Re: [OVC-discuss] 50/50 elections

From: David Mertz <mertz_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Fri Nov 28 2008 - 14:35:42 CST

The speculation about biology is pretty far off-topic for this list.
Jost's work was interesting, and I remember that study. But in
general list member are spending a lot of work explaining something
that doesn't need explanation.

While the Minnesota Senate race is very close, most political races
are nowhere near as close. The fact we're talking about the close
ones is just selection bias on our parts. There is no need to
"explain" the non-phenomenon of "attraction towards 50/50 splits".
Not in terms of genetic breakdowns, not even really in terms of
political strategies. It's just that we happen to be looking at the
close Minnesota race, not the slam-dunk ones in Massachusetts or

I suppose there is a slight "attraction towards 50/50" in that in the
very narrow way that races that are likely to be outrageously skewed,
the "opposition party" doesn't bother running a candidate at all. My
representative, Henry Waxman ran unopposed because presumably the
Republican party knew an opponent would have only gotten 20%, so why
waste resources.

FWIW, the problem with most "evolutionary psychology"/sociobiology is
exactly like this: it goes to great lengths to "explain" things that
need no explanation, but that are simply false generalizations or mere
observer bias.

Keeping medicines from the bloodstreams of the sick; food
from the bellies of the hungry; books from the hands of the
uneducated; technology from the underdeveloped; and putting
advocates of freedom in prisons.  Intellectual property is
to the 21st century what the slave trade was to the 16th.
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Received on Sun Nov 30 23:17:21 2008

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