October 19, 2010


ME + me: More on postmodernism + logic + sitenews  

I continue being not well, and otherwise also as before, so I cannot do much.

The last two days there were no Nederlogs and today I continue with a note on pomo aka  postmodernism, give a link to some quite good logic materials, and give some sitenews:

1. More on postmodernism
2. Good logic
3. Sitenews about ME in Amsterdam

1. More on postmodernism

For persons with ME postmodernism is important, so as to come to understand the Wessely-school of psychiatry, that uses its methods. More generally, understanding postmodernism is important to come to see how postmodernism has corrupted and poisoned the standards and practices of science, education, academia, politics and public discussion.

The essence of postmodernism is abuse of language and reason, and the usage of pseudoscience and pseudophilosophy and cant and verbiage to make a career.

I wrote about it in the last Nederlog, and repeat my links, and provide a statistical explanation of what happened in Western universities.

Later - not today - I will sketch in the roots and background of pomo, which are quite interesting, also in the way of showing how easy it is to corrupt most persons, and indeed that many are quite able and to do this themselves, quite willingly, it seems to serve their own interests or fond egoistic directed and groupthinking colored wishful thinking.

1.A. Links

I repeat some links from my last Nederlog - meanwhile, a bit corrected as to typos -  where you find more and more comments:

  • Postmodernism (postmodernistically presented in... the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, that is on the whole much better than this article).

    I quote its beginning:

    is a tendency in contemporary culture characterized by the rejection of objective truth and global cultural narrative. It emphasizes the role of language, power relations, and motivations; in particular it attacks the use of sharp classifications such as male versus female, straight versus gay, white versus black, and imperial versus colonial. Postmodernism has influenced many cultural fields, including literary criticism, sociology, linguistics, architecture, visual arts, and music.

    Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from modernist approaches that had previously been dominant. The term "postmodernism" comes from its critique of the "modernist" scientific mentality of objectivity and progress associated with the Enlightenment.

    The links here too are postmodernistic, for the most part.

  • Postmodernism (postmodernistically presented on Wikipedia)

    Again with postmodern links.

  • Scientific Realism versus Postmodernism 

    This is a clear tabular nine-fold distinction between the two.

  • The Sokal-affair (Wikipedia)

    The American physicist Sokal was not amused and produced a famous hoax: He tricked the editors of a leading French postmodernistic journal to accept utter nonsense.

    The link gives text and background and many links.

  • Postmodernism disrobed (by Richard Dawkins)

    Here one may learn a lot in a brief scope - and Dawkins will have none of it, but has nice quotes, including the postmodern mathematical proof that the male organ equals the square root of minus one.

  • How To Deconstruct Almost Anything - My Postmodern Adventure (by Chip Morningstar)

    This I quoted rather a lot from with expanatory comments in the previous Nederlog.

  • The Postmodernism Generator (by Adam Bulhack)

    This will give you infinite supplies of postmodern prose. It is a so called chatterbot, and it is very well done (and explained and referenced at the end of the masterworks it produces).

1.B. A statistical explanation - the babyboom generation

Postmodernism is not just bad philosophy and bad linguistic usage in Academia - it is far more, such as a combination of the arts of propaganda and marketing and the powers of wishful thinking, fallacious reasoning, groupthinking, and prejudice with the rhetorics of phony philosophers, the moral ideals of conmen, and the moral pretense of the priesthood and clergy, that in fact reduces all questions, all problems, all science, all reasoning, and all argument to propaganda and majority-voting (*). For more + a clear tabular explanation see Scientific Realism versus Postmodernism.

Also, it took its start from and consists for a good part in levelling: One major reason why postmodernism got so widespread has to do with demographics and the incidence and spreading of intellectual talent. Postmodernism flourished quite a while, because it is so very easy to make a degree and career with in the soft science in the universities, that in all Western countries were full to the brim in the sixties, seventies and eighties of the twentieth century with an ever greater proportion of adolescents who wanted the social and careerist advantages of a university-degree without having any interest or talent whatsoever for real science, but who all were formally qualified to enter university because pre-university education had been much levelled "so as to give people more equal chances". (**)

So what happened is in fact well explained by the standard normal statistical distribution, also known as Gaussian or z-score, that describes in mathematical outline how very many things, including length and intelligence, are distributed: When graphed as a normal curve that looks like this:

The picture is taken from the lemma Standard score in Wikipedia, were you also find a brief explanation and links.

The basic thing is that many things, including intelligence, are distributed in the way depicted around some mean of some attribute: Most are average with respect to that attribute, and the groups who have more or less of it (intelligence, height, morality) are spread regularly around the mean, becoming less and less frequent as the group gets further and further from the mean. Extremes are rare; what is common is average.

The standard deviation (usually written σ) is a measure of dispersal around the mean. In the case of IQ, the mean is conventionally put at 100 - which is to say most people have an IQ of 100, the standard deviation works out as 15 IQ points.

By reference to the above picture, you can see that for IQs nearly all have an IQ between 55 and 145, and only around 1 in a 1000 does better than that, on a test. This means that most adults from all walks of life, from blue collar to academic, fall within those two limits.

Now for the rest of the argument that follows, it is not really important what IQ precisely measures. What does matter is that it is a fairly good predictor of scholastic aptitude and that it correlates fairly well with what in ordinary language is said to be intelligence (being good in languages and maths, doing well in school, having various intellectual interests and so on).

The argument - which got to some extent articulated in my Mandarins with an IQ of 115 while my Whores of Reason gives some of the reason why I am so angry with my generation of lying, posturing, intrigueing and careerist babyboom-generation, that is, with those born between 1945 and 1955, namely those with a university education, who caused and implemented nearly all of the ruinous levelling of education and universities in Europe and the US from the late sixties onwards - is very simple and as follows.

My reference is Holland, since I know that best. Until 1965 and in fact since about 1865 at most 1 in 50 studied in university, and nearly all of them indeed had the corresponding intelligence, which is to say in terms of IQ-points that they had an IQ of 125 or better. Indeed, those who remained in university to teach or research, generally were the smartest of those and usually rather smarter than corresponds to an IQ of 125.

The reasons at most 1 in 50 studied in university were quite simple: First, to do so successfully one needed to be at least fairly intelligent, and second it took a number of years to do while there were no grants or loans, except for some very few very gifted. (L.E.J. Brouwer was helped this way.)

Thus, those who studied generally were intelligent to very intelligent, and either had rich folks or professional folks - medical doctors, lawyers, engineers - as parents. Only very few of those who got in and through were not thus intellectually and financially endowed.

Also, by and large the system worked, although it was not fair to the talented with poor parents: The levels of education, professional qualification, and scientific success were quite good, which means that the system worked in various senses, including that it got most of the most intelligent of the upper and middle classes through university, armed with a title, and usually soon working for wages in the upper 5%, after a fairly difficult and demanding intellectual training.

Then WW II interfered, and one of its many consequences in Europe and the US was the babyboom-generation: Far more children were born between 1945 and 1955 especially, both absolutely and percentually, than would have happened without major social upset, and in the 1960-ies these babyboomers were in their teens or early twenties, while the economies were also booming, and grants or loans to study were easy to get.

The result were in part - also because of the arisal of pop-music; the very repressed and greyish postwar nineteenfifties; the popularity of alternative ideas and life styles; the critical attitudes to prevailing establishment values due to the Vietnam war, and more - that something like a revolution happened in university and pre-university, and under the banners of "fairness" and "justice" for some decades, up till this day, up to 50% of 18 to 20 year olds are formally qualified to enter universities and indeed do, and they usually also can finish it averagely well, since meanwhile all standards, pre-academic and academic, have been radically lowered or totally withdrawn. Here is a typical Dutch example: testing to see whether one is qualified to become a medical doctor for decades was forbidden in Holland: it was "unfair", and instead the brilliant and the dumb got equal chances with fair lotteries for places in medical studies. If this had been done with the Dutch national soccer team everybody involved who was responsible would have been hung publicly by the Proud Dutch; as it only concerned the abilities of Dutch medical doctors, and as most Dutchmen feel a deep solidarity with anybody who is palpably not intelligent, nobody cared (except a few highly gifted who lost that lottery three times in a row - who were publicly described as 'pretentious' and 'elitarian').

By reference to the above picture, you can see for yourself what this meant and implied: So as to give 50% of the young hopefulls "a fair and equal chance" for an excellent education that is fit for 1 in 50 (2%) at most, universities - outside the few departments were real talent is needed to succeed, such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and engineering - were made to fit the talents of the budding young careerist: Nearly everything was made fit for 1 in 2 (50%), or 1 in 10 (10%) in the hard studies, so that most would get the coveted university degree.

And that's were things stand at present and since the last three decades or so: A revolution has happened, and postmodern academics are on average and in great majority a very sorry and quite dumb but rather satisfied lot: Mandarins with an IQ of 115.

However, since they really are - I mean: dumb - they can't really see this, and since they are formally qualified as university graduates they want the status and income that come with having a degree, and anyway are in a position, as the majority of the formally best and brightest, to reinvent and restyle former academic professions after their own sorry nearly completely absent talents.

This is also why I wrote that postmodernism was and is about power and career and politics for postmodernists, who generally are impostures, tricks, frauds, trying to introduce non-scientific myths and nonsense in the universities instead of science, for which nearly all postmodernists are not qualified, and in which they are rarely interested, for they are interested foremost in a career and not in real science, for which at most 1 in a 100 has real qualifications (***) and at which at most 1 in 10.000 may excel.

This is also why I recently met medical doctors half my age who were as little different from morons without morals as does not matter - but mind you: they are 'formally qualified', in universities were the average IQ is less than 115, and most of their colleagues of their age are just like them, and they all are well organized in medical professional organizations, while white labcoats are cheap, posturing is easy, and looking profound while mouthing bogus is quite self-flattering, and impresses the vast majority.

And this is also why one may occassionally meet a bright young person with an academic education who had to find what they know mostly on their own initiative, since the universities do not teach it anymore, while no doubt proportionally as many with a good intellect get born now as 50 or a 100 years ago, when the universities were much better, and the people in it much more intelligent on average than at present.

So this is what my babyboom-generation has achieved, and did achieve in order to emancipate themselves to the top of society:

Postmodernism is a return to pre-scientific reasoning, to propaganda and rhetorics, to empty verbal sloganizing and incantations, and to Cargo-Cult science as described by Feynman as "evidence based" methodology, with cant, baloney and bullshit as core of the pretended "scientific texts".

Thanks to postmodernism, most existing nominal intellectuals, that is, those with some degree of some university, are no longer intellectuals in any real sense. The nominal intellectual elite of Western Europe and the US consists of phonies: Mandarins with an IQ of 115.

Postmodernism was introduced in the nineteenseventies in most universities, though not then by that name yet, but for the stated reasons, including the demographical background and the incidence and spreading of intelligence.

It succeeded in taking over much of philosophy, psychology especially clinical and educational psychology, pedagogy, sociology, political sciences, anthropology, literature sciences, and large parts of psychiatry and some of medicine (namely such as are close to politics) and it inspired the creation of new "sciences" like black studies, queer aka gay studies, feminist studies, European studies, pop studies (the scientific study of pop music, with authentic Doctors of Pop), media studies, and enormous amounts of mock professorates in something that is in fact the hobby or favourite scam of leading bureacrats, former CEOs, and flunked politicians: "Come to Business University Nyenrode and become MBA and professor in The Bogosity of Business, with specialism on the Morality of Bivalence".

Of course, there still are real scientists doing real science, but in most universities, indeed in most faculties and departments, they are in a minority. And they have little or no credit (unless they win a Nobel Prize) precisely because they are in a minority and because most of their nominal colleagues are not real scientists but a strange postmodern crossover made from a careerist, a scheming priest, a marketeer, and a conman.

Personally, I do not think the universities or Western civilization will or indeed can improve much, in terms of rationality and reason, including personal honesty, personal integrity, and human decency, until the universities are only open to 1 in 50 at most, admitted purely on the grounds of intellectual ability and scientific interests, but for those qualified with grants to enable them to use their talents, and until the generations of pseudo-intellectuals that have been educated at some Western university since 1970, that now form the solid, solidly talentless majority of postmodern pseudo-intellectuals, have died out (*).

As it is, most of science and most of the universities are mostly dead, although it is true that the real sciences - so far - have not been ousted from the universities as not politically correct.

And as I said above, I will try to sketch in the roots and background and leading personalities of pomo later.

2. Good logic

Those who have a belly full of postmodernism and also those who have not but are interested in logic should take a look at this link:

This is very well done, with a lot of interesting materials on many topics on various levels. I downloaded most of it and can tell you about 1/5 doesn't (anymore).

If you are new to logic, these are quite well done

There is more by Hardegree, that all seems well done and quite interesting, and I especially recommend his Modal logic in case you were put off by other presentations of the subject.

Finally, for those who really like this kind of stuff - I do - I was pleased to find

This gives most of the mathematics behind mathematical logic, and indeed behind much more. I think it is a very nice subject, but few will agree. This is a good text in it.

3. Sitenews about ME in Amsterdam

There is more sitenews but for the moment I mention just three additions in the ME in Amsterdam section:

I have made a few corrections in the previous Nederlog, also on postmodernism, that I originally uploaded with hardly any corrections due to health and time pressures.

For Dutchies, there is a link in the above that bears repeating here: Hogereburgerschool. Another one is my "Het verraad van mijn generatie", with text by the Dutch writer and poet Gerrit Komrij, with comments by me.

P.P.S. It may be I have to stop Nederlog for a while. The reason is that I am physically not well at all. I don't know yet, but if there is no Nederlog, now you know the reason.


As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

6. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7. Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)

Short descriptions:

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
   "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon
     insufficient evidence
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.

    "Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!

No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!
     - (Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound") 

    "It was from this time that I developed my way of judging the Chinese by dividing them into two kinds: one humane and one not. "
     - (Jung Chang)


See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources

P.P.S. ME - Resources needs is a Work In Progress that hasn't progressed today.

(*) The reader should not be deceived by "Evidence Based Science" in postmodernistic psychiatry and clinical psychology: It is in fact mostly literary criticism dressed up with mock statistics in medicalese jargon and bad grammar. The last link gaves a clear and appropriate explanation, using a recent much acclaimed "Clinical Handbook".

(**) As a matter of fact, I am not optimistic: I would not be amazed at all if Europe and the US come to a crashing halt. The reason may not be any one of those usually given - economical crisis, climate crisis, lack of resources - though these may enter too, but that it is impossible to keep a high civilization functioning with the sort of intellectual, moral and political elite that there are now. You can't run a high civilization with Mandarins with an IQ of 115 "democratically elected" by the media-brainwashed multitudes for more than a short while, and except in exceptional circumstances.

(***) That at most 1 in a 100 is fit for doing real scientific research, and 1 in 50 may be intelligent enough to be a good GP is not at all scandalous, bad or unfair, and in fact as things are in many other walks of life including sports and looks, where nearly everybody accepts this: Only few have the wherewithall to do well in them, let alone excel.

What is scandalous, bad and unfair is to educate a formally qualified social and scientific elite, who have had to spend the best years of their lives on fare that is fit so that 4 in 10 (40 %) can master it, and then let these kinds of people loose into society with that bogus "scientific education" as "our bright new generation of new doctors", "our new generation of university educated leaders" etcetera.

And indeed, in these days in Holland, it seems most new quasi-talent that has been drawn into the recently revamped NRC-Handelsblad, once the flagship for Dutch intellectuals with a decent intelligence and a good education, signs itself as "journalist-philosopher", for these days the IQs of 100 can easily become doctors of philosophy at the UvA.

Finally, in case you are of the smug school of "real talent always comes to the top": Not if you are ill; not if you publicly say what most don't want to hear; not if for one of you there are 10.000 dumboes organized in professional organizations, all provided with likeminded likegifted friends made in university now in high places and all with a dominant desire themselves to get to the top, by hook or by crook; not if "the public" you have to address is on average even dumber than a postmodern doctor of clinical psychology; and certainly not if, as a direct consequence of all this levelling, society collapses into a totalitarian 'democracy', as seems to be happening in Holland. See e.g. my Laudatio Neerlandica and Why my family was in The Dutch Resistance  in WW II.

Maarten Maartensz

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