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The Maxine Margolis Interview

I spoke with anthropologist Maxine L. Margolis about her research topics: gender and society and Brazil, with a focus on Brazilian immigran...

Monday, April 6, 2020

The IDW does its part to help Trump

The podcast host Joe Rogan has said he will vote for Donald Trump over Joe Biden in the presidential election, should the former vice-president be the Democratic nominee. 
The comic was speaking on Friday’s edition of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, which regularly tops the iTunes chart for downloads. Rogan has nearly 6m Twitter followers, regularly appears on television as a commentator on mixed martial arts, and is seen as an influential voice with young and blue-collar male voters. 
During a conversation with guest Eric Weinstein, managing director of Thiel Capital, talk turned to the election. Weinstein, who works for the Trump-supporting tech mogul Peter Thiel, said he would not vote for Trump or Biden, the probable challenger in November.
Of course only gullible Sanders supporters ever believed Rogan sincerely want Sanders to become POTUS.
It's screamingly obvious that Trump would rather face Sanders than Biden which is why Trump was ratfucking so hard with Ukraine.
Rogan was only doing his part for the Trump team, trying to get the nomination for Sanders.
And Weinstein of course is the founder of the IDW and we see how much use he is in opposing a monster from hell like Trump - not at all.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The race crackpottery of Steve Sailer and Bo Winegard part 2


PART 1

Steven Pinker has not, as far as I have been able to discover, acknowledged the existence of Steve Sailer since 2011, although prior to that Pinker promoted Sailer's career, using him to support his position in a dispute with Malcolm Gladwell and even included him in a collection of "the best" science and nature writing.

But since 2011, no acknowledgement, and I have looked. Although Steve Sailer will tell you that he has had a big influence on Pinker.

Sailer has certainly been a big influence on the thinking of "human biodiversity" proponents like Bo and Ben Winegard.

The Winegards together with the Koch-supported Johnny Anomaly, can be seen promoting "human biodiversity" in this 2020 paper, which cites many of the biggest names in scientific racism including Linda Gottfredson, J.P. Rushton and Richard Lynn. No mention of Sailer though, even to mention he coined the term human biodiversity.

The Winegards like to use a Sailer term "platonic essence" to justify how, although they are certain that a category of humans called "black" exists, and that this category has special evolved traits, at the same time they deny the existence of clear-cut races. How nice to have things both ways, without being conscious of the logical disconnect.

But Pinker, who has also promoted the work of the Winegards, has pioneered the use of equivocation as a career choice.

The Winegards, in their A Tale of Two Bell Curves, included the results of a survey of, they claim, "expert opinion" on intelligence testing and Sailer was deemed to be the most reliable source.

However there isn't much else online linking the Winegards with Sailer. Which is not to say there is no evidence of a relationship. Last June Bo Winegard can be seen having a friendly exchange with Sailer, on Twitter, about movies.

Winegard must have a pretty friendly relationship with Sailer, not only because he engages in casual conversation with him in public, but because Winegard is aware that Sailer is radioactive, since Sailer is infamous as a racist.

Sailer himself acknowledged this recently on his Unz blog (also double-dipping at VDARE) by quoting someone else saying Winegard claimed in his Quillette podcast interview:
one of the triggers to his being fired was him liking a tweet by Steve Sailer…
Pinkerite has discussed the professional racist career of Sailer, in depth in a series of posts but I kept meaning to come back to one particular thing that Sailer said, which demonstrates the utter failure of race "science" as a science.

In my post The racist logic of Steve Sailer, I quoted Sailer from a VDARE article:

Q. But I see all these black people on TV being highly entertaining. They look pretty lively upstairs. Could IQ tests be missing something? 
A. Yes. IQ test questions, by their nature, must have fixed, objective answers. If African Americans are better at subjective, improvisatory responses than they are at objective problem-solving, then IQ will fail to predict fully their patterns of success in the real world. And, indeed, we see much evidence for that every time we turn on the TV (e.g., Oprah).  
Unfortunately, there aren't nearly as many jobs being entertainment or sports superstars as black youths seem to assume, so, overall, IQ remains a quite accurate predictor outside of the tiny sliver of celebrities.
The link to support Sailer's claim that African Americans have a "subjective, improvisatory" kind of intelligence is an article by Sailer himself from 1999 in the National Post of Canada available via the Wayback Machine.

The article contains gems of science such as:
Interestingly, while blacks tend to be more masculine in physique and personality than whites or East Asians, they are often better at typically feminine, more subjective cerebral skills like verbalization, emotional intuition and expression, sense of rhythm, sense of style, improvisation, situational awareness, and mental multi-tasking. Jordan's brain, for instance, enables him to anticipate his opponent's every move while simultaneously demoralizing his foe with nonstop trash-talking. (Try it. It's not easy.)
So Steve Sailer has a problem, which he presents as a frequently asked question, about his racist theories. The problem is that many black people seem very smart indeed.

So Sailer invents a special kind of intelligence for African Americans - "subjective and improvisatory" as opposed to "objective problem-solving." And Sailer declares in his 1999 article that blacks are better at "feminine, more subjective cerebral skills."

There is no scientific evidence that the abilities Sailer claims are black and female are mutually exclusive with objective problem-solving, never mind evidence that women and black people are innately less able to solve problems.

But the absence of evidence will never stop a bigot. Steve Sailer needed a "scientific" justification so he pulled one out of his ass.

And that's where Bo Winegard gets his science - from Steve Sailer's ass.

Although we don't know for sure the reason why Marietta College declined to keep Bo Winegard on its payroll, it has every right to regard Winegard as a crank and a charlatan who dresses up 18th century beliefs and the crackpot theories of Steve Sailer as "science" to try to make a buck.

He might be able to make a buck, but like the career of Steve Sailer, he won't make a buck from people who value intellectual excellence and serious scientific work. Bo Winegard's hope for a career as a race monger rests on the right-wing racist eco-system funded by the same wealthy, cranky, old white men who have supported Steve Sailer for decades. 

And from Winegard's perspective, why not? Shilling the contents of Steve Sailer's ass as "science" sure beats working for a living.

Friday, April 3, 2020

The race crackpottery of Steve Sailer and Bo Winegard part 1

Bo Winegard, fired for "science"
The image above shows Winegard
promoting one of his favorite terms, 

"Equalitaranism" also a favorite term
of Southern segregationists.
I've been thinking about the randomness of race classification systems quite a bit lately thanks to recently posting my interview with anthropologist Maxine Margolis.

Margolis has studied Brazil for decades and discussed the race classification there, which is very different from the system in the United States. In the interview she said: 

Brazil never had a history of legal segregation, the way of defining race in Brazil is very different from the US, there is no "one drop rule" in Brazil.  
Brazil has always classified people by two things: how they looked, so that full brothers and sisters could be classified differently in terms of race, if one was lighter skinned and the other was darker skinned. So how people look. Not who their parents no less grandparents, but also socioeconomic status. Darker people tend to be poor in Brazil, lighter people tend to be wealthier in Brazil. People who are mulattos, who are mixed-race tend to be seen as lighter if they are educated and of a higher social class. 

And Brazil has many, many racial categories not two, like in the US. And there is something like forty different racial terms in use in Brazil, based on how people look, their features, their hair type, their skin color, their lip type, etc. There are all kinds of combinations.
So various cultures have various folk classifications of "race." And nobody claims folk classifications are science. Except of course the proponents of race "science."

Bo and Ben Winegard and their biosocial criminologist pal Brian Boutwell promoted folk classification schemes as useful to science, as I discussed in my post I Have a Nightmare: Steven Pinker, Quillette and the "Biological Reality of Race." They wrote in their article for Quillette, "On the Reality of Race and the Abhorrence of Racism" (my highlight):
Race, then, is not a platonic essence and racial groups are not discrete categories of humans. Instead, race is a pragmatic construct that picks out real variation in the world (which corresponds to shared ancestry) and allows people and scientists to make useful inferences.
The term "platonic essence" they most likely got from professional racist Steve Sailer. But notice that they say that "pragmatic" race categories allow people and scientists to make useful inferences.

This is the kind of sleaze you can expect from race science proponents: equating the understanding of race by non-scientists with scientists. And they expect their audience will be easily gulled by a simple conflation like that.

And considering their article was written for a Quillette audience, they were probably right.

And it must be noted that for all the Winegard brothers claiming that race is not "a platonic essence" and can be mixed and matched in any way, it does not stop them from promoting the notion that there are "black" people and that these "black" people are less intelligent, evolutionarily, than non-black people. Or per Winegard's favorite weaselly euphemism, "human population variation."

Bo Winegard is a race science stooge, so Marietta college did the right thing by declining to renew his employment with them. But there is no actual evidence that's why they declined.

An article at Inside Higher Ed, by Colleen Flaherty, basically pushes Winegard's side of the story calling on race science promoters to weigh in on poor Bo's plight, including Lee Jussim, Richard Haier and Nathan Cofnas. All Flaherty got out of Marietta was:
Marietta declined comment, saying Winegard’s case was a private personnel issue.
Which race science supporters interpreted as their free pass to claim virtually anything they wanted about the case.

Winegard published an article declaring his free speech martyrdom in the Right's favorite race science rag, Quillette. Breitbart promoted Winegard 's Quillette article and Areomagazine, (Quillette's twin sister) said:
Those progressives who consider the firing of Winegard to be a victory, might consider the precedent this sets for conservative policy makers empowered to make decisions about university funding and policy.
Ignoring the fact that what Winegard promotes is pseudoscience. But you can't outdo Rod Dreher in The American Conservative, whose article Hounding The Heretic Bo Winegard is illustrated by someone being burned at the stake.

The idea that this teratoma Bo Winegard promotes, a grotesquerie composed of 18th century belief, contemporary folklore and segregationist defenses, is actual science would be funny except that so many people on the Right believe it is science.

Or as some fool of a lawyer named Scott H. Greenfield put it: Bo Winegard, Fired for Science.

Unfortunately for Bo, the Right's plans to celebrate him as a martyred saint were foiled by the coronavirus. And by the time the pandemic is over the Right will probably have moved onto another grift.

But don't cry for Bo, he is still the house race science promoter at Quillette, and Charles Murray is pretty old. Once Murray is gone, Bo might have a chance at an even more lucrative slot in the generous world of wingnut welfare,  as resident race science promoter at the American Enterprise Institute.

The Right is willing to pay well for anybody who can put a veneer of science, no matter how transparent, on their racism.

Probably because Winegard wants to keep all avenues of potential income open, he recently wrote in Medium claiming race doesn't mean anything to him.

Unfortunately for him, you can still find him and his brother Ben in Quillette, claiming that The Bell Curve was correct about innate African American intelligence and they explicitly rule out the legacy of slavery:
Of course, there are other possible explanations of the Black-White gap, such as parenting styles, stereotype threat, and a legacy of slavery/discrimination among others. However, to date, none of these putative causal variables has been shown to have a significant effect on the IQ gap, and no researcher has yet made a compelling case that environmental variables can explain the gap. This is certainly not for lack of effort; for good reason, scholars are highly motivated to ascertain possible environmental causes of the gap and have tried for many years to do just that.
Bo Winegard is as sleazy as he is an intellectual failure. But to truly understand how unscientific, how shameless and how utterly stupid race science is, we must return to Steve Sailer, who has been a big influence on the Winegard brothers and their promotion of "human biodiversity" a term Sailer coined. We'll talk about Sailer in the Part 2 of the race crackpottery of Steve Sailer and Bo Winegard.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Candace Owens, Trumpian Coronavirus Denier

IDW member Candace Owens features prominently in a NYTimes article today about the right-wing approach to the Coronavirus pandemic: denialism and then when that is no longer tenable, blame the left:
Alarm, Denial, Blame: The Pro-Trump Media’s Coronavirus Distortion.
On March 10, the day that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned every American to adopt an “all hands on deck” mind-set, Ms. Owens scoffed at what she called “the mass global mental breakdown” as financial markets plunged. “People think it’s novel that 80 year olds are dying at a high rate from a flu,” she wrote, adding that when future generations study the world’s coronavirus response, “This tweet will age well.” 
Ms. Owens is the kind of influential conservative — she has a huge online audience as well as sway with the White House and top cable news and radio producers — who has been central to spreading doubt about the seriousness of the virus to Mr. Trump’s most loyal supporters. 
In an interview, Ms. Owens said she did not believe that her tweets were irresponsible. “Do I think it’s irresponsible to say the economic impact will be the legacy?” she said. “It’s not about being responsible. It’s about being honest.”

Trump and his team of monsters from hell cannot lose access to the White House soon enough for sane people in the world.

Speaking of Trump and his team, the current pandemic must have put a real crimp in Trump's plans to ratfuck the Democrats.

Way back a million years ago, in August, I posted an article called Trump is the ratfucker.

And just a month later, Trump's biggest ratfucking scheme (so far. that we know of.) was revealed when his quid pro quo attempt with Ukraine hit the news on September 25. Trump Pressed Ukraine’s President to Investigate Democrats as ‘a Favor.'

Now I don't doubt that Trump is planning more ratfucking attempts. That's who Trump is. You can't expect Trump to do anything without cheating. He's cheated his way through life - when he wasn't just handed advantages - and he's not about to stop cheating now.

I still think Trump and his malicious elves Andy Ngo and Ngo's lawyer, Republican committeewoman Harmeet K. Dhillon are likely to try a ratfucking attempt a la the Nazi's Reichstag fire - frame the Democrats for the actions of one rando.

And I think they are likely to do it via antifa. But they can't very well use antifa performance art in the middle of a stay-at-home pandemic.

But once social distancing is over, expect to see more signs of Trumpian ratfucking. All the polls now indicate Biden will beat Trump and Trump is not about to stand by and let that happen without using every possible dirty trick that he and his monstrously evil supporters can dream up.

Our country depends on stopping Trump.

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Maxine Margolis Interview

I spoke with anthropologist Maxine L. Margolis about her research topics: gender and society and Brazil, with a focus on Brazilian immigrants, race classification schemes of Brazil vs. the US, and her association with Marvin Harris.

Dr. Margolis is Professor Emerita of Anthropology, University of Florida, Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at the Institute for Latin American Studies, Columbia University.
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, elected 2009
  • Lifetime Contribution Award, Brazilian Studies Association, 2014
Maxine Margolis' Wikipedia Entry

The video has a transcript available on YouTube and also available on Pinkerite here.



Some links associated with this interview:

Books by Margolis


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Meet the IDW's rightwing Christian extremist sugar daddy Michael O'Fallon

O'Fallon, Lindsay and Boghossian
made a video together
We already know that the 3 Stooges of the IDW, Helen Pluckrose, James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian got paid to run their hoax grift because James Lindsay admitted as much - and refused to reveal who paid them.

Their latest clown college project is a web site called New Discourses, promoted by Steven Pinker's #1 fanboy Jerry Coyne who writes:
It’s useful to know about this resource. The articles will change, and I haven’t yet had time to peruse them, but the Wokish Dictionary is already a good resource when trying to decipher the argot. There are also videos.
Coyne was once a worthwhile thinker but he's turned into a bigot and a right-wing stooge over the past ten years or so. And he's such a groveling fanboy of Steven Pinker he can be seen on his web site mooning over Steven Pinker's cowboy boots. Featuring a full-body shot of Pinker modeling his boots, which I assume Coyne printed out and taped to his bedroom wall.

The devolution of Jerry Coyne is a sad and sorry spectacle.

It's a hallmark of race science proponents that they are astoundingly lazy and clearly Jerry Coyne couldn't be bothered trying to learn anything about New Discourses before promoting it. But I made an effort and boy howdy are they in deep with Christian fanaticism.

Meet the funder behind New Discourses, Michael O'Fallon. His various activities are listed at Right Wing Watch.

According to the web site Religion News Service:
There aren't many cruise "experience" directors who spend their days defending what is described as America's Judeo-Christian heritage and promoting "nation-ism" — a version of nationalism that champions "the right of self governance and the right of people to be self-governed.” 
But Michael O'Fallon does, and he argues both are under attack by the Open Society Foundation, founded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros. He often says as much on his website, Sovereignnations.com, as well as through conferences with speakers who range from controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson to a slate of evangelical Christians of the Calvinist variety. 
And when he has some spare time, he goes on a cruise — like a recent journey to the Galapagos Islands, which O'Fallon recently highlighted on his personal Facebook page.
It's hard to overstate how obsessed Michael O'Fallon is with George Soros conspiracy theories. They are plastered all over his web site.


O'Fallon is mentioned nowhere on the New Discourses web site. 

I first made the connection between O'Fallon and New Discourses by Googling the address given on the New Discourses web site and found it is the same address used by O'Fallon's Christian cruise business. I took a screen shot of the two side-by-side.



And once I found Sovereign Cruises, I found two other O'Fallon web sites, Sovereign Productions and Events and then finally Sovereign Nations.

Although as someone on Twitter pointed out, I could have made the connection more quickly if I just Googled New Discourses LLC.

NEW DISCOURSES LLC

Company Number
L19000234287
Status
Active
Incorporation Date
17 September 2019 (6 months ago)
Company Type
Florida Limited Liability
Jurisdiction
Florida (US)
Agent Name
O'FALLON W MICHAEL
Agent Address
118 WOODLAND CT, SAFETY HARBOR, FL 34695
Directors / Officers

New Discourses doesn't have a single mention of O'Fallon, but he sure has no problem connecting himself to Linsday, Boghossian and Pluckrose on Sovereign Nations.

And there's a video series: GRIEVANCE SCHOLARS EXPOSE THE TROJAN HORSE OF SOCIAL JUSTICE IN FAITH & ACADEMICS which is a discussion with O'Fallon, Lindsay and Boghossian. 

Note the word "faith" in the title. As a fanatical Christian, faith is a huge deal with O'Fallon. As the article with the video says:
This isn’t merely a problem within the secular university system, however. As many will be aware, it has gone forth from our halls of higher education and taken root in education, law, the corporate world, society at large, and even public policy. Not only that, it has also been making significant inroads into the Christian faith, even conservative Evangelical Protestant faith. In June of 2019, the largest Protestant denomination in the world, the Southern Baptist Convention, passed a resolution stating that Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality could effectively be used by Christians as “analytical tools” alongside but subordinate to Scripture. This is what Lindsay describes as “a very fine wooden horse sitting outside your gates.”  
And since O'Fallon is a right-wing Christian extremist and a supporter of hereditarianism and the IDW, it was extremely likely he would turn out to be a Trump supporter. Which he is, as can be seen by the relentlessly positive mentions of Trump and defenses of Trump in Sovereign Nations.

O'Fallon is not pleased with homosexuality as noted in the Religious News Service article:
Speakers at Sovereign Nations' 2019 conference were united in their opposition to certain claims of “social justice” among progressives — including progressive people of faith. In December 2018, Ascol, O’Fallon and White were all listed as initial signers on a “Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel.”

The document rejected “the postmodern ideologies derived from intersectionality, radical feminism, and critical race theory,” calling them inconsistent with biblical teaching.
“We are deeply concerned that values borrowed from secular culture are currently undermining Scripture in the areas of race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality,” read the statement’s introduction. “The Bible’s teaching on each of these subjects is being challenged under the broad and somewhat nebulous rubric of concern for ‘social justice.’”
 
The statement also rejected “‘gay Christian' as a legitimate biblical category." 
The 2019 Founders Ministries conference was sponsored in part by Sovereign Alliance (an umbrella organization that includes Sovereign Cruises) as well as Ligonier Ministries, a group created by Presbyterian Church in America theologian R.C. Sproul. (O’Fallon and his wife worked for Sproul’s ministry for 10 years.) 
But O’Fallon pushed back on the idea that his movement is restricted to Calvinist Baptists.
He noted that the 2017 Sovereign Nations’ conference, which was convened in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., included a talk by controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson on “Identity Politics & the Marxist Lie of White Privilege.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former White House Senior Advisor Stephen Bannon were also invited to speak but did not appear to attend.
 
Brad Vermurlen, a scholar who has a forthcoming book on the New Calvinist movement entitled “Reformed Resurgence: The New Calvinist Movement and the Battle Over American Evangelicalism,” said the invitation of Jordan Peterson points to an often unspoken overlap between his audience and that of the Calvinist leaders highlighted at Sovereign Nations events.
New Discourses' strategy is straight out of the Quillette playbook: pretend to be non-political or centrist while relentlessly promoting right-wing positions and taking rightwing money.

According to the New Discourses About page.

New Discourses is, by design, meant to be apolitical in the usual sense. That means it is not interested in conservative, progressive, left, right, center, or any other particular political stances. It is, in this regard, only broadly liberal in the philosophical and ethical stance. In that case, whether you’re a progressive left-liberal or a conservative right-liberal, traditional or classical in any case, you’re likely to find what we’re doing refreshing. (And if you don’t, we can talk about it! That’s the point!
In their alignment with a far-right Christian fanatic like O'Fallon, this is obviously bullshit.

Some of the most prominent IDWs are outspoken atheists, and Jerry Coyne certainly is. Does the IDW and friends hate feminists, Muslims, trans-people, socialists, the left and critics of race science so much that they are willing to align with a religious extremist?

Monday, March 2, 2020

Women in STEM versus hereditarians

Great article in Slate recently by Meredith Reiches and Sarah S. Richardson. A few members of the IDW - which is of course relentlessly hereditarian get a shout-out:
We Dug Into Data to Disprove a Myth About Women in STEM 
The argument used to be that women were simply biologically less capable. Now it’s that they’re less interested. Both are wrong.
Peterson:
The stakes here are high. If men and women really have inherently different career preferences, then any attempt to get more women into STEM fields would be misguided and likely to fail. That was certainly how men’s rights activists such as Jordan Peterson and conservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, who have cited the theory, interpreted the results.
 Pinker and Murray
The focus on “propensities” is a trend in the broader conversation about the role of social and biological factors in women’s and men’s STEM achievement. Twenty years ago, biological hard-liners, including Geary, argued that women are biologically less capable in the STEM fields. Now that women are outnumbering men in many scientific and medical fields, outperforming males on many standardized STEM tests, and receiving larger numbers of higher degrees of all sorts than men worldwide, hard-liners such as Steven Pinker and Charles Murray have moved away from such assertions in favor of the claim that women are biologically wired to find less joy in STEM or are simply less interested in it.
It turns the original claim that women were just less interested in STEM was based on a big mess:
After internal review, Psychological Science required extensive corrections to the published study. In their revised paper, Stoet and Geary maintain that there is a gender paradox in STEM but clarify that it relates to their more obscure measure, which they termed the “propensity” of women and men to attain a higher degree in STEM. This week, the same journal published a peer-reviewed paper from our group citing conceptual and empirical problems with the “gender-equality paradox in STEM” hypothesis. The paper shows that the negative association between gender equality and women’s STEM achievement does not persist when the measures of gender equality and achievement change.

Of course both Pinker and his groveling fanboy, Jerry Coyne promoted Geary (who is also a promoter of race science with the Winegard brothers) promoted the hell out of that garbage:


But although the Slate article has been out for several weeks now I haven't found them admitting they might have been wrong. Of course.


Friday, February 14, 2020

Krazy Kat and more race riots



Through pure serendipity this week I came across a "Talks at Google" video of journalist Michael Tisserand discussing the life and times of George Herriman, famous for his comic strip Krazy Kat, from his book "Krazy: George Herriman, A Life in Black and White."  There's an excellent review here at the New York Review of Books.

Through his studies, Tisserand discovered more about Herriman's ethnic heritage, which was Creole from the free people of color community in New Orleans, although Herriman passed for white for most of his life and the "colored" designation on his birth certificate was unknown until 1971. Herriman died in 1944.
Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse

Tisserand discovered examples of Herriman's work, outside of his Krazy Kat strip, responding to racial strife of his time, including his response to the race riots that resulted when a black boxer, Jack Johnson, beat a white boxer in 1910.

One of the most important realizations I have had thanks to doing this Pinkerite blog is how many times since Emancipation white people have attacked black communities, killing and looting, and yet how rarely these incidents are reported or acknowledged. And here is another example - the hateful retaliation of the white majority against black communities over a boxing match.

Tisserand also makes the connection between Herriman's view on race and the Krazy Kat strip itself. Just fascinating stuff. I recommend you watch this Google talks video.

Meanwhile during this Black History Month 2020 I was surprised to see Steven Pinker tweeting about black history. The same black history that Pinker's friends, like Sam Harris and the gang at Quillette try to minimize as an explanation for the failure of African Americans to thrive post-Emancipation in favor of their claim that the fault lies with the genetics of African Americans themselves.

Has Steven Pinker turned over a new leaf, or is he using Henry Louis Gates as a shield for his own long-standing support for race science? 

We'll see how long it takes until Pinker once again promotes Quillette or another proponent of race science, as he did when defending racist charlatan Noah Carl just last month.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

African American History for race science proponents: high school v income

Originally posted on my personal blog February 15, 2018

So to recap: before Emancipation in the US black people owned nothing, not even themselves. Then once they were free they owned themselves but very little else. They've been slowly dragging themselves up out of this ditch of absolute poverty, in spite of the many roadblocks put in their way by the white majority.

The question isn't why are black people in the United States doing so poorly 150 years after slavery, the question is how have they come so far in spite of everything that's been thrown at them.

The Pew Research Center has some interesting charts comparing demographic trends for blacks, white, Asians and Hispanics.

This chart shows how black students are catching up with white students for high school graduation rates.


But their incomes have nevertheless stayed lower.



As Business Insider reports:
A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (indicates)... the amount of money people make is strongly predicted by what their parents earn. Up until a parent-household-income threshold of roughly $150,000, adult children tend to earn another $0.33 for every dollar their parents earn.
It is obvious that black earnings are lower because they started so much lower, and even increasing their "self-control" of finishing high school doesn't seem to help.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

African American History for race science proponents: black codes, lynching & riots

Originally posted on my personal blog February 14, 2018

Although conditions were generally terrible for freed slaves, the US government did try to assist them in making the transition to freedom. In addition to abolitionists and Radical Republican members of Congress there was an attempt to get land to the slaves. This mostly ended in failure:
The Freedmen's Bureau Bill, which established the Freedmen's Bureau on March 3, 1865, was initiated by President Abraham Lincoln and was intended to last for one year after the end of the Civil War.[3] The Freedmen's Bureau was an important agency of early Reconstruction, assisting freedmen in the South. The Bureau was made a part of the United States Department of War, as it was the only agency with an existing organization that could be assigned to the South. Headed by Union Army General Oliver O. Howard, the Bureau started operations in 1865. Throughout the first year, its representatives learned that these tasks would be very difficult, as Southern legislatures passed laws for Black Codes that restricted movement, conditions of labor, and other civil rights of African Americans, nearly duplicating conditions of slavery. The Freedmen's Bureau controlled limited arable land.[4]
Black Codes were the first of many institutional roadblocks against black people in the South, the most notorious of which were the Jim Crow laws

And then there were lynchings. The Smithsonian provides this interactive map of lynchings between 1835 and 1964. And please note that although the vast majority of the lynching were of blacks, other "races" are represented, including Italians.

The descendants of slaves had a constant struggle for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness:
As the prominent historian Eric Foner writes in his masterwork on Reconstruction, “Black participation in Southern public life after 1867 was the most radical development of the Reconstruction years, a massive experiment in interracial democracy without precedent in the history of this or any other country that abolished slavery in the nineteenth century.” 
But this moment was short-lived. 
As W.E.B. Du Bois wrote, the “slave went free; stood a brief moment in the sun; then moved back again toward slavery.” 
History is made by human actors and the choices they make. 
According to Douglas Blackmon, author of “Slavery by Another Name,” the choices made by Southern white supremacists after abolition, and the rest of the country’s accommodation, “explain more about the current state of American life, black and white, than the antebellum slavery that preceded.” 
Designed to reverse black advances, Redemption was an organized effort by white merchants, planters, businessmen and politicians that followed Reconstruction. “Redeemers” employed vicious racial violence and state legislation as tools to prevent black citizenship and equality promised under the 14th and 15th amendments.

Juvenile convicts at work in the fields, 1903. Library of Congress/John L. Spivak
By the early 1900s, nearly every southern state had barred black citizens not only from voting but also from serving in public office, on juries and in the administration of the justice system.
 
The South’s new racial caste system was not merely political and social. It was thoroughly economic. Slavery had made the South’s agriculture-based economy the most powerful force in the global cotton market, but the Civil War devastated this economy.
How to build a new one?
 
Ironically, white leaders found a solution in the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery in the United States in 1865. By exploiting the provision allowing “slavery” and “involuntary servitude” to continue as “a punishment for crime,” they took advantage of a penal system predating the Civil War and used even during Reconstruction. 
A new form of control 
With the help of profiteering industrialists they found yet a new way to build wealth on the bound labor of black Americans: the convict lease system. 
Here’s how it worked. Black men – and sometimes women and children – were arrested and convicted for crimes enumerated in the Black Codes, state laws criminalizing petty offenses and aimed at keeping freed people tied to their former owners’ plantations and farms. The most sinister crime was vagrancy – the “crime” of being unemployed – which brought a large fine that few blacks could afford to pay. 
Black convicts were leased to private companies, typically industries profiteering from the region’s untapped natural resources. As many as 200,000 black Americans were forced into back-breaking labor in coal mines, turpentine factories and lumber camps. They lived in squalid conditions, chained, starved, beaten, flogged and sexually violated. They died by the thousands from injury, disease and torture.
So a combination of violence and legislation were used throughout the 19th century against blacks and naturally contributed to black poverty.

I thought about the evo-psycho bros claims about blacks as I read about the Memphis riots of 1866. The "Memphis massacre"
...was a series of violent events that occurred from May 1 to 3, 1866 in Memphis, Tennessee. The racial violence was ignited by political, social and racial tensions following the American Civil War, in the early stages of Reconstruction.[2] After a shooting altercation between white policemen and black soldiers recently mustered out of the Union Army, mobs of white civilians and policemen rampaged through black neighborhoods and the houses of freedmen, attacking and killing black men, women and children.
The sight of black soldiers from the Union Army must have seemed terrifying yet ridiculous to whites in the South who were accustomed to treating people with any trace of West African ancestry like dirt.

John Paul Wright Professor of Criminology at the University of Cincinnati and one of the most blatantly racist of all the members of the Criminal Justice branch of the evolutionary psychology brotherhood said:
John Paul Wright from "Biosocial Criminology: New Directions" 
edited by Kevin Beaver and Anthony Walsh

The fact that there were not more incidents of former black Union soldiers clashing with the people who almost all supported their recent torment belies Wright's claim that black people, by nature, have "low self-control."

And white people have killed black people en masse for far less provocation.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

African American History for race science proponents: 40 acres and a mule

Jim & Huck from my adaptation of the Twain novel.
Lorenzo Scott and Nick Fondulis
Originally posted on my personal blog February 13, 2018
But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him agin in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me, and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had smallpox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the only one he's got now; and then I happened to look around, and see that paper.
It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: 
"All right, then, I'll go to hell"- and tore it up.

~ Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain
Samuel Clemens, growing up in the slave state of Missouri in the 1840s had first-hand experience in the ways white people talked about black people during the days of slavery, as recounted by Hilton Als in a New Yorker article in 2002:
But, while Huck has to acknowledge his relationship with Jim, he can distance himself in other ways. First, he can call him a “nigger”—a word whose etymology Huck likely knows nothing about. Then he can fill the word with meaning, with the meanings he learned from his Pap: about the unconscionable lives that niggers lead; how their very presence can make a bad situation worse; and how associating with them can stain a good man’s whiteness. 
"It was according to the old saying, ‘Give a nigger an inch and he’ll take an ell,’ 
"Give a nigger an inch and he'll take an ell" is not something you'd say of a group of people who are congenitally stupid. It sounds like something you'd say of people who are forever calculating to get an advantage. Which is certainly an understandable way to be if you're forced to live in squalor and toil endlessly and be constantly under threat of rape or beating and have every cent of your labor stolen from you for your entire life.

There are many great things about Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, especially when Huck decides he'd rather go to hell than betray Jim and send him back into slavery. But Twain ruined the novel in its last third, in the section often referred to as "The Evasion." I wrote about it in this essay: What About Lil Lizabeth?

Jim was lucky, in the book he was set free ahead of general Emancipation and was given cash to start out his new life. The slaves who were set free at the end of the Civil War had it much harder: they were dumped into the countryside with nothing, which led to predictable results:

After combing through obscure records, newspapers and journals Downs believes that about a quarter of the four million freed slaves either died or suffered from illness between 1862 and 1870. He writes in the book that it can be considered "the largest biological crisis of the 19th century" and yet it is one that has been little investigated by contemporary historians... 
...Downs has collected numerous shocking accounts of the lives of freed slaves. He came across accounts of deplorable conditions in hospitals and refugee camps, where doctors often had racist theories about how black Americans reacted to disease. Things were so bad that one military official in Tennessee in 1865 wrote that former slaves were: "dying by scores – that sometimes 30 per day die and are carried out by wagonloads without coffins, and thrown promiscuously, like brutes, into a trench". 
So bad were the health problems suffered by freed slaves, and so high the death rates, that some observers of the time even wondered if they would all die out. One white religious leader in 1863 expected black Americans to vanish. "Like his brother the Indian of the forest, he must melt away and disappear forever from the midst of us," the man wrote.
The Southerners would have been happy perhaps if all the blacks died off, especially because some of the former slaves fought back against a fate of homelessness, poverty and starvation with some help from abolitionists and anti-slavery members of Congress:

According to Henry Louis Gates, Jr.:
The abolitionists Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens and other Radical Republicans had been actively advocating land redistribution "to break the back of Southern slaveholders' power," as Myers observed. But Sherman's plan only took shape after the meeting that he and Stanton held with those black ministers, at 8:00 p.m., Jan. 12, on the second floor of Charles Green's mansion on Savannah's Macon Street. In its broadest strokes, "40 acres and a mule" was their idea...

...Stanton had suggested to Sherman that they gather "the leaders of the local Negro community" and ask them something no one else had apparently thought to ask: "What do you want for your own people" following the war? And what they wanted astonishes us even today.
 
Who were these 20 thoughtful leaders who exhibited such foresight? They were all ministers, mostly Baptist and Methodist. Most curious of all to me is that 11 of the 20 had been born free in slave states, of which 10 had lived as free men in the Confederacy during the course of the Civil War. (The other one, a man named James Lynch, was born free in Maryland, a slave state, and had only moved to the South two years before.) The other nine ministers had been slaves in the South who became "contraband," and hence free, only because of the Emancipation Proclamation, when Union forces liberated them. 
In areas where there had been a great deal of enslavement suddenly there were free black people who thought it was only fair that they be given some of the property that they had labored on for free for so long.

Which if course fueled white racist resentment since the custom of the prior three hundred years was to consider most black people livestock. Suddenly their former livestock wanted a piece of the pie.

Monday, February 10, 2020

African American history for race science proponents: The Political Legacy of Slavery

Originally posted on my persona web site February 12, 2018

In 2013 the University of Rochester announced a working paper entitled: The Political Legacy of American Slavery in which the authors wrote (I reformatted for greater readability):
Whites who currently live in Southern counties that had high shares of slaves in 1860 are more likely to identify as a Republican, oppose affirmative action, and express racial resentment and colder feelings toward blacks...
...To explain these results, we offer evidence for a new theory involving the historical persistence of political and racial attitudes. Following the Civil War, Southern whites faced political and economic incentives to reinforce existing racist norms and institutions to maintain control over the newly free African-American population.   
This amplifed local differences in racially conservative political attitudes, which in turn have been passed down locally across generations. Our results challenge the interpretation of a vast literature on racial attitudes in the American South.
The paper concludes (again I reformatted):
The years during and after the Reconstruction period saw whites coordinating to provide an informal social infrastructure (and to the extent legally permissible an institutional one as well) to maintain as much as possible the economic and political power previously guaranteed to them under slavery. 
As affirmative support, we showed that greater prevalence of slavery predicts more conservative (for many years more Democratic) 
  • presidential vote shares, 
  • higher rates of radical violence, and 
  • decreased wealth concentrated in black farms in the decades after Reconstruction. 
We also showed that the long-term effects of slavery are smaller in areas of the U.S. South that were quick to mechanize in the early to mid-20th century. 
Finally, we also offered evidence that parent-to-child transmission could be an important mechanism by which attitudes have been passed down over time. However, we do not rule out that Southern institutions may have also played an important role.
And as we saw, slavery was a huge source of wealth to slave holders.

Areas of the South that were less dependent on cotton had lower rates of racial antagonism and white resentment.

But I think the authors of the Political Legacy paper missed another reason for the antagonism - the former slaves wanted - nay expected -  restitution. We'll talk about that next.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Happy Black History Month


Originally posted on my personal blog on February 13, 2019


I really like this New Yorker cover and it's perfect for Black History Month.

I was recently thinking about the movie "Hidden Figures" and it occurred to me that some of the more extreme evo-psycho bros might have issues with black women being presented as STEM career heroes.

So I did some Googling and sure enough, Paul Kersey in the Unz Review, home of Steven Pinker's buddy Steve Sailer and former home of Razib Khan had this to say about "Hidden Figures" 
Hidden Figures was made with the painfully-obvious agenda of delegitimizing the contributions of white scientists, physicists, engineers, mathematicians, project managers, aviation experts and rocket scientists. Instead, America’s greatest triumph evidently hinged on unknown black women manually calculating trajectories already confirmed by computers and a white man named Jack Crenshaw.

NASA's chief historian, Bill Barry, explains that the film, which has been nominated for a slew of awards, depicts many real events from their lives. "One thing we're frequently asked," he says, "is whether or not John Glenn actually asked for Katherine Johnson to 'check the numbers.'" The answer is yes: Glenn, the first American in orbit and later, at the age of 77, the oldest man in space, really did ask for Johnson to manually check calculations generated by IBM 7090 computers (the electronic kind) churning out numbers at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Bill Barry is a white man, it should be noted, he's cooperating with this apparent scheme to "delegitimize" contributions of white men.

"Hidden Figures" is a movie and not a documentary so I'm sure artistic liberties were taken to heighten the drama etc. But most people understand this.

More likely the source of Kersey's contempt is that, as a writer at the Unz Review, he can't let black women have even this little bit of time in the spotlight.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

David Reich and the hereditarians

Originally posted on my person blog March 28, 2018

I found it amusing to read Razib Khan suggesting that the work of David Reich is support for  Khan's own beliefs. In The National Review he writes:
Who We Are and How We Got Here then addresses the reality that large numbers of public intellectuals are extremely hostile to the idea that humans can be grouped together into distinct population clusters. In other words, since race is a pernicious social construction, population geneticists need to tread very carefully. Reich is frank that the time may have come to break the alliance geneticists have made with academics who declare that all differences between groups are trivial. He suggests that science is advancing at such a rate that we will soon understand the genetic basis of complex behaviors in exquisite detail — and that researchers should be prepared for the possibility that some findings will be discomfiting to contemporary sensibilities.
As always with hereditarians, Khan lies about "large numbers of public intellectuals" but then that's the purpose of straw men. Few people deny that there are ethnic differences but in order to paint the Enemy as anti-evolution hereditarians constantly conflate ethnicity and race. The only question is, are they too stupid or careless to realize that's what they are doing, or are they just weasels?

In any case, what Reich said in his NYTimes op-ed piece last Sunday is the opposite of what hereditarians like Khan believe:
At a meeting a few years later, Dr. Watson said to me and my fellow geneticist Beth Shapiro something to the effect of “When are you guys going to figure out why it is that you Jews are so much smarter than everyone else?” He asserted that Jews were high achievers because of genetic advantages conferred by thousands of years of natural selection to be scholars, and that East Asian students tended to be conformist because of selection for conformity in ancient Chinese society. (Contacted recently, Dr. Watson denied having made these statements, maintaining that they do not represent his views; Dr. Shapiro said that her recollection matched mine.) 
What makes Dr. Watson’s and Mr. Wade’s statements so insidious is that they start with the accurate observation that many academics are implausibly denying the possibility of average genetic differences among human populations, and then end with a claim — backed by no evidence — that they know what those differences are and that they correspond to racist stereotypes. They use the reluctance of the academic community to openly discuss these fraught issues to provide rhetorical cover for hateful ideas and old racist canards.
Razib Khan is on the record supporting both Watson and Wade:

But obviously The National Review wants plausible deniability for its long history of racism and hereditarians like Khan are happy to provide it.

And Reich agrees with what I've said about addressing hereditarian views: Reich wants scientists to fight against the Pinkers and Khans of the world:
This is why knowledgeable scientists must speak out. If we abstain from laying out a rational framework for discussing differences among populations, we risk losing the trust of the public and we actively contribute to the distrust of expertise that is now so prevalent. We leave a vacuum that gets filled by pseudoscience, an outcome that is far worse than anything we could achieve by talking openly.
The reason that scientists aren't fighting against hereditarian views is because most of them have dismissed them as nonsense. And scientists like Neil DeGrasse Tyson would rather not focus on it.