Notebook entry, September 29, 2000

An Associated Press newswire by Paul Recer tells us the story of a report, commissioned by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and released by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, that grades 49 states and the District of Columbia on how well evolution is included in the state science education standards here in the States. Under their grading system, the AAAS found that California, Connecticut, Indiana, New Jersey, North Carolina and Rhode Island received a perfect score of 100, and four states graded in the 90s were given A's.  Kansas, whose standards were described as "disgraceful," got the lowest score.  States receiving a 0-39, or "useless or absent," were: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maine. States Receiving a 40-59 grade, "unsatisfactory," include Alaska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, and Arkansas.  I would like to point out that the states that received the worst scores appear to be Southern, and "wide-open" area states, where "rugged" individualism and religious convictions hold considerable sway in the local cultures. 

We still have a long way to go people. Sigh... 

Notebook entry, September 13, 2000

They was a great cover story in Business Week magazine last week.  (My issue arrived a week late -- a very rare occurrence), and I wanted to share some of the highlights as I believe that they are important. The date of the issue: September 11, 2000.  The title: TOO MUCH CORPORATE POWER? The lead in: "Even though Big Business helped create UNPRECEDENTED PROSPERITY, most Americans think corporations have EXCESSIVE INFLUENCE over their lives.  Now, it's become a hot POLITICAL ISSUE. What's going on?" blasts the front of the cover.  You will find the article on p. 144.

What's going on my dear friends is my theory of evolutionary behavior that I call THE RESOURCE DIFFERENTIAL TOLERANCE  RATIO THEORY.   My theory simple states that TRDTRT is the peaceful co-existence between those that have (the dominates) and those that do not have (the submissives). If the perception by the submissives believes that the dominates are increasing the ratio of resources between them (and leaving them behind), angst, fear, or more simply put, an "Intolerance" is created, which if not addressed, would lead to action on the submissives part -- (protests -- and in very extreme cases, revolt in the streets). I want to quote one paragraph in Business Week's op-ed page and see if you can recognize the "intolerance" that appears to be surfacing:  

    "The neopopulism that abounds isn't about lack of prosperity.  Just the opposite.  Americans do give credit to Corporate America for innovating, creating jobs, and above all, making profits.  What appears to bug them is something less well-defined and more inchoate.  It has to do with corporations being in their faces all the time while not delivering on service.  It has to do with being exhausted night after night in a 24/7 work world and not having time or energy left for loved ones.  People are grumbling about what they see as business' disregard for their safety, the norms of equity, and the absence of responsibility.  Unlike the sixties, when business bashing was part of a youthful rebellion, neopopulism today cuts across many demographic and age groups." Business Week, September 11, 2000, p. 182.

So, you see, it does not matter how prosperous the population may be in relation to the rest of the world, it is the "perceived" resource differential that the submissives notice at their local environments.

Those who are interested in reading my Resource theory, which I first placed on this web site in Oct of 1997, may do so by clicking on the title here:  Evolutionary Psychology, Capitalism, & Communism: An Introduction to the Resource Differential Tolerance Ratio Theory.

Notebook entry, September 10, 2000

The October 2000 issue of Discover was out this week.  It was the 20th anniversary issue and Steve Pinker had a nice piece under the magazine's "Twenty ideas that will rule research in the next twenty years." You will recall that Steve is the Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author of How the Mind Works, a book that is on my recommended reading list. I quote the first two sentences: "The biologist E.O. Wilson suggested a useful word for a trend in the human sciences that will accelerate in the next two decades: consilience, the unification of knowledge.  The natural sciences will blend into the social sciences and humanities via an understanding of human nature provided by bridging disciplines, such as cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and behavioral genetics." I will let you buy the magazine or go to the library to read the rest of his predictions.  It's a good issue overall.  Buy it.

p.s. I have a small ad running in the classifieds of this month's Discover, but the response was poor over the months of August and September.  Due to the cost, and small return in interest, I will have to drop the classified.  Too bad.  I know that repeated presence of the advertisement helps to solidify one position, but one must also justify the cost ratio.  I will continue to run the same ad in The Progressive, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, Mother Jones, and Harpers.

Notebook entry, September 5, 2000

The FBI released its long-awaited study of school violence in an attempt to help local law enforcement and school officials to help spot individuals and their behaviors that might lead to violence.  I say, long-awaited, because for several months the bureau has been releasing trial balloons to the effect that such a study was being attempted.  Any response that the study was a "profile" of possible school children becoming shooters was loudly denied.

My interest in telling you this is because of the Columbine shootings occurred about ten miles from my front door; it moved the country and myself in becoming more pro-active on the issue.  I wrote an essay about the evolutionary perspective of the incident, and I feel that perhaps, Columbine was the main catalyst behind this report.

I have not yet read the entire study, and plan to incorporate and cite it's findings in my essay, The Littleton Shootings: The Evolutionary Perspective, of May 1999.  But I have an idea what the content of the report includes by reading the opening paragraph by Director Louis J. Freeh: "I know I speak for every parent and every educator in the nation when I say that violence in our schools is not acceptable, not al all, not ever.  It is imperative that, community by community, we find the ways to protect our children and secure for them the safe places they need to learn the hard business of growing up, to learn right from wrong, to learn to be good citizens."  

I could not agree more.  

But, where I may disagree with the findings of this report is the methodology of the study and the HOW to make those schools safe.  The passage of time and debate will determine the best method for achieving those goals.

Notebook entry, September 4, 2000

Last month I commissioned an artist in England to do two caricatures of myself to place on the "Who is William  A. Spriggs" page and on the top of this page.  The rough sketches look surprising like me -- Well, silly, that's what your paying this guy to do!.  I was going to have one of myself and my editor to go along with a new section on this web site, but he chickened out and waited much too long to provide several photos in which to do the work.  I'll just have to convince him how good he would look if this artist would do his puss. I should have the two caricatures in place by the 18th of this month.