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January 24, 2012 / JayMan

Those Italians…

In an earlier post I mentioned the recent Italian cruise ship disaster. I stated that this was an example of “Italian incompetence.” Italians have a certain reputation attached to them, as many of you may have seen with Italian jokes after the tragedy (a word I use deliberately, as we’ll see). Southern Italians have been especially notorious in this regard; there’s even an old notion of Southern Italy being “Africa’s last colony in Europe” (which isn’t too far from the truth).

But some of you may be thinking that “these are all stereotypes, right?” They can’t be true; they have to be misinformed or irrational, right? Wrong. As evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa points out, all stereotypes are true, statistically anyway. As he notes, stereotypes are what scientists call “empirical generalizations.” The trouble happens when people assume that stereotypes apply in every last instance, when they clearly do not. However, if there wasn’t some sort of statistical trend, the stereotype could not persist (not mention that the stereotype would probably never have become one in the first place). (Of course, there might be some good reasons why people sweepingly apply stereotypes the way they often do. I’ll discuss that in a future post).

The lowered average IQ is only in the south (Il Mezzogiorno). Northern Italians are actually pretty clever, on average. However, southern Italians don’t just bring their lower average IQ, they also bring their culture, a culture shaped by centuries of inbreeding. Here are a few more of those maps from M.G.’s blog that look at the things that correlate with latitude in Italy:

 


Anyone who’s watched The Sopranos, The Godfather trilogy, Goodfellas, or any of a host of mobster flicks has had an introduction into the workings and the pathologies of Southern Italian culture.

As hbd chick puts it:

“In the North the crucial social, political, and even religious allegiances and alignments were horizontal, while those in the South were vertical. Collaboration, mutual assistance, civic obligation, and even trust — not universal, of course, but extending further beyond the limits of kinship than anywhere else in Europe in this era — were the distinguishing features in the North. The chief virtue in the South, by contrast, was the imposition of hierarchy and order on latent anarchy.”

in other words, northern italy was full of republican communes, while the south was run from the top down by the monarch.

medieval communes were a type of corporate society, but you can’t have a corporate society if you have clans or tribes or any sort of extended families produced by extensive inbreeding. you need a good deal of outbreeding to get the republican communes that putnam talks about. you need to have a society full of individuals looking out for their own best interests, and those of their immediate family (wife, children), as opposed to a society of extended families or clans or tribes looking out for the interests of their whole group. then, because of the effects of inbreeding on the evolution of social behaviors, you get clan vs. clan, not individuals coming together in guilds to promote their profession or mutal aid societies.

The province I’ve pointed to on the above map is the province of Naples, from where the captain of the ill-fated Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, hails. As we see, this province is rife with the problematic issues that face Italian society. One of these is nepotism, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that is how Mr. Schettino got his job. Let’s take a look at the captain’s behavior that fateful night:

Cruise ship’s cook says captain ordered dinner after crash

(CNN) — The captain of the Costa Concordia ordered dinner for himself and a woman after the ship struck rocks off Italy’s coast, a cook from the ship told a Filipino television station.

In an interview with GMA Network, cook Rogelio Barista said Capt. Francesco Schettino ordered dinner less than an hour after the accident.

“We wondered what was going on. … At that time, we really felt something was wrong. … The stuff in the kitchen was falling off shelves and we realized how grave the situation was,” Barista told GMA.

Schettino ordered dinner around 10:30 p.m. Friday, Barista said. Authorities say the ship struck the rocks at 9:41 p.m.

“I have had 12 years of experience as a cook on a cruise ship. … I have even witnessed fires, so I wasn’t that scared,” Barista said. “But I did wonder, though, what the captain was doing … why was he still there.”

Italian media have published photos of the woman purportedly dining with the captain.

Costa Cruises, which owns the ship, said the woman boarded the ship Friday and registered.

“The company is ready to provide the authorities, when requested, with the identity of the person and the number of the ticket purchased,” the company said.

The ship hit rocks off the coast of the Italian island of Giglio on Friday night.

At least 11 people are known to have died in the disaster, and 21 are still missing, according to the Italian Crisis Unit.

There were roughly 4,200 people on the Costa Concordia when it ran aground — about 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members, the vast majority of whom made it off the ship safely.

Criticism from both Costa Cruises and the authorities has focused so far on Schettino, who is under house arrest and facing possible charges of manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning ship.

Coast guard records published Thursday by an Italian newspaper pile further pressure on the captain of the Concordia and his officers, suggesting authorities first became aware of the crash from a friend of the mother of a passenger about 15 minutes after the ship hit rocks.

Schettino’s brother-in-law defended him in an Italian newspaper Thursday.

Schettino “managed to avoid a tragedy — it could have been worse,” Maurilio Russo said in Corriere della Sera.

And he denied that the captain had abandoned ship.

“He was not running away, he came down (from the ship) to survey the damage,” Russo said.

CNN’s Armie Jarin-Bennett and Hada Messia contributed to this report.

Interestingly, as an aside, Schettino’s appearance is also quintessential Italian. Even if you didn’t know who this guy was or ever heard his name, you could look at him and know instantly that he is Italian, thanks to these facial averages from The Postnational Monitor :

Additionally, here’s an account of the dysfunctional behavior of the Costa Concordia’s crew during the evacuation:

Italian cruise ship survivors: Crew appeared helpless

Porto Santo Stefano, Italy (CNN) — At first, Vivian Shafer said, she thought it was part of the magic show aboard her Mediterranean cruise.

During the show, aboard the Costa Concordia, staffers had been “playing with the lights” and using smoke, “so we really weren’t that alarmed” as things began happening on the ship, she said Sunday.

Shafer said she and her traveling companion, Ronda Rosenthal, returned to their cabin after the ship gave a “shudder,” but were reassured by their cabin steward the ship was experiencing a “small technical difficulty.” And as the two got into bed, someone speaking on behalf of the ship’s captain made an announcement saying there was an electrical problem that would be fixed soon.

However, it became clear that something was amiss aboard the 1,500-cabin luxury vessel, after the two heard announcements regarding lifeboats and muster stations. They dressed, grabbed their life jackets and went to investigate, coming upon a chaotic scene.

“We peeked around the corner to kind of see what people were doing … and my gosh, people were actually getting in a lifeboat,” Shafer said.

At least five people died after the Concordia ran aground on the tiny island of Giglio Friday night. Several others remained unaccounted for.

Survivors recounted a frantic rush by passengers to get on lifeboats, while the crew appeared helpless and overwhelmed to cope.

“There wasn’t anybody to help you,” Shafer said. “I mean, the passengers were loading the lifeboats by themselves.”

Carnival Corporation, the parent company of Costa Cruises, said in a statement Saturday that it was “working to fully understand the cause of what occurred. The safety of our guests and crew members remains the number-one priority of Carnival Corporation … and all of our cruise lines.”

Costa Cruises on Sunday said crew members on board the Concordia “acted bravely and swiftly to help evacuate more than 4,000 individuals during a very challenging situation. We are very grateful for all they have done.”

It said preliminary indications are that there may have been “significant human error” on the part of the ship’s captain.

Compounding the evacuation problems was that only one side of lifeboats was available as the ship was listing. Passenger Laurie Willits, from Ontario, Canada, said some lifeboats on the higher side got stuck, leaving people suspended in mid-air amid the sounds of children crying and screaming.

“It was so crowded, and there was no room for us,” said Brandon Warrick, who was sailing with his siblings. They arrived late, he said Sunday, and “it was just bad, like mad scrambles to get into the lifeboats. Nobody followed any procedure. The crew was yelling for people to wait their turn and pretty much it was just a giant every man for himself, to get onto the lifeboat.”

He said his family hung back because “we didn’t want to make it worse.”

His sister, Amanda Warrick, said she thought several times that she might die, as they waited at least an hour and a half for more rescue boats after all the lifeboats departed.

As the ship took on water and listed to the side, “We were just holding onto the railing, trying not to fall,” Brandon Warrick said.

“I just remember standing on the decks,” Amanda Warrick said. “There were barely any people left.” She said she didn’t see any crew members “until the very last minute” and they were given no information about how long they would have to wait or whether any more help was coming.

Her primary concern, she said, was staying with her brothers. “There was no way that we were going to be separated.”

Costa Cruises said Sunday its crew members hold a certificate in basic safety training and are trained to assist in emergency situations. Every two weeks, the company said, all crew members perform a ship evacuation simulation.

Shafer said the only help they received from the crew was one young woman who approached her and told her to tighten her life vest.

“I was really disappointed and surprised,” she said. “The crew was so young. You would have thought they could have handled it better.” She said she thinks passengers should at least have been told to grab their coats, shoes and warm clothing.

Rosenthal said she believes the two waited at least 40 minutes to get on a lifeboat. The two had just embarked at the Italian port of Civitavecchia, she said, and had not undergone the mandatory safety drill, scheduled for the next evening. However, she had just taken a cruise and so she knew where the life jackets were stored, she said.

“Lack of communication was a big thing for me,” she said, “and it wasn’t the language barrier … it wasn’t handled at all like the previous cruise I had been on.” Even on shore, she said, people were wandering around aimlessly.

She said once she and Shafer got on board a lifeboat, people were angry with them, as the boat was crowded. She did not clarify whether the crew members or other passengers were angry.

Passenger Benji Smith on Saturday recounted making his own rope ladder to save himself and his wife.

“It was the Marx brothers, watching these guys trying to figure out how to work the boat,” he said. “I felt like the disaster itself was manageable, but I felt like the crew was going to kill us.”

After helping passengers, some said, crew members jumped overboard and swam ashore.

Smith said even the safety presentation was more of a “sales pitch” for shore excursions.

The problem of course wasn’t just limited to the captain or crew of the ship; the trouble is institutional to the cruise line itself. Here’s a recount of the experiences a couple of passengers from Georgia who survive the crash, including how they were treated after they were evacuated from the ship:

U.S. passengers recount Concordia ordeal

(CNN) — Chaos and a lack of communication are common threads among American survivors’ stories of the Costa Concordia sinking, and making it to shore was only the beginning of a long ordeal for passengers trying to get home.

Melissa Goduti of Wallingford, Connecticut, boarded the ship about three hours before it ran aground Friday night, killing at least 11 passengers.

“All of a sudden, the boat leaned over like on a 70-degree angle, and everything just started falling — dishes were falling, trash cans were falling, everything was falling,” Goduti told CNN affiliate CTNow. “Then the lights went out and everything was blacked, out and then the lights came back on.”

Lynn Kaelin of Puyallup, Washington, told CNN affiliate KCPQ that it was “like having the Titanic without the water gushing through.”

“I called my husband, not knowing if I’d see him again,” she said. “I thought we were going to die.”

There were no announcements for a long time, and Goduti and her mother didn’t see signs directing them toward lifeboats.

“We were running around trying to ask what floor the lifeboats were on, and all the crew kept saying is, ‘you don’t need them, you’re fine, everything is fine, we just got hit by a big wave,’ ” Goduti told CTNow.

“All they kept saying was it’s a generator issue, just a generator issue and that the boat was floating along and just needed to get stabilized,” she said.

Nancy Lofaro of New Rochelle, New York, said the crew tried to do what they could, “but when we asked them, they said they had no information. They just didn’t have any information to give us.” Lofaro estimates the first announcement came 30 to 40 minutes after the ship ran aground.

Goduti and her mother feel lucky they found a lifeboat.

“When our lifeboat dropped, it dropped. It wasn’t an easy letdown by any means, but at least we got into the water and were safe, which is a lot better than, unfortunately, some people,” she said.

Costa staff in Lofaro’s lifeboat were debating who would drive the boat, and they didn’t seem to know what to do, she said.

Joan Fleser of Duanesburg, New York, seconds that opinion, calling the crew “inexperienced and untrained.”

In a letter to passengers, Costa Cruises CEO Pier Luigi Foschi disputes that assessment: “The crew of the Costa Concordia acted bravely and swiftly in an extremely difficult situation and succeeded — despite the terribly demanding conditions — in evacuating more than 4,000 people in the shortest possible time: we are proud of our commitment and dedication to your safety.”

He goes on to outline crew training, safety procedures and regulatory oversight.

Survivors of the disaster say the scene on land was equally chaotic. Fleser said the lifeboat ride to the Tuscan island of Giglio was the last she saw of Costa Cruises employees until she, her husband and daughter reached a hotel in Rome on Saturday.

The people of the island came out in force to help the stranded travelers, and a local priest opened up the church. Fleser and her family stayed at the home of a local family overnight.

“The people of the island were wonderful,” Fleser said.

Nancy Lofaro and her husband wandered around on shore, finding a church, a local cafe and a small hotel all packed.

“There was no organization. There was nobody, and the staff was in shock as much as we were. There were no announcements. We saw Costa people … walking around with a bullhorn, not using it,” Lofaro said.

Fleser and her family were herded onto a ferry to the mainland the morning after the wreck, “but we had no idea where we were going.”

Triage doctors, members of the coast guard, the Red Cross and other volunteer organizations met the cruise passengers and took them to a local school, where more local services were provided. Her daughter received a pair of sneakers there because she was still wearing high heels from the night before, Fleser said.

The family then boarded a bus to Rome, where they were dropped off at a hotel.

“The Marriott had no idea we were coming. All these refugee boat people land on their front door, and they say, ‘Who are you? But we’ll take care of you,’ ” Fleser said.

There were two Costa cruise representatives at the hotel, “but every time we asked them if they could do something for us, they said they had no authority,” she said.

The cruise line did pay for food, the hotel and their airfare home, Fleser said, although they booked them on a flight to Albany, Georgia, instead of Albany, New York — a mistake the family discovered in the Atlanta airport.

“Oh my god, we were just ready to lose it at that point.”

More than 1,100 Costa employees have been working to assist passengers and crew since Friday night, Foschi said in his letter to passengers.

The CEO of Costa’s parent company, Carnival Corp., pledged support to passengers: “I give my personal assurance that we will take care of each and every one of our guests, crew and their families affected by this tragic event,” Micky Arison said in a statement.

Before Fleser and her family could make the journey home, they needed new passports to replace those lost on the sinking ship.

The U.S. Embassy’s response was a big disappointment, Fleser said.

“Other than getting our temporary passports, they gave us no assistance whatsoever. No food, no clothes, no money, no transportation. They told us to borrow some money, get a cab, come on down.” A hotel shuttle took Fleser and other Americans to the embassy, she said.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the agency arranged with the cruise line to have American passengers transported to a Rome hotel and to the embassy for documents. More than 100 emergency passports have been issued to stranded travelers.

“We also provided all kinds of advice, telephone contacts to families, helped families create travel funds, provided them with passport photos, warm clothes, there were even a couple of families that needed diapers,” she said during a State Department briefing Wednesday.

Fleser and her family arrived home shortly after midnight Tuesday. They received a voicemail from Costa saying the family would be reimbursed for the cruise and articles lost on the ship, she said, but the message didn’t offer details of how those amounts would be determined.

In addition to arranging lodging, transportation and counseling for passengers, Costa will address possessions lost on board and is in the process of refunding cruise fares and costs incurred while on board, the company said in a statement.

Now contrast the Costa Concordia disaster with another cruise ship incident (albeit a much smaller one with fewer than 300 passengers) but nonetheless one where a near catastrophe was successfully averted. This one occurred off the coast of Norway:

“Intense” Norway cruise fire kills 2 crew

(CBS/AP)

OSLO, Norway – An “intense” fire in a cruise ship’s engine room killed two crewmen Thursday, injured nine others and forced over 200 passengers to evacuate a popular cruise off Norway’s craggy western coast. Police suspect an on-board explosion.

Thick black smoke billowed from the stern of the boat, the MS Nordlys, of Norway’s Hurtigruten line even before it pulled into the dock at Aalesund, 230 miles northwest of the capital of Oslo. Police sealed off parts of the town as the smoke engulfed nearby buildings.

The ship’s emergency evacuation began after the fire started at 9 a.m., with more than 100 passengers piling into lifeboats in the frigid waters. The rest of the ship’s 207 passengers and 55 crew were evacuated at the dock at Aalesund, with some crew staying on board to fight the fire.

Aalesund Hospital said nine people had been admitted, two with serious burns and smoke injuries. Police said all of the injured and dead were members of the ship’s crew.

“Our suspicion is that there was an explosion in the machine room,” Acting Police Chief Yngve Skovly of the Sunnmoere Police District told reporters later Thursday.

Passengers said the cruise ship, which was traveling north from the city of Bergen, had organized an orderly evacuation.

“We were sent up on deck and given our lifevests,” Danielle Passebois-Paya, a French tourist, told Norwegian daily Aftenposten. “It took only a few minutes after the alarm and we were in the lifeboats.”

“It was a well-organized evacuation,” she added. “The crew did a really good job. Everything was calm and went smoothly. There was no panic.”

The chief of Aalesund’s fire brigade, Geir Thorsen, described the fire as “big and intense.” He could not confirm reports that the ship’s fire-extinguishing system did not work, but said its electricity system was knocked out.

And this is how the company handled the passengers after the incident:

Cruise ship tilting dangerously in Norway after Thursday fire

Hurtigruten said it was organizing emergency passports and providing money for the passengers who had to leave their belongings on board during the evacuation.

The shipping line’s CEO Olav Fjell said that finding alternative transport for those who wanted to continue their journey would be difficult.

Hurtigruten Ship Nordlys Stabilized as Guests Return Home

By Theresa Norton Masek
September 19, 2011 11:23 AM

The Hurtigruten vessel Nordlys, which was damaged in an engine room explosion and fire Sept. 15, was stabilized on Sept. 18 after listing while docked in Ålesund, Norway. The ship was being cleared of passengers’ personal belongings and cargo. The 207 passengers, who were safely evacuated and put up in a hotel in Ålesund, were heading home as of Sept. 19. Two crew members were killed in the fire and two remain hospitalized. All departures of Nordlys have been cancelled until mid-October. The ship was not scheduled to operate from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31.

Hurtigruten said its support team will remain in Ålesund until all guests are on their flights back home. Hurtigruten said it would forward personal belongings to the home address of passengers who were heading home before getting their items. The fire was detected at 9:17 a.m. Norway time Sept. 15 as it neared Ålesund. The guests were from 16 nations, including 53 from the U.S. The cause of the fire is under investigation. “Hurtigruten wishes to thank deeply all involved for their impressive contribution during the last days—guests for their great patience and understanding and crew members and rescue workers for their professionalism and courage during the rescue operation,” the company said.

As we saw at the beginning of this post, institutional dysfuction is high in Southern Italy (and presumably in Northern Italian companies that contain many Southern Italians and have adopted aspects of Southern culture). As well, as this example with the Norwegians demonstrate, part of the effectiveness of institutions (and in this case, businesses) stems from a general preference for rules and order and a concern for society as a whole (as opposed to only one’s clan, village, or region), things that are, overall, weaker among Italians.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Italians. Their charismatic nature and culture of masculine bravado is nothing if not entertaining, and this is part of the reason so many movies keep being made about them. But the flip side is when this culture leads to disaster, particularly disasters caused almost entirely by human foibles, hence the tragedy, in the the pure Sophoclean sense, and why this theme seems entirely fitting.

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25 Comments

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  1. hbd chick / Jan 25 2012 2:26 AM

    @jayman – “The province I’ve pointed to on the above map is the province of Naples, from where the captain of the ill-fated Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, hails.”

    oh, i KNEW he was from the south! it’s written all over his face. thnx for finding that out! (i spent about 20 minutes the other day googling schettino, but didn’t have any luck. didn’t think of checking wikipedia! (~_^) )

    take a look at gregorio de falco, the coast guard captain who yelled at schettino to get back on board. he TOTALLY looks like a northerner. now i wanna find out where he’s from.

  2. uh / Jan 27 2012 10:16 PM

    Hate this patronizing tone you cunts take. You’re like yidden discussing goyim. Italians are good for movies. Keep them in movies so we can laugh at them.

    ” But the flip side is when this culture leads to disaster, particularly disasters caused almost entirely by human foibles, hence the tragedy ”

    Couple dozen lost! BFD. Northern Europeans were the first to legalize abortion. Millions of fetuses murdered. That’s no tragedy, but a man saving his own skin and tens dead, it’s endemic corruption and incompetence! Glad you have that figured out.

    • JayMan / Jan 28 2012 11:49 AM

      Congratulations uh! You seem to be the first set of feathers I’ve ruffled with this blog. 😀

      ” But the flip side is when this culture leads to disaster, particularly disasters caused almost entirely by human foibles, hence the tragedy ”

      Couple dozen lost! BFD.

      Why this disaster stands out among disasters is because it was wholly the result of human error/incompetence from beginning to end. Thankfully most of the passengers escaped safely.

      Northern Europeans were the first to legalize abortion. Millions of fetuses murdered.

      If you consider the death of a brainless lump of tissue to be murder. But then, there is the issue of the declining population of First World peoples, so maybe that is an issue. More on that later.

    • asdf / Jan 22 2013 9:12 AM

      Status of jimmmies: Rustled.

  3. hbd chick / Jan 27 2012 11:32 PM

    JayMan :
    Or maybe we’re reading too much into this.

    yes, that could always be. (^_^)

    or! maybe the schettinos and the de falcos have a long-standing rivalry and this is just another expression of that. (~_^)

    more likely reading too much into it. (^_^)

  4. Italianthro / Mar 16 2012 9:57 AM

    That JayMan…

    Schettino’s a carouser and a playboy who likes to party on his boat — no more, no less. And it seems that’s pretty much standard procedure in the cruise ship industry. Also, the Costa Concordia’s crew was mostly non-Italian, made up of servers and entertainers belonging to 40 different nationalities, which added to the chaos following the crash.

    It’s hilarious that you claim to be talking about “empirical generalizations” but then cite two very specific isolated incidents from Italy and Norway to make your “point”. Ever heard of the SS Andrea Doria? When it collided with a Swedish ocean liner, everyone automatically blamed “those Italians”. But it turned out that the Swedish Third Officer was at fault when he misinterpreted radar data due to the poor design of the ship’s controls. There, I’ve just proven that Sweden has a culture of incompetence according to your “logic”.

    Equally laughable is your amazement at the fact that Schettino looks Italian, mentioned as if it were some sort of “evidence” against him. Are you also amazed that Irish people look Irish and Chinese people look Chinese? In fact, Schettino has blue eyes and light skin (when untanned), so maybe instead of African/Arab blood, he’s got some of that incompetent Swedish blood causing him to screw up so badly.

    Needless to say, your claims about race-mixing in Southern Italy, low IQ, income and GDP etc. are just as foolish and misinformed as the rest of your “article”. Anyone interested in facts and reality instead of the ravings of a racialist lunatic is invited to browse topics here and here.

    And when will you and HBd Chick learn that there’s virtually no difference in phenotype between Northern and Southern Italians?

    • JayMan / Mar 17 2012 1:58 PM

      I’m sorry your comment was held up in my spam filter. Blog.com isn’t nice enough to notify me when a receive a comment that it flags as spam.

      I will admit that the cruise ship incidents I discuss in my blog post are a case studies of the respective cultures rather than evidence that lends itself to empirical generalizations. (Of course it is worth mentioning that Costa doesn’t seem to be having the best track record lately). They are only symptomatic of the cultures which spawned them, but evidence of the broad differences between the Italian regions that I discussed still stands.

      Also, the Costa Concordia’s crew was mostly non-Italian, made up of servers and entertainers belonging to 40 different nationalities, which added to the chaos following the crash.

      Quite likely it did. They were probably largely low-IQ as well (and interestingly mostly hail from countries with low average IQ). In general, ethnic diversity doesn’t lend itself to cooperation. And the fact that Costa staffed its ship with incompetent crew also says something about the company. (I am aware that Costa is based in Genoa, in northern Italy.)

      Equally laughable is your amazement at the fact that Schettino looks Italian, mentioned as if it were some sort of “evidence” against him.

      It wasn’t meant to be. It’s just something that I found interesting to note.

      And when will you and HBd Chick learn that there’s virtually no difference in phenotype between Northern and Southern Italians?

      I’ve seen that, and I think that’s interesting. Though I’m not sure if the soccer players are all equally representative of their respective regions (as the statesmen and the models are less likely to be). Of course, the features of southern Italians don’t need to look different from their northern counterparts for their cognitive and behavioral profiles to differ…

  5. Italianthro / Mar 18 2012 9:42 AM

    [Cruise ship incidents] are only symptomatic of the cultures which spawned them

    Which includes the EU ignoring years of expert warnings on cruise ship safety that might have prevented the sinking.

    Quite likely it did. They were probably largely low-IQ as well (and interestingly mostly hail from countries with low average IQ). In general, ethnic diversity doesn’t lend itself to cooperation.

    The chaos was heightened by language barriers. It had nothing to do with IQ or ethnicity. Your Lynn-inspired “theories” are idiotic.

    And the fact that Costa staffed its ship with incompetent crew also says something about the company.

    ALL cruise lines hire cheap workers from developing countries. Do you ever bother to research anything?

    (I am aware that Costa is based in Genoa, in northern Italy.)

    And also British and American owned. It was acquired by the Carnival Corporation in 2000.

    Though I’m not sure if the soccer players are all equally representative of their respective regions (as the statesmen and the models are less likely to be).

    There’s no reason they wouldn’t be.

    Of course, the features of southern Italians don’t need to look different from their northern counterparts for their cognitive and behavioral profiles to differ…

    They do if you’re claiming (as your hero Lynn does) that Northerners are “smarter” because they’re “Germanic” while Southerners are “dumber” because they’re “Arab/African”. They’d need to look quite different.

    • JayMan / Mar 18 2012 1:00 PM

      Which includes the EU ignoring years of expert warnings on cruise ship safety that might have prevented the sinking.

      Well, that goes back to that whole ethnic diversity with respect to cooperation thing. It’s not like the EU is exactly the most effective body in the world, on a variety of things, precisely for this reason.

      ALL cruise lines hire cheap workers from developing countries. Do you ever bother to research anything?

      Apparently, not Hurtigruten, with the exception of only one of its ships. Just sayin’.

      [Costa] was acquired by the Carnival Corporation in 2000.

      It’s not like I’m going to be going on a Carnival cruise any time soon. (Though it seems that both this fire and the Costa Allegra fire were more bad luck than anything, they seem to have a little too much bad luck for my taste…)

      Though I’m not sure if the soccer players are all equally representative of their respective regions (as the statesmen and the models are less likely to be).

      There’s no reason they wouldn’t be.

      Just as there’s no reason hockey players should have been likely to have been born earlier in the year… I’d like to see facial averages made out of more unequivocally representative samples before I give it too much faith.

      if you’re claiming (as your hero Lynn does) that Northerners are “smarter” because they’re “Germanic” while Southerners are “dumber” because they’re “Arab/African”. They’d need to look quite different.

      But that’s not a claim I’m making. While genetic evidence shows that Southerners do have more North African admixture than Northerners, I don’t think that that is primarily responsible for the cognitive differences between the two populations. Rather, I think recent selection—evolutionary pressures during the Middle Ages that were different for the different parts of Italy—are to blame.

      Lynn believes that many of the cognitive differences between racial groups are prehistoric in origin, going back to the Ice Ages, and I suspect that—especially between the major races—a good deal of them are. But there is plenty of evidence for much more recent evolution, during the time of written history, and this is what I think is more important when looking at ethnic differences within the major races.

  6. Italianthro / Mar 19 2012 9:56 AM

    Well, that goes back to that whole ethnic diversity with respect to cooperation thing. It’s not like the EU is exactly the most effective body in the world, on a variety of things, precisely for this reason.

    Nonsense. Ever heard of bureaucracy? That’s what the article I linked to mentions as the reason, not “ethnic diversity”. And you aren’t helping your credibility by citing American Renaissance and a blog written by another racialist nobody.

    Apparently, not Hurtigruten, with the exception of only one of its ships. Just sayin’.

    Just sayin’ what exactly? That Norwegians don’t use cheap labor because they’re “cognitively and behaviorally superior”? Wishful thinking. They can afford what others can’t because oil and gas were discovered in the North Sea in the 1960s, making Norway extremely wealthy. Before that, it was one of the poorest, most backward countries in Europe.

    Just as there’s no reason hockey players should have been likely to have been born earlier in the year…

    And that has what exactly to do with their physical appearance or region of origin? Absolutely nothing. You’re grasping at straws.

    I’d like to see facial averages made out of more unequivocally representative samples before I give it too much faith.

    No you wouldn’t. Whatever samples were used, you would claim that they’re “not representative” based on something irrelevant (see above) simply because you don’t like the results.

    While genetic evidence shows that Southerners do have more North African admixture than Northerners

    But still very little, and only in two areas particularly impacted by Moorish invasions. The rest of the South has no more admixture than the North.

    http://italianthro.blogspot.de/2011/10/moors-expelled-from-sicily-and-south.html

    I don’t think that that is primarily responsible for the cognitive differences between the two populations.

    Assuming that such differences even exist, which has by no means been demonstrated.

    Rather, I think recent selection—evolutionary pressures during the Middle Ages that were different for the different parts of Italy—are to blame.

    It really doesn’t matter what you think. The evidence points clearly to Italy’s unequally distributed resources as the primary cause of North-South disparities.

    • JayMan / Mar 19 2012 7:22 PM

      And you aren’t helping your credibility by citing American Renaissance and a blog written by another racialist nobody

      Right, because while the appeal to authority and the ad hominem are logical fallacies to be avoided in serious discourse, where HBD is concerned, they are perfectly valid arguments… :

      Just sayin’ what exactly? That Norwegians don’t use cheap labor because they’re “cognitively and behaviorally superior”?

      Maybe I’m the only one who gets the joke in that you accept as a given that of course Filipinos, Peruvians, or other workers from tropical countries would be “cheap labor”, while native Norwegians wouldn’t be. Hmmm…

      I’d like to see facial averages made out of more unequivocally representative samples before I give it too much faith.

      No you wouldn’t. Whatever samples were used, you would claim that they’re “not representative” based on something irrelevant (see above) simply because you don’t like the results.

      I would accept that it’s entirely possible that there are no significant morphological differences between northern and southern Italians. But again, there doesn’t need to be for there to be cognitive and behavioral differences between the two groups.

      While genetic evidence shows that Southerners do have more North African admixture than Northerners

      But still very little, and only in two areas particularly impacted by Moorish invasions. The rest of the South has no more admixture than the North.

      All true. But, as discussed, ultimately irrelevant. What is much more relevant is that the two groups are genetically distinct populations.

      [Norwegians] can afford what others can’t because oil and gas were discovered in the North Sea in the 1960s, making Norway extremely wealthy. Before that, it was one of the poorest, most backward countries in Europe.

      As to this whole notion of that the pre-modern development of the world serves as evidence for the absence of psychological differences among different peoples, do note that’s about as silly as saying that all of a given set of random individuals who’ve never seen as tennis court would be equally good at the game when given a chance to play. Much of the now developed world was quite undeveloped until relatively recently. Even here in the States, much of the hinterland was impoverished until efforts to modernize these areas were made. When you do an apples to apples comparison and look at different regions in today’s world, where each has been exposed to modernity, then you get something more meaningful.

      While we’re on it, I’m sure that resource wealth is the same reason that Israel is a wealthy, developed country, too. Of course, this should mean that their Arab neighbors that have abundant oil resources should also be highly developed, test off the charts on international assessments like the PISA, and should be centers of innovation. I wonder what went wrong…

      And meanwhile, resource-poor countries like Singapore and Taiwan should be struggling to catch up, but for some odd reason, aren’t…

      That’s the problem with HBD-denial. Here you’re accusing me of dismissing evidence that doesn’t fit my narrative, when much of what you’re touting quickly falls apart if you just look a little…

      I don’t think that that is primarily responsible for the cognitive differences between the two populations.

      Assuming that such differences even exist, which has by no means been demonstrated.

      I think I’ll let my readers decide what has been demonstrated…

  7. Italianthro / Mar 20 2012 9:58 AM

    appeal to authority…ad hominem

    You obviously don’t understand what those things mean.

    “However, the informal fallacy occurs only when the authority cited either (a) is not an authority, or (b) is not an authority on the subject on which he is being cited.” (Source)

    “For instance, ad hominem is one of the most frequently misidentified fallacies…. Many people seem to think that any personal criticism, attack, or insult counts as an ad hominem fallacy.” (Source)

    I would accept that it’s entirely possible that there are no significant morphological differences between northern and southern Italians.

    Then accept it. I’ve repeated the experiment three times with different demographics, males and females, young and old, and the results are always identical. Not to mention that the same basic racial types (Alpine and Mediterranean) predominate throughout the country, according to anthropologists.

    What is much more relevant is that the two groups are genetically distinct populations.

    So are Northern and Southern Germans. So are Swedes and Norwegians. So are ALL populations who don’t occupy the exact same geographic space. In other words, it’s not relevant at all.

    this whole notion of that the pre-modern development of the world serves as evidence for the absence of psychological differences among different peoples [is] silly

    The 1960s is hardly “pre-modern”. Besides, don’t you know that lack of development and poverty are caused by low IQ, even in 19th century Southern Italy? Richard Lynn says so, which means it must be true. So how could those high-IQ Norwegians have been so poor and undeveloped until a few decades ago when (by pure coincidence) they discovered oil? It just doesn’t make any sense.

    Of course, this should mean that their Arab neighbors that have abundant oil resources should also be highly developed

    The ones with small populations like Norway’s are. Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have among the highest per capita GDPs in the world. And Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are fairly high ranking as well.

    And meanwhile, resource-poor countries like Singapore and Taiwan should be struggling to catch up, but for some odd reason, aren’t…

    Once again you cling to your silly unsupported theory and don’t bother to do any actual research. Those two countries are part of the so-called “Asian Miracle”, whose complex causes and long-term sustainability have been the subject of much debate (click here for a summary).

    I think I’ll let my readers decide what has been demonstrated…

    I don’t think so. That’ll be decided by the evidence, which so far is not on your side.

    • JayMan / Mar 20 2012 2:21 PM

      The irony doesn’t stop with you. I’m afraid it’s you that doesn’t understand the meaning of these fallacies. Your very source:

      Appeals to authority are always deductively fallacious; even a legitimate authority speaking on his area of expertise may affirm a falsehood, so no testimony of any authority is guaranteed to be true.

      Nothing is ever true just because someone—even an “expert”—says so. To quote the late great Carl Sagan, “Arguments from authority carry little weight — “authorities” have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future.” Facts rest on the evidence and ONLY the evidence.

      You’ve repeatedly claimed that my word or the words of other HBD bloggers aren’t as good as your “experts,” which is squarely fallacious.

      “For instance, ad hominem is one of the most frequently misidentified fallacies…. Many people seem to think that any personal criticism, attack, or insult counts as an ad hominem fallacy.” (Source)

      Nice try, but that’s not what I’ve called you on. YOU are saying that I, hbd chick, and other bloggers are wrong because we are not experts, and that actual experts like Lynn or Rushton are wrong because they are “racialists.” We are wrong not because any of our analysis or data is faulty, but because we don’t have the right credentials or don’t espouse the approved dogma…. :

      Here’s a shortcut to help you avoid this problem in the future: don’t say that X is no good because it’s from A or B source, or that Y is good because it’s from C or D source. That reasoning simply doesn’t fly, son.

      What is much more relevant is that the two groups are genetically distinct populations.

      So are Northern and Southern Germans. So are Swedes and Norwegians. So are ALL populations who don’t occupy the exact same geographic space. In other words, it’s not relevant at all.

      And there seems to be cognitive and behavioral differences among many of those groups. I don’t know why you think that this helps your case. As long as there is genetic variation, there’s potential for cognitive and/or behavioral differences. (As Robert Trivers noted, half of all genes in the human genome are expressed primarily or exclusively in the brain.) The only way one could declare that such genetic variation is irrelevant is if one knew that all of the genetic variation was cognitively neutral. You certainly have no reason a priori make that declaration, and considering the facts, it’s absurdly unlikely for that be the case.

      The 1960s is hardly “pre-modern”.

      In this context, I mean the post-WWII era, when wide-scale modernization and industrialization commenced in most parts of the world.

      Besides, don’t you know that lack of development and poverty are caused by low IQ, even in 19th century Southern Italy?

      It’s not true because Richard Lynn says so, nor is anyone making that claim; it’s true because abundant evidence (here, here, here, here, and here) demonstrates such.

      So how could those high-IQ Norwegians have been so poor and undeveloped until a few decades ago when (by pure coincidence) they discovered oil? It just doesn’t make any sense.

      You apparently have no idea how high average IQ translates into national wealth and high development. Maybe you should actually read Lynn’s books. High average IQ populaces have many individuals who are able to perform the cognitively demanding jobs on which modern advanced civilization is founded. As well, higher IQ people tend to be more conscientious (after going through centuries of selection favoring emotional restraint and docility), hence also foster orderly societies. However, just as one cannot become a doctor if there are no medical schools, many countries, prior to the wave of industrialization that occurred in the postwar era, were materially disadvantaged because otherwise smart individuals had no opportunity to advance. Charles Murray is himself is a typical example of this process in action.

      Of course, Norway’s old colony, Iceland, has an even smaller population than its larger cousin, has none of the former’s oil and gas reserves, yet is also a wealthy developed country, who, unlike the PIIGS, has recovered well from the Great Recession.

      Of course, this should mean that their Arab neighbors that have abundant oil resources should also be highly developed

      The ones with small populations like Norway’s are. Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have among the highest per capita GDPs in the world. And Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are fairly high ranking as well.

      I like how you conveniently ignore my reference to Israel. But in reality, all of the Nordic countries are highly developed, highly advanced, wealthy nations, and they don’t all have Norway’s oil. I’d love to see your explanation as to how Israel built a modern prosperous nation on top of a big ole’ pile of nothin’?

      As to the oil-rich Arab countries, GDP per capita? Are you serious? In a country where there’s a lot of wealth, looking at the GDP per capita alone isn’t going to tell one much about the lives of its average citizens, which for the “wealthy” Saudis, isn’t all that rosy, where much of the population is illiterate. All of these nations score poorly on cognitive tests. Meanwhile, for some reason, apparently the impoverished rural Chinese score rather well on the PISA.

      Unfortunately, your link about the “Asian Miracle” doesn’t seem to work. But let’s just say that I’m not going to bet that the economies of the Northeast Asian nations will seriously falter any time soon.

      I think I’ll let my readers decide what has been demonstrated…

      I don’t think so. That’ll be decided by the evidence, which so far is not on your side.

      That’s what I would think, and in that case you’ve obviously been proven wrong. I’ll let this stand for all to see this.

      (Edited on 3/22/2012 to correct typos)

  8. Italianthro / Mar 22 2012 10:00 AM

    You’ve repeatedly claimed that my word or the words of other HBD bloggers aren’t as good as your “experts,” which is squarely fallacious.

    No, it’s not fallacious. You still don’t understand what “appeal to authority” means. The quote I posted starts with “However” and clarifies the quote you posted. Obviously, an expert on a particular subject is a reliable source, while a non-expert is not. Having a qualified physician diagnose you instead of some quack you found on the internet is not “appealing to authority”, and neither is taking the word of a scientist over that of a racialist blogger.

    YOU are saying that I, hbd chick, and other bloggers are wrong because we are not experts, and that actual experts like Lynn or Rushton are wrong because they are “racialists.” We are wrong not because any of our analysis or data is faulty, but because we don’t have the right credentials or don’t espouse the approved dogma…. :

    Are you joking? Lynn, Rushton and Jensen’s analysis and data (which all you bloggers just regurgitate) is totally faulty, as countless sources have demonstrated (here, here, here and here, just to cite a few). The dogma those guys espouse is the underlying reason why, as they cherry pick, manipulate and even falsify data to fit their racialist agenda. Calling them out on that is not “ad hominem”.

    The only way one could declare that such genetic variation is irrelevant is if one knew that all of the genetic variation was cognitively neutral.

    It’s irrelevant to your “argument” about Northern vs. Southern Italians since (a) such genetic variation exists everywhere, and (b) you’ve demonstrated no link between it and cognitive differences.

    It’s not true because Richard Lynn says so, nor is anyone making that claim; it’s true because abundant evidence (here, here, here, here, and here) demonstrates such.

    It’s not true at all. No one has demonstrated that low IQ causes poverty and lack of development, least of all Richard Lynn. It’s actually the other way around, according to the latest research:

    http://racialreality.blogspot.com/2011/11/african-iq-and-the-flynn-effect.html

    http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2010/07/parasites-and-intelligence-eppig-et-al.html

    Iceland, has an even smaller population [and] unlike the PIIGS, has recovered well from the Great Recession.

    Iceland was bailed out by the IMF and other European countries, which was undoubtedly facilitated by how small it is.

    But in reality, all of the Nordic countries are highly developed, highly advanced, wealthy nations, and they don’t all have Norway’s oil.

    Actually, Denmark also benefits greatly from North Sea oil and gas. Sweden has abundant resources, including all-important hydropower. Iceland has hydroelectric as well as geothermal power sources, which are essential to its prosperity. But Norway remains the wealthiest because it has the lion’s share of the oil and gas in addition to other resources. And all of those countries are welfare states with small populations (just like the Arab countries I mentioned earlier).

    I’d love to see your explanation as to how Israel built a modern prosperous nation on top of a big ole’ pile of nothin’?

    Uh, because it’s unique in having been settled rapidly by a huge influx of highly skilled and educated immigrants, including scientists, engineers and specialized technicians. It’s also heavily funded by overseas grants and loans, foreign aid (mostly from the U.S.), Holocaust reparations from Germany etc.

    All of these [Arab] nations score poorly on cognitive tests. Meanwhile, for some reason, apparently the impoverished rural Chinese score rather well on the PISA.

    Again, PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS are not IQ tests. They’re achievement tests that measure knowledge in reading, math and science. The Chinese put greater value on education and therefore have learned more. Arabs put value on religion instead (like the ultra-Orthodox Jews who are at the bottom of Israel’s social ladder).

    Unfortunately, your link about the “Asian Miracle” doesn’t seem to work.

    That’s weird. Try this link. It starts at the bottom of the page.

    you’ve obviously been proven wrong

    Things that happen in your dreams don’t count. Sorry.

    • JayMan / Mar 22 2012 2:02 PM

      You still don’t understand what “appeal to authority” means. The quote I posted starts with “However” and clarifies the quote you posted. Obviously, an expert on a particular subject is a reliable source, while a non-expert is not.

      I understand; YOU don’t. It NEVER works that way. While it may be acceptable (though still very much fallacious) in certain situations to defer to the words of an “expert” for practical purposes, such as in casual conversation or seeking treatment or legal counsel or such, it is still fallacious and that CANNOT be used as a means of substantiating a scientific argument, as you are trying to do here:

      Having a qualified physician diagnose you instead of some quack you found on the internet is not “appealing to authority”, and neither is taking the word of a scientist over that of a racialist blogger

      I’m glad you picked medicine of all things to base your claim about the infallibility of experts. I guess you’ve never needed a second opinion in your life. How many people were told by their doctors that they needed to 8 glasses of water a day to be healthy, vaginally masturbated to cure “female hysteria”, or given a diagnosis that was totally erroneous?

      You cannot dismiss a claim solely because it was uttered by X or Y person or assert that another claim is true SOLELY because it is the word of A or B “expert.” You need PROOF, PROOF, and only the PROOF. The facts rests on the PROOF, not the name, degree, or ideology of the person making claim. Indeed, if you need to defer solely to the authority of an expert when making (or attacking) whatever claim, and not your own analysis of the evidence, then you clearly don’t understand the topic and shouldn’t be discussing it, particularly not in any definitive sense.

      This is the last time that I’m going through this issue with you here.

      Lynn, Rushton and Jensen’s analysis and data (which all you bloggers just regurgitate) is totally faulty, as countless sources have demonstrated

      See now that’s a little better. At least you’re citing reasons why said individuals are wrong, rather just relying on your or whoever “expert’s” say-so.

      Alas:

      here

      Wrong

      here

      Wrong.

      here

      And wrong.

      It’s irrelevant to your “argument” about Northern vs. Southern Italians since (a) such genetic variation exists everywhere

      Here you sound like someone looking at the pattern of bumps and pits on different audio CDs and concludes—without being able to play the CDs—that the variation between them has to be all meaningless since they all have these variations… : You can’t dismiss about the effect of genetic variations because YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THE GENES DO!

      and (b) you’ve demonstrated no link between it and cognitive differences.

      A) We know the genetic variation exists between the populations. B) We have evidence that heritable cognitive differences exists between the populations. Ergo…

      No one has demonstrated that low IQ causes poverty and lack of development, least of all Richard Lynn. It’s actually the other way around, according to the latest research:

      http://racialreality.blogspot.com/2011/11/african-iq-and-the-flynn-effect.html

      http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2010/07/parasites-and-intelligence-eppig-et-al.html

      Actually, all the research repeatedly demonstrates the exact opposite. Flynn himself has abandoned the idea that the Flynn effect can close the Black-White gap. Most researchers would concede that the average IQ measured in sub-Saharan Africa is likely lower than it would be if they lived in something approaching First World conditions. We see that in the difference between Africans in Africa and Blacks in other parts of the world. Of course, there itself lies the problem: if the conditions in Africa were the cause of the low average IQ Africans, and responsible some for some of the 30+ point gap between Africans and Northern Europeans, then what about the 15-20 point gap between Blacks and Whites in White countries?

      Actually, Denmark also benefits greatly from North Sea oil and gas. Sweden has abundant resources, including all-important hydropower. Iceland has hydroelectric as well as geothermal power sources, which are essential to its prosperity. But Norway remains the wealthiest because it has the lion’s share of the oil and gas in addition to other resources. And all of those countries are welfare states with small populations (just like the Arab countries I mentioned earlier).

      Yup, then if these countries are all wealthy from natural resources, why do the nation IQs are all social indicators differ between the two regions (favoring the Nordic countries)?
      BTW, Brazil has plenty of hydropower, oil, and thanks to ethanol, no longer imports oil. Venezuela is major oil exporter. Yet, they are hardly Sweden or Denmark.

      I’d love to see your explanation as to how Israel built a modern prosperous nation on top of a big ole’ pile of nothin’?

      Uh, because it’s unique in having been settled rapidly by a huge influx of highly skilled and educated immigrants, including scientists, engineers and specialized technicians.

      I’m going to assume that only I get the joke about how Israel could have been settled by “highly skilled and educated immigrants.”

      It’s also heavily funded by overseas grants and loans, foreign aid (mostly from the U.S.), Holocaust reparations from Germany etc.

      But I thought it was resources that made a country rich? Israel is sorely lacking in that. If it’s the foreign aid, then what happened to Ethiopia? Or Egypt? Or Bangledesh? Or Puerto Rico? Many other countries receive heavy amounts of foreign aid and yet remain backwards.

      All of these [Arab] nations score poorly on cognitive tests. Meanwhile, for some reason, apparently the impoverished rural Chinese score rather well on the PISA.

      Again, PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS are not IQ tests. They’re achievement tests that measure knowledge in reading, math and science.

      I’m afraid that they are. Several researchers have demonstrated correlations between IQ as measured by IQ tests and the above “achievement” tests. They are IQ tests and always were. This point has been repeatedly demonstrated to you, and I’m not going to go back and forth over this one either.

      But here’s biggest problem with all of the rest of your post, and much of your logic on this matter: it’s cut to pieces by Occam’s Razor. You have to search for a different, ad hoc reason for the success of some countries and the failure of others. You have no consistent explanation for why the Nordic countries (which includes Finland) rose from poverty to prosperity without having an exorbitant amount of resources while others, such as those nations blessed with oil—like the Arab ones—or those nations that have recipients of heavy amounts of foreign aid—such as Ethiopia—have failed to achieve prosperity.

      As well:
      Why do national IQ’s cluster by race?
      Why does the SAME racial hierarchy exist in every multi-racial country? Why do Blacks perform poorly not just in Africa but in every country they populate? Why do Ashkenazi Jews and East Asians perform well regardless of where you look?

      Why do lower-IQ groups have smaller brains than higher-IQ groups?

      If lack of access to modern, First-World standards of living is responsible for the poor intellectual performance of those in the Third World, then why do the Inuit, who had nothing resembling modern standards of living until relatively recently, have a high average IQ (by global standards) at 91?

      Occam’s Razor guides us to prefer explanations that have the fewest elements, given potential hypotheses with equal explanatory power. At this point, it’s hard to claim to claim that any environment-only hypothesis has the same explanatory power as a partial genetic one, even when one restricts the discussion to narrow expanses of space and time, but clearly the environmental explanation falls apart when the evidence is considered in its totality.

      If you intend to continue posting in this matter, please bring fresh reasoning and/or evidence. I won’t engage further if you simply recycle what we’ve discussed so far here and elsewhere.

  9. sNoOOPy / Apr 10 2012 11:08 AM

    Operation Compass
    “United Kingdom: 500 killed, 55 missing, 1,373 wounded, 15 aircraft.

    Italy: 3,000 killed, 115,000 captured, 400 tanks, 1,292 artillery pieces, 1,249 aircraft

    …Benito Mussolini urged Balbo to attack the British in Egypt.
    …Balbo was reluctant.
    …Balbo’s death in a mysterious “friendly fire” accident

    …forty-eight Matilda tanks suddenly appeared
    …struck twenty-three unmanned M11/39 tanks
    …The Italians were caught completely off guard and many did not even reach their tanks”

  10. Azizoo / May 28 2012 2:36 PM

    Damn. No offence Jay, but Italianthro completely tore your arguments to shreds. What’s funny is that I only stumbled onto your blog now, and found it somewhat amusing. But it’s the classic case where someone completely deconstructs someone elses arguments so thoroughly it’s hard to take anything else said arguer writes seriously. Better luck next time but I appreciate your honesty blogger.

    • JayMan / May 29 2012 9:40 AM

      No offence Jay, but Italianthro completely tore your arguments to shreds.

      And how, exactly, did he do that? Was it when he—unable to confront the evidence directly—resorted to classic ad hominem fallacies to dismiss the evidence?

      Or was it when—in his attempts to explain away racial differences in IQ—he invoked tropical diseases, which clearly do not explain racial differences in IQ within developed countries (not to mention not explaining the low average IQs of Australian Aborigines or of Indigenous North Americans)?

      Or was it when—with that not being sufficient—he invoked “cultures of learning”, which doesn’t explain the global consistency of average IQs by place of racial origin (because the Japanese in Brazil today excel because of the exceptional culture of learning their farmhand ancestors brought with them), nor explains the relative success of different groups (see here and here)?

      Or was it by his complete misunderstanding of Occam’s Razor, which DOES favor preference for the simplest explanation that accounts for all the facts (as opposed to how I’d imagine it’s taught in sociology classes)?

      I haven’t bothered to respond to Italianthro because I’ve sufficiently presented my case to him and his defense would be to continue spouting off meaningless/irrelevant facts (at best), to uttering complete nonsense at worst. He reminds me of a creationist in that regard.

      Congratulations Azizoo, you have the honor of being the last beneficiary of my “idiotic comment grace period”. In the future, I will use such comments for my amusement at will.

    • Azizoo / May 30 2012 5:23 PM

      And how, exactly, did he do that?

      He was much more thorough in his explanations than you were, and his points logically followed from A–>B whereas yours were much more rambling. It isn’t your fault really, it’s simply that a lot of what you are propounding doesn’t really stand up to evidence.

      Basically Italianthro is more well-researched than you are. For example, when the two of you were discussing this disaster in comparison to Scandinavian ship disasters. You referred to how the Norwegians did not use cheap labour in an attempt to underline their superior intelligence (or “competence”). However Italianthro quickly pointed out reasons this would be the case (e.g. money derived from oil & greater natural resources). In other words, rather than actually critically thinking about reasons why something would be the case, you use the same redundant reason everytime, i.e. IQ. Reminds me of that old saying, “when all you see is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. Without looking at root causes, it all becomes a little pointless because you are really not analysing the situation much.

      I think you really fell down (for me) when you began talking about the relative wealth of Israel as opposed to it’s Arab neighbours. This is because I happen to know a fair amount about the economy of that region. So it’s much easier for me to compare the arguments and spot when your information is simply devoid of facts. Also comparing the reasoning given by you as opposed to Italianthro I can see he is much more correct than you are (or closer to the truth). Incidentally, fyi (and his) Jordan would be the example of a neighbouring Arab country which on many economic indices does better than Israel (including corruption!) or just as good, and yet they are a resource-poor country (no oil sources either). The vast majority of their economy is service-sector oriented.

      If I can also say it seems clear to me that Italianthro is correct when he says you don’t seem to fully understand the law of Occam’s Razor, or at least how to properly apply it in this context. Also I agree that you are misusing “appeal to authority” here – though I am not suggesting you are doing it intentionally.

      Again, apologies if you have been offended, as I sincerely did not think that you would be so sensitive to my comment. And I hope you will print this, if only for your amusement :).

    • JayMan / May 30 2012 11:49 PM

      I really appreciate your opinions on my use of logical reasoning.

      Of course, your opinions would be more useful if they were closer to being correct.

      I will note that since you’re not actually presenting any reasons why I’m purportedly wrong, merely affirming your belief in Italianthro’s statements, I’ll keep this brief.

      He was much more thorough in his explanations than you were, and his points logically followed from A–>B whereas yours were much more rambling. It isn’t your fault really, it’s simply that a lot of what you are propounding doesn’t really stand up to evidence.

      For some reason it doesn’t seem to me that you’ve actually looked at the evidence. I would advise you to start here.

      Basically Italianthro is more well-researched than you are. For example, when the two of you were discussing this disaster in comparison to Scandinavian ship disasters. You referred to how the Norwegians did not use cheap labour in an attempt to underline their superior intelligence (or “competence”). However Italianthro quickly pointed out reasons this would be the case (e.g. money derived from oil & greater natural resources). In other words, rather than actually critically thinking about reasons why something would be the case, you use the same redundant reason everytime, i.e. IQ.

      There is a backstory that was assumed to be known by readers of my blog post. Again, see the aforementioned link.

      Here’s a question for you: has Italianthro shown that his purported explanations are in fact the real ones?

      Incidentally, fyi (and his) Jordan would be the example of a neighbouring Arab country which on many economic indices does better than Israel (including corruption!) or just as good, and yet they are a resource-poor country (no oil sources either). The vast majority of their economy is service-sector oriented.

      That’s not what it says here (vs here). Please enlighten me on how exactly Jordan is doing so well, with your familiarity.

      If I can also say it seems clear to me that Italianthro is correct when he says you don’t seem to fully understand the law of Occam’s Razor, or at least how to properly apply it in this context. Also I agree that you are misusing “appeal to authority” here

      And you would be wrong, in both cases. I will explain why one time only:

      Any argument of the form “X is true/false because it was stated by person A” is deductively fallacious. Such arguments won’t fly here.

      The applicability of Occam’s Razor in this instance pertains to the search for an explanation for the totality of the evidence (which you can start to get a grasp of in the link to my earlier blog post). Environment-only explanations do not account for the whole body of evidence we have from around the world. In addition, they are overly complicated in the face of the evidence. In science, one starts with the simplest explanation that accounts for all the facts, and indeed only abandons such explanations they fail to account for the evidence. Environment-only advocates have never explained why we should not first explore biological explanations for human behavior, and instead seem to advocate that they should be invoked only if all possible other explanations have been exhausted (and often not even then).

  11. EddyJedi / Jan 16 2013 1:00 PM

    The ship is being cleared away by a Dutch company (Boskalis/Smit), not an Italian one. Maybe the clean-up is taking so long because they are not getting the help they need from the Italian authorities. Or maybe Boskalis/Smit has mismanaged it. Or maybe it’s just a uniquely complex operation, and no one is to blame for how long it’s taking.

    • JayMan / Jan 19 2013 7:00 PM

      I’m being facetious with that point. My main point was to focus on the sinking itself and to reflect on it on the one year anniversary.

  12. Maciano / Jan 20 2013 9:00 AM

    I actually wanted to laugh about this story and its many angles (what about the wife and mistress defending this guy publicly? lol). Sad thing is: many people got killed because of this moral idiot.

    Despite my name might indicate, i ain’t italian. I laugh Italy too, everything from their history, women, food, architecture, fashions, leaders (Berlusconi ftw!), happy-go-lucky attitudes to their contributions to world history. But there must be something about Southern Italy’s dysfunctionality.

    • Maciano / Jan 20 2013 9:01 AM

      laugh? lol. that’s “love”.

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