Sunday, November 12, 2006

Funk and Justice

The previous post that occupied this space has been deleted. My mockery of the inactivity of the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists (Inc) was undermined when they published a new home page with lots of stuff on it. On closer examination, only one bit of the stuff turns out to be an NZARH activity, but at least the page looks a bit better. The link to the Fundy Post also has been removed to ensure that my work for the Association has gone down the memory hole. However, you can still find it in the bowels of the NZARH site.

I am sure it is just a coincidence, but another website has had a revamp within days of the launch of the Fundy Post blog: the Maxim Institute. The makeover is more Monster Garage than What Not To Wear: huge amounts of useless verbiage have been thrown out to create a new image. New Maxim is caring and sharing, working "towards a more just, free and compassionate New Zealand." Old Maxim talked about Family and fretted about Maori spirituality. New Maxim is not afraid to talk about whanau. Everything has gone green as well: On the What We Value page is the statement:

Each generation is responsible for protecting and sustaining the earth’s natural resources, while cultivating them to enhance people’s lives and the lives of those to come.

Before you start cutting off your dreadlocks and signing up for Real Issues, read that statement again. It is more about resource management than ecology. Maxim seem to be jumping on the organic gravy train without leaving behind their old baggage of free market dogma.

Maxim's new profile requires serious analysis. I would have done that but I was distracted by the teaser for an article by Paul Henderson at the bottom of the home page:

On a recent trip to Canada I was struck by Olivia, the child of a sperm-donor still searching for her father's face.

My mind raced with images of Mr Henderson being beaten up by a girl with a hockey stick, demanding to know if he is her real father. Unfortunately, the story is not that interesting; in fact, it is very dull.

But that is besides the point. We have real issues to answer. Does Maxim really care? Have Murder Incorporated transformed themselves into the Glam Metal Detectives? Will Maxim deliver Funk and Justice for all? Watch this space for the next thrilling episode of the Maxim files.


Anonymous said...

Ordure packaged in gold brocade is still ordure.

Craig Y.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, trees are still dying to produce their never-ending series of educational monographs (The Parent Factor) and Frank Ellis' silly attack on P.C.
(hello, Maxim? He's been suspended at Leeds Uni! Pay attention!)

Craig Y.

stephen said...

I'm haunted by the hideous accident that took the guy's face off, and wondering what Mr Henderson did with it.

Anonymous said...

Frank Ellis won't be returning to Leeds will he? I think I read that somewhere. Does anyone know the latest?

Can you still buy his VERY slender book from the publisher (Maxim) through the new Maxim site? Or have they quietly let him go? Judging by the reports from Paul, I don't think his face would fit the new Maxim image.

Paul said...

Watch this space for updates.

Anonymous said...

Here is an extract on where Frank Ellis may have reached:

University challenge:
Leeds University's decision to abandon its case against a racist lecturer is a slap in the face for black Britain.

Simon Woolley

All Simon Woolley articles
About Webfeeds August 4, 2006 04:49 PM

For Leeds University to abandon its race case against Dr Frank Ellis and allow him to retire early with one year's salary with his pension in tact is breathtaking cowardice, an abuse of public funds, and a slap in the face for black Britain.

It was only after fierce pressure from university students and academics that on March 23 Ellis was suspended and a disciplinary inquiry launched under the Race Relations Act. The university's case was pretty strong. How could black students have sufficient confidence they would be afforded equality by a lecturer who believes them to be innately, intellectually inferior? Furthermore, how could black students have confidence in the university that was unable to tackle such a shocking display of racism?

That Ellis is a racist, an "unrepentant Powelite" - and a supporter of white supremacy is in little doubt. In an astonishing article Ellis submitted to Leeds University's student newspaper explaining his views on genetic intelligence he argued: "How is it possible for a people with such a low average IQ to achieve, let alone to sustain a technologically sophisticated civilization? ... Everywhere one looks [in sub-Saharan Africa] there is unbelievable corruption and stupidity, superstition and random savagery. To this gruesome list one can add sexual incontinence. Blacks die of AIDS either because they do not believe that AIDS will kill them or because the imperatives of immediate sexual gratification are so urgent and overwhelming that the consequences are disregarded."

Ellis's analysis predicated by his profound prejudices shames academic rigour. Using his own crude methodology (IQ + social status = natural order) the worlds poor, particular black people, that number in their billions and span the four corners of the globe owe their plight, not due to global inequalities but rather their lack of intelligence.

As unpalatable as Ellis's views are they should not be our principal concern. In reality there are many that harbour similar or even worse views than Ellis. Our principal concern should be that students to be judged by their academic ability not by the colour of their skin. This fundamental responsibility lies with the university management. Ellis has the right to espouse his views but the university has an obligation under the law to protect its students from such rabid racism.

By paying off Ellis the university management have removed someone who's views they describe as "abhorrent". But to many, including students, and lecturers belonging to Leeds University College Union, they have failed miserably in their duty to effectively tackle racism.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Maxim does still stock his booklet.

Craig Y

Anonymous said...

While on the subject, has anyone read the 2002 book by Henderson "Kids Adrift - Values Confusion in New Zealand Schools".

I believe it is Paul Henderson that is totally confused - and little wonder. A bit like Deborah Coddington's book on School Choice. How can even a good writer sound coherent when pushing an impossible and illogical argument?

Henderson bemoans the fact that values are "relative" today - yet somehow he sees as a solution the "community" inflicting its particular values on a school by school basis!

The Maxim agenda has always been transparent. Their funders are taking the view that pluralists will be too apathetic (or gainfully employed more like it!) to run for Boards of Trutees. The field will be open for the fundys that want to get in and take us back to Victorian times.

Speaking of pluralism, Henderson explains in some depth why it is a good thing, and up to that point I am with him all the way. He then struggles to put up disadvantages!

Included in his first argument he says "claims to [Jesus Christ's] divinity" are not represented in Social Studies.
Well Paul of course they are not, and neither should they be!! What are churches and Sunday Schools for!!

In his second argument, he says "it is questionable whether [pluralism] has highlighted multiple truths or merely generated agnosticism". If it has generated suspicion of religious dogma and promoted agnosticism - is that not the way it should be? What is wrong with saying "God may exist but I am not empowered to determine whether this is factual or not"?

He finally says pluralists have trouble dealing with violence! For example "it can neither anticipate nor penetrate the mind of a hijacker". I always thought it was a LACK of pluralism that was a trigger for hostility between people of different beliefs!

Henderson says that this "is not an expression of grief for the passing of a generation. The past is filled with its own shame and terrors."

We know that Paul - that is why our values need to evolve into something that can work in the modern global environment! The new National Curriculum has one of the 10 values the concept of Diversity, recognising and celebrating it. This is the vision.

Has Maxim ever published a book that is worth the paper it is written on?

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the world would look like if the maxims of this world let you and your ilk have free rein.
Oh yeah anything goes as long as you like it!
What was I thinking, silly billy.

Anonymous said...


You have it wrong. Democracy already has a free rein in NZ!

Maxim is not taken seriously at all, especially after the plagiarism findings of Paul last year! They represent their funders, not ordinary New Zealanders. Steve Maharey was especially critical of them for presenting their ideas (or more likely their funders' ideas) as "research", and in doing so he summed up the position to my satisfaction.

Did you know that in his publication "Kids Adrift", Henderson of Maxim uses the BRETHREN as an (exclusive) example of what he trying to explain.

Here is a link with the latest about the Exclusive Bs:,2106,3866443a11,00.html

The private detectives employed by one or more of the EBs are being investigated by their professional body for a breach of ethics. So much for values.

Investigate Magazine seems to think that the private detectives were doing what investigative journalists should have been doing! So much for their values.
Investigate Magazine belongs in the same team as Maxim Institute and the Exclusive Brethren. All are fundys.

Anonymous said...

perhaps then with the charities act comining into force in the next little while, this might be a good impetus to put some pressure on and have Maxim's charitable tax exempt status revoked given that its prime purpose now more than ever appears to be political lobbying

Anonymous said...

Ellis' comments are simply reflective of the psychometric findings. If they're offensive to blacks then they must also be offensive to whites, as they find, on average, East Asians perform best on standardised tests.

Remember, if you believe in evolution then presumably you realise that groups exposed to distinct environments may develop different traits on average.

Already, gene alleles linked to IQ cluster along racial lines.

"As you can see, there's some clustering along traditional racial lines, most visible when comparing frequency rates among the three East Asian populations with the four black African populations. Regardless of whether these SNPs are ultimately found to be associated with intelligence (and even if they are, they are almost certainly going to be of very small effect), the fact that they are known to be expressed in the brain and that prevelance rates for all of them - with the possible exception of rs363039 - cluster to one degree or another along traditional racial lines illustrates that the forces of genetic drift and selection did not stop at the neck."

Gottfredson, L. S. (2009). Logical fallacies used to dismiss the evidence on intelligence testing. In R. Phelps (Ed.), Correcting fallacies about educational and psychological testing (pp. 11-65). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Rushton, J. P., & Jensen, A. R. (2005). Thirty years of research on race differences in cognitive ability. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 11, 235-294.