Monday, October 14, 2013

The Bell Curve

Looks like the universe is speaking to me.

I was reading Nassim Nicholas Taleb's tirade against the Bell Curve earlier today. Then as it often happens to me, while reading about something completely unrelated, I wound up on the web. One thing lead to another, and I was reading an article on the New York Times. Don't ask me how.

The article read more an ad hominem onslaught than journalism directed against the social scientist (or Klan member, depending on how you view him) Charles Murray. Apparently, he wrote a book called the "Bell Curve" that allegedly imputes the struggles of a significant section of society (particularly, low-income blacks and other non-white races) to bad genes. No kidding.

Actually, the argument isn't as direct: his assertion is that poor standing in life of a certain section of the population can be chalked up to an inherent lack of intelligence, as measured by IQ, which is, in turn, is engendered due to genetically non-intelligent (inferior) parents. He argues that the less intelligent don't make as much money, and consequently can only attract and mate with other less-intelligent partners, while the more intelligent interbreed with other geniuses to produce the Ubermensch. The brainy (rich) get brainier (richer), while the have-nots (non-brainy / non-rich) get more so (non-brainy / poorer).

The racial link brought to mind a certain ruthlessly funny and pointedly poignant African American comedian (philosopher?) by the name of Walter Kamau Bell whose program "the Walter Kamau Bell Curve" aims to "End Racism in about an Hour".

Kudos W. Kamu Bell, I now understand (or at least pretend to understand) why you chose to name your show "the Walter Kamau Bell Curve". Kudos.