Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

The One Great And True Finding In All The Social Sciences

It’s possible to ponder what the hard sciences have told us. Gravity’s pretty cool, the second law of thermodynamics explains much about the human condition and so on. The social sciences, well, it is possible that Whitey’s Waacist! in an important thing to note but perhaps of limited subsequent practical use. There is though that one great finding of said social sciences, which is that all stereotypes are at some level true.

This doesn’t mean that Jews are all top hatted and exploitative bankers but the varied bans upon landholding in feudal societies did indeed mean that they were more likely to be intermediaries rather than primary producers. No, women aren’t all Barbie finding that math is hard but that odd and weird mindset suitable for – perhaps interested in – the wilder shores of programming and pure mathematics is more common in men than women. Male and female reactions to children do tend to differ – on average again.

Stereotypes aren’t true at the granular level, or not necessarily so. But they are an observation of the way the world appears to be which is the very way that they arise. It’s tautological – why would anyone think that West Africans were fast sprinters if it weren’t observably true that near all of the fastest sprinters in the world were of West African descent?

Which brings us to the joyous appearance of this:

A Royal Navy sailor who was supposed to be guarding the Edinburgh Military Tattoo was too drunk to perform duties after overindulging at a free lunch, a court martial heard.

Petty Officer Christian Ramsay, 39, was due to act as a guard at the tattoo, carrying out important ceremonial duties at the renowned event in front of guests.

However, PO Ramsay instead spent the ceremony being looked after by a Royal Navy colleague after he got “seriously drunk” at a military lunch.

At the lunch, which included senior guests from armed forces around the world, he “over-consumed” the free alcohol and became so drunk he “lost all self-control” and “embarrassed himself and his colleagues”.

A court martial heard yesterday that the sailor was “completely out of his head” and “swanned around” the reception “offending people”. He made distasteful jokes about rape to a female colleague, offensive remarks to a senior Indian military representative about his heritage, and told an offensive joke to US military personnel about the “USA’s history”.

Well done there, upholding the glorious reputation of the Royal Navy.

That stereotype of sailors being more drunken than others isn’t quite true of course, even if it is observably so. We only get to see the sailors when they’re ashore. That is, we see them on their Friday night on the town and it’s not obvious that their rate, level or incidence of drunkenness is any greater than that of any other group of young men at such a time.

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Chris
Chris
3 years ago

“It’s tautological – why would anyone think that West Africans were fast sprinters if it weren’t observably true that near all of the fastest sprinters in the world were of West African descent?”

Because they’re not? East African is what you mean. I suppose this supports the stereotype that the English think all foreigners are the same.

So Much For Subtlety
So Much For Subtlety
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris

They are actually. East Africans do the long distance events. West Africans utterly dominate the sprinting. Usually of West Africa via Jamaica these days.

Hallowed Be
Hallowed Be
3 years ago

shave his belly with a rusty razor.

Hallowed Be
Hallowed Be
3 years ago

chris- muphry’s

Chris
Chris
3 years ago
Reply to  Hallowed Be

This is ture. Oops.

Bernie G.
Bernie G.
3 years ago

I wondered how long it would take for someone to highlight this one… Sailors… Rum… D’oh! Unfortunately the stereotype broke down when HMS Cornwall strayed into Iranian waters.

Baron Jackfield
Baron Jackfield
3 years ago

Regarding the concept of “Social Science”… If one may be permitted to pinch from and paraphrase Prof. Brignell – Putting “social” in front of “scientist” is the equivalent of putting “witch” in front of “doctor”.

Spike
3 years ago

“Social” science is rather the same qualification as “social” work and “social” justice. It is less a meaningful word than a non-verbal cue to your listener that you don’t insist that words be meaningful.

jgh
jgh
3 years ago

39 and a Petty Officer? Isn’t Petty Officer only one rank above Private (sort of)?

So Much For Subtlety
So Much For Subtlety
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Worstall

Now I am sure there is a sub-set of Murphy’s rule that says few people have any experience of more than one Service so any correction is going to be wrong in some respect and upset some former serviceman, but …. Petty officers are usually found in the Navy. Corporals and Sergeants – and most especially RSMs – are found in the Army. The Regimental Sergeant is not a Petty Officer. Most Sergeants are Non-Commissioned Officers. Which are not the same thing. However some Sergeants are Warrant officers which is probably what people are thinking of. The highest you can… Read more »

Bloke In Italy
3 years ago

Makes one proud to be British.

rjb
rjb
3 years ago

Put him in a boat until he’s sober.

rjb
rjb
3 years ago

Put him in a barrel and roll him over.

rjb
rjb
3 years ago

Put him in a bunk with the Captain’s daughter.

Anyone know any more verses?

Henry Crun
Henry Crun
3 years ago

Stick him in the scuppers with a hosepipe on him

So Much For Subtlety
So Much For Subtlety
3 years ago
Reply to  Henry Crun

A group of Indians just killed a guy fooling around that way with a hosepipe.

So it is important to note that the hosepipe may be jolly japes in the best tradition of the Navy, but don’t turn the water on.

Andrew M
Andrew M
3 years ago

Over-indulging on free booze at age 19 is understandable; but at age 39 it’s just embarrassing.

So Much For Subtlety
So Much For Subtlety
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew M

Yeah. Who does he think he is? The leader of the EU or something?

Bloke in North Dorset
Bloke in North Dorset
3 years ago

I wonder how many on that court martial are thinking “There but for the grace….”?

Hallowed Be
Hallowed Be
3 years ago

rjb – put him in a dress and bend him over.

Tommydog
Tommydog
3 years ago

Did they flog him?

jgh
jgh
3 years ago

She’s got legs of different sizes.

Firefoxx
Firefoxx
3 years ago

Social science: hmm.

I was once staying with a Prof of sociology and, as a scientist\engineer I asked sincerely what problems sociology has once-and-for-all solved. E.g. hard science has done gravity, disease, microchips, radio waves, etc. Even my ephemeral subject, Philosophy, has done some good stuff to stand the test of time (Ryle, Popper, Kuhn, Descartes).

Answer: definitely, definitively, all social problems are caused by inequality.

I probed for evidence but gave up rather quickly.

Southerner
3 years ago
Reply to  Firefoxx

Last I looked, most of the papers listed at Retraction Watch were in sociology and psychology.

NiV
NiV
3 years ago
Reply to  Firefoxx

“what problems sociology has once-and-for-all solved. E.g. hard science has done gravity, disease, microchips, radio waves, etc.”

Don’t think so. Gravity’s still hotly debated. Last time I looked, disease is still around. And they’re still working on chips and radio. Science is never settled.

Whereas the pre-eminent social science is of course economics!

I sneeze in threes
I sneeze in threes
3 years ago

Warrant Officers are NCOs, you dont salute them and in the Andrew you can call them Chief but you have to add a comment that you like their big watch. You then get 28 days 9s.

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