Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Ad Hoc Hypothesis

Relevant to Der Movement.

See this about the concept of ad hoc hypothesis – the idea that people try and protect their hypotheses and theories from falsification by adding more and more extra hypotheses to the original hypothesis and theory. So, for example, as the Wikipedia entry suggests, the theory that “leprechauns are real” becomes falsified by the lack of any evidence of their existence, so one adds to the original theory that the leprechauns are “invisible” and/or have “complex motives” that mean that they hide themselves, etc. Thus:

In science and philosophy, an ad hoc hypothesis is a hypothesis added to a theory in order to save it from being falsified. Often, ad hoc hypothesizing is employed to compensate for anomalies not anticipated by the theory in its unmodified form.

Scientists are often skeptical of theories that rely on frequent, unsupported adjustments to sustain them. This is because, if a theorist so chooses, there is no limit to the number of ad hoc hypotheses that they could add. Thus the theory becomes more and more complex, but is never falsified. This is often at a cost to the theory's predictive power, however. Ad hoc hypotheses are often characteristic of pseudoscientific subjects.

Of course, sometimes modification of hypotheses is necessary and so ad hoc approaches are not always wrong, but typically speaking, the ad hoc approach is flawed. When ad hoc approaches are used to “re-adjust” a theory, a hypothesis, that has been falsified, specifically to save it from that falsification, and even more so, when the ad hoc hypotheses violate Occam’s razor by continuously adding superfluous complexity compared to more parsimonious alternative theories that have not been falsified and have more predictive power, then we observe inappropriate ad hoc hypotheses.

For example, the HBD Nordicists claim as part of their theory, their hypothesis, the importance of intra-European differences in individualism vs. collectivism, with groups descended from (altruistic) northern hunter-gatherers, exemplified by Scandinavians, being extremely individualistic, particularly compared to those selfish collectivist swarthoids and other non-Nordic groups.

This is falsified by data such as this. See the Y axis, which describes group individualism vs. collectivism. On the one hand, Sweden and Denmark are more individualistic than, say, Spain, Russia, or Poland (but Russians and Poles have a lot of “northern hunter gatherer” ancestry, so their collectivism is itself a partial refutation of HBD Nordicism). However, Swedes and Danes are no more individualistic than are Italians or French, and less so than Hungarians. Germanic Germans and Austrians, as well as Northern European Estonians and Finns, are more collectivist than Italians, French, and Hungarians. Most individualistic are countries of the Anglosphere, which seems a particular characteristic of British-derived cultures; these nations are significantly more individualistic than Scandinavians. Then there is the known Law of Jante extreme collectivist conformity of Scandinavian culture, which also falsifies the HBD-Nordicist theory.  

How do the HBD Nordicists then do the “leprechaun trick” to save their pseudoscientific theory?  The HBD Nordicists engage in spin, invoking ad hoc hypotheses, to state (and I kid you not) that Scandinavians are collectivist conformists precisely because they are so individualistic! Thus, you see, they are so ultra-individualistic that they exhibit extreme egalitarianism, which needs to be enforced by collectivist social norms via rigidly conformist behavior.

However, this is a tacit admission that Scandinavians are indeed somewhat collectivist (regardless of the reason), which is sufficient to falsify the original hypothesis. Thus, all of the hand-waving spin is nothing else but ad hoc hypotheses added on to avoid acceptance of that falsification.

There are alternative theories to explain intra-European differences in behavior, such as mine that NW Europeans underwent ethnogenesis in an environment in which their enemies, those they engaged in conflict with, were other Europeans (given the greater geographic distance of NW Europe from Africa-Asia), while in Southern and Eastern Europe, conflict with Afro-Asiatic non-Europeans was an important part of ethnogenesis. Thus, NW Europeans evolved a “narcissism of small differences” ethnocentrism toward those relatively similar to themselves but somewhat different; however, they are indifferent to, or welcoming to, truly alien peoples. Other Europeans, those from the South and East, have a much stronger negative reaction to racially alien non-Europeans than they do to other Europeans (other Europeans that they did have conflicts with as well, but the difference is the presence of constant conflict with the more racially alien others).  Now, this theory may be wrong, but I am not going to engage in ad hoc nonsense to save it, and, as it currently stands, it is more parsimonious than “Scandinavians are collectivist because they are so individualistic” HBD Nordicist nonsense.

Other methods of avoiding acceptance of the falsification of hypotheses include ignorance or revision. This is often used by Der Movement when population genetics analysis of old/ancient DNA falsifies Nordicist hypotheses about racial history. One can simply ignore the data (“Arthur Kemp was right” when in fact he has been discredited) or revise the original hypothesis – “The original Romans of the Republic were Nordic” mysteriously is forgotten and is replaced by “The population of Rome changed over time” (an unremarkable supposition for the cosmopolitan capital of a massive Empire, and a finding that logically suggests nothing definitive about widespread, panmictic admixture between groups in that city, much less Italy or the Empire as a whole). I suppose that nitpicking modification is also a form of revisionism – “The Ancient Greeks were Nordic” is suitably modified to “We are not talking about the Minoan or Mycenaean civilizations, nor even later Ionians but about Dorians” – the mind boggles.

Der Movement is intellectually bankrupt, a statement that requires no ad hoc hypotheses for its defense.