Christianity and the GOP

I know I'm not going to get around to excerpting and commenting on this nice Harold Meyerson column, just read it.  Okay, at least my favorite section:

Rather, it's the gap between the teachings of the Gospels and the
preachings of the Gospel's Own Party that has widened past the point of
absurdity, even as the ostensible Christianization of the party
proceeds apace.

The policies of the president, for instance, can be defended in
greater or (more frequently) lesser degree within a framework of
worldly standards. But if Bush can conform his advocacy of preemptive
war with Jesus's Sermon on the Mount admonition to turn the other
cheek, he's a more creative theologian than we have given him credit
for. Likewise his support of torture, which he highlighted again this
month when he threatened to veto House-passed legislation that would
explicitly ban waterboarding.

It's not just Bush whose catechism is a merry mix of torture and
piety. Virtually the entire Republican House delegation opposed the ban
on waterboarding.

Race and IQ

There's been quite an interesting debate raging on-line on race and IQ, that largely began with James Watson's (of DNA fame) remarks not long ago.  William Saletan's series of articles in Slate suggesting that there is a real race-IQ link really got the ball rolling and has led to a number of thoughtful articles and blog postings.  Malcolm Gladwell had a really good New Yorker book review on the matter recently, but his recent blog post, really makes the most sense of it to me.  At the crux of the explanation is the insight that the relationship between environment and IQ is definitely not a linear one:

Children moving from poverty to the middle class see their IQ's
jump: IQ at that end of the socio-economic scale is highly sensitive to
environmental improvements. But the kinds of twins studies usually
relied upon by IQ  fundamentalists and that yield such high genetic
effects, are much more likely to involve comparisons among middle and
upper middle class environments–and that end of the scale,
Turkheimer's data suggests, environment doesn't play a big role. 

In other words, the lawyer who plays Mozart in the crib for his
daughter, in order to raise her IQ, is wasting his time.  But
dramatically increasing the educational resources available to inner
city kids makes a  lot of sense.

This, I think, helps to clarify a lot of what drives so many of us
crazy about Charles Murray and his ilk. We're not disputing the
importance of IQ. And we're not disputing that genes play a huge role
in determining IQ. We're just saying that it's hopelessly naive to
assume that the same rules apply to suburban, middle-class whites as
apply to, say, urban, inner-city black families.

Like most things in life, there's clearly an interaction between environment and genes, but the effect is clearly much stronger in moving from an impoverished environment to a healthy one than from a healthy environment to a super-healthy environment. 

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