Uncomfortable questions

Steven Pinker is asking uncomfortable questions:


In my hubris, I'm going to attempt to answer them. Snap judgments to follow:


Do women, on average, have a different profile of aptitudes and emotions than men?

Absolutely yes

Were the events in the Bible fictitious -- not just the miracles, but those involving kings and empires?

Unknown. I believe they are not and there is ample evidence from archeology that much of it is accurate per contemporary accounts.

Has the state of the environment improved in the last 50 years?

Yes and no. It's not zero sum. Much of western China was undeveloped (or unspoiled if you prefer) but many many parts of the US is less polluted.

Do most victims of sexual abuse suffer no lifelong damage?

I don't know but I sincerely doubt it. If anything is going to damage you for life that would probably be it.

Did Native Americans engage in genocide and despoil the landscape?

Yes. Their barbarism towards each other existed long before paleface showed up.

Do men have an innate tendency to rape?

If you're asking if the average guy is capable of rape, no. I think any woman crying and begging you to stop would be enough to put them off.

Did the crime rate go down in the 1990s because two decades earlier poor women aborted children who would have been prone to violence?

Not necessarily that those kids were prone to violence so much as they would have been unwanted and/or neglected leading them to be predisposed to crime rather than violence specifically.

Are suicide terrorists well-educated, mentally healthy and morally driven?

Yes, possibly and yes. A great many of them are educated as per the 19 hijackers. Mental health is a sticky matter. They have been fed a diet of bullshit telling them that they are free to murder whomever they wish without consequence and will be rewarded by a god who thinks that killing women and children is not just permissible put worthy of reward.

Would the incidence of rape go down if prostitution were legalized?

Probably yes. Prostitution and drugs are two things that have been around since forever and aren't going away no matter what the punishment. Might as well legalize it and keep it safe and taxible.


Do African-American men have higher levels of testosterone, on average, than white men?

Possibly. I'm not sure what difference this makes. Even if they do does that mean anything?


Is morality just a product of the evolution of our brains, with no inherent reality?

No. Morality is evidence of higher order reasoning and not some formation of the brain. Moral behavior is frequently counter to one's passions and Darwinian drivers.


Would society be better off if heroin and cocaine were legalized?

Yes. The war on drugs is insane and was lost long ago. If drugs were legal tomorrow I still wouldn't go near it. After decades of fighting them, we're no closer to winning. Only education will make inroads against people trying drugs.

Is homosexuality the symptom of an infectious disease?

Well that's a new one. Did Dr. Laura write this one? I think it's more likely it's due to either a chemical imbalance or genetic disposition. And yes, for some, it's a choice.


Would it be consistent with our moral principles to give parents the option of euthanizing newborns with birth defects that would consign them to a life of pain and disability?

Consistent? Yes. Morally wrong? Yes. There's a razor thin line between euthanizing babies and partial birth abortion.


Do parents have any effect on the character or intelligence of their children?

Absolutely yes. Parents have enormous influence on kids. That is not a guarantee against kids turning into bad people but they can go a long way to preventing it.

Have religions killed a greater proportion of people than Nazism?

Probably, yes. Depends on whether you blame them for all WWII deaths in the European theater. Change the word Nazism to Communism and the answer is flatly no.

Would damage from terrorism be reduced if the police could torture suspects in special circumstances?

Possibly but our country would no longer be the same and I would storm Congress with a pitchforks and torches to reverse that change.

Would Africa have a better chance of rising out of poverty if it hosted more polluting industries or accepted Europe's nuclear waste?

False choice but yes. What Africa needs most desperately is good government and free trade. The one is impossible without the other. We need to stop aid to Africa, it's killing them.

Is the average intelligence of Western nations declining because duller people are having more children than smarter people?

No. Democrats typically have only one or two kids. Ha! Seriously, I don't think that's so. Number of children does track closely with socioeconomic status but not necessarily intelligence. AFAIK, if anyone knows different, please let me know in the comments.

Would unwanted children be better off if there were a market in adoption rights, with babies going to the highest bidder?

Probably. We'd still need screening to be sure people adopting are not psychos. Doesn't it make sense to place babies with wealthier couples?

Would lives be saved if we instituted a free market in organs for transplantation?

Absolutely yes. Organ donation would skyrocket and the number of people waiting on a list would plummet.
Should people have the right to clone themselves, or enhance the genetic traits of their children?

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