategies in this document intended to increase excellence by itself, though plenty to increase equity by itself.”
The flawed nature of the 2004 PNAS paper jibes with Dirty Dingus McGee’s distrust of everyone, including scientists. In my many years in baseball I discovered that perhaps the most important attribute leading to success was not intelligence or hard work, but objectivity. We are all biased and are all flawed, but I believe we should strive to be objective, which is why I think data is so important. For example, a team that consistently overrates its own players relative to those on other teams will almost certainly fail because they will not see the need for improvement.
“Affirmative action”–at least in higher education–may soon be ruled unconstitutional, anyway, at least until some other iteration of the Supreme Court rules otherwise in 30 or 60 years. The current Supreme Court is expected to rule that admission policies by Harvard University and the University of North Carolina designed to limit the percentage of Asians in the student body are a violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Of course, unless the court narrowly defines its decision to apply only to college admissions, such an opinion could have wide-ranging impacts on the US at large, impacts that can’t really be predicted in advance. As everyone reading this blog knows, I am a staunch opponent of affirmative action schemes as I believe by their very definition they represent discrimination. Meritum Supra Omnes! Merit above all else. First earn, then receive.
I can’t believe it’s the frickin’ end of January! I can’t believe it’s the end of January and the resolution of our attempt to purchase the “Goose Bumps” house has still not arrived! Here is a photo that partially explains my intense desire to live in that house.
This is a picture of Four Peaks taken from the “observation deck” on the roof of the house. Although I readily acknowledge that other people have far more pressing concerns, the saga of our attempt to purchase this house is literally making me ill. Of course, one “meta-analysis” study (meta analysis is a fancy phrase for a study of other studies) concluded that five million deaths occur annually worldwide as a result of stress.
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