Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Nasty-Dirty Epistemology Part II - Myopic Empiricists

This is the continuation of my attempt to establish a simple framework for analysis. Some people go Machiavelli. I tend towards folksy. The two viewpoints are hardly exclusive. Actually, they're complementary. Moldbug basically stuck out his righteous foot of common sense to trip up the intricate mental gymnastics that the Cathedral excels at. Moldbug is basically the yuppie version of a redneck. The best part is that rednecks don't even have to pay tuition or even read a single book to think like a genius. They just watch Duck Dynasty.

Typically, people don't tend to limit themselves to a specific type of epistemology. That would be silly, unless of course you're a professional philosopher. But sometimes behavior tends towards either the empirical or the rational. Thanks to the wonderful movement known as positivism, it seems that empiricism has won out in basically every field of social science. This obnoxiously shows itself whenever one is informed that you "can't prove that" - (something like lower IQ in Africans or worse outcomes for those raised by homosexual couples ). Empiricism and relativism seem to be closely intertwined, as the primary claim of relativism -specifically culture relativism, the most obnoxious form-  is the inability to prove that one's values or culture are better than others. Otherwise known as me arguing with my ex-girlfriend, an ardent reader of Jezebel, about why one of the blackest cities in Tennessee is also the most dangerous. Argument via correlation is not causation ad nauseam, despite the black man who's beating you up, is the newest sign of liberal status whoring. Then terms such as verification and falsifiable begin to show themselves. How exactly can you prove via data that one way of living is better than another? Das Racist.

For the most part, I'm very partial to this way of thinking. So trying to reconcile a priori assumptions with the strange fetish for verification that seems to have been implanted in my head via Bachelors of Science in Political Science has been uncomfortable. Even less grandiose (or those that don't derive a set of ethics from a priori assumptions about appropriation of private property a la Rothbard) rationalistic arguments, such as the whole white people are doomed in 2040 argument, tend to strike me as too presumptuous. Despite my initial skepticism, one can at least learn something from such claims (such as the trends that underline demographic arguments). It's not a matter of being correct or verified, as much as it's a matter of actually learning something. In the phrase politically correct, there is the requirement of being correct. We have no need for such metaphysical nonsense. Being correct is about scoring points. White heterosexual men weren't invited to the game. So why the hell would you even need points?

The new intelligent white American is a radical empiricist (in the standard dictionary sense - not William James). He shan't extrapolate his knowledge of statistics, garnered from his worthless degree in some social science, to the real world. He will not even think for one moment that the group of people passing him are statistically more likely to knock him out than Harold or Kumar. Because that's rude. Maybe the answer to white passivity is putting testosterone in the food from Whole Foods Market. I'll go pray to the ghost of Phil Rushton and get back to you on that.

An argument against radical empiricism looks much different than one against the strange conclusions of over confident rationalistic theories (dark matter, catastrophic man-made climate change, etc). It seems that the radical empiricist is too indifferent, whereas the rationalist is going beyond the bounds of reason and common sense. The empiricist's plight is much more dangerous though. He will verify his experience by talking to each and every minority that he comes across. Every time he speaks to a black man and isn't stabbed, then once again, he's correct. A spasm of happy inducing chemicals surges through his brain, and he most likely achieves orgasm. Every time he talks to an intelligent Nigerian prince, he'll quickly rush home and post in the comment section of Gawker about how The Bell Curve got it all wrong. At some point, this poor soul was tricked into thinking that liberal status whoring will win him the eternal love of some beautiful young feminist. Tumblr provides a defective feedback loop, and viola, you have pajama boy.

So the first argument against this type of empiricism is aesthetic. You'll look like a fag. You'll look, sound, and feel like a fag. Don't do it. No woman will sleep with someone like you. Then at some point, you'll end up becoming part of a campaign for Obamacare, and then you're life is over. Your genes will come to an end and 10-20 Jamals will take your place. From a Darwinian perspective, don't do it. I think even the Bible and Phil Robertson agree with me.

Secondly, it's truly not an effective strategy for survival. I won't use the tired blind men and the elephant analogy, but rest assured, rationalism and empiricism should both be a part of your cognitive process. You shouldn't be worried about metaphysics - well, unless you're tenured. Let's assume that reality is a thing and then function effectively within it, shall we?

My next post will be the final one. And it will end on the note of the Scottish Cambrian Explosion.

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