I am a registered Republican. There, I said it. I'm not a particularly ardent one, but I am not ashamed of being a Republican. I have no idea if there are any other Republican bloggers here at Science Blogs, even nominal ones like myself. Additionally, my impression is that aside from David Ng everyone here at Science Blogs is pretty pale faced. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but someone should chi square this and see if they scry prima facie grounds for discrimination. I kid of course.
In any case, Bora has a long post about liberalism and the academy. He talks about a long of different things, and I don't have time to dash and dance throught it all right now, but:
1) He elides over the reality that more mathematical & applied disciplines are more conservative than sociology or English.
2) This brings into question Bora's assertion, in my mind, that cognitive acumen is at work here in differentiating empirically fallacious conservatism from liberal realism. I don't think engineers are less grounded in reality than English literature professors. I think there is some evidence from preliminary GRE scores that the most stridently liberal disciplines are not the most intellectually stacked.
3) Additionally, I am skeptical that individuals really have a good grasp of much outside of their own discipline. We all know this anecdotally, but heuristics & biases research tells us that highly intelligent people can be rather retarded out of field (to the point of making mistakes in Bayesian inference out of field when they use Bayesian methods within field!)
4) Cognitive power does seem to correlate to some extent with liberalism, broadly speaking, but the liberalism of the academy is far greater in magnitude than a simple linear regression would predict based on years of education (also note that politics tends to polarize at the educational heights). There are other main effects at work here, and I think the biggest one has to do with lifestyle, academics are self-selected, prioritize prestige & abstraction over monetary returns (most of them could make a good living as lawyers, doctors of MBAs) and are less likely to have children than other professionals.
5) "Liberalism" is a big word. I think academic liberals best intersect with what Beliefnet terms Seculars:
The group that is most uncomfortable when candidates talk about their personal faith (54%). Very liberal on social issues: 83% are pro-choice and 59% favor same-sex marriage. Liberal on foreign policy, moderate on economics, and quite young (47% under age 35).
I believe that it is important that Bill Clinton vetoed the ban partial birth abortion but pushed throught NAFTA & welfare reform, it shows where the priorities of the commanding heights of the American Left is today, and that is on the social & cultural issues which are most relevant to economically secure, if not hyper-affluent, academics. Not that there's anything wrong with this, on many social issues I tend to agree with the modern Left, though with a mellower demeanour. I don't mind a soft-pedalling some of the issues of economic justice (also known as "takings" in some quarters) which seems to be part of the pattern with the rise to ascendancy of the New Class, the mandarins of our age.
Addendum: This assertion seems a little bizarro to me:
People like von Hayek, Russell Kirk, Leo Strauss, Thomas Sowell, Robert Nozick, or Gertrude Himmelfarb need to be read by students in order to learn how to see through the deceptive rhetoric and destroy the argument, just like they need to know how to destroy arguments of Creationists.
Nozick & Kirk thrown together? The minarchist and traditionalist? Hayek and Strauss? The classical liberal and, well, original Straussian? One issue that makes me skeptical about this supposed liberal grasp on reality is the easy and fluid ability with which liberals can eliminate all the texture and difference on the Right and throw libertarians and conservatives together as if we were fundamentally the same. Some traditionalist conservatives would assert that libertarians are simply a different kind of liberal! Not a big deal, but liberal sensitvities toward letting the Other define their own identity stops somewhere to their Right.
Post-Addendum: This is not an apologia for the Ann Coulter Right, of which I'm obviously not part. Rather, God's own chosen people who dwell in his grace are held to a higher standard for they are a light unto the ignorant nations. To whom deep knowledge and insight is given, as Bora and most liberals seem to assume they are gifted with, a genuine fidelity to the goddess of truth is demanded to the utmost extent.
Finally: Adding more conservatives to the academy would make it more insightful in its understanding of the poltiical landscape just as adding more liberals to the ranks of CEOs would make business more compassionate: it wouldn't do jack shit. Scientists know science, but they often know shit about politics. As far as indoctrinate of students, it'll happen or it won't. My personal experience is that most academic liberals are flaccid in their rhetorical skills with non-liberals of a non-religious brand because they aren't exposed to them, so no need to cower in fear.
Although I never formally joined the party, I did consider myself a Republican for many years--that is, until a few years into the current administration. I'm one of those moderate Republicans that the Party hierarchy has such contempt for these days, believing in limited government and low taxes but generally fairly liberal socially. In fact, I liked Bush Senior quite a bit. However, G. W. Bush did something I didn't think possible: Through his incompetence, he's made me stop identifying with the Republican Party. I can't stand the Democrats either; so these days I'm a man without a party.
And Bora's post grated on me a bit, too.
I am reposting 2-year old posts you are familiar with and which I have since upended with many more posts on the topic, and you are still driven to respond. Do I HAVE to respond back? I am tired of the topic a little bit and just want to move my archives one post at the time for the benefit of NEW readers and if I want to link back to some of them in some future posts.
I am reposting 2-year old posts you are familiar with and which I have since upended with many more posts on the topic, and you are still driven to respond..
i wasn't familiar with it. i've had problems loading your blogspot site for ages (perhaps it dated to when i switched to firefox, don't recall), so i generally avoided it after 2004.
think of yourself as the sower of seed and myself as a plant which grew in response. no rejoinder is needed, i yearn to breath free in the sunny summer air is all :)
Oh, BTW, we are so totally not defining "liberal" and "conservative" the same way. You are a liberal.
You are a liberal.
broadly, probably. though i thought you modeled your ideas on lakoff? i recall reading a book of his in the late 90s where he slotted libertarianish types as just another type of conservative fundamentally.
and orac, yes, i'm in the same boad as you. though as for you being republican, don't they ban you from passing the boards unless you are a registered republican? med skools are elephant factories....
Lakoff was my starting point back in 2004. Much time has passed....
It's reasonable to model some of a person's ideas on Lakoff or any other thinker without believing that one must always agree with that person.
I'm rather surprized that you still identify as Republican Razib. I think it's just inertia, e.g. refusing to acknowledge what they have become.
I'm rather surprized that you still identify as Republican Razib. I think it's just inertia, e.g. refusing to acknowledge what they have become.
primaries. oregon is now operationally on the state level a mildly reliable democratic state. more variance within the republic primary so more opportunity for choice.
I think that it's probably fair to exclude physicists from any generalizations about incompetence outside of their field of expertise. Physicists tend to be competent generalists, much more so than their superior g would predict.
i am willing to buy into that, the physicists' record in biology is pretty good. crick, we know, but r.a. fisher read mathematics, but did postgrad work in statistical mechanics.
"...research tells us that highly intelligent people can be rather retarded out of field".
They can also be bullshit peddlars and hypocrites (Chomsky is an example par excellence). In my experience, those with leftish ideology are more likely to be creepy; a few years ago Michael Walzer even published 'Can there be a decent left?' I think that they make Bayesian (and other) mistakes deliberately
I'd say the label you are closest too Razib is a classical liberal.
What you react against (I notice very clearly since I do as well) is leftism where it diverges, as it so often does, from classical liberalism, e.g. victimology, WHO/whom, postmodernism, the intrinsically evil nature of capitalism and imperialism, and so on.
What you support from the program of the left side of the bench is personal freedom, pluralism, strong seperation of church and state, puralistic sexual mores and so on, equality of women (without positing that they must be identical to men), and so on. I do too.
Yes the closest currently alive and kicking political philosophy is libertarianism, but it's fantasies about how wonderful everything would be if we abolished government (or almost all government) and privatizing everything seem pretty loony pretty quickly. Instead our very own founding fathers theories about liberty being best nourished with the RIGHT KIND of divided government, with a balance of powers, seems much more on the mark. To me and I suspect to you.
Or in a nutshell, down with the commissars, and down with the preachers who think those who aren't attending their church need to listen to them as well (as of course the commisars always think).
And what was the political philosophy of our founding fathers?
Classical liberalism, to a man.
The Federalist papers are debates about flavors of classical liberalism.
Not a leftist in site. (There were some in the populace but not among the founders.)
The closest thing to a true libertarian might have been Jefferson. Until he became President, and then he did stuff like double the size of the country at great expense (Louisiana Purchase) and send the standing navy (which he had opposed) off on foreign adventures (taking down the barbary pirates, which the great powers of the time such as France and England had found it more prudent to simply buy off annually), successfully.
As the (apparently) lone social scientist among the geneticists, let me pipe in to say that in sociology, there's probably a value selection at play in chosing disciplines. Since sociology split in the 1950s between a more criticism-based and a more applied mode (the later morphed into what we now call "organizational behavior"), those attracted to criticism (in the technical sense of explaining how and why a particular social phenomenon works) tend to be selected from those who care about the organization and control of social power. I'll look up some research and see if anyone has ever studied why individuals chose the disciplines they do.
Both sociology and anthropology as disciplines actually encompass an entire range of thinking styles from those who apply rigorous social-scientific method to those who have been heavily influenced by the postmodern theoretical turn and produce more, er, fluffy "interpretive" works. All this to say simply that the social sciences can attract a range of intellects--thus some will be quite good at Bayesian inference and others will not.
I'm not sure what that has to do with politics, but there it is.
dougjnn: As per Jefferson, you've missed the mark in equating Jefferson with contemporary Libertarianism. There are *reasons* why conservatives *hate* him. Let me enumerate a few: he was adamantly opposed to economic "combinations" (i.e., corporations); he was opposed to wage labor, considering it akin to slavery; he was in favor of the redistribution of wealth by the government to make all families economically independent of pecuniary interests of others; he was opposed to inheritance, believing that wealth should be redistributed upon death and that offspring should fend for themselves; he believed that property rights should be secondary in setting up a democratic society; he wasn't in favor of small government in terms of it's literal bulk or its cost, but rather he demanded a minimum intrusion of the government in people's personal lives (okay, that's kind of liberatarian); he was in favor of taxation to fund the government; he feared a standing military because he thought the executive (i.e., president) could use it to oppress the people, not because he wanted "small" government; which was one of many reasons he opposed ratification of the constitution; he believed in participatory democracy, and believed that participation in democratic processes was essential to individual happiness (that is, he believed in all citizens ability to participate and contribute); and so he proposed local-level "ward republics" where citizens would engage in debate; he argued that the constitution should be re-written every 19 years so that each generation could design its own government; and he believed that LEISURE time, both to persue Private happiness (reading, education, family, friends, philosophy, etc.) and Public happiness (participation in the ward republic); etc. Hopefully that will disabuse you of any notion that Jefferson was anything like a contemporary Libertarian.
As far as liberal vs conservative goes, I don't think political values count for much in making one group better scholars than the other -- what really matters, and what probably correlates w/ party affiliation / self-described ideology, is Openness to Experience. If you aren't open to new ideas, events, etc., how are you ever going to be curious enough to figure stuff out? I think once upon a time -- maybe just 50 years ago -- conservatives used to show this, but now they're a definite minority... guys like Steve Sailer, Charles Murray, Greg Cochran, or you for that matter.
One the one hand, a huge chunk of conservatives in the US in 2006 are close-minded Bible-thumpers. The secular remainder has largely shifted to a more statist Reaganite mentality, acting as cheerleaders for the commander. When you're cheerleading someone on, you can't afford to wonder things out loud. You can see what risible depths this has sunk to when they have to cheerlead for Bush II.
Of course, the liberals have their share of close-minded loons, especially in the social sciences, but I think of the minority of people who really matter in academia broadly (not necessarily who's the chair of the dept at Hot Shit University), more tend toward liberal simply b/c the alternative -- Bible-thumpers & statist cheerleaders -- is even worse. I think the big difference is, again, Openness to Experience or perhaps the more narrowly defined trait of Authoritarianiasm (low Openness, high Conscientiousness). Both the leftist social science Mandarins & the Fundie - Bushie coalition share these traits, while liberals like Steven Pinker and conservatives like Charles Murray can actually get along pretty well due to their iconoclastic streak.
At the risk of sounding defensive, could you please name a social science mandarin, you know, for those of us out of the loop? It seems to me that to the extent that there are liberal loons out there, they're usually not academics; and to the extent that academics can get loony on the left side of the fence, they seem to be more along the lines of postmodern literary critics than social scientists. Then again, it could just be that I avoid such people, as they are, well, loony. Not that I don't know some social scientists who can't think, just that your specifying social science as the locus of liberal lunacy seems a bit, uh, loony.
"Physicists tend to be competent generalists, much more so than their superior g would predict."
Physicists are bright enough to understand the technical details of anything, but they have their blind spots and obsessions. I think that the influence of physicists on economics has been harmful (source: Mirowski).
Physicists seem to careless about whether the principles specifically of physics apply to other areas of reality. I just went through a long trek through the contemporary sources on "the nature of time", and I read a fair amount of stuff by physicists claiming that since at the fundamental level time is only a dimension of space, "time is a subjective illusion" or the like.
The names inscribed in the cultural anthropology Hall of Fame, plus their descendants, for starters. Most Marxist historians -- note: nothing against every word Marx himself said, especially his earlier work, but his later work is out there & authoritarian, and his inheritors spread this dogmatism through not a few history departments. Carol Gilligan & likeminded developmental psychologists.
I suppose it depends on whether one is prepared to equate adherence to the SSSM to lunacy. I think that's going a bit too far, but when social scientists model a universe that diverges from biology then they do present fair grounds for criticism. See this book review for more detail.
John E, if you believe that "time is only a dimension of space", all you have is an impressively ridiculous misconception about physics, not a point about physicists. (Well, perhaps you do have something, if the point is that a lot of physicists are spreading silly misconceptions by writing confusing popular books!) Take a stick. You can point it up, down, left, right, forward, backward and in combinations of these directions and conclude that you experience 3 space dimensions. You experience time, but you can't point to yesterday, so it's not a "dimension of space"! That's just ridiculous. Time isn't space, time is time!
As for politics, I'd say over here physics people are more "economically right-wing" than average but also more "social liberal" than average. "Activism" is uncommon. Some people couldn't be traditionalists, because they wouldn't understand what is traditional even if they tried...
I don't believe that, Jaakkeli, but physicists say it. I've worked this out at considerable detail on my site.
No, physicists do not believe so. Anyone who writes that time is space is either a moron or in serious need of medication - or just writing unbelievably sloppily.
Yes, physicists like to put together time and space into one entity called "spacetime", but it doesn't make time space and it doesn't make space time. (That's why it's called "spacetime" and not just space!) This "spacetime" does not have the same geometry that a 4-dimensional Euclidian space would have. It has a different kind of geometry - one that contains two types of dimensions. Eg. if you drop one dimension of space, you get a 3-dimensional spacetime and this is *not* like the 3-dimensional space that you know, it has a different kind of a geometry (one with 2 spacelike dimensions and 1 timelike dimension).
Cool it, Jaakeli. These are not my beliefs, and I don't agree with them, but they're out there and the people who believe them presumably have better credentials than you. I may have paraphrased their views unclearly, but my basic point is right. (Your example with the stick doesn't cut it at all.)
At the first link (at the bottom) I cite three people on the unreality of time. The second link archives my various attempts to get to the bottom of the question.
"Hopefully that will disabuse you of any notion that Jefferson was anything like a contemporary Libertarian."
Almost all of the examples you site are on the libertarian end of the spectrum -- although quite a few are as unrealistic as some (and particularly the ardent) present day libertarians.
Who do you suppose is opposed to all taxes? You site as surprising or at varience with libertarian ideals that Jefferson favors taxes to support government? And on and on.
I have never known a libertarian who supported the degree of interference in the market that Ormsbee says Jefferson proposed. It's a pretty diverse group, but the ones I've met were all very pro-market.
John Emerson said:
"I have never known a libertarian who supported the degree of interference in the market that Ormsbee says Jefferson proposed. It's a pretty diverse group, but the ones I've met were all very pro-market."
Well sure. Big differences. Things and times change and schools have differt things and ideals to define themselves against (which essentially dialectical process is indeed an ingrained human tendency).
Nonetheless what Jefferson tended to emphasize above all else was individual liberty. So did all the founding fathers relatively (compared to the European models of the time), but he was out there.
As well Jefferson was a big time loose cannon. Throwing out ideas without feeling necessarily bound by them was his tendency. He didn't necessarily try to implement or crusade to have others agree with many of them. The claim for example that "he was in favor of the redistribution of wealth by the government to make all families economically independent of pecuniary interests of others" sounds like a heated or lubricated throwaway. How is this consistent with what else he advocated, lobbied for, or lived by? I'm dubious about his seriousness or steadfastness in support of that perhaps frivolous or rhetorical remark.
Anyway, in case it isn't clear, I don't think much of Jefferson. He was a thorough going hypocrite at many levels. Our most French (in the worst sense) poseur dedicated to fashionable intellectual pronouncements, with little regard to practicality - long before he ever went to France (but he had read). He felt little need to try to mold his conduct to his ideals - or limit his ideals or rhetoric to conduct he (or anyone else) could attain. Which latter is the heart of the matter and why he is thoroughly untrustworthy. (But which doesn't mean I don't like his Declaration rhetoric - that was his high point.)
John E, your website seems to be simply a collection of weird and ridiculously elementary misconceptions. Please refer to these "people with better credentials" (I will ignore all appeals to scientists-turned-New-Age-gurus like Prigogine).
The point still is that in relativity it is axiomatic that there are "two kinds of dimensions", timelike and spacelike, and empirically we experience 1+3. The stick is an empirical test for whether directions are "alike" and it easily tells us that "left", "forward" and "up" are alike while "from today to tomorrow" is different from them. (If you want a formal definition, I can give you that, too.) This is all that *relativity* uses. The "whys" are completely unknown. There's a lot of speculation and no agreement whatsoever among physicists. Sure, you can find some physicist convinced that "time is an illusion" (whatever the hell that means), but that's their own philosophical speculation, not the opinion of "physicists". In fact I seriously doubt that it is even a real position: no one claiming that "time is an illusion" has been able to explain to me what they actually *mean* - it's likely the usual case of verbal sewage that despite being meaningless tickles your brain in such a way that you'll believe to have hit something "profound".
And again, in particular, anyone claiming that time is "the fourth dimension of space" is simply wrong. This is like declaring that black is white - the reply is that it just isn't and anyone can personally test to see that it isn't. Time isn't space, either, and it is obvious to everyone. Why is it that when tough math gets involved, most people just completely switch off their brain and instantly fall for some guru that tells them that circles are squares and that pigs can fly, even if they know it isn't true? Why don't you ask them to draw the square circle or show the flying pig instead of going off to rant about how mathemathicians or biologists must really confused since they believe those? In this case, if someone claims that time is "just another dimension of space", ask them to point their finger directly towards the future. That's what being a dimension of space would, by definition, allow. The burden of proof is on *them*. Can they point to the future? They can't do it and every non-retarded human should be able to explain why - because time just isn't a dimension of space!
I don't know what to say, Jaakeli. Prigogine is not one of those who says time is an illusion -- he denies it, and despite the new-age smear, he did win a Nobel prize. One of the people who said that time is an illusion was Albert Einstein. There are LOTS of physicists who say, in some sense, that time is an illusion.
Yes, that's an interpretation, and not a scientific theory, but it's an interpretation of physics MADE BY PHYSICISTS. That was my point -- the high intelligence of physicists does not keep them from making erroneous judgments outside physics.
And your interpretation, which I agree with, is another, different interpretation. Your stick is a good, intuitive, commonsense argument, and I agree with it, but it isn't physics. Perhaps you are a physicist (I doubt it), and apparently you (like Prigogine) have committed yourself to a different, common-sense philosophical interpretation of relativity, but you're just one guy and your common sense is not shared by the whole field.
In some dim way you agree with me, though your use of words like "retarded" and "sewage", and your reliance on commonsense experience, tends to make me believe that you have no understanding of what's at issue. (Physicists often have to reject common sense as part of their work, especially in relativity and sub-atomic physics, and basically I think that here they went a step too far.)
In my considerable study of this it turned out that some statements about time which are true at the cosmological level or the subatomic level studied by physics are not true at the intermediate level governed by entropy. It took me a long time to get to that, mostly because of an error made by Prigogine in trying to extend his point beyond its valid scope, but I think that I've pretty much figured things out.
Lastly, I'd like to ask you to actually read what I wrote and refrain from ignorantly insulting me and my sources. I like flame wars fine, but I normally refrain from engaging in them on Razib's sites.
yes jaakkeli, let's show a little more finish reticence :)
primaries. oregon is now operationally on the state level a mildly reliable democratic state. more variance within the republic primary so more opportunity for choice.
That may be a reason for registering R, but not for identifying as R. Unfortunately, voting causes identification; it's difficult to separate these things. Also, I imagine that the Republican party in Oregon is much better than the national party.
Re: Time dimension vs. space dimension.
(I believe John Emerson and Jaakkeli already understand these points but to readers following this thread I offer the following explanation of the "dispute".)
By analogy consider the complex plane with a "real" dimension and an "imaginary" dimension. There are many similarities between the "real" dimension and the "imaginary" dimension. There are many similarities between the complex plane and the XY plane. There are also essential mathematical differences.
Likewise in some ways the time dimension does resemble spatial dimensions. But in other essential ways the time dimension is different. As jaakkeli states, "This "spacetime" does not have the same geometry that a 4-dimensional Euclidian space would have. It has a different kind of geometry - one that contains two types of dimensions."
A physicist writing for a lay audience may want to emphasize the similarity between the time dimension and spatial dimensions. Then the lay person can use their intuition concerning space to better understand time. In particular, the lay person might grasp the similarities between the distance measured between two points in space-time with the distance measured in normal space.
Time isn't just another spacial dimension but understanding the ways in which time resembles a spatial dimension furthers understanding. When you understand how they are the same and then understand how they are different, you are closer to understanding physical reality.
(Another complexity is that Relativity hasn't been unified with Quantum Mechanics. Discussions of "time" in the two models may differ.)
John E, I think what jaakkeli is reacting to is your statement that:
I read a fair amount of stuff by physicists claiming that since at the fundamental level time is only a dimension of space, "time is a subjective illusion" or the like.
You see while some physicists make the argument that "time is a subjective illusion", no competent physicist would argue that "time is only a dimension of space" - for the very good reasons outlined by jaakkeli.
What is actually at issue is a variation on the debate over determinism. One classical statement was by Laplace:
We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at a certain moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is composed, if this intellect were also vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes.
The modern understanding of relativity and, especially, quantum mechanics have added some complications while thermodynamics (entropy) has sharpened some of the problems. But the underlying questions are similar. "Time is a dimension of space" is a diversion.
Jaakeli might have said that a bit more clearly and less huffily. I have read competent people writing, for a popular audience, that time is just a dimension of space.
What I have been especially targetting all along is the idea that time is a subjective illusion, which is closely associated with the idea that time is reversible and that it is in some sense at least theoretically possible to move backward in time. Laplace's stroinmg statement of determinism is another closely-related point.
And my original point here was simply that very smart physicists can make statements in non-physics areas which are untrue and indeed, ridiculous. Not all physicists, but some. I think that this point was a good one.
Agnostic said -
"while liberals like Steven Pinker and conservatives like Charles Murray can actually get along pretty well due to their iconoclastic streak."
I like the idea of that symmetry, and in fact having an iconoclastic streak and willingness to think outside the box and against dogmas is what I find most attractive in thinkers.
Thing is, while I can think of lots of other guys like Charles Murray on the somewhat or very iconoclastic right, I can't think of all that many beyond Pinker on the liberal side. I was going to say left side, but that's almost a contradiction in terms. It's pretty hard to question too many PC tenants and be widely considered a denizen of the left, isn't it?
As well, though Pinker calls himself liberal (and may well vote that way), his iconoclasm is pretty much of the upsetting shibboleths of the left sort. Yeah, he constructs a balance in "The Blank Slate" but it seems rather artificial to me, in that the sacred cows of the right he debunks (creationism or other opposition to the evolutionary origins of human bodies and brains) are very old hat for intellectuals generally. The debunking of left side sacred cows is what's still fairly cutting edge, in a generalist, popularizing sort of book. (Examples, the brains of the genders aren't the same in non trivial ways, and more generally the brain isn't remotely a blank state general purpose computer ready to be molded by what "society" thinks is proper, but rather a bunch of modular capabilities for different things, and what's more, we differ non trivially in our biological mental endowments.)
I guess what I'm saying is that in the world of advanced thought (academic or otherwise) nearly all the dogmas and sacred cows are on the left. If you're going to be iconoclastic in the world of thinkers, it's just about inevitably going to be in contravention of lefty taboos.
John E, that is not a "commonsense interpretation of relativity": it *is* relativity. *That something happens to make sense* is certainly no argument *against* it - relativity is under no obligation to offend common sense in every single question! If you disagree, please be technical. That is, give me a *definition* of what you mean by something being "dimension of space" so that I can see if time fulfills the conditions. Or, please define what you believe those people who claim that "time is the fourth dimension of space" to mean. In this subject there is no such thing as too technical for me, so be as specific as you can.
(Note that there are a lot of physicists who do not think that making sense is at all important when talking to general audiences, so you can indeed hear all sorts of weird claims, although I doubt an expert on relativity could be caught saying that. I'll eagerly concede this major flaw of physicists and take the opportunity to complain about all the new physics books trying to popularize a theory of everything that doesn't even exist yet.)
I guess what I'm saying is that in the world of advanced thought (academic or otherwise) nearly all the dogmas and sacred cows are on the left. If you're going to be iconoclastic in the world of thinkers, it's just about inevitably going to be in contravention of lefty taboos
That's true in 2006, but not in the 19th C or before. So, like I said, I think the left-right dimension is orthogonal to the iconoclastic-authoritarian dimension. It depends on when and where you are to see whose sacred cows are being toppled. Speaking of which, lately most mainstream conservatives have adopted lots of lefty sacred cows like equal intelligence of all individuals (NCLB), unequal outcomes establishing a prima facie case for discrimination and hence support affirmative action, downplaying heredity and exaggerating parental influence, etc.
Jaakeli, that is *not* relativity. Relativity is a set of equations, as people keep telling me. There are various ways I have seen physics interpreted in ordinary language, including the one I gave. I can seen now where I misstated my paraphrase.
Nonetheless, my original point is that some highly-qualified physicists, when talking about everyday reality in ordinary language, say things that don't make sense and are not true. The reversability of time and the unreality of time are two of them. Perhaps time as a dimension of space is not a third.
At this point I am not sure whether you have not just adopted a verbal intepretation of physics which is trimmed to be as consonant as possible with common sense. A lot of physicists don't do that, which is my point. The fact that there is so much discrepancy on this point leads me to suspect that your interpretation is not as inevitable as you claim it is.
I haven't even said anything about multiple-worlds theories yet.
""Speaking of which, lately most mainstream conservatives have adopted lots of lefty sacred cows like equal intelligence of all individuals (NCLB), unequal outcomes establishing a prima facie case for discrimination and hence support affirmative action, downplaying heredity and exaggerating parental influence, etc."
In a word, neocons. Or fear of/influence of same. Who can on issues of violation of a lot of PC taboos (like equal intelligence or discrimination or blank slate generally), call on mobilization of vast cadres of their confreres on the other side of the usual US political divide. In a second, more explicit, word, or rather phrase, Jewish influence/pressure. (No I don't think the two are the same, entirely, but I do think the later is the driving force in what you refer to.)
Big admirer or Jewish contributions and smarts, but you asked a question, and I'd like to call a spade a spade.
At the risk of sounding defensive, could you please name a social science mandarin, you know, for those of us out of the loop?
TangoMan will remember her, JDM Prof and Queen of Moonbats: Deborah Frisch!