erns and genetics among peoplePolitically Correct Fanatics:
Their denial of patterns and genetics among people
Introduction
You may be reading this because you’ve made one or some of the following politically correct statements:
1. “Not all of them are like that.”
2. “You can’t generalize or stereotype, there is good and bad (or anything being contrasted) everywhere.”
3. “Stereotypes and generalizations are bad, harmful, and always wrong.”
4. “I know this person or that who doesn’t fit your generalization.”
5. “People are the same everywhere you go.” or “Everyone is unique and individual, so it is wrong and inaccurate to make generalizations or stereotypes.” (a seeming contradiction)
The “politically correct” mentality that denies any sort of patterns in people, and denies the whole science of genetics, seems prevalent among mainstream people today, especially in the US. Though odd and illogical, it has spread widely and in various degrees among the world’s populations into popular thought today. For some reason, these people, in their idealistic cause to appease and unify the people of the world with political correctness, are willing to deny facts and reality to support their politically correct beliefs. And they do this to the point of making it not just a mentality, but almost a religion as well. They seem motivated by a belief or desire to ignore all differences in people, in order to unify all, get agreement from all, and offend none. Thus, in effect, when it comes to choosing between truth and political correctness, they choose the latter. For terminology purposes, we will call these kinds of people “PC fanatics” (politically correct fanatics).


These PC fanatics, however, are tedious to debate, because they bring up the same protests over and over again (e.g. the four statements above) and even when you point out why they’re wrong, getting them to admit it sometimes too, they still bring up the same points again later. It becomes tedious and repetitive. Therefore, I’ve written this article to knock some sense into them, and to save me time from having to repeat the same arguments to them over and over again. I give no bull, and cut to the chase, telling it like it is.

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PC fanatics’ denial of patterns among people
First, there is a double standard here. PC fanatics are willing to acknowledge patterns that exist in things (non-living), aspects, or trends, but when it comes to identifying patterns in people, that becomes a grave sin to them. And any attempt at describing patterns in people is immediately labeled as “generalizing” or “stereotyping”, and rebuked by one of the five PC statements above.


What these PC fanatics never understand, no matter how many times its pointed out to them, is that those who seemingly “generalize” or “stereotype” NEVER claim that what they are saying applies to “all” members of that group. In fact, they don’t even use the term “all”, but “most”, “in general”, or “tend to”. Instead, they are merely IDENTIFYING PATTERNS that are observed and/or experienced. Therefore, attributing their claim to “all” is merely a false straw man argument; in other words, putting words into their mouth that they never said in order to knock it down easily.


There’s nothing wrong with identifying patterns. It’s not immoral, wrong, or inaccurate. In fact, it’s done by every scientific and business discipline. Marketing and research specialists do it too, putting things and people into statistics and percentages. If patterns among people didn’t exist, then they wouldn’t do that. But they do, so there’s obviously something to it that’s useful. It’s as simple as that. For example, marketing specialists identify consumer buying habits, graphing them into statistics and percentages, in order to more effectively target their products and services into the market. Scientific research specialists identify patterns in order to observe cause and effect. And insurance companies evaluate risks and profit using patterns, statistics, and percentages as well.


Now, since auto insurance companies conclude that young males are higher risk drivers than young females, they set car insurance premiums for young males higher. So does that mean that these insurance companies claim that “all” young males are high risk drivers, as PC fanatics would protest? No, of course not. It’s merely a statistic that they need to properly assess risk and cost, or else the business would go belly-up. If only PC fanatics would get that.


Also, patterns exist in people across cultures and genders too. Here are just a few of the endless possible examples of patterns that one could observe: Asians tend to be shorter than Whites, there is a higher percentage of tall people in Holland than in Japan, more women wear make-up and high heeled shoes than men, there are far more women than men at psychic fairs, there are more male car mechanics than females, etc. etc.


Now, those are merely observable patterns that most would agree with. In addition to the above, there are an endless number of contrasts you could make between cultures, mentalities, lifestyles, behaviors, etc. among people of different nations and geographic regions. None of them claim that “all” members of a group or category fit these tendencies. Therefore, to make one of the five PC statements above in response, while even if true, is both USELESS and IRRELEVANT. If one doesn’t agree with the patterns identified, or if one has a different experience, then one can state it as well. But to use the 5 PC statements above does nothing but create a straw man.


Let me give you a very simple example to illustrate what I mean. Here below you see two boxes, A and B. In box A, you see eight + plus symbols and two * asterisks, while in Box B, you see seven * asterisks and three + plus symbols.


Box A
+ + + + + * + + + *
Box B
* * * + * * + + * *
Now, suppose I said that “Box A tends to have pluses in them and Box B tends to have asterisks” or “Most symbols in Box A are pluses, and most in Box B are asterisks.” And suppose the PC fanatics respond by citing some of the common PC arguments, “You can’t generalize like that. There are pluses are asterisks in both boxes.” or “Not all symbols in Box A are pluses. Not all symbols in Box B are asterisks.” What would that accomplish? Those typical PC statements, though true, do NOTHING to refute the statements I made, identifying patterns I observed in those two boxes. Yet they are presented as a denial or challenge. Again, they are both USELESS and IRRELEVANT. Instead, all they do is create a false straw man, insinuating that the pattern observer claimed that 100 percent all symbols were one or the other, when in fact, he/she did no such thing!
Do you see how trifling silly this odd twist on basic facts is? Yet, it’s EXACTLY what so many PC fanatics do! I’ve seen and heard it so many times, that I could say, “If I had a dime for everytime I heard that, I’d be rich.”
Now since PC statements # 1 – 3 outlined in the introduction have already been dealt with, let’s address # 4 and 5.


4. “I know this person or that who doesn’t fit your generalization.”
5. “People are the same everywhere you go.” or “Everyone is unique and individual, so it is wrong and inaccurate to make generalizations or stereotypes.” (a seeming contradiction)
Again, these are silly straw mans that do not refute the pattern being observed and claimed. In regard to # 4, sure everyone knows or can find exceptions to the patterns being identified, and in most cases even the claimant can. However, a few exceptions do NOT refute or falsify a general pattern. For example, you can find a few people in India who are rich, but that doesn’t change the fact that most there are poor. You can also find poor people in Malibu, CA, but that doesn’t change the fact that most who live there are of upper class income and affluent. Similarly, you can find white people in China, but that doesn’t change the fact that most people there are Chinese. These are all very simple and elementary things, but PC fanatics need to have it constantly beaten into them for some reason.


In regard to # 5, the first sentence is blatantly false (the composers of the oldies song “Ebony and Ivory” ought to be ashamed to put that sentence into their lyrics), and anyone could bet all their money against it and easily win. And in regard to the second sentence, sure all individuals are unique (i.e. no two fingerprints and EEG brain waves are exactly alike) but that doesn’t mean that patterns don’t exist among groups of people, nationalities, or genders.


Now, though there are various degrees of PC fanaticism, some PC fanatics only use the “you can’t generalize or stereotype” accusation when someone identifies a pattern they don’t agree with or like, but don’t use it when they themselves agree with the described pattern. In a way, this is a double standard, for this type of semi-PC fanatic will demand scentific proof from the one they disagree with, but when they agree with the pattern, then they don’t need proof for it, and in fact base it on nothing but their own observations as well.


PC fanatics should take note of the following. At the very least, as the enlightened have said, “Every stereotype is based on some grain of truth”.


Suggested criteria in resolving disagreements
In such cases as the above, those who disagree on their experiences and the patterns they observed ought to compare their qualifications – namely, a) the vastness of their experiences, b) how well-traveled they are, and c) the number of people they’ve known or met, in relation to the subject at hand. Those with higher qualifications in these areas ought to be considered more credible, and ought to be able to back it up as well. For example, as it applies to a and b, someone who’s been to a hundred countries (such exist by the way, for I have met them) is far more qualified to make culture comparisons, observing and identifying patterns between them, than someone who has never left their own city, state/province, or country. And likewise, someone who has lived in a foreign country for at least a year, immersing themselves with its culture and people while living amongst them, is far more qualified to be stating patterns than the typical American who only knows about that country from their media.
Now in regards to c, when you know or have met many people who are well traveled, you will notice that patterns exist among their stories and experiences. For example, as a traveler myself who has met many others, here are some common consensuses I’ve noticed. Most Americans who have been to Spain, Italy, Greece or similar countries have reported that people there are far more festive, lively, and open than in the US. Most Europeans I know who have been to the US usually cite their dislike of how fake and clicheish the way people smile and greet each other there. Therefore, if you cite a pattern yourself that other well qualified people have agreed with, it gives the pattern even stronger credibility, which you can argue. And even if you find a minority of qualified people who disagree with that observation, you can logically overrule them based on the numbers, but to be fair, you should nevertheless take note of the minority opinion into consideration (e.g. 8 out of 10 people I know find Spain more lively and festive than the US; 7 out of 10 Spaniards I’ve met dislike American culture and their fake smiles and clicheish greetings).


PC fanatics’ denial of the science of genetics
Another feature of PC fanatics is that they seem to deny the existence of genetics altogether, dismissing and ignoring an entire branch of science. They have this fanatical belief that everyone’s personality, behavior, characteristics, mindset, and beliefs are COMPLETELY determined by their environment, culture, and how they were raised. In simple terms, in the nature vs. nurture debate, they completely side with nurture. They have little or no evidence or sound reasoning to base this on, yet believe it fervently, even ignoring all contrary evidence.


This belief is especially prevalent in America, where the values of individual liberty, freedom, and “taking control of your destiny” dominate popular thought and culture. But around the world, it varies though, for in some countries (e.g. Asia and Africa) people lean more toward predetermined destiny and fate, with less of a belief in the individual’s power to control his/her fate or destiny. You can see in this graph here what people in different nations believe about fate: http://www.trinity.edu/mkearl/fate.jpg
The truth though, is that most of the research by science in the field of genetics and heredity have concluded that our personalities are determined about 50/50 by nature and nurture. The evidence, tested, observed, and researched for many years, indicate this. Yet most Americans and PC fanatics believe that personality is 100 percent nurture and 0 percent nature. Perhaps they have a need to believe that they are in control, and despise the notion of being a slave or prisoner to their genes.


The research which proves the PC fanatics wrong, is well documented. Most of it indicates that its about 50/50. See the following:
http://genealogy.about.com/cs/geneticgenealogy/a/nature_nurture.htm
http://www.trinity.edu/mkearl/socpsy-2.html
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/genome/debate.html
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/july-dec98/naturenurture_10-20.html
http://changingminds.org/explanations/preferences/nature_nurture.htm
http://www.planetpapers.com/Assets/3492.php
It is clear that there is a genetic or inherited element involved in our personalities, temperament, and in what makes us “tick”. For example, two siblings can grow up in the same families and environment, yet turn out to be totally different in personality and beliefs. Also, studies have shown that fraternal twins who were reared apart tend to still have striking similarities in personality, habits, choices, etc. some of which are very eerie. That strongly favors nature over nurture, for example.
And, some are born with phobias that have no environmental learned cause. For instance, I’ve always had a fear of heights, and as a little child was even afraid to go down slides in the playground. Yet I had no bad experiences or trauma that caused this. I was born like that. And some are born with natural talents as well, that aren’t learned (e.g. Mozart could play the piano as a child without ever having been taught it).


Another consensus among behavioral scientists and specialists is that behavior and habits are mostly learned and therefore changeable. That is the good news, which is that undesirable behavior, bad habits or cyclical addictions, can in fact, be changed by behavioral modification techniques. However, our basic core personality, who we are, and what makes us tick, cannot be changed, only enhanced to varying degrees. Though we or others may try to change who we are, we simply end up coming back to being the same as before. There is a saying that “people never change” and it does have some basis in truth, but those who utter it ought to understand that behavior and habits can be changed.
Perhaps this person who goes by “liesa” on PlanetPapers.com, summarized the relation between genetics and environment best:
http://www.planetpapers.com/Assets/3492.php
“The most fundamental way to rationalize my opinion is quite comprehensible. It is that heredity determines ones potential, but environment devises how far one will reach that potential. Nature designs blueprints and nurture modifies them each step of the way (Dempsey and Zimbardo 164). (For instance), some genes increase our risk of heart disease: but if we know this and eat less fat, we reduce the risk (Tudge).”
As it’s not always easy to recognize the difference between what is changeable and what isn’t, perhaps the following serenity prayer applies:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference