Saturday, October 20, 2007

Eminent Scientist Censored for Truth-telling

Fury that anybody would say publicly what every single scientific study of the subject has shown

"A Nobel prize-winning scientist who reportedly claimed Africans and Europeans had different levels of intelligence is no longer welcome to deliver a lecture at London's Science Museum, the museum said Wednesday.

James Watson, who won the Nobel Prize for co-discovering DNA, drew widespread outrage when he told The Sunday Times that Africans and Europeans did not share the same brain power.

The newspaper quoted the 79-year-old American geneticist as saying he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - whereas all the testing says not really."

The comments drew condemnation from British lawmakers, scientists, and equality campaigners.

Watson, who serves as chancellor of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, was due to speak Friday at a sold-out event at the Science Museum, but on Wednesday night the institution said Watson's comments had gone too far and the lecture had been canceled


Cautionary note: People have a tendency to see statements about groups as applying to all members of that group. That is rarely so and is certainly not true in this instance. There is no inconsistency in saying that blacks as a whole are less intelligent while also acknowledging that some individual blacks are very intelligent. What is true of most need not be true of all.

Scientists have spent decades looking for holes in the evidence Watson was referring to but all the proposed "holes" have been shown not to be so. There is NO argument against his conclusions that has not been meticulously examined by skeptics already. And all objections have been shown not to hold up. There is an introduction to the studies concerned here

Some commentators have mentioned that old Marxist propagandist, Stephen Jay Gould, as refuting what Watson said. Here is just one comment pointing out what a klutz Gould was. And for an exhaustive scientific refutation of Gould by an expert in the field, see here. Gould's distortions of the facts really are quite breathtaking.

Watson got such a lot of abuse over his comments that he has now denied that he made them. The newspaper that originally reported the comments stands by its story, however.

Brit fined for putting rubbish in rubbish bin

The outcome of the Greenie policy to stop weekly rubbish collections in Britain -- on reasoning that is purely Greenie

A Lincolnshire pensioner was fined 75 pounds for putting a bag of rubbish - in a bin. John Richards, 84, left a neatly parcelled carrier bag in a lamp-post bin rather than wait ten days for his fortnightly waste collection.

But council officials tracked him down and accused him of fly-tipping, reports The Sun. They said he faced a fine of up to 2,500 if he went to court so Mr Richards, of Boston, handed over nearly three-quarters of his weekly pension to pay the 75 pound penalty. He said: "It's just ludicrous. I've never thrown litter in my life. It's only a small house and it would be intolerable to keep rotting food waste indoors until the next collection."

A council spokesman said: "Public bins are there for everyone to use. If one is repeatedly filled by an individual it creates a problem."


Britain's hopeless "NEETs"

No discipline means no education for the less able

More than 200,000 young people aged 16 to 18 have virtually no hope of getting a foot in the door to the world of work after leaving school with no qualifications, the Chief Inspector of Schools said yesterday. Christine Gilbert, head of Ofsted, said the fate of these young people, known as Neets (not in education, employment or training), highlighted the enormous challenge facing society in closing the gap in educational attainment between rich and poor.

Publishing her annual report yesterday, Ms Gilbert said the barren prospect facing these young people, who represent more than ten per cent of all 16 to 18-year-olds, was “alarming and unacceptable”. Her predictions for their immediate future were even more gloomy. It was hard, she said, “to find encouragement from inspection evidence” that things would get better for young people on the cusp of adult life.

In a bold attempt to widen the public debate about educational standards beyond the school gate, Ms Gilbert focused her attention on the “stark” relationship between poverty and educational achievement. “It cannot be right that people from the most disadvantaged groups are least likely to achieve well and to participate in higher levels of education and training,” she said.

Overall, Ofsted reported that just 51 per cent of secondary schools were judged to be good or outstanding, up from 49 per cent last year. Ten per cent of secondaries were classed as inadequate, down from 13 per cent. In primary schools, the proportion of good and outstanding schools rose from 58 to 61 per cent.

Ms Gilbert said that a large proportion of failing schools were in the most deprived areas and that poorer children still had the “odds stacked against them” in education. The road to recovery would be a long one with “no quick fixes”, she added. On the gap between rich and poor, the figures show that only 12 per cent of 16-year-olds in care and just 33 per cent of pupils entitled to free school meals (FSM, the proxy measure for poverty) gained five or more good GCSEs last year, compared with 61 per cent of nonFSM children and a national average of 56 per cent. Among primary pupils, 61 per cent of FSM children achieved the expected level in English, compared with 83 per cent of nonFSM pupils. For maths the figures were 58 and 79 per cent respectively.

Ms Gilbert said that failures in leadership and management and poor practice in the classroom were the primary causes of school failure. But she was critical, too, of the lack of aspiration often displayed by teachers when it came to vocational education. Students often seemed far more enthusiastic about such opportunities than their teachers, she said, blaming this divide on a misguided tendency among teachers to associate vocational teaching with the least able students. Ms Gilbert added that she hoped that Ofsted, having taken over the inspection of children’s services and adult education in the last year, would now have greater leverage across a wide range of services to effect change.

Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, hoped that Ms Gilbert’s comments on the “poverty gap” would act as a rallying cry to those working with young people. “No child should be held back because of poverty and disadvantage, or deterred from going to the best school because of where they live or their family background, their ethnicity or their disability,” he said.

But teachers’ leaders said it was “totally unrealistic” to think that schools could tackle socio-economic disadvantage on their own. Martin Johnson, of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “Schools cannot compensate for a child’s family background - financial or aspirational poverty – or a local culture of unemployment.” John Dunford, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that it would not be easy in a society as divided and diverse as England for schools to overcome social inequality on their own. “It requires action from central and local government in areas much wider than education to make this task feasible,” he said.

The report also highlighted concerns over behaviour, which was “just satisfactory” in 29 per cent of secondary schools, and about the failure of schools to give children a clear understanding of “what it means to be British”.


Britain: Veteran Leftist slates 'open door' immigration

The economic benefit of immigration is miniscule compared to the cost argues Frank Field as he lays into Labour's 'open door' policy

The Government's open door policy on immigration has led to an unprecedented level of new arrivals. Over the last three years alone, something like two million newcomers have moved to these shores. Two reports out yesterday showed that the economic benefits are small, compared with the extra costs imposed on social services. While there is no doubt that most recent migrants have come here to work, the beneficial effects on the economy are less certain. A report by the Home Office claims that migrants add 6 billion pounds a year to the nation's income.

But, as MigrationWatch point out, the benefit is miniscule when you consider that this amounts to half a percent of total production and that new arrivals add at least half a percent to the population. So the effect on GDP per head is tiny. Importantly, the Home Office report didn't focus on the effect migration is having on the Government's welfare to work programme. The drive to get British unemployed into work is clearly being hampered by migration. What else can account for the fact that while three million new jobs have been created since 1997, the number of British people on out of work benefits has only fallen from 5.65 to 5.4 million? Most of the new jobs have been taken by immigrant workers. Why should a business bother to recruit and train the young British unemployed when they can get cheap and already qualified labour from abroad?

The second report from the Migration Impacts Forum, established to look at the social costs of migration, re-stated what everybody from the Local Government Association to the Head of Cambridgeshire police have said time and again. Eight different regions took part in a consultation and of these, five reported increased difficulties on crime, six experienced growing pressures with health services and seven drew attention to growing housing problems resulting from immigration.

Everybody is now agreed, after years of mis-management, that the level and rate of immigration needs to be checked and brought in line, not only with the particular business needs, but also with the resources available to deliver high quality social services. The open door policy on immigration should be over. But the Government will be unable to make this work under current EU agreements because new members of the EU have full rights to travel and reside in this country, and apart from temporary restrictions imposed on Bulgaria and Romania, to work here too.

Given that living standards in the old Eastern block are around one third of our own, it is no surprise they want to come here in large numbers. They will continue to do so until their economies catch up. But this will take decades. The Government must therefore begin talks on renegotiating the free movement of labour in the EU.


British 'nurse of the year' leaves for private sector

The "Nurse of the Year" 2007 has quit the NHS after becoming "ground down" by the bureaucrats and excessive paperwork that plague her profession. Justine Whitaker was awarded the Nursing Standard title this year but is leaving East Lancashire Primary Care Trust next month for the private sector and to become a lecturer.

The 36-year-old has told how nursing staff were made to use cheaper bandages and dressings while health bosses wasted money on long meetings that achieved nothing. She yesterday warned that a culture of "mistrust and fear" had crept into the NHS and things were bound to go "completely wrong" in Britain's hospitals if nothing is done. She said: "Sitting in meetings we are constantly being told 'We're going for this cheaper option with this bandage; we're going for that cheaper option with that dressing; we need to be mindful of resources'.

"I'm absolutely fine with that - I run my household like that - but what I see as a waste of resources is when I'm sitting in a big meeting and as a clinician I am the cheapest person there at 35,000 pounds a year and decisions are still being put off to another meeting."

The lymphoedema nurse, who has 14 years of clinical experience, added: "There is no sign the red-tape is being reduced. It all leads to more bureaucracy, which all leads to more form-filling and paperwork. "But as a nurse, I just want to nurse, I want to look after patients. "

Royal College of Nursing secretary Peter Carter said: "It saddens us that such a distinguished nurse is leaving the NHS." A spokesman for the Department of Health promised there would be a dialogue with staff and patients. [More meetings!!!] He said: "The health secretary has acknowledged that too much change can affect morale."


There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly incorrect themes of race and IQ.

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