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PZ Myers dissects evolutionary psychology: brief, sharp and fabulous

I admit I LOL'd at the part about lighting up "like a Christmas tree." WATCH AND LEARN all IDWs!

The Brian Ferguson Interview

Friday, November 30, 2018

The New Yorker and The Better Angels

As far as the Quillette gang is concerned, evolutionary psychology - which they often conflate with evolutionary biology in order to paint skeptics as anti-science - contains The Absolute Truth about women and about non-whites. And anybody who doesn't go along 100% with the claims of people like Steven Pinker is in denial of human nature and - per Pinker - reality itself.

Here we see another low-nutritional-value piece of work in Hackette: It’s Time for Evidence-Based Gender Policy written by Teresa Gimenez Barbat.

She references Pinker indirectly:
We still don’t have a way to liberate political decision-making from ideologies, interests and emotions. I have been a member of the EU Parliament since November 2015, when I joined a liberal political group with a particular ideological orientation – ALDE – but for now there is no such thing as an autonomous intelligent robot doing the hard job for us. We have a bounded rationality and a political nature. This implies that political reasoning obviously does not operate from a “blank slate”, but in the context of the existing social institutions, constrained by a set of evolved adaptations, biases and inherited orientations that vary individually.
And she references Pinker directly:
I am persuaded that the Rights Revolution of the past few decades, including the fight for cultural delegitimization and legal prosecution of violence against women, carried out by the feminist movement, represents a clear example of moral progress. At the same time, I think a new “twist of the screw” is needed to include all the real victims – women, men, and children of both sexes – as Steven Pinker suggests in a chapter of his book The Better Angels of Our Nature

Kolbert writes:
Pinker names thinking itself as the ultimate pacifier. “One would expect that as collective rationality is honed over the ages, it will progressively whittle away at the shortsighted and hot-blooded impulses toward violence, and force us to treat a greater number of rational agents as we would have them treat us,” he writes.
Both evolutionary psychology (aka sociobiology) and the belief that ideas drive behavior - "idealism" are what Marvin Harris called "research strategies" which he contrasted with his own approach to understanding human culture, "cultural materialism."

Harris criticizes idealism - sometimes called "structuralism" here:
The intuition that thought determines behavior arises from the limited temporal and cultural perspective of ordinary experience. Conscious thoughts in the form of plans and itineraries certainly help individuals and groups to find a path through the daily complexities of social life. But these plans and itineraries merely chart the selection of preexisting behavioral "mazeways." Even in the most permissive societies and the richest in alternative roles, the planned actions - lunch, a lovers' tryst, an evening at the theater - are never conjured up out of thin air but are drawn from the inventory of recurrent scenes characteristic of that particular culture. 
The issue of behavioral versus mental determinism is not a matter of whether the mind guides action, but whether the mind determines the selection of the inventory of culturally actionable thoughts. As Schopenhauer said, "We want what we will, but we don't will what we want." Thus the human intuition concerning the priority of thought over behavior is worth just about as much as our human intuition that the earth is flat. 
To insist on the priority of mind in culture is to align one's understanding of socio-cultural phenomena with the anthropological equivalent of pre-Darwinian biology or pre-Newtonian physics. It is to believe in what Freud called "the omnipotence of thought." Such a belief is a form of intellectual infantilism that dishonors our species-given powers of thought. (Cultural Materialism, pp. 59 - 60)
Harris criticizes sociobiology (evolutionary psychology's identical twin) here:
It took billions of years for natural selection to create specialized adaptations for fishing, hunting, agriculture; for aquatic terrestrial and aerial locomotion; and for predatory and defensive weaponry, such as teeth, claws, and armor. Equivalent specialities were developed by cultural evolution in less than ten thousand years. The main focus of human sociobiology ought therefore to be the explanation of why other species have such minuscule and insignificant cultural repertories and why humans alone have such gigantic and important ones. 
But sociobiologists conceive their task to be something else - namely, the identification of the genetic components in human cultural traits. This represents a fundamental misdirection for human social science and a diversion of resources from the more urgent task of explaining the vast majority of cultural traits that do not have a genetic component. (Cultural Materialism, pp. 125)
As I demonstrated yesterday, Steven Pinker has no qualms in The Blank Slate about claiming any cultural phenomenon, even artistic fashions can be explained through evolutionary psychology. 

But he seems to have given up using that as the only explanation in Better Angels. But Pinker is still a sociobiologist at heart. So he uses both sociobiology and idealism and switches up whenever he wants.

Using more than one research strategy is what Marvin Harris calls "eclecticism":

I generally like the work of Marvin Harris because he advances clear and testable explanations, and I cite him favorably in several places in How the Mind Works. But his view of human nature is too narrow — everything boils down to calories. People have to eat, but they have to do other things as well, such as winning sexual and parenting partners, and that doesn’t fit into his one-dimensional, quasi-Marxist-materialist view of human nature. If he acknowledged that man does not live by bread alone, he would have contributed even more to anthropology.
Which reveals that Pinker understands fuck-all about cultural materialism. Which does not surprise me. Although at least he acknowledges Harris's clear and testable explanations, something you sure can't say about Better Angels. Kolbert writes:
Those developments which might seem to fit into his schema—a steady rise in the percentage of Britons who identify themselves as vegetarians, for instance—are treated in detail. Yet other episodes that one would think are more relevant to a history of violence are simply glossed over. Pinker is virtually silent about Europe’s bloody colonial adventures. (There’s not even an entry for “colonialism” in the book’s enormous index.) 
This is a pretty serious omission, both because of the scale of the slaughter and because of the way it troubles the distinction between savage and civilized. What does it reveal about the impulse control of the Spanish that, even as they were learning how to dispose of their body fluids more discreetly, they were systematically butchering the natives on two continents? Or about the humanitarianism of the British that, as they were turning away from such practices as drawing and quartering, they were shipping slaves across the Atlantic? And what does it say about the French that they liked to refer to their colonial project as la mission civilisatrice?
This demonstrates how Pinker fails to have any kind of intelligible organizing principle - he just bops around talking about whatever he feels like talking about, so if he finds vegetarianism in Great Britain more interesting than how the Spanish treated indigenous Americans, well that's what he's going to talk about, regardless of the relative significance of each phenomenon to the history of violence.

The result is that for all his words, Pinker provides no useful explanation for anything. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Barack Obama: race denier & Bell Curve critic

Before I get back to reviewing the incredibly bad scholarship of the Winegard bros on The Bell Curve, I want to take a side trip to discuss the political angle.

The defenders of Steven Pinker keep proclaiming that he can't possibly have any views in common with the alt-right because he's such a big liberal, as evo-psycho bro Jesse Singal said in his white-washing op-ed for the NYTimes:

The idea that Mr. Pinker, a liberal, Jewish psychology professor, is a fan of a racist, anti-Semitic online movement is absurd on its face, so it might be tempting to roll your eyes and dismiss this blowup as just another instance of social media doing what it does best: generating outrage.
Just a short note re yesterday’s post about accusations that Steve Pinker is a member of the alt-right simply because he called some alt-righters literate and intelligent in a discussion of how to keep people from becoming right-wing. I found on the Internet a list and discussion about Harvard donors to the Democratic Party, which apparently comes from “public filings” accessed by the Harvard Crimson. Among members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Pinker was the third largest donor to the Democratic Party...
But clearly Democrats don't all agree about race being something besides a social construct as Barack Obama makes crystal clear in his recent interview with David Letterman.
"The long view on human history... uh... it turns out that we come up with all kinds of reasons to try to put ourselves over other people. Racism is a profound example of that but obviously, biologically there's no actual reality to it other than we made this thing up. We made it up, over time what happens is, because it manifests itself in very concrete ways: slavery, Jim Crow, subjugation, it becomes a social reality and it ends up having very real impacts. It is true that African Americans on average are poorer than other Americans. Well it's not because of their race it's because of the social constructs over the course of three, four hundred years that made them poor."
Now it's still unclear if Steven Pinker agrees with the premise in the Bell Curve that African Americans are genetically intellectually inferior to everybody else, but he has no qualms about promoting the work and/or careers of those who do, including J. Phillippe Rushton, Arthur Jensen, Steve Sailer,  Razib Khan, Ben Winegard and Bo Winegard as I have demonstrated in this evo-psycho bros series.

And we certainly do know that Pinker thinks that anybody who refutes the notion that all humanity is divisible into discrete biological races denies reality as he clearly states in this video.
I've written a book on the concept, The Blank Slate the Modern Denial of Human Nature, about the idea that any aspect of human talent or temperament has any biological basis has often been seen as political and morally and emotionally incendiary in most of the 20th century. And in the book I try to analyze how one can sensitively deal with discoveries of a biological basis of human personality and intelligence including possible discoveries about genetics of group differences. I think it's safe to say that the current approach, or at least in recent decades was to deny the existence of intelligence, I mentioned "The Mismeasure of Man" as the foremost example, to deny the existence of genetically distinct human groups - there is a widespread myth that there is no such thing as race whatsoever, that it is purely a social construction and to call the people who don't do  this Nazis. But on the other hand there is a quotation, I don't know who's responsible for it: "reality is what refuses to go away when I stop believing in it." In a way it does matter what our emotional reaction is to various findings, they are what they are..."
So Steven Pinker believes so strongly in the concept of biological race that he thinks anybody who disagrees with him denies reality itself.

So Steven Pinker thinks that Barack Obama is a a reality-denier

In spite of Pinker being a Democrat.

Ironically I came to find Obama's criticism of The Bell Curve via Razib Khan's old web site. He reposted it at Unz here. He got it from the NPR web site. This is 1994, when Obama was a civil rights lawyer and writer living in Chicago. I assume this is a transcript from an actual audio recording. How I would love to have access to the audio of Obama saying these words.

October 28, 1994
SHOW: All Things Considered (NPR 4:30 pm ET)
Charles Murray’s Political Expediency Denounced
SECTION: News; Domestic
LENGTH: 635 words
HIGHLIGHT: Commentator Barack Obama finds that Charles Murray, author of the controversial “The Bell Curve,” demonstrates not scientific expertise but spurious political motivation in his conclusions about race and IQ. 
BARACK OBAMA, Commentator: Charles Murray is inviting American down a dangerous path. 
NOAH ADAMS, Host: Civil rights lawyer, Barack Obama. 
Mr. OBAMA: The idea that inferior genes account for the problems of the poor in general, and blacks in particular, isn’t new, of course. Racial supremacists have been using IQ tests to support their theories since the turn of the century. The arguments against such dubious science aren’t new either. Scientists have repeatedly told us that genes don’t vary much from one race to another, and psychologists have pointed out the role that language and other cultural barriers can play in depressing minority test scores, and no one disputes that children whose mothers smoke crack when they’re pregnant are going to have developmental problems. 
Now, it shouldn’t take a genius to figure out that with early intervention such problems can be prevented. But Mr. Murray isn’t interested in prevention. He’s interested in pushing a very particular policy agenda, specifically, the elimination of affirmative action and welfare programs aimed at the poor. With one finger out to the political wind, Mr. Murray has apparently decided that white America is ready for a return to good old-fashioned racism so long as it’s artfully packaged and can admit for exceptions like Colin Powell. It’s easy to see the basis for Mr. Murray’s calculations. After watching their income stagnate or decline over the past decade, the majority of Americans are in an ugly mood and deeply resent any advantages, realor perceived, that minorities may enjoy. 
I happen to think Mr. Murray’s wrong, not just in his estimation of black people, but in his estimation of the broader American public. But I do think Mr. Murray’s right about the growing distance between the races. The violence and despair of the inner city are real. So’s the problem of street crime. The longer we allow these problems to fester, the easier it becomes for white America to see all blacks as menacing and for black America to see all whites as racist. To close that gap, we’re going to have to do more than denounce Mr. Murray’s book. We’re going to have to take concrete and deliberate action. For blacks, that means taking greater responsibility for the state of our own communities. Too many of us use white racism as an excuse for self-defeating behavior. Too many of our young people think education is a white thing and that the values of hard work and discipline andself-respect are somehow outdated. 
That being said, it’s time for all of us, and now I’m talking about the larger American community, to acknowledge that we’ve never even come close to providing equal opportunity to the majority of black children. Real opportunity would mean quality prenatal care for all women and well-funded and innovative public schools for all children. Real opportunity would mean a job at a living wage for everyone who was willing to work, jobs that can return some structure and dignity to people’s lives and give inner-city children something more than a basketball rim to shoot for. In the short run, such ladders of opportunity are going to cost more, not less, than either welfare or affirmative action. But, in the long run, our investment should payoff handsomely. That we fail to make this investment is just plain stupid. It’s not the result of an intellectual deficit. It’s theresult of a moral deficit. 
ADAMS: Barack Obama is a civil rights lawyer and writer. He lives in Chicago.
You have to wonder if Pinker thinks that Obama is one of those contributing to making the public discussion about The Bell Curve "ignorant and dishonest."

Obama says: "...it shouldn’t take a genius to figure out that with early intervention such problems can be prevented..."

 In administering I.Q. tests to diverse groups of students, Professor Jensen found Level I ability to be fairly consistent across races. When he examined Level II ability, by contrast, he found it more prevalent among whites than blacks, and still more prevalent among Asians than whites. 
Drawing on these findings, Professor Jensen argued that general intelligence is largely genetically determined, with cultural forces shaping it only to a small extent. For this reason, he wrote in 1969, compensatory education programs like Head Start are doomed to fail.
Again, as I have demonstrated, Steven Pinker supports the work of Arthur Jensen, both directly as we see in this Boing Boing interview, and indirectly when he recommends the work of the Winegard bros, who constantly refer to Jensen in their work.

Pinker likes to pretend there are no political repercussions for racist swill disguised as science like The Bell Curve. But not for lack of "racial realists" trying as when Jensen proclaims Head Start was doomed to fail. The data show that Head Start did not fail.
Research has demonstrated strong long-term impacts of random assignment to high-quality preschool programs from the 1960s and 1970s, including Perry Preschool and the Abecedarian program. Head Start, the large-scale federal preschool program, has also been shown to improve post-preschool outcomes, including high school completion and health outcomes.
But if Jensen had his way, all those kids who did benefit from Head Start would not have, due to the assumption of their innate, racial, intellectual inferiority.

That is why people who really understand what Steven Pinker is all about, as PZ Myers does, express such disgust with Pinker and call him a lying right-wing shitweasel.

I want to add my support especially to the weasel epithet. I picked up on that aspect of Pinker long ago and said this in 2011:
Pinker is constantly inventing straw-man liberals and academics he can accuse of all kinds of awfulness, so it's always satisfying when the actual liberals at The New Yorker get a hold of his books and tell you how poorly-reasoned and all-around weaselly they are.
I really recommend the Letterman interview with Obama. Not only for Obama, who is wonderful of course, but because Letterman expresses regret that he wasn't more involved in the Civil Rights movement in his youth. Letterman in my experience has always been kind of a glib wise-ass, but he's incredibly sincere in this interview and tells Obama he's the only president he's ever really respected on a personal level. I was really surprised and impressed by Letterman.

And it's likely that David Letterman does NOT think that Barack Obama is a reality denier, unlike Steven Pinker. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The graphophobia present in Steven Pinker's fan base

This tweet is by Pinkerite Evan Sandhoefner
and this is his web site.
There's something that's puzzled me for some time about Steven Pinker's fan base. They seem to have a form of graphophobia.

I blogged about this in my personal blog some months ago, when one of Pinker's far-right fans, someone so racist he described famous white supremacist Jared Tayler as "a mild-manner statistician and dedicated proponent of freedom of association" suggested that the mere fact that I created a diagram "Steven Pinker's rightwing, alt-right and hereditarian connections" was an indication that I was a crazy paranoid.

I don't remember there being any similar suggestions among Pinker's fan base when Bari Weiss joined Pinker to Stefan Molyneux and other extremists in her article on the Intellectual Dark Web.

Go a click in one direction and the group is enhanced by intellectuals with tony affiliations like Steven Pinker at Harvard. But go a click in another and you’ll find alt-right figures like Stefan Molyneux and Milo Yiannopoulos and conspiracy theorists like Mike Cernovich (the #PizzaGate huckster) and Alex Jones (the Sandy Hook shooting denier).
For his part, Pinker praised the article. So what is the issue here? Do Pinkerites have a problem with the same information presented in graphic format that they are OK with when it is presented as text?

I find it very odd that the response of Pinker fans to my pointing out that Pinker indisputably promoted the career of white supremacist Steve Sailer when he included Sailer's (very bad) work in "The Best Science and Nature Writing of 2004" is NOT "that's awful that Steven Pinker promoted the career of a white supremacist" but rather "that bitch is crazy for pointing out that Steven Pinker promoted the career of a white supremacist."

There's just something about Pinkerites that makes them refuse to acknowledge Pinker's pro-race science activities.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Journalists have been failing us a long time on evolutionary psychology

Jesse Singal, given a platform to white-wash the public statements of Steven Pinker in the New York Times, thought he has a gotcha for those who criticize evolutionary psychology:

He's talking about Barbara Ehrenreich, leftwing writer and author of Nickel and Dimed a good piece of work.

Although I like some of her work I have issues with Ehrenreich. She's a Berniebro. She has idiotic ideas about the reason smoking was banned in New York City parks

But unfortunately for Singal, Ehrenreich doesn't agree with him about evolutionary psychology and The Bell Curve. This is not the first time I've asked concerning the output of an evo-psycho bro: do they read the work they citeHe links to an article Ehrenreich wrote in The Nation, twenty-one years ago. Please note the darker yellow section I highlighted.

So no, Singal, she's not on your side. She called The Bell Curve "pseudo-biology."

The failure on the part of journalists to seriously engage with the claims of evolutionary psychology is a constant. The failure is either because the journalist is already in the tank for evolutionary psychology, in the case of Singal, or they are intimidated by all the science talk.

 I wrote in 2011:
Now it's not surprising that Pinker has a hissyfit over the New Yorker review of his most recent book "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined." - Pinker is not accustomed to analysis by someone who is not baffled by his bullshit - and legions in the media are. Pinker is accustomed to being lionized and revered.
Here is a link to the New Yorker's review of Better Angels by Elizabeth Kolbert. It's almost as perfect a take-down of Pinker's idiocies as Louis Menand's review of The Blank Slate.

Back in 1994 Stephen Jay Gould, in his thorough review of The Bell Curve, discussed the problem:
The Bell Curve is even more disingenuous in its argument than in its obfuscation about race. The book is a rhetorical masterpiece of scientism, and it benefits from the particular kind of fear that numbers impose on nonprofessional commentators. It runs to 845 pages, including more than a hundred pages of appendixes filled with figures. So their text looks complicated, and reviewers shy away with a knee–jerk claim that, while they suspect fallacies of argument, they really cannot judge. In the same issue of The New Republic as Murray and Herrnstein's article, Mickey Kaus writes, "As a lay reader of 'The Bell Curve,' I am unable to judge fairly," and Leon Wieseltier adds, "Murray, too, is hiding the hardness of his politics behind the hardness of his science. And his science, for all I know, is soft.... Or so I imagine. I am not a scientist. I know nothing about psychometrics." And Peter Passell, in the Times: "But this reviewer is not a biologist, and will leave the argument to experts." 
The book is in fact extraordinarily one–dimensional. It makes no attempt to survey the range of available data, and pays astonishingly little attention to the rich and informative history of its contentious subject. (One can only recall Santayana's dictum now a cliché of intellectual life: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.") Virtually all the analysis rests on a single technique applied to a single set of data—probably done in one computer run. (I do agree that the authors have used more appropriate technique and the best source of information. Still, claims as broad as those advanced in The Bell Curve simply cannot be properly defended—that is, either supported or denied—by such a restricted approach.) The blatant errors and inadequacies of The Bell Curve could be picked up by lay reviewers if only they would not let themselves be frightened by numbers—for Herrnstein and Murray do write clearly, and their mistakes are both patent and accessible. 
I think this explains, at least partially, how Pinker has gotten away with supporting the careers of professional racists for over twenty years. There is a direct connection from The Pioneer Fund to J. Phillippe Rushton (who served as its president) to Steven Pinker who consistently promotes the work of Rushton and to the next generation, the proponents of "human bio-diversity" being groomed by Quillette, the Winegard bros.

And yet you still find journalists like Singal parroting the right-wing line that the only problem with evolutionary psychology is political correctness.

Monday, November 26, 2018

The question must still be asked: why does anybody take Sam Harris seriously?

Recently Sam Harris was sympathizing with Charles Murray, the heir to the racism-infused science of the Pioneer Fund, and got into a debate with journalist Ezra Klein.

Harris called out Ezra Klein on Twitter about the article.

Big mistake. Klein published this excellent piece Sam Harris, Charles Murray, and the allure of race science which caused Harris to have a meltdown.

It was widely agreed on Twitter that Harris made a big mistake in reprinting sans permission his exchange with Klein. It was left up to me to point out that Harris doubled-down on Murray's racism by offering as a defense a link to the Winegards article in alt-right Quillette "The Tale of Two Bell Curves" - I blogged about only a section of that article which took me five blog posts to cover, which can be read here:

Tale of Two Bell Curve responses:

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Steven Pinker & Steve Sailer

Steven Pinker included Steve Sailer's piece on why Iraqis are too in-bred to have a democracy, in "The Best American Science and Nature Writing" in 2004 because of course he agreed with it. 

Contrary to Pinker's reputation as a serious intellectual, what I have found time and again on reading his work is that it is often based on unsupported and untestable assumptions, and a complete disinterest in data.

The latter is demonstrated by Pinker's claim - in the right-wing tradition - that marriage prevents violence in men, a claim completely contradicted by data, as I discuss here.

Here we see Pinker discussing in 2007 in an article in the New Republic, Sailer's piece "The Cousin Marriage Conundrum" and of course he does not mention Sailer's inclination to white supremacy.
In January 2003, during the buildup to the war in Iraq, the journalist and blogger Steven Sailer published an article in The American Conservative in which he warned readers about a feature of that country that had been ignored in the ongoing debate. As in many traditional Middle Eastern societies, Iraqis tend to marry their cousins. About half of all marriages are consanguineous (including that of Saddam Hussein, who filled many government positions with his relatives from Tikrit). The connection between Iraqis' strong family ties and their tribalism, corruption, and lack of commitment to an overarching nation had long been noted by those familiar with the country. In 1931, King Faisal described his subjects as "devoid of any patriotic idea … connected by no common tie, giving ear to evil; prone to anarchy, and perpetually ready to rise against any government whatsoever." Sailer presciently suggested that Iraqi family structure and its mismatch with the sensibilities of civil society would frustrate any attempt at democratic nation-building.
The idea that there is a reverse correlation between cousin marriage and democracy is easy enough to debunk, as I did when writing about "The Cousin Marriage Conundrum" - by looking at the existing data on cousin marriage.

But as we have seen in the case of the magic of marriage, Pinker isn't interested in data if it's going to contradict his favorite sociobiological theories. 

It's true that it's easier to get data now on such things as consanguinity by country than it was in 2003 when Sailer published the piece, but that shouldn't matter - if Sailer and Pinker expect to be taken seriously on their claims about important issues, they should be expected to put a little work into backing their claims. 

And Sailer's "prescience" doesn't explain why, although Nigeria has a cousin-marriage rate of 51.2 - the highest in the world except for Kuwait and Burkina Faso, compared to Iraq's rate of 34.3, Nigeria is a democracy.

Pinker doesn't come up with arguments for why data doesn't tell the true story and thus why he and his friend Steve Sailer are correct in spite of data. Rather he completely ignores the existence of data.  It seems as though it has never even occurred to him that there might be data out there. His lack of intellectual curiosity is astounding.

And Pinker is the shining exemplar of scholarly respectability in the "Intellectual Dark Web" per Bari Weiss. This gives you some sense of what a joke the "Intellectual Dark Web" is.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Steven Pinker is radicalizing the alt-right

Pinker recommended to his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers this article in alt-right Quillette entitled Heritability and why Parents (but not Parenting Matter) written by his old buddy Razib Khan and a criminologist, Brian Boutwell.

Brian Boutwell, Ph.D. is Associate Dean for Research and Corporate Partnerships, College for Public Health and Social Justice and Associate Professor Criminology and Criminal Justice at Saint Louis University, College for Public Health and Social Justice.

The article says in part:
...Criminologists (and psychologists) have been aware for some time that criminal involvement runs in families* and is also heritable (a good portion of that heritability seems to be narrow-sense, though not all; see quillette.com/#comments). The psychologist Robert Krueger and colleagues some years back, provided evidence that humans mate assortatively for antisocial and criminogenic behaviors (put differently, highly antisocial individuals tend to pair off with each other in a non-random fashion).

Does this completely explain the concentration of crime in certain families? No. Can it be safely ignored and assumed to be irrelevant? No. Just as narrow-sense heritability is a puzzle piece that can tell you something about where the distribution of a trait could be headed in a population, it also helps inform the question of why certain traits cluster in families.
Boutwell has authored or co-authored, if my count is correct 24 articles for alt-right Quillette.

Now Pinker declared the Boutwell/Khan piece in Quillette "witty and smart" but he doesn't explain how the "criminal involvement runs in families" theory aligns with why the Irish had high rates of violent crime a hundred years ago, as he discussed in his PC video:
In the case of, say, rates of violent crime, it used to be — go back 100 years, the rate of violent crime among Irish Americans was far higher than among other ethnic groups. That obviously changed. There's no reason that that can't change in the case of current racial differences
Surely if criminality ran in families the Irish would still have high rates of violent crime.

And then there is Australia:
New South Wales, a state in southeast Australia, was founded by the British as a penal colony in 1788. Over the next 80 years, more than 160,000 convicts were transported to Australia from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, in lieu of being given the death penalty. 
Today, about 20% of Australians are descendants of convicts, including plenty of prominent citizens. 
Wow, Australia must be a hellhole of criminality based on the family crime trait theory. Oops, nope, Australia has lower murder rates than most countries, including England.

In the PC video Pinker said:
Now, if you've never heard these facts before and you stumble across them, or someone mentions them, it is possible to come to some extreme conclusions. Such as that women are inferior, that African Americans are naturally violent.
It turns out that Brian Boutwell has come to the "extreme conclusion" that African Americans are naturally less intelligent than whites.

Boutwell is a bit less direct when discussing African American violence but in his interview with alt-right Stefan Molyneux he references a theory by former head of the Pioneer Fund  J. Philippe Ruston's called "Life History" and associates it with "an evolutionary theory of criminal behavior" beginning around 56:30 on the video. Rushton says things like:
The reason why Whites and East Asians have wider hips than Blacks, and so make poorer runners is because they give birth to larger brained babies. During evolution, increasing cranial size meant women had to have a wider pelvis. Further, the hormones that give Blacks an edge at sports makes them restless in school and prone to crime.
Boutwell tries to distance himself from bigots, as he writes in Quillette:
It is true that bigoted people might use data about race and IQ to support nefarious political agendas, buttressing their own prejudices with scientific sounding arguments. However, the way to address this danger is not by distorting previous research or publicly attacking scholars who investigate this issue. Rather, it is by promoting the vision of society that Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated decades ago, one in which people are judged by their actions and the content of their characters and not by the average traits of a group (ethnic, political, religious, or otherwise).

The reality of racial variation cannot be hidden behind a veil of pleasant myths in perpetuity. And if researchers and moralists insist upon a noble lie about human genetic sameness, then they will not be prepared to grapple with the difficult ethical challenges that human variation in a cosmopolitan society presents.
Boutwell refers above to the off-quoted section of King's "I Have A Dream" speech in which he says:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
It's breath-taking the way Boutwell jumps from "not be judged by the color of their skin" to "the reality of racial variation" which means, in practice, claiming black people are genetically less intelligent and more criminal than white people.

So what actually distinguishes Boutwell from a bigot with nefarious political agendas, buttressing his own prejudice with scientific-sounding arguments?

Boutwell's "science" is bad. First because although race means everything to Boutwell and the hereditarians, they have no clear definition of race, and so there is no objective way to determine the "race" of any individual. Although they've learned from alt-right racist Steve Sailer to claim that this is all perfectly fine because we can't expect to have "platonic essences."

They admit to not testing subjects for genetic ancestry.

They don't admit they got lots of their data from racists. Although they did.

And what about nefarious political agendas? Boutwell has no qualms about promoting his theories both via alt-right racist Stefan Molyneux, and by allowing the white supremacist media outlet American Renaissance to republish his work from Quillette.

Apparently there is nothing that a scientific racialist like Brian Boutwell can do that is racist, in his mind, not even making common cause with white supremacists.

So while Steven Pinker is pointing at the media and colleges, claiming they are inadvertently radicalizing the alt-right by denying "the truth" which leads to them over-reacting and believing that blacks are naturally violent, Pinker is sending his Twitter followers directly to people who say the very thing he considers an "extreme conclusion."

It's not the media and the colleges who are radicalizing people, it's Steven Pinker himself. Both by connecting to the work of racialists but also by lending racialists like Boutwell and Khan and Steve Sailer respectability thanks to his own science celebrity.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Steven Pinker and hereditarianism: the disconnect

Steven Pinker, who has no problem claiming "respectable media" is guilty of radicalizing the alt-right by suppressing "the truth" is in return adored by respectable media.

I've already discussed Jesse Singal in the New York Times white-washing Pinker's remarks. Remarks that were video-taped and so anybody who bothers to look could see that Singal misrepresented what Pinker had said. But luckily for Singal and Pinker few people bother to check, so certain they are of Pinker's innate goodness.

Pinker is currently promoting his latest book, Enlightenment Now and this is fairly typical of the press's approach to Steven Pinker - this is Andrew Anthony in the British left-wing newspaper The Guardian:
Pinker’s trademark mop of silver curls, more like that of an ageing hard rock guitarist than an Ivy League academic, a pair of twinkling blue eyes and a ready expression of amusement beam out from my screen.
I was hoping the New Yorker would have reviewed Enlightenment Now by this point, so I could get a less worshipful perspective on Pinker from the press, but so far they haven't published anything. 

The liberal press loves Pinker and of course the racist right loves Pinker - although unlike Pinker, at least American Renaissance acknowledges the existence of The Pioneer Fund. I have yet to find any evidence that Pinker has ever acknowledged the connection between the Pioneer Fund and the Bell Curve.

Considering how often Pinker accuses critics of hereditarianism of being influenced by liberal politics, it is absolutely remarkable that Pinker wouldn't at least mention the Pioneer Fund if only to explain why it doesn't matter that some claims made in the Bell Curve are based on work funded by actual white supremacists.

So why doesn't Pinker mention the Pioneer Fund? Well for one thing the fawning press doesn't trouble him by asking such unpleasant questions, too entranced by Pinker's twinkling blue eyes to even think straight, much less do the hard work of digging into Pinker's background.

As I mentioned in this series, journalists have been failing us for a long time concerning evolutionary psychology.

While the press has been doing its best to avoid noticing how squirelly Pinker is about hereditarianism occasionally reviewers can't help but notice it.

And so, having claimed there is genetic evidence that intelligence is a heritable condition, and having asserted that races are little more than large, inbred families, Pinker himself ducks the issue that generates most anger. In parentheses on page 144, he states: "My own view, incidentally, is that in the case of the most discussed racial difference – the black-white IQ gap in the US – the current evidence does not call for a genetic explanation." 
Good. I believe he is right. But why does he go on to say that Steven Rose is wrong to believe that IQ tests tell you nothing useful, or that race is a doubtful biological category? And why, after arguing the science of this question for many decades, do we all still "believe" rather than "know" one way or the other?
His admirers on the racist right have also noticed a disconnect. In the American Renaissance review of Blank Slate, available via the Wayback Machine, Samuel Francis writing in 2003 ponders:
Prof. Pinker is firm and clear about the “inherent” or “innate” characteristics and behavior of human beings—human nature — that exist before anyone has a chance to scribble on the blank slate. Not only aggression and sexual differences but also intelligence he acknowledges to be in large part genetically grounded, but on the Big Taboo—race—he is vague and even contradictory.
He endorses the environmentalist theories of the origins of civilization of Jared Diamond and Thomas Sowell as opposed to racial ones, and tells us that “My own view … is that in the case of the most discussed racial difference—the black-white IQ gap in the United States—the current evidence does not call for a genetic explanation.” Yet, six pages later, he tells us that “… there is now ample evidence that intelligence is a stable property of an individual, that it can be linked to features of the brain (including overall size, amount of gray matter in the frontal lobes, speed of neural conduction, and metabolism of cerebral glucose), that it is partly heritable among individuals, and that it predicts some of the variations in life outcomes such as income and social status.” Combined with the different scores of blacks and whites on IQ tests, of course, this implies that the “most discussed racial difference” has a significantly genetic and not an environmentalist explanation...
Pinker's admirers on both the left and the racist right sense that something is not quite right here. This is echoed by reviews in The New Yorker, the only media outlet not completely baffled by Pinker's bullshit. I'll talk about that next.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Exploring the Intellectual Dark Web

Bari Weiss, conservative columnist at the New York Times in her infamous article on the topic, mentioned the people in the list below, as either members of or allies of the "intellectual" dark web.
  1. Ayaan Hirsi Ali 
  2. Mike Cernovich 
  3. Sam Harris 
  4. Heather Heying 
  5. Alex Jones 
  6. Charlie Kirk 
  7. Claire Lehmann 
  8. Abby Martin 
  9. Stefan Molyneux 
  10. Charles Murray 
  11. Douglas Murray 
  12. Maajid Nawaz 
  13. Candace Owens 
  14. Jordan Peterson 
  15. Steven Pinker 
  16. Joe Rogan 
  17. David Rubin 
  18. Ben Shapiro 
  19. Michael Shermer 
  20. Debra Soh 
  21. Christina Hoff Sommers 
  22. Eric Weinstein 
  23. Bret Weinstein 
  24. Kanye West 
  25. Milo Yiannapoulos

    Wednesday, November 21, 2018

    Charles Murray, another member of the intellectual dark web

    Like Steven Pinker and Sam Harris, Charles Murray is also a fan of alt-right Quillette, home of some of the world's most prominent hereditarians, "race realists" and "biosocial criminologists."

    Murray is of course most famous for The Bell Curve from twenty years ago, written with lots of studies funded by white supremacist organization The Pioneer Fund.

    I knew many articles first published in Quillette found a second home at the white supremacist publication American Renaissance - what I didn't realize was the number of Quillette articles are republished there.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2018

    My favorite Bouie tweet yet

    When I mentioned on Twitter that my blog posts about Khan had been used by Bouie in his Khan takedown, Claire Lehmann freaked out.

    I've been hoping that Bouie would focus more attention on Quillette and the "Intellectual Dark Web" and it looks like he's doing it.

    Monday, November 19, 2018

    Razib Khan and the race science project to deny history

    Although Razib Khan posted this article on Medium on July 4 of this year, I didn't see it until today. It confirms exactly what I have been noticing about proponents of race science - they think that genetics tells us more about human culture than the historical record:
    And yet genetics can shed light on historical patterns. Unlike written text genetics is neutral. It does not present a particular narrative or agenda. 
    That's his bold emphasis in the original. This is the underlying justification for the erasure of history that allows Khan and Sam Harris and Charles Murray to assume that failure of blacks to thrive in the US has nothing to do with 300 years of slavery, a hundred years of apartheid and fifty years of discrimination but rather their own genetic inferiority.

    As usual with Khan his essay is a combination of no-duh ("Much of the wealth of the kingdom which the planters were building unfortunately consisted of slaves") and ideas he either is unwilling to express clearly, or lacks the literary ability to express clearly:
    While Indiana was settled mostly from the South, there were far more Yankees who founded towns in Michigan and Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Ohio and Illinois were both divided between a northern portion settled from New England, and a southern expanse dominated by Scots-Irish “Butternuts.” 
    All this seems clear in the genetic results. Now we can quantify the differences. Illinois is tilted a bit to the northern migrants. Ohio somewhat to the southern ones. Historical debates can be resolved through genetic analyses!
    Nowhere does he say what "historical debates" he thinks are resolved through genetic analyses. Is that oversight a deliberate dog whistle for other race science proponents? Or is it just the output of a lousy writer who lacked a professional editor?

    At the end of the essay, Khan is all enthusiasm for the Triumph of the DNA Test:
    Over the next few years tens of millions of more Americans will obtain direct to consumer genetic tests. The database will grow larger and larger. Many demographic questions related to the history of this country will not need to be explored through reconstruction of texts and laborious perusal of letters and court documents. Rather, scientists will simply scan through the pedigrees they construct from human genomes, and synthesize their results with the rich assortment of resources already available from the fields of genealogy and history.
    This time the bolded emphasis is mine. To realize the silliness - or the hidden agenda - of that bolded sentence one needs only reflect for a moment: genomes don't tell us that the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863 or how many lynchings were perpetrated. Does it really matter if the lynching party was composed primarily of individuals with a genetic heritage of Scots-Irish with a small expression of German-French?

    In spite of Razib Khan's literary inadequacy we can see clearly the tactic favored by proponents of race science: deny the importance of history because only science is pure enough to tell us anything about the world.

    Now the nonsense that Khan is spewing is no more incoherent or useless than anything written by Steven Pinker on the topic of history and culture and race - it must really piss Khan off the way Pinker is well-respected and highly-remunerated and beloved by the mainstream media - here they are fawning over Pinker again in this interview at the NYTimes - while saying much of what Khan says and just as badly.

    Blocked by Steven Pinker

    I don't know what I posted to Pinker's Twitter that made him block me - I had been posting critical things for years, and it had been days since I had checked Pinker's Twitter when I found I was blocked.

    Pinker is a big booster of the alt-right Quillette which likes to pretend it favors vigorous debate about all kinds of ideas but what Quillette and Pinker really want is a safe space, a space safer than anything dreamed up by the most fragile social justice warrior snowflake, a space where the claims about race and gender promoted by Pinker and Quillette are never, ever critically examined.

    Sunday, November 18, 2018

    Steven Pinker's right-wing, alt-right & hereditarian connections

    The PDF version is available here.

    Click the image to see a larger version.

    The series on "evo-psycho bros."

    1. https://mcclernan.blogspot.com/search/label/evo-psycho%20bros

      What are hereditarians?

      Although right-wing and alt-right are fairly well-known terms, "hereditarian" is not and requires an explanation.

      "Hereditarian" - an advocate of the theory that individual differences in human beings can be accounted for primarily on the basis of genetics.

      Although in practice the term most often refers to racial differences, as discussed by Linda Gottfredson:
      Rushton and Jensen’s (2005) hereditarian hypothesis is that Black–White differences in general intelligence (IQ, or the general mental ability factor, g) are “substantially” genetic in origin...


      Other terms which are similar are "evolutionary psychology," "human biodiversity" and "racial realism." Related to these terms is "biosocial criminology."

      Steven Pinker

      Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist who conducts research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations. He grew up in Montreal and earned his BA from McGill and his PhD from Harvard. Currently Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard, he has also taught at Stanford and MIT. He has won numerous prizes for his research, his teaching, and his nine books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and The Sense of Style. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, a Humanist of the Year, a recipient of nine honorary doctorates, and one of Foreign Policy’s “World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals” and Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” He is Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and writes frequently for The New York Times, The Guardian, and other publications. His tenth book, to be published in February 2018, is called Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.


      The Blank Slate

      Written by Pinker, published in 2002, this is the New Testament to The Bell Curve's Old Testament for hereditarians.
      Although Steven Pinker claims in The Blank Slate that he doesn't agree with the conclusions about black intelligence made in The Bell Curve, he has never to my knowledge explained why, although he agrees with almost every other hereditarian claim, the Bell Curve is wrong about that.

      ...Intellectuals deny biology, according to Pinker, because it interferes with their pet theories of mind and behavior. These are the Blank Slate (the belief that the mind is wholly shaped by the environment), the Noble Savage (the notion that people are born good but are corrupted by society), and the Ghost in the Machine (the idea that there is a nonbiological agent in our heads with the power to change our nature at will). The "intellectuals" in Pinker's book are social scientists, progressive educators, radical feminists, academic Marxists, liberal columnists, avant-garde arts types, government planners, and postmodernist relativists. The good guys are the cognitive scientists and ordinary folks, whose common sense, except when it has been damaged by listening to intellectuals, generally correlates with what cognitive science has discovered. I wish I could say that Pinker's view of the world of ideas is more nuanced than this...


      Quillette is an online magazine founded by Australian writer and former psychology graduate student Claire Lehmann. The publication has a primary focus on science, news, culture, and politics... The magazine has been praised by the evolutionary biologist and writer Richard Dawkins, who described it as a "superb online magazine", and has garnered support by the psychologist Jordan Peterson.


      Steven Pinker has recommended Quillette articles on Twitter and said about Quillette:

      ...one of the most stimulating & original new web magazines.


      Quillette has published many hereditarians, some of whom have been interviewed by Stefan Molyneux and republished articles in the white supremacist American

      Renaissance including Kevin M. Beaver, Brian Boutwell, Ben and Bo Winegard and John P. Wright.

      Claire Lehmann

      ...Australian writer and the editor and founder of the online magazine Quillette. Before starting Quillette, I was a grad-student in psychology, but dropped out after having a baby. I graduated from The University of Adelaide with First Class Honours in 2010. I’ve written for Quillette, Commentary Magazine, Psychology Today, The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC’s The Drum, and my essays have been cited in the National Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Australian, and The Spectator. I live in Sydney with my husband and two children.
      Until late 2017 Claire Lehmann was a contributor to Rebel Media.


      Kevin M. Beaver

      Quillette article

      http://quillette.com/2016/03/31/criminologys-wonderland-why-almost-everything-you-know- about-crime-is-wrong/

      Interviewed twice on Stefan Molyneux's channel

           Brian Boutwell


           Quillette articles

    Steven Pinker tweeted to his followers links to Quillette articles by Boutwell

         Ben Winegard

         Quillette articles

    Steven Pinker tweeted to his followers links to Quillette articles by Winegard.

         Bo Winegard

    • Bo Winegard is an essayist and a graduate student at Florida State University.

      https:// psy.fsu.edu/~baumeisterticelab/winegard.html

         Quillette articles

    Steven Pinker tweeted to his followers links to Quillette articles by Winegard.

    John Paul Wright

    Professor, University of Cincinnati... He currently teaches Biosocial Criminology at the undergraduate level and Life-Course Criminology and Criminal Offender at the graduate level.

    Quillette articles

    At last count John Paul Wright has authored one article in Quillette

    Interviewed on Stefan Molyneux's channel


    Wright, Boutwell and Beaver are all academics who work in criminology, and have published articles and books together.

    Of the three, John Paul Wright is the most openly political, publishing with co-author Matt DeLisi in 2015 "Conservative Criminology: A Call to Restore Balance in the Social Sciences" and an associated web site Conservative Criminology.
    Wright is also the most candid about admitting the actual beliefs behind "biosocial criminology." In his chapter "Inconvenient Truths: Science, Race, and Crime" in the book "Biosocial Criminology: New Directions in Theory and Research" edited by Kevin M. Beaver and Anthony Walsh he wrote:

    While self-control is an important executive function, so, too, is intelligence. Indeed, there is no other individual variable as studied as intelligence. While hotly debated, thousands of studies of millions of individual intelligence scores indicate that IQ follows traditional racial categories (Rushton & Jenson, 2005). Asians have an average IQ of 106, Caucasians 100, and Blacks 85 (Lynn, 2006; Sarich & Miele, 2004)…

    ...Self-control and IQ covary, so that individuals with low self-control are also more likely to have low IQ. These deficits are potent enough to predict many of the negative life-course factors that afflicted individuals will experience. Longitudinal analyses of cohorts of individuals demonstrate that these individuals will face multiple problems across their life- course and that their self-limiting choices will show a high degree of continuity. Most will fail at their education and will then encounter problems in employment… They likely will live a fluid existence, relocating from place to place but often within the same economic stratum (Wright & decker, 1997). Finally their relationships will frequently be marred by conflict, unfaithfulness and unreliability. This pattern holds for anyone with deficits in executive control functions, black, white or Asian, but due to the distribution of low IQ and low self- control found in black populations, it is more often reflected in the lives of blacks.

    https://www.amazon.com/Biosocial-Criminology-Directions-Research-Justice/dp/0415989442/ ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520285963&sr=8-1&keywords=Biosocial+Criminology%3A+New

    Although I haven't found Beaver or Boutwell writing anything this frank, they also have never, as far as I can tell, had a problem with Wright's claims and Beaver was the editor of the book in which the above excerpt appeared. It's clear Brian Boutwell and Kevin M. Beaver agree with everything John Paul Wright says on this subject.

    Rebel Media

    The Rebel Media... is a Canadian far-right online political and social commentary media website founded in February 2015 by the former Sun News Network host Ezra Levant, Brian Lilley, and Hamish Marshall... Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys far-right men's organization, is also a contributor.


    Until late 2017 Claire Lehmann was a contributor to Rebel Media.

    Gavin McInnes

    McInnes himself has ties to the racist right and has contributed to hate sites like VDare.com and American Renaissance, both of which publish the work of white supremacists and so- called “race realists.”


    McInnes has been a frequent contributor to Rebel Media.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGy6uV7yqGWDeUWTZzT3ZEg/search? query=mcinnes

    McInnes declared Steven Pinker to be one of his heroes in Taki's Magazine


    McInnes appeared on InfoWars.


    Taki's Magazine

    Founded on February 5, 2007, the intent of the site, according to Theodoracopulos, was to "shake up the stodgy world of so-called 'conservative' opinion..." "Takimag is a Libertarian webzine. We believe the best stories are smart, cheeky, and culturally relevant. We take our politics like we take life—lightly.".[4] The website garnered some controversy in 2013 after it published articles in support of the Greek ultranationalist political party Golden Dawn.[5][6] [7]


    Gavin McInnes, Razib Khan, Richard Spencer, Steve Sailer, and Jared Taylor have all contributed to Taki's.

    Stefan Molyneux

    A skilled propagandist and an effective communicator within the racist “alt-right” and pro- Trump ranks, his promotion of scientific racism and eugenics to a large and growing audience is a serious concern. Molyneux has been delivering “race realist” propaganda, based on pseudo-scientific sources, to his audience on an ongoing basis for over two years, and thus has encouraged thousands of people to adopt his belief in biological determinism, social Darwinism and non-white racial inferiority. Molyneux puts considerable effort into cloaking the practical implications of these beliefs across his media platforms.

    Molyneux interviewed Ezra Levant, founder of Rebel Mediahttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8Kj-R4Ja08&t=140s
    Molyneux also appeared on InfoWars.

    In addition to interviews with authors from Quillette, Molyneux has interviewed an assortment of hereditarians on his channel which he has gathered together under the heading Human Intelligence (IQ) | The Experts Interview Series. Those interviewed include Charles MurrayRichard Lynn and Linda Gottfredson.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=6lsa_97KIlc&list=PLMNj_r5bccUyYzJ5G1GgvfM59JEpDkteX


    InfoWars is an American conspiracy theorist website and media platform owned by Alex Jones's Free Speech Systems LLC.[2][3][4][5][6] It was founded in 1999.Talk shows and other content is created primarily in studios at an undisclosed location in an industrial area outside Austin, Texas.[7] The InfoWars website receives approximately 10 million monthly visits, making it more visited than some mainstream news websites such as The Economist and Newsweek.[8][9]The site has regularly published fake stories which have been linked to harassment of victims.[a] In February 2018, Alex Jones, the publisher, director and owner of InfoWars, was accused of discrimination and sexually harassing employees.[16] InfoWars, and in particular Alex Jones, advocate numerous conspiracy theories particularly around purported domestic false flag operations by the US Government (which they allege include the 9/11 attacks and Sandy Hook shootings). InfoWars has issued contractions various times as a result of legal challenges.


    Gavin McInnes and Stefan Molyneux have both appeared on InfoWars.

    David Duke

    David Duke is the most recognizable figure of the American radical right, a neo-Nazi, longtime Klan leader and now international spokesman for Holocaust denial who has nevertheless won election to Louisiana's House of Representatives and once was nearly elected governor.Duke... endorsed Molyneux’s propaganda multiple times on social media over the last few years, most notably in his promotion of Molyneux’s apologia for George Zimmerman, known for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

    Razib Khan

    On March 18, 2015, The New York Times announced that Razib Khan would become a contributing opinion writer. A day later, The Times terminated the contract.At the time, Khan was a Ph.D. student in genetics at the University of California, Davis and a popular science blogger. He had written about science for The Times, Slate, The Guardian, and other mainstream publications. For years, Discover had hosted his genetics blog. The famed Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker had even called him “an insightful commentator on all
    things genetic...”...Still, Khan insisted that his writing about the biology of race was sound. “It’s not socially acceptable to say that there might be group differences in an endophenotype — in their behavior, intelligence, anything that might have any genetic component,” Khan said. “You cannot say that, okay? If someone’s going to ask me, I’m going say, ‘It could be true.’”Other scientists, he insisted, believe the same things. They just won’t admit it. “I’m sick of being the only fucking person that says anything,” said Khan. “I know I make people uncomfortable, but a lot of times I say what they’re thinking...”


    From Steven Pinker's web site

    But aren’t you just being defensive? Authors always think that negative reviews of their book are wrong. Has anyone else replied to Kolbert? Razib Khan has a response in the Gene Expression blog on the Discover magazine Web site: 

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/ gnxp/2011/10/relative-angels-and-absolute-demons/https://stevenpinker.com/pages/ frequently-asked-questions-about-better-angels-our-nature-why-violence-has-declined

    Razib Khan had a regular column at Unz Review


    Khan has frequently contributed to Taki's Magazine


    Khan published an article with co-author Brian Boutwell in Quillette


    The Unz Review

    Razib Khan, who lost an opportunity at the New York Times over his views on human biodiversity, now writes for the alt-right Unz Review.

    http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/03/29/an-establishment-conservatives-guide-to-the-alt- right/

    Steve Sailer

    Sailer is the founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute, a neo-eugenics online discussion forum where right-wing journalists and race scientists have promoted selective breeding of the human species. He also writes frequently for the anti-immigrant hate site Vdare.com...

    https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2008/07/25/extremist-steve-sailer-source-cnns-black- america-series

    Steve Sailer author at American Renaissance article list.


    Steve Sailer article list at Taki's Magazine


    Steve Sailer article list at Unz Review


    The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004

    In 2004 an article by Steve Sailer, "The Cousin Marriage Conundrum" was included in "The Best American Science and Nature Writing."

    https://www.amazon.com/Best-American-Science-Nature-Writing/dp/0618246975/ ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

    Steven Pinker edited the book along with Tim Folger. Folger responded to my email query about Sailer's inclusion:

    In hindsight Sailer's story shouldn't have been included in the anthology, and we should have looked into his background more carefully. Until reading your email today, I knew nothing about Sailer's alt-right connections. Steven Pinker selected the story, and unfortunately I never discussed the article with him, an oversight that I regret.
    My review of Sailer's "The Cousin Marriage Conundrum" here: https://mcclernan.blogspot.com/2018/02/steve-sailer-in-best-american-science.html

    Steven Pinker & Malcolm Gladwell

    I wondered about the basis of Pinker’s conclusion, so I e-mailed him, asking if he could tell me where to find the scientific data that would set me straight. He very graciously wrote me back. He had three sources, he said. The first was Steve Sailer. Sailer, for the uninitiated, is a California blogger with a marketing background who is best known for his belief that black people are intellectually inferior to white people.


    VDARE also publishes essays by prominent academic racists. For example, a column by Jared Taylor, who has argued elsewhere that black people are incapable of maintaining any kind of civilization, dismisses "the fantasy of racial equality," claims the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "stripped Americans of the right to make free decisions," and says that "[b]lacks, in particular, riot with little provocation," unlike the far more peaceable white race. He has also published pieces by J. Philippe Rushton, the head of the Pioneer Fund, which gives financial backing to academics who specialize in race and IQ studies.

    Jared Taylor

    Taylor entered the active racist scene in 1990, when he founded the New Century Foundation, a pseudo-intellectual think tank that promotes "research" arguing for white superiority. A year later, he began publishing American Renaissance, a magazine that focuses on the alleged links between race and intelligence, and on eugenics, the now discredited "science" of breeding better humans.

    Richard Spencer

    ...In 2007, after he dropped out of a Ph.D. program at Duke University in modern European intellectual history, Spencer took a job as assistant editor at American
    Conservative magazine, where he was later fired for his radical views, according to former colleague J. Arthur Bloom. Following that, Spencer became executive editor of the paleoconservative website, Taki’s Magazine. In 2010, Spencer founded AlternativeRight, a supremacy-themed webzine aimed at the “intellectual right wing,” where he remained until joining NPI... In an address at white supremacist Jared Taylor’s 2013 American Renaissance conference, Spencer called for “peaceful ethnic cleansing.” As an example of how this could be accomplished, he cited the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, where new national boundaries were formed at the end of World War I. “Today, in the public imagination, ‘ethnic cleansing’ has been associated with civil war and mass murder (understandably so),” Spencer said. “But this need not be the case. 1919 is a real example of successful ethnic redistribution—done by fiat, we should remember, but done peacefully.”

    American Renaissance

    Founded by Jared Taylor in 1990, the New Century Foundation is a self-styled think tank that promotes pseudo-scientific studies and research that purport to show the inferiority of blacks to whites — although in hifalutin language that avoids open racial slurs and attempts to portray itself as serious scholarship. It is best known for its American Renaissance magazine and website, which regularly feature proponents of eugenics and blatant anti- black racists. The foundation also sponsors American Renaissance conferences every other year where racist "intellectuals" rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.

    Richard Lynn

    Lynn is the current president of the notoriously racist Pioneer Fund. Prior to becoming president in 2012, he received hundreds of thousands of dollars in Pioneer Fund grants, both directly, and through the Ulster Institute for Social Research. Lynn is the founder and president of the Ulster Institute, “a think tank for the support of research on social issues and the publication of works by selected authors in this field.” According to its website, “The Ulster Institute for Social Research specialises in the application of psychology to the
    analysis of social problems,” which translates to promoting racist research by Lynn and several of his colleagues and collaborators......He has contributed to several white supremacist publications including VDARE.com, The Occidental Quarterly, and American Renaissance. He also sits on the editorial committee of Mankind Quarterly, a pseudo- scholarly journal dedicated to publishing “articles in controversial areas, including behavioral group differences and the importance of mental ability for individual outcomes and group differences” — a thinly veiled admission that they primarily print racist pseudoscience.

    Now, as race science leaches back into mainstream discourse, it has also been mainlined into the upper echelons of the US government through figures such as Bannon. The UK has not been spared this revival: the London Student newspaper recently exposed a semi- clandestine conference on intelligence and genetics held for the last three years at UCL without the university’s knowledge. One of the participants was the 88-year-old Ulster-based evolutionary psychologist Richard Lynn, who has described himself as a “scientific racist”.

    Pioneer Fund

    ...Arthur Jensen, an educational psychologist focusing on race since 1966, got more than $1 million in Pioneer grants over three decades. In his famous 1969 attack on Head Start — the early-education program that aims to help poor children — Jensen wrote in the prestigious Harvard Education Review that the problem with black children was that they had an average IQ of only 85. No amount of social engineering could improve that performance, he claimed, adding that "eugenic foresight" was the only solution......In recent decades, the Pioneer Fund has supported mostly American and British race scientists, including a large number of those cited in The Bell Curve, a widely criticized 1994 book that claimed that differences in intelligence were at least partly determined by race. According to Barry Mehler, a leading academic critic of the fund, these race scientists have included Hans Eysenck, Robert A. Gordon, Linda Gottfredson, Seymour Itzkoff, Arthur Jensen, Michael Levin, Richard Lynn, R. Travis Osborne, J. Philippe Rushton, William Shockley and Daniel R. Vining Jr.

    R. Philippe Rushton

    From 2002 until his death, the Pioneer Fund was headed by Rushton, a Canadian professor who has been investigated for allegedly violating Canadian hate-speech laws. Rushton first courted controversy in 1989 when he published work focusing on the sexual characteristics of different races. His findings: blacks have larger genitals, breasts and buttocks — characteristics that Rushton alleges have an inverse relationship to brain size and, thus, intelligence. Rushton has personally received over $1 million in Pioneer funds to support his work.

    Sam Harris

    The “skeptics” movement — whose adherents claim to challenge beliefs both scientific and spiritual by questioning the evidence and reasoning that underpin them — has also helped channel people into the alt-right by way of “human biodiversity.” Sam Harris has been one of the movement’s most public faces, and four posters on the TRS thread note his influence.

    Under the guise of scientific objectivity, Harris has presented deeply flawed data to perpetuate fear of Muslims and to argue that black people are genetically inferior to whites. In a 2017 podcast, for instance, he argued that opposition to Muslim immigrants in European nations was “perfectly rational” because “you are importing, by definition, some percentage, however small, of radicalized people.” He assured viewers, “This is not an expression of xenophobia; this is the implication of statistics.” More recently, he invited Charles Murray on his podcast. Their conversation centered on an idea that lies far outside of scientific consensus: that racial differences in IQ scores are genetically based. Though mainstream behavioral scientists have demonstrated that intelligence is less significantly affected by genetics than environment (demonstrated by research that shows the IQ gap between black and white Americans is closing, and that the average American IQ has risen dramatically since the mid-twentieth century), Harris still dismissed any criticism of Murray’s work as “politically correct moral panic.”

    For posters on TRS, Harris’ work blended easily into that of more overtly racist writers like Paul Kersey, whose popular blog, “Stuff Black People Don’t Like,” is reposted on American Renaissance. The site “really gets the noggin joggin and encourages you to search for answers,” one user wrote. Their “biggest stepping stone” was from Harris’ work to Kersey’s blog: “It was there I learned about race realism, IQ, genetics, bell curves, and the economic/ political drivers behind the pushing of ‘diversity.’”


    Harris defended his views in his argument with Ezra Klein about the Murray podcast by providing a link to an article by Bo Winegard and Ben Winegard in Quillette, "A Tale of Two Bell Curves" which argues that The Bell Curve is correct about lower inherent black intelligence and in fact states that "no good alternative explanations" to the hereditarian position exist.


    Quillette published an article in support of Harris. 


    Sam Harris is listed as a supporter of Quillette on Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/samharris

    Harris and Pinker have a mutual admiration society as can be seen in this video.

    And in tweets such as this.


    Charles Murray

    Charles Murray has been a central figure in discussions of race, intelligence and public policy since the 1994 publication of The Bell Curve, which Murray co-authored with controversial psychologist Richard Herrnstein, who died shortly before the book’s publication. Murray, a statistically minded sociologist by training, has spent decades working to rehabilitate long-discredited theories of IQ and heredity, turning them into a foundation on which to build a conservative theory of society that rejects equality and egalitarianism.

    “You want to have a job training program for welfare mothers? You think that’s going to cure the welfare problem? Well, when you construct that job training program and try to decide what jobs they might qualify for, you had better keep in mind that the mean IQ of welfare mothers is somewhere in the 80s, which means that you have certain limitations in what you're going to accomplish.”—Interview on race and IQ, “Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg,” PBS, 1994.

    The year after The Bell Curve was published, in the lead-up to a Republican congress slashing benefits for poorer Americans, Murray gave expert testimony before a Senate committee on welfare reform; more recently, congressman Paul Ryan, who helped push the Republicans’ latest tax cuts for the wealthy, has claimed Murray as an expert on poverty.

    One of the reasons scientific racism hasn’t gone away is that the public hears more about the racism than it does about the science. This has left an opening for people such as Murray and Wade, in conjunction with their media boosters, to hold themselves up as humble defenders of rational enquiry.

    The Bell Curve

    For all the shock value of its assertion that blacks are intractably, and probably biologically, inferior in intelligence to whites and Asians, The Bell Curve is not quite an original piece of research. It is, in spite of all the controversy that is attending its publication, only a review of the literature—an elaborate interpretation of data culled from the work of other social scientists. For this reason, the credibility of its authors, Charles Murray and Richard J. Herrnstein, rests significantly on the credibility of their sources...

    Surely the most curious of the sources he and Herrnstein consulted is Mankind Quarterly—a journal of anthropology founded in Edinburgh in 1960. Five articles from the journal are actually cited in The Bell Curve’s bibliography (pp. 775, 807, and 828).2
    But the influence on the book of scholars linked to Mankind Quarterly is more significant. No fewer than seventeen researchers cited in the bibliography of The Bell Curve have contributed to Mankind Quarterly. Ten are present or former editors, or members of its editorial advisory board. This is interesting because Mankind Quarterly is a notorious journal of “racial history” founded, and funded, by men who believe in the genetic superiority of the white race.3......

    They cite in their book no fewer than thirteen scholars who have benefited from Pioneer Fund grants in the last two decades—the grants total more than $4 million. Many of The Bell Curve’s sources who worked for Mankind Quarterly were also granted Pioneer money.16...

    There is no way to isolate the scholarship of Richard Lynn, and that of the other Mankind Quarterly contributors, from their racial and political views. Social science is not so easily insulated from ideology, as Murray and Herrnstein are quick to emphasize when railing against their critics. The scholarly subcultures on which the authors of The Bell Curve depend for information are hardly less biased than those they are summoned to rebut. The bias of the Mankind Quarterly contributors, however, is much nastier. And as we have seen, some of the scholars Murray and Herrnstein rely on distort the evidence, which in key cases does not support The Bell Curve’s contentions.

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