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The Brian Ferguson Interview

I talked with Rutgers University professor of anthropology R. Brian Ferguson about Steven Pinker, Napoleon Chagnon, Marvin Harris, anthropo...

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Race science & 18th century classifications

Johannes Blumenbach did not find the Sami people
of Finland aesthetically pleasing so he
considered them separate from other "Caucasians."

I got into a battle recently on Twitter with one of the more blatantly white supremacist proponents of race science, over my piece "On the Reality of Race and the Abhorrence of Racism" reaches its apotheosis."

The white supremacist, who goes by a pseudonym and appears to fancy themselves quite the science expert, did not seem to get the point of the article which is this:
This logical disconnect, between believing there are "white" and "black" races whose test scores can be compared, while at the same time holding that there is no empirical basis - or even just a standard that hereditarians can agree on amongst themselves - for race classification is the incoherent, insane foundation of hereditarianism - also known as "race science."
It's the logical disconnect - insisting one doesn't need to determine biological races empirically while at the same time insisting that "black" and "white" races exist as biological phenomena and you can compare their evolutionarily-endowed intelligence levels.

His argument was that taxonomists don't have empirical classifications for bacterium and so therefore it isn't fair to ask race science proponents for evidence-based classification schemes.

As a result I ended up diving into a number of articles on taxonomy. And it turns out the reason taxonomies are not completely empiricism-based is because taxonomies are in flux as scientists - real scientists, not race science proponents - reconsider traditional classifications.

The paper Virus taxonomy: the database of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) explains:
Taxonomic classification is a scientific endeavor whereby biological organisms are grouped together and placed into their proper taxonomic hierarchy based on the characteristics that form a unique descriptor identifying a particular organism. This research process is driven by individual scientists who publish their work, providing their evidence for the proposed classification. As new data are obtained either on the organisms previously studied, or on related organisms, the classification hierarchy may change. The principles, procedures, and nomenclature used to name taxa, is handled by one of the international organizations charged with developing the necessary guidelines. For example, naming of animal species is subject to the principles established by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (2,5). Naming of bacterial species is guided by the International Committee on Systematic Bacteriology (3).
I think it's safe to assume that the work of taxonomic classification is expected to be based on evidence, rather than say, whim as proposed by the Winegards and Brian Boutwell in their Reality of Race article:
...there aren’t a fixed number of film categories. The amount and the granularity of film categories depend upon the interests of the people using them. Your friend might use four (horror, comedy, drama, and science fiction), whereas Netflix might use an apparently limitless and startlingly specific supply. (See Daniel Dennett’s book for a variety of points and related examples centering on the topic of species).   
The same principles apply to racial categories. If one knows that Thomas is a Caucasian, one can be reasonably sure that Thomas has relatively light skin, and that he has recent ancestry in Europe. But racial categories, like film categories, aren’t immutable essences that perfectly sort humans into distinct groups.
The race science proponents, although they are happy to allow without complaint the likes of Stefan Molyneux and Linda Gottfredson to present their own race categories, complete with intelligence rankings, don't have anything like a commission on race nomenclature. Because, let's face it, that would be a lot of work, and it's much easier to publish poorly-vetted pseudoscience in a phrenology rag like Quillette or appear on a YouTube channel run by a white supremacist. And even worse for them, attempting to create an evidence-based race classification system might result in the abandonment of race as a biological reality altogether - which would be a serious problem for race-based careers, although not completely insurmountable thanks to wingnut welfare.

Linnaean taxonomy from 350 years ago was based primarily on appearance. DNA sequencing caused a reconsideration as with Procyonidae for example, as this Wiki explains:
There has been considerable historical uncertainty over the correct classification of several members. The red panda was previously classified in this family, but it is now classified in its own family, the Ailuridae, based on molecular biology studies. The status of the various olingos was disputed: some regarded them all as subspecies of Bassaricyon gabbii before DNA sequence data demonstrated otherwise.[5] 
The traditional classification scheme shown below on the left predates the recent revolution in our understanding of procyonid phylogeny based on genetic sequence analysis. This outdated classification groups kinkajous and olingos together on the basis of similarities in morphology that are now known to be an example of parallel evolution; similarly, coatis are shown as being most closely related to raccoons, when in fact they are closest to olingos
Real scientists change their views based on new information. They are not content to stick to a system invented in the 18th century.

In contrast, race science proponents are very happy to stick with 18th century race classifications as Bo Winegard demonstrates, and not only in his use of the term Caucasian. Winegard wrote a book review of Saini's "Superior" along with rightwing hereditarian Noah Carl and made it clear that race science is based on 18th century classifications:
In a well-known study, Noah Rosenberg and colleagues found that human genetic variation largely corresponds to broad geographic regions and, more compellingly, that it closely matches Johann Blumenbach’s 1781 classification of human morphological variation into five races: Caucasians, Americans (Amerindians), Ethiopians (Africans), Mongolians (East Asians), and Malaysians (Oceanians). When Rosenberg’s article was first published, it came under a certain amount of criticism. However, he and his colleagues responded robustly to these criticisms in a follow-up article. Among the most compelling findings reported in their follow-up is that if one samples subpopulations from the five major genetic clusters, those separated by a given geographic distance tend to be more genetically similar if they are from the same cluster than if they are from different clusters. This indicates that, although human genetic variation is mostly clinal, it is partly discontinuous. (Blumenbach’s typology is one of those Saini dismisses as “arbitrary” without offering any evidence or argument.)
Caucasian variety Colour white cheeks rosy hair brown or chestnut coloured head subglobular face oval straight its parts moderately defined forehead smooth nose narrow slightly hooked mouth small. The primary teeth placed perpendicularly to each jaw the lips especially The lower one moderately open the chin full and rounded In general that kind of appearance which according to our opinion of symmetry we consider most handsome and becoming To this first variety belong the inhabitants of Europe except the Lapps and the remaining descendants of the Finns and those of Eastern Asia as far as the river Obi the Caspian Sea and the Ganges and lastly those of Northern Africa.
Race science is still using "Hispanic" as a "race" as we saw when Stefan Molyneux and Linda Gottfredson included that category in their race-intelligence hierarchy.

The one thing that genetic testing won’t tell you is whether or not you are Latino or Hispanic. That’s because people from Latin America typically are a mix of European, African, and Native American ancestry. You might also find Middle Eastern, East Asian and Ashkenazi ancestry folded into your results. And as much as it is in the DNA, that rich mixture of ancestry is also embedded in the art, music, and food that make up Latino culture.
Another example is the  2014 NYTimes article by Carl Zimmer Black? White? A Murky Distinction Grows Still Murkier which also uses information from 23 and Me:
On average, the scientists found, people who identified as African-American had genes that were only 73.2 percent African. European genes accounted for 24 percent of their DNA, while .8 percent came from Native Americans. 
Latinos, on the other hand, had genes that were on average 65.1 percent European, 18 percent Native American, and 6.2 percent African. The researchers found that European-Americans had genomes that were on average 98.6 percent European, .19 percent African, and .18 Native American.
Zimmer's article triggered Razib Khan and Steve Sailer because, as race-obsessed as they are, they understood what it meant: there's a clear disconnect between social race and biological ancestry. Although their defense was to marvel at how white European Americans are, while suggesting we should ignore the historical record (like the "one-drop rule" which explains everything about why "whites" are so white) and only look at DNA evidence to understand race.

The subjects of race science studies invariably self-identify their race, in spite of the fact that we've known for at least a decade that DNA ancestry is often at odds with social race identity. In the past few years there have been stories in the media about people who were completely wrong about their own ethnic ancestry.

 The blithe confidence of race science proponents in subject self-identiifcation was confirmed for me when I asked Kevin Beaver, responsible for "converting" (his word) college undergraduates to race science, whether he used DNA testing to establish subject ancestry. He responded via email:
In all of my research, I have analyzed secondary data which has only included self-identification of race/ethnicity.  As a result, I was never able to examine ancestry based on genetic testing.
And Kevin Beaver, far from criticizing Stefan Molyneux and his race classification scheme from a  December 2015 YouTube video, appeared on Molyneux's YouTube channel in May 2016. But Kevin Beaver has no problem with classifying "Hispanic" as a race, he himself considers Hispanic a race, as can be seen in his 2016 paper, co-written with J. C. Barnes , Brian B. Boutwell, J. Mitchell Miller, Rashaan A. DeShay, Norman White entitled Exposure to Pre- and Perinatal Risk Factors Partially Explains Mean Differences in Self-Regulation between Races.

Here is a chart, visible with the abstract in the link above, which presents five race categories: White, Black, Hispanic, Asian and Other.

In spite of their frequent self-presentation as heroes of reason and science, when the empirical data does not tell race science proponents what they want to hear, they are happy to toss out empiricism and as the "Reality of Race" article by Ben and Bo Winegard and Brian Boutwell recommends, classify race based on personal preference using 18th century concepts. Why not use "Hispanic" - or as in the case of the Rockland County, "Mulatto" and "Moor"? And then use those categories in your studies of "Self Regulation between Races"?

And that is what race "science" is all about. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The breath-taking double standards of Cathy Young and Christina Hoff Sommers

I was just writing about Cathy Young's toxic misogyny and blatant double-standards - her hatred of Kristen Roupenian for portraying a fictional man unflatteringly, contrasted with her admiration for Eron Gjoni, the evil freak who kicked off GamerGate by violating the privacy of his ex-girlfriend in retaliation for her breaking up with him.

But even I was absolutely thunderstruck by the incredibly shameless double-standard, publicly displayed by Sommers and Young in response to this tweet.

A woman spilled the dirt on the personal life of Aziz Ansari - she's bad.

A man spilled the dirt on the personal life of Zoe Quinn - he's good.

And the only factor that switches the hatred of Sommers and Young to admiration is gender. Plain and simple.

Christina Hoff Sommers and Cathy Young have to be the sleaziest, the stupidest and because of their obvious internalized misogyny, the most pathetic examples of public intellectuals I have ever seen this side of the loathsome Camille Paglia. I said, several months ago about them and Quillette's Claire Lehmann:
So although I think the Catty Persons' motivation is primarily financial I also think there is something about the characters of all three women - something twisted and damaged - that makes them so well-suited to their professional careers of incessantly attacking women and women's aspirations.
And wow, they seem to be determined to prove how right I was.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Brian Ferguson Interview

I talked with Rutgers University professor of anthropology R. Brian Ferguson about Steven Pinker, Napoleon Chagnon, Marvin Harris, anthropology, chimps and gangs of New York.

The interview happened in a diner in Manhattan so there is background noise.

The video has a transcript available and you can read it here too.

  • Introduction: 00:00
  • Brian Ferguson, Marvin Harris & Cultural Materialism 00:46 
  • Chimpanzees, War & History: Are Men Born to Kill? and arguments with Jane Goodall 04:29 
  • Evolutionary Psychology v Napoleon Chagnon 09:31 
  • Pinker's List 12:28 
  • How Jews Became Smart: Anti-'Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence' 18:53 
  • Origins of Gangsters in New York 23:09

Some links associated with this interview:
Papers by Ferguson
Books by Marvin Harris

"On the Reality of Race and the Abhorrence of Racism" reaches its apotheosis

Steven Pinker promoting utter crackpottery
to his thousands of followers who have
confidence in his scientific opinions

I saw a tweet about this story today from the Associated Press:

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Three couples planning to get married in Virginia have filed a federal lawsuit challenging a state requirement that they disclose their race on their marriage application. 
Civil-rights lawyer Victor Glasberg, who filed the lawsuit Thursday in Alexandria, says the requirement is a vestige of Virginia’s Jim Crow laws and that Virginia is one of only eight states requiring marriage applicants to disclose their race. 
One Virginia county, Rockbridge County, provided a list of more than 200 potential races to a couple that questioned the requirement. It included “American,” ″Aryan,” ″Moor” and “Mulatto,” according to the lawsuit.
This is a perfect example of the race classification system promoted by Ben Winegard, Bo Winegard and Brian Boutwell published by Quillette entitled On the Reality of Race and the Abhorrence of Racism which holds that you can classify "race" any way you wish:
...there aren’t a fixed number of film categories. The amount and the granularity of film categories depend upon the interests of the people using them. Your friend might use four (horror, comedy, drama, and science fiction), whereas Netflix might use an apparently limitless and startlingly specific supply. (See Daniel Dennett’s book for a variety of points and related examples centering on the topic of species).  
The same principles apply to racial categories. If one knows that Thomas is a Caucasian, one can be reasonably sure that Thomas has relatively light skin, and that he has recent ancestry in Europe. But racial categories, like film categories, aren’t immutable essences that perfectly sort humans into distinct groups. There aren’t a fixed number of racial categories, and the number researchers use is partially a matter of convenience. One might start with five continentally based categories (i.e., Caucasians, East Asians, Africans, Native Americans, and Australian Aborigines) and then add more categories as one’s analysis becomes more granular (e.g. Ashkenazi Jewish, Mizrahi Jewish, and so on). These categories aren’t real in some metaphysical sense, but they are useful, and they do have predictive value.  In this, they are like many other constructs in the social sciences such as self-esteem, intelligence, and agreeableness. They represent traits that cluster together; they predict outcomes; and they can be quantified.
But the absence of an empirical standard to determine race does not prevent the Winegard brothers from supporting the race classification system in The Bell Curve, which claims that lower test scores of "black" people compared to "white" is due in part to innate inferior intelligence of "black" people. 

This is called the hereditarian hypothesis. In their article entitled A Tale of Two Bell Curves published in, where else, Quillette, the Winegard brothers write:
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. 
For these reasons, and many more, in a 1980s survey, most scholars with expertise rejected the environment-only interpretation of the racial IQ gap, and a plurality (45%) accepted some variant of the hereditarian hypothesis.
This logical disconnect, between believing there are "white" and "black" races whose test scores can be compared, while at the same time holding that there is no empirical basis - or even just a standard that hereditarians can agree on amongst themselves - for race classification is the incoherent, insane foundation of hereditarianism - also known as "race science."

And alleged scientists like Steven Pinker and Jerry Coyne both promoted "On the Reality of Race and the Abhorrence of Racism" to their thousands of followers. I posted Pinker's tweet for the article above. Jerry Coyne wrote:
On to “race”, a loaded word if ever there was one. Browsing through Quillette, I found a short but very good 2016 article about race by Bo Winegard, Ben Winegard, and Brian Boutwell, “On the reality of race and the abhorrence of racism“. It’s one of the more sensible pieces on race written for a popular audience, and takes the position I mentioned above; as the authors say, “Promoting a tolerant cosmopolitan society doesn’t require denying basic facts about the world.” Or, as they say, using italics to emphasize their view, “Racism isn’t wrong because there aren’t races; it is wrong because it violates basic human decency and modern moral ideals.”
Jerry Coyne, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ecology and Evolution thinks this utter crackpottery is "one of the more sensible pieces on race written for a popular audience."

So to be crystal clear: the race science view of race, promoted by Coyne and Pinker is that there are biological races but we can't say exactly what those biological races are.

But clearly Coyne believes in biology-based classification systems even for human ancestry.

And we know that Coyne believes that human races/ethnicities/ecotypes "evolved different traits."
“Race” (or “ethnicity”, if you like that word better) is simply a term for human “ecotypes”: groups of different evolutionary ancestry that have evolved different traits.

So why do the actual scientists of race science refuse to push for an empirical standard of biological race classification?

We see the results of the failure to come up with a standard for race classification in the Rockbridge County system with its list of 200 potential races including  “American,” ″Aryan,” ″Moor” and “Mulatto."

And if you say, well those Rockbridge County people doubtless weren't scientists - is their system any different from the one proposed by the Winegards and Boutwell and endorsed by Jerry Coyne and Steven Pinker? After all, the Reality of Race article makes clear that each individual can invent their own classification system based on utility:
These categories aren’t real in some metaphysical sense, but they are useful, and they do have predictive value.
The government of Rockbridge County at some point decided that "Moor" and "Mulatto" were useful and have predictive value. And the "researchers" that the Winegards/Boutwell mention have no basis on which to tell them they are wrong. That's the beauty of the Netflix system of hereditarian race classification.

Now the question is whether proponents of race science are too mentally disorganized to understand the disconnect between claiming there are no clear race categories while at the same time claiming that different races "have evolved different traits" or if race science proponents understand the logic problem but are confident that the mentally disorganized people in their fan base don't understand the problem. And then there are those who like to hear that their bigotry is based on science, and so not racism at all, but rather an "abhorrence of racism."

I'm inclined to the stupidity rather than the malice hypothesis. But more research on the mental abilities of race science proponents needs to be done.

The actual sensible view of race is not from another piece of Quillette garbage but rather from one of the objecting brides-to-be:
In Arlington County, bride-to-be Ashley Ramkishun said she was told that if she objected to listing a specific race, she could list “other.” 
“We’re not others. We’re human beings,” she said.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Cathy Young publishes a steaming pile of non-apology for GamerGate

Cathy Young, alerting her Twitter followers to her
friendly interview with Eron Gjoni
"for the 2nd anniversary of #GamerGate"

As I noted on this blog last month, Cathy Young celebrated the second anniversary of "the Zoe post" by giving a friendly interview to Eron Gjoni.

Three years later she's had a chance, as a sober-minded public intellectual of late-middle-age to reflect on GamerGate and possibly reassess her support for it.

Perhaps consider apologizing for her role as a GamerGate cheerleader.

No, of course not.

Instead she's doubling-down publishing (another) defense of GamerGate in Arc Digital.

And she's still defending Eron Gjoni. Young is a contributing editor for right-wing/libertarian Reason Magazine, and I thought libertarians were in favor of privacy rights.

But Cathy Young thinks it's perfectly OK for Eron Gjoni to tell the entire world about his relationship with his ex-girlfriend.
For instance: The ex who started it all, programmer Eron Gjoni, was a pro-social justice leftist who ostensibly intended his post on August 16, 2014 as a “call-out” about psychological abuse (as recently noted on Twitter by strongly anti-GamerGate video game journalist Ana Valens). He also published it with support from female, and feminist, friends. Gjoni accused Quinn, a prominent progressive activist in the video game community, of multiple infidelities and deceptions — with chat screenshots as corroboration — and charged that this conduct violated Quinn’s own professed ethical standards, under which a truly consensual relationship requires absolute honesty.
WHY is it Cathy Young's business what Zoe Quinn does in her personal life?

Young doesn't appear to think that what Gjoni did was unethical in the least, instead preferring to constantly harp on Quinn's ethics. This tweet is from less than a year ago, September 25, 2018.

If the genders were reversed it's unlikely that Cathy Young would be so cavalier about Gjoni's obscene invasion of privacy. It's truly instructive to compare Cathy Young's defense of Eron Gjoni, who did something clearly unethical and vicious, with Cathy Young's hatred of Kristen Roupenian because Roupenian committed the crime of writing a short story in which a fictional man is portrayed unflatteringly.

Is there any doubt that if a woman posted a screed against her ex-boyfriend, causing the ex-boyfriend to be the target of constant death threats, Young and the rest of the GameGate apologists would never stop using the phrase "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"? The rules are different for men.

This obvious double standard reveals the toxic, festering, internalized misogyny of Cathy Young, which is what Reason pays her for.

Imagine how much Cathy Young would hate Kristen Roupenian
if she had violated the privacy of a non-fictional person,
causing that person to receive death threats.

Cathy Young has already written many, many articles in defense of GamerGate, but I suppose her shamelessness would not rest until she did it again, in response to the NYTimes series on the topic. And Arc Digital apparently has nothing less done-to-death to publish.

The worst thing about the article is Young's shameless dishonesty in omitting the role she played, personally, in the promotion of GamerGate, neglecting to mention she was referred to by fans of GamerGate as "based auntie" (in contrast to their honorific for Christina Hoff Sommers of "based mom.")

Young mentions Milo Yiannopoulos in this latest GamerGate apologia:
There is strong evidence that as the alt-right began to gather steam in late 2015, Yiannopoulos tried to channel GamerGate — which he often tried to treat as his private army — in its direction. In January 2016, someone leaked chat logs in which pro-GamerGate blogger Ethan Ralph, who was close to Yiannopoulos, and several of his friends from /ggrevolt/ trashed GamerGate, agreed that the culture war needed to move on to the alt-right, and discussed plans to “reappropriate” GamerGate for the alt-right by purging liberals, who were mocked as “SJW-lite.” 
But Young doesn't mention that she appeared on a panel about Gamergate with Yianopoulos and Christina Hoff Sommers in 2015. Nor does she mention that in an article she wrote for Arc Digital in 2017 she said:

This is not to rehash GamerGate but to say that I still think Milo was basically on the right side of it.

I was alerted to Young's most recent defense of GamerGate by Matt Jameson on Twitter. He makes an interesting point about Young and Sommers being non-gamers and much older than the median gamer.

So why exactly did Cathy Young and Christina Hoff Sommers get involved in GamerGate?

My theory starts with Young's description of Yiannopoulos in this latest Arc Digital piece:
...some conservatives and critics of the social justice left were sympathetic. Breitbart, in particular, made GamerGate its pet cause, starting with a September 1, 2014 article by the soon-to-be-infamous Milo Yiannopoulos titled “Feminist Bullies Tearing the Video Game Industry Apart.” Yiannopoulos also championed GamerGate on Twitter; with his flashy bad-boy persona, he quickly became a hero to many in the movement, even those who otherwise had no affection for Breitbart’s politics.
It was catnip to catty persons. After all, hating women in general, and feminists in particular is why the Kochs and other right-wingers support the careers of women like Cathy Young and Christina Hoff Sommers. GamerGate was a chance for them to level their careers of hating feminists up to notoriety, glamour and relevance thanks to Yiannopoulos and his "flashy bad-boy persona."

To get a sense of what GamerGate and Eron Gjoni are really about, you can't depend on the self-interested, dishonest portrayal by Cathy Young in an op-ed rag like Arc Digital. I recommend Boston Magazine's Game of Fear - the Story Behind GamerGate by Zachary Jason - a better publication than Arc Digital and a better writer than Cathy Young. An excerpt:
Gjoni, a software engineer, had set out to construct a machine to destroy his ex. Every written word Quinn had ever entrusted with him—all of her flirtations, anxieties, professional grudges, and confessions about her family and sex life—would serve as his iron and ore. He scoured their entire text and email history, archiving and organizing Quinn’s private information on his laptop and cell phone. Then he typed it all in black and white—minus, of course, the tones in their voices, their laughter and tears, and any context whatsoever. 
Of course, Gjoni could have just deleted the document, along with Quinn’s phone number and email address, and tried to woo one of the millions of other women on OkCupid or joined any of the roughly 5,000 other dating sites. He could have posted his thoughts on a blog and omitted her name. After several days, though, Gjoni decided to go through with it—after all, he was protected by the First Amendment, right? Gjoni has sometimes claimed that he simply wanted to warn people about his ex-girlfriend. But over the course of several months, he described to me how he painstakingly crafted “The Zoe Post,” a post that detonated with ruthless force and efficiency, for maximum pain and harm. 
From the start, it seems, Gjoni wanted to make certain that his blog about Quinn would connect with a large base of people in the gaming community, some of whom he already knew were passionately predisposed to attacking women in the industry. 
As Gjoni began to craft “The Zoe Post,” his early drafts read like a “really boring, really depressing legal document,” he says. He didn’t want to merely prove his case; it had to read like a potboiler. So he deliberately punched up the narrative in the voice of a bitter ex-boyfriend, organizing it into seven acts with dramatic titles like “Damage Control” and “The Cum Collage May Not Be Accurate.” He ended sections on cliffhangers, and wove in video-game analogies to grab the attention of Quinn’s industry colleagues. He was keenly aware of attracting an impressionable readership. “If I can target people who are in the mood to read stories about exes and horrible breakups,” he says now, “I will have an audience.” 
One of the keys to how Gjoni justified the cruelty of “The Zoe Post” to its intended audience was his claim that Quinn slept with five men during and after their brief romance. In retrospect, he thinks one of his most amusing ideas was to paste the Five Guys restaurant logo into his screed: “Now I can’t stop mentally referring to her as Burgers and Fries,” he wrote. By the time he released the post into the wild, he figured the odds of Quinn’s being harassed were 80 percent. 
As he wrote, Gjoni kept pressing Quinn for information. About a week after their final breakup in San Francisco, Quinn finally stopped responding to Gjoni’s barrage of texts, Facebook messages, emails, and calls. He interpreted this not as a surrender or a retreat from his unwanted advances but instead, paradoxically, as a kind of attack. As he wrote at the time and later posted online, “GOD FUCKING DAMN IT. SHE’S AVOIDED ME EVER SINCE THIS CONVERSATION BECAUSE SHE IS PARANOID I MIGHT GO PUBLIC.” From this circular reasoning emerged a twisted justification: By withholding information, Quinn was somehow forcing Gjoni to “go public.” Eventually, Gjoni would come to see himself as the victim. “I was panicking at the thought of not publishing [‘The Zoe Post’],” he told me. “I didn’t care what the outcome was for Zoe.”
Cathy Young, who still seems to admire Eron Gjoni for what he did, in a rare act of legitimate journalism, and after the Boston Magazine article was published, got Gjoni to admit he would do it again:
Cathy Young: Let’s say that tomorrow someone comes to you with a time machine and you can go back to August 2014 and decide whether or not to do it all over again. Would you do it, and would you do anything differently? 
Eron Gjoni: It would be harder to do it. I would still do it, but it’s like—oh, this is going to suck. (Laughs) I suppose I’d take out the “burgers and fries” joke. I wasn’t sure about it, but people who were looking it over at the time said it was too funny to take out [and] like, “All right, I’ll trust you on it.”

I just hope that Gjoni never publishes a work of short fiction which presents a non-existent man in an unflattering light. Cathy Young might call it quits after that.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Troublesome Reviews & the Reasonable Rebels

We were just talking about Charles Murray and his firm belief that differences among "races" is genetic, as he indicated in his 2014 interview at AEI:
On this score, the roof is about to crash in on those who insist on a purely environmental explanation of all sorts of ethnic differences, not just intelligence. Since the decoding of the genome, it has been securely established that race is not a social construct, evolution continued long after humans left Africa along different paths in different parts of the world, and recent evolution involves cognitive as well as physiological functioning. 
The best summary of the evidence is found in the early chapters of Nicholas Wade’s recent book, “A Troublesome Inheritance.” We’re not talking about another 20 years before the purely environmental position is discredited, but probably less than a decade. What happens when a linchpin of political correctness becomes scientifically untenable? It should be interesting to watch. I confess to a problem with schadenfreude.
I looked up the reviews of "A Troublesome Inheritance" and the reviewers were not nearly as impressed as Murray.

The Washington Post
...Wade gets into trouble, however, in the latter half of the book, which he describes as more “speculative.” A whole chapter is devoted to the subject of Jewish intelligence, in which he argues that the disproportionate number of Nobel Prizes awarded to people of Jewish descent can be traced to the fact that Jewish money-lending in the Middle Ages required levels of literacy and numeracy far beyond those in the general population. That specialization, and the wealth it brought, he argues, conferred upon the Ashkenazi Jews of Europe an evolutionary advantage that became encoded in complex ways in their genes. 
There is little solid evidence to support this hypothesis; moreover, the combinations of genes conferring intelligence — if there are any — are unknown. While Wade demonstrates a good deal of mastery over many of the technical issues involved, he strikes a remarkably cavalier note about the obvious social and political unease such research might engender...
Wade is of course referring to the "Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence" that Ferguson eviscerated.

The Boston Review
...It is not my goal to debunk every scientific flaw in A Troublesome Inheritance, but a couple examples should be sufficient to demonstrate that Wade is not only an unreliable guide through contemporary genomic research, but that science does not support his case. 
It is essential to Wade’s story that readers reject the widely held belief that humans ceased evolving before the dawn of recorded history. The truth is that “human evolution has been recent, copious and regional." 
Wade plants his flag with the first cited fact in the book, with unfortunate (for him) results: “No less than 14% of the human genome, according to one estimate, has changed under this recent evolutionary pressure.” He repeats this number twice. But what does it mean? Studies of the human genome have identified traces of selection pressure in patterns of genetic variation. Their results vary, but “if one takes just the regions marked by any two of the scans, then 722 regions, containing some 2,465 genes, have been under pressure of natural selection.” That “amounts to 14% of the genome.” 
His source is a 2009 review article by the geneticist Joshua Akey, but Wade reads it wrong. It is not 14 percent of the genome that is under selection in two studies. Rather, because there are a lot of false positives, 14 percent of regions identified as under selection in any study were also identified in a second study. The number Wade wants—the portion of the genome found in at least two studies to have been under pressure of natural selection—is 8 percent. The error suggests a glib reader cherry-picking statistics without really grasping the science...

...If Wade could point to genes that give races distinctive social behaviors, we might overlook such shortcomings. But he cannot. 
He tries. He tells, for instance, of specific gene variants that reputedly create less trust and more violence in ­African-Americans and, he says, explain their resistance to modern economic institutions and practices. Alas, the scientific literature he draws on is so uneven and disputed that many geneticists dismiss it outright. Wade also cites a 2008 paper that analyzed the genomes of almost 1,000 people from 51 populations around the globe. That paper found that people from different regions do indeed tend to have distinctive genomes. But Wade errs in saying the paper supports his idea that genetic selection has created races with particular social inclinations. 
To begin with, the 2008 study mentions nothing about race. It merely establishes that many of the slight differences between human genomes cluster by geography at many scales, including continents, and that genomes from any given location will most likely be similar, just as two people from a particular place will most likely speak with similar accents. 
Second, and far more serious, the paper’s authors specifically state that while selection may sometimes create genetic differences between populations, they saw little evidence that selection shaped the small genetic differences they found. In fact, they say the differences can be largely explained by “random drift” — arbitrary changes in genes having little to no effect on people’s biology or behavior. All of this directly contradicts Wade’s argument. Yet he baldly claims the study as support. 
And he does this sort of thing repeatedly: He constantly gathers up long shots, speculations and spurious claims, then declares they add up to substantiate his case. 
The result is a deeply flawed, deceptive and dangerous book. Its most pernicious conceit is that it’s finally safe to talk of racial genetics because “opposition to racism is now well entrenched.” The daily news — a black teenager’s killer walks free in Florida; a former Ku Klux Klansman shoots up a Jewish community center; and tearful survivors observe the 20th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide, in which 100 days of mass murder rose from ethnic distinctions pressed on the populace by European colonists a century before — says otherwise...
The Center for Computational, Evolutionary and Human Genomics posted a letter in response and a whole bunch of scientists signed on:
To the Editor:
As scientists dedicated to studying genetic variation, we thank David Dobbs for his review of Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History” (July 13), and for his description of Wade’s misappropriation of research from our field to support arguments about differences among human societies.
As discussed by Dobbs and many others, Wade juxtaposes an incomplete and inaccurate account of our research on human genetic differences with speculation that recent natural selection has led to worldwide differences in I.Q. test results, political institutions and economic development. We reject Wade’s implication that our findings substantiate his guesswork. They do not. 
We are in full agreement that there is no support from the field of population genetics for Wade’s conjectures.

Steve Sailer of course loved the Wade book and reprinted Charles Murray's own review on his blog, where we get Murray's list of his favorite evolutionary psychology and race science books - my highlights:
 In 1998, the biologist E.O. Wilson wrote a book, "Consilience," predicting that the 21st century would see the integration of the social and biological sciences. He is surely right about the long run, but the signs for early progress are not good. "The Bell Curve," which the late Richard J. Herrnstein and I published 20 years ago, should have made it easy for social scientists to acknowledge the role of cognitive ability in shaping class structure. It hasn't. David Geary's "Male/Female," published 16 years ago, should have made it easy for them to acknowledge the different psychological and cognitive profiles of males and females. It hasn't. Steven Pinker's "The Blank Slate," published 12 years ago, should have made it easy for them to acknowledge the role of human nature in explaining behavior. It hasn't. Social scientists who associate themselves with any of those viewpoints must still expect professional isolation and stigma.  
"A Troublesome Inheritance" poses a different order of threat to the orthodoxy. The evidence in "The Bell Curve," "Male/Female" and "A Blank Slate" was confined to the phenotype—the observed characteristics of human beings—and was therefore vulnerable to attack or at least obfuscation. The discoveries Mr. Wade reports, that genetic variation clusters along racial and ethnic lines and that extensive evolution has continued ever since the exodus from Africa, are based on the genotype, and no one has any scientific reason to doubt their validity.  
And yet, as of 2014, true believers in the orthodoxy still dominate the social science departments of the nation's universities. I expect that their resistance to "A Troublesome Inheritance" will be fanatical, because accepting its account will be seen, correctly, as a cataclysmic surrender on some core premises of political correctness. There is no scientific reason for the orthodoxy to win. But it might nonetheless.
And of course the word "orthodoxy" which race science proponents like to use to dismiss any and all criticism of their claims.

A recent article in the Washington Post discusses the similarities between the lingo of defenders of the Confederacy and that of of contemporary race science, called The Reasonable Rebels by Eve Fairbanks.

I had already noted that Bo Winegard, Quillette's primary race science proponent, used the term "Equilitarianism" which he appears to have gotten directly from the White Citizen Council's own Calton Putnam.

And the race science world is very tight-knit - Murray mentions David Geary's Male/Female - Bo Winegard co-wrote the paper using the term Equalitarian with... David Geary.

The Fairbanks piece discusses how similar-sounding are contemporary IDW arguments to those of the supporters of Confederacy. I especially liked this:
All of this is there in the reasonable right: The claim that they are the little people struggling against prevailing winds. The argument that they’re the ones championing reason and common sense. The allegation that their interlocutors aren’t so much wrong as excessive; they’re just trying to think freely and are being tormented. The reliance on hyperbole and slippery slopes to warn about their adversaries’ intentions and power. The depiction of their opponents as an “orthodoxy,” an epithet the antebellum South loved.
Yep. What were we just saying about Charles Murray using "orthodoxy"? And speaking of Murray...
Many reasonable-right figures find themselves defending the liberties of people to the right of them. Not because they agree with these people, they say, but on principle. Sam Harris, a popular podcast host, has released three lengthy shows about Charles Murray, a political scientist who is often booed at campus speeches and whose 2017 talk at Middlebury College ended when students injured his host. Murray argues that white people test higher than black people on “every known test of cognitive ability” and that these “differences in capacity” predict white people’s predominance. Harris repeatedly insists he has no vested interest in Murray’s ideas. His only interest in Murray, he claims, rests in his dedication to discussing science and airing controversial views. 
But Harris’s claim is implausible. Hundreds of scientists produce controversial work in the fields of race, demographics and inequality. Only one, though, is the social scientist nationally notorious for suggesting that white people are innately smarter than people of color. That Harris chooses to invite this one on his show suggests that he is not merely motivated by freedom of speech. It suggests that he is interested in what Murray has to say.
He sure is. And Sam Harris agrees with Murray.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Alt-right Quillette, equalitarianism & the White Citizens' Councils

(Excerpt reprinted from my personal blog from March 25, 2018)

Winegard doesn't use the term "egalitarianism" he uses the term "equalitarianism" with a QU in the article, entitled "Equalitarianism and Progressive Bias." Winegard writes:
Ben Winegard, David Geary, and I wrote a comment on a Behavioral and Brain Sciences’ article about political bias in 2015, in which we forwarded what we termed the “paranoid egalitarian meliorist” (PEM) model of progressive bias. I’ve come to believe that the name is inevitably and uncharitably pejorative (“paranoid” sounds bad even though it is descriptively neutral), so my colleagues and I have renamed it equalitarianism; however, I still think the basic model is accurate.
But Bo Winegard didn't invent the term equalitarianism. The term was used, with just as much contempt, by the mid-20th century segregationists of the southern United States. Carlton Putnam used it, cited in the book The Citizen’s Council: Organized Resistance to the Second Reconstruction by Neil R. McMillen
Setting forth his ethnological assumption in an influential and widely circulated book, Race and Reason (1961), Putnam asserted that one need not have advanced scientific training to dispute theories of racial equalitarianism: “Any man with two eyes in his head can observe a Negro settlement in the Congo… can compare this settlement with London or Pris, and can draw his own conclusions regarding relative levels of character and intelligence…” That so few informed Americans saw things so clearly was compelling proof to Putnam that the nation had been victimized by a “pseudo-scientific hoax” popularized by such early exponents of racial equipotentiality as Franz Boas and several subsequent generations of like-minded anthropologists more devoted to “the demo-goddess of Equalitarianism” than to “the Goddess of Truth.”
The term "equalitarian" pops up quite frequently in this book, which is a history of The Citizens' Councils:
The Citizens' Councils (also referred to as White Citizens' Councils) were an associated network of white supremacist, extreme right,[1] organizations in the United States, concentrated in the South. The first was formed on July 11, 1954.[2] After 1956, it was known as the Citizens' Councils of America. With about 60,000 members across the United States,[3] mostly in the South, the groups were founded primarily to oppose racial integration of schools, but they also opposed voter registration efforts and integration of public facilities during the 1950s and 1960s. Members used severe intimidation tactics including economic boycotts, firing people from jobs, propaganda, and violence against citizens and civil-rights activists.  
By the 1970s, following passage of federal civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s and enforcement of constitutional rights by the federal government, the influence of the Councils had waned considerably yet remained an institutional basis for the majority of white residents in Mississippi. The successor organization to the White Citizens' Councils is the St. Louis-based Council of Conservative Citizens, founded in 1985[3] to continue collaborations between Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist political agendas in the United States. Republican politician and past Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi was a member[4] while North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms and Georgia Congressman Bob Barr were both strong supporters of the Council of Conservative Citizens; David Duke also spoke at a fund raising event, while Patrick Buchanan's campaign manager was linked to both Duke and the Council.[5]  
In 1996, a Charleston, SC, drive-by shooting by Klan members of three African American males occurred after a Council rally; Dylann Roof, the perpetrator responsible for the murder of nine Emanuel AME church members in Charleston in 2015, espoused Council of Conservative Citizens rhetoric in a manifesto.[6]
Many of the modern proponents of hereditarianism and opponents of "equalitarianism" come from Southern states and work for colleges in the South. Bo Winegard seems to be practicing a slightly updated form of old-time Southern white racism.

Carlton Putnam wasn't considered a crazy racist radical, by the way, he was extremely respectable:
Carleton Putnam (December 19, 1901 – March 5, 1998) was an American businessman, biographer, writer, and segregationist. He graduated from Princeton University in 1924 and received a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from Columbia Law School in 1932. He founded Chicago & Southern Airlines in 1933, which in 1953 was merged with Delta Air Lines. He would later serve as chief executive officer of Delta Air Lines and hold a seat on its board of directors until his death.[1][2]
Here we see that Henry E. Garrett published "The Equalitarian Dogma" in the pages of Mankind Quarterly, the ultra-racist publication supported by The Pioneer Fund, which also financially supported many of the scientific racialists whose work was used in creating The Bell Curve. I've written about Mankind Quarterly before.

The article points to IQ testing as the justification of innate black inferiority and rages against communism - just as the hereditarians at Quillette do.

The Mankind Quarterly archives are provided via The Unz Review - not for some historical edification but because Unz Review is a racist web site and seeks to preserve the views of Mankind Quarterly, which also published work by Richard Lynn, an important source for The Bell Curve.

The White Citizens' Councils and the editors of Mankind Quarterly would be very proud indeed of people who fight against "equalitarianism" - people like Bo Winegard and Claire Lehmann.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Andy Ngo saga continues

Slate has a perfect summary of the past couple of months of Andy Ngo's career:

Andy Ngo, the right-wing journalist and provocateur who was embraced by mainstream Republicans and covered favorably in mainstream media after he was attacked by antifa activists during a street fight in Portland, Oregon, may suddenly be persona non grata among conservatives. Nearly all mentions of Ngo were scrubbed from the upscale right-wing publication Quillette after a newly-released video showed him acting friendly with members of Patriot Prayer, a far-right hate group that has repeatedly sought out fights with leftists. 
Ngo, who has used selectively edited videos to paint antifa as a violent, criminal group was hit with punches and milkshakes during a clash between antifa activists and members of the Proud Boys, an organization labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Many on the right rallied around Ngo after that altercation, and spread false rumors that the milkshakes thrown at him and others had contained quick-dry cement.  
Ngo used his newfound fame to boost his profile, appearing on Fox News and other cable news outlets and embracing his victimhood. 
Just weeks later, however, a video surfaced on Twitter showing Ngo pal around with the Proud Boys-adjacent group Patriot Prayer. 
The video shows Ngo laughing as the group plans a violent attack on antifa members at a Portland bar in May. The video surfaced as part of a lawsuit brought by the bar, accusing Patriot Prayer members of causing a riot.
Many Quillette critics on Twitter suggested that Quillette had fired Ngo because of the video but Lehmann denied it...
Quillette, where Ngo worked as a photo editor until Monday, announced after the video surfaced that Ngo was leaving his job at the site. Ngo’s name was scrubbed from the site, The Daily Beast reported.
Quillette editor-in-chief Claire Lehmann told The Daily Beast that Ngo left the site weeks earlier but the move was not publicized until Monday.

“Andy actually moved on from Quillette a few weeks ago because he is undertaking bigger & better projects, we just hadn't updated the website and he hadn't updated his Twitter bio until today,” she told the Daily Beast. “I haven’t seen the video,” she added.
Lehmann also said that Ngo had been on a “break” from a “brain injury” he suffered at the Portland rally. 
Ngo, however, did not remove Quillette from his Twitter bio until Monday, noted National Observer reporter Caroline Orr, the same day that the Patriot Prayer video was released.
Columnist Tabatha Southey had a great response.

The question is, will Andy Ngo devote himself to ratfucking for Trump, or will this hurt his ratfucking career?

Monday, August 26, 2019

The IDW and 1619

The IDW has been surprisingly quiet about the 1619 project - surprising  because one of the most important issues that brings together the somewhat diverse members of the Intellectual Dark Web is a belief in the accuracy of race science and its claim that "black" people are genetically less intelligent than other "races."

In order to support this belief, it is essential for members of the IDW and friends to deny the importance of the history of African Americans, and the 1619 project is all about the history of African Americans, focusing most importantly on issues that have been under-discussed such as the looting of African American wealth through terrorism and fraud and semi-legal means.

Writing in Quillette, in an article that Steven Pinker recommended to his Twitter followers, Bo and Ben Winegard argued that the history of African Americans does not explain African American failure to thrive:
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.
They toss off "a legacy of slavery/discrimination among others" and then dismiss it.

We see Sam Harris also seeking to deny African American history:
...you are unwilling to differentiate scientific fact and scientific data and reasonable extrapolations based on data, from past injustices in American history, these are totally separate things —
Razib Khan, whose career has been supported by Steven Pinker, was displeased by an article in the NYTimes by Carl Zimmer called Black? White? A Murky Distinction Grows Still Murkier and Khan's response included this odd paragraph:
So I have to take issue when The New York Times posts articles with headlines such as White? Black? A Murky Distinction Grows Still Murkier. What genetics is showing is that in fact white Americans are shockingly European to an incredibly high degree for a population with roots on this continent for 400 years. If we removed all the history that we take for granted we’d be amazed that the indigenous peoples had so little demographic impact, and, that the larger numbers of people of partial African ancestry did not move into the general “white” population. 
He actually uses the phrase "If we removed all the history" and suggests without a knowledge of history we would get at the truth of race in America.

You don't have to be an historian (I am not) to be completely dumbfounded by the suggestion that it would be useful to ignore the actual reasons why '"larger numbers of people of partial African ancestry did not move into the general "white" population."'

And professional racist Steve Sailer, whose career has also been supported by Pinker had the same take on the Zimmer article:
Actually, as the genome data has gotten more precise in the 21st Century, the big surprise has been how white are American whites. 
Slavery. Anti-misegenation laws. The one-drop rule. It's so obvious these are the reasons that the "white" population is so white. And Sailer and Khan are perfectly aware of those things.

But Khan and Sailer's responses show how incredibly blinded is the race science project to reality, so certain they are that DNA testing is the real story of "race."

So I knew eventually I would find a member of the IDW criticizing the 1619 project and turns out it's Charles Murray shown in the tweet at the top of this post. Charles Murray, who wrote The Bell Curve, the book most beloved by race science promoters, which claims that black people have failed to thrive in part due to genetic inferiority, and which was written using research paid for by the white supremacist Pioneer Fund, scoffs at the idea racism has been a defining issue since the founding of the USA.

Murray's career is dependent on the claim of black genetic inferiority ~ and the related libertarian-friendly claim that therefore we shouldn't have a social safety net because the poor are just too stupid to help. So the 1619 project is highly offensive to him and right-wing racists, since it is full of evidence of systemic racism from before the founding of the United States.

But it's OK if Murray and his race science friends suffer from obtuseness, deliberate or otherwise. Rigor is not expected of right-wing intellectuals. Murray's career has been supported by the American Enterprise Institute which has long had Koch support. A phenomenon known as wingnut welfare.

The American Enterprise Institute loves The Bell Curve so much that in 2014 they celebrated the 20th anniversary of its publication by interviewing Charles Murray. In the interview Murray reveals that not only does he believe that some of the reason for black underachievement is genetic, he believes that science will prove him right very soon:
On this score, the roof is about to crash in on those who insist on a purely environmental explanation of all sorts of ethnic differences, not just intelligence. Since the decoding of the genome, it has been securely established that race is not a social construct, evolution continued long after humans left Africa along different paths in different parts of the world, and recent evolution involves cognitive as well as physiological functioning.
The best summary of the evidence is found in the early chapters of Nicholas Wade’s recent book, “A Troublesome Inheritance.” We’re not talking about another 20 years before the purely environmental position is discredited, but probably less than a decade. What happens when a linchpin of political correctness becomes scientifically untenable? It should be interesting to watch. I confess to a problem with schadenfreude.
But the Zimmer article, which so annoyed Khan and Sailer, was published two months after Murray made that statement, and demonstrated that genetic testing has made it clearer than ever that race is a social construct. Confirmed by the fact that race science proponents in Quillette can't or won't define which races exist, biologically.

And I think that birth order studies demonstrate that the environmental position is absolutely confirmed - but proponents of race science live inside a right-wing funded bubble and don't have to address evidence that is contrary to what they believe.

You can thank the largess of the Kochs and other plutocrats for that.

And of course many members of the IDW have benefitted from plutocrat support and will no doubt continue to do so.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Charles Koch is still alive

I first got the news that David Koch died via the Twitter account of Jane Mayer, author of many New Yorker articles about the Kochs.

But as the NYTimes obituary makes clear, the most pernicious of the Koch brothers is Charles.

And of course the Kochs have heirs.
“David is more of a philanthropist in the classic sense of the word,” Mr. Schulman, the Koch biographer, said in a “Fresh Air” interview on NPR in 2014. “He funds medical research, science; he funds the arts. Charles’ lifelong mission has been to change the political culture and mainstream libertarian ideas.”
So the various members of the IDW who have taken Koch money including Candace Owens, Charlie Kirk, Charles Murray, Christina Hoff Sommers, Ben Shapiro and Steven Pinker don't have to worry.

Mayer recently reviewed a book which makes it clear that should humanity survive the effects of climate change, the Kochs, and especially Charles, will be known as people who did the most harm, personally, to the planet Earth.

From Mayer's review:
Because the Kochs opposed the candidacy of Donald Trump, in 2016, many have assumed that they are antagonistic to the Trump Administration. To the contrary, Leonard writes, with the help of allies such as Vice-President Mike Pence, “the politics that the Kochs stoked in 2010 became the policies that Trump enacted in 2017.” Whether announcing his intention to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, placing shills from the oil and coal industries at the head of federal energy and environmental departments, or slashing taxes on corporations and the ultra-wealthy, Trump has delivered for the Kochs. “Kochland” quotes Charles Koch telling his allied political donors, in 2018, “We’ve made more progress in the last five years than I had in the previous fifty.”

Monday, August 19, 2019

Steven Pinker: "Jews, Genes and Intelligence"

I will be posting my interview with anthropologist R. Brian Ferguson very soon (finally) but while researching I found a recording, posted seven years ago on Youtube, of a talk Pinker gave to the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research on the paper Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence (NHAI), a paper which Ferguson debunked in his paper How Jews Became Smart: Anti-"Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence".

Pinker's talk, entitled "Jews, Genes and Intelligence" reveals, not surprisingly that Pinker on the whole thinks it is likely that Ashkenazi Jews are intellectually superior, genetically, per the NHAI theory.

At the top of the lecture Noah Feldman explicitly warns the audience not to record the talk, and obviously somebody did anyway, but I expect the recordings - posted by at least two separate Youtube accounts by apparent fans of Pinker - to be removed from Youtube any day.

So I have the transcript here.

The video of the talk was posted in four parts because, I assume, when it was posted Youtube had a ten-minute maximum length on uploaded videos.

Ferguson discusses the NHAI theory and Pinker's boosting of the untested theory in the interview which I will post. Very soon.

And to nobody's surprise, Richard Lynn also jumped on the NHAI speculation to bolster his claims about race and IQ, in a talk posted on Youtube.

The transcript is after the cut.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The NYTimes 1619 Project and its critics

The New York Times is running a much-needed series on the history of African Americans since the introduction of slavery to North America in 1619. It begins:
In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the British colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed. In the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.
The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

One of the most important issues, and one that this blog has addressed a few times is the underreported and historically ignored theft of the wealth accumulated, often through heroic effort, by the formerly enslaved people. 

That issue is addressed in the 1619 series in the article  A vast wealth gap, driven by segregation, redlining, evictions and exclusion, separates black and white America. The opening paragraphs of the article add more to my understanding of how much African American economic failure to thrive is due to terrorism:

Elmore Bolling, whose brothers called him Buddy, was a kind of one-man economy in Lowndesboro, Ala. He leased a plantation, where he had a general store with a gas station out front and a catering business; he grew cotton, corn and sugar cane. He also owned a small fleet of trucks that ran livestock and made deliveries between Lowndesboro and Montgomery. At his peak, Bolling employed as many as 40 people, all of them black like him. 
One December day in 1947, a group of white men showed up along a stretch of Highway 80 just yards from Bolling’s home and store, where he lived with his wife, Bertha Mae, and their seven young children. The men confronted him on a section of road he had helped lay and shot him seven times — six times with a pistol and once with a shotgun blast to the back. His family rushed from the store to find him lying dead in a ditch. 
The shooters didn’t even cover their faces; they didn’t need to. Everyone knew who had done it and why. “He was too successful to be a Negro,” someone who knew Bolling told a newspaper at the time. When Bolling was killed, his family estimates he had as much as $40,000 in the bank and more than $5,000 in assets, about $500,000 in today’s dollars. But within months of his murder nearly all of it would be gone. White creditors and people posing as creditors took the money the family got from the sale of their trucks and cattle. They even staked claims on what was left of the family’s savings. The jobs that he provided were gone, too. Almost overnight the Bollings went from prosperity to poverty. Bertha Mae found work at a dry cleaner. The older children dropped out of school to help support the family. Within two years, the Bollings fled Lowndes County, fearing for their lives.

THIS is the history of African Americans that people like Charles Murray, Razib Khan, Sam Harris, Bo Winegard and the rest of the race science gang seek to ignore or deny in order to keep the race science project going - the project most explicitly designed to claim that African Americans are often poor or in jail because of innate evolutionarily endowed traits of lesser intelligence and greater criminality explained most bluntly by "conservative criminology" professor of the University of Cincinnati, John Paul Wright.

Quillette hasn't yet complained about the 1619 project, nor have any of the IDWs that I have seen, but others certainly have, like the once relevant Newt Gingrich. Molly Jong-Fast (daughter of author Erica Jong) had a good response.

Christian extremist and Trump-loving Erick Erickson had a predictably stupid tweet. NYTimes columnist Jamelle Bouie who wrote an excellent piece for the project, What the Reactionary Politics of 2019 Owe to Slavery had a good response.

Bouie also had a good response to Benjamin Weingarten, senior editor of The Federalist (where do they get their money from?) and Atlantic staff writer Adam Serwer (author of one of the most important pieces of the Trump era, "The Cruelty is the Point") has a good response to the Koch-funded and founded Cato Institute employee Ilya Shapiro.

If anybody from Quillette or the IDW complains about the 1619 project, I will post it, of course.

The creator of the project is Nicole Hannah-Jones, and I'm proud to say I've been following her on Twitter via @Pinkerite1 since starting the account.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Quillette and the sleazy career of Andy Ngo

I'm not a fan of Jacobin, with its tendency to bash feminism and its support for the career of feminist-hating Doug Henwood.

But this Jacobin article has a good summation of the sleazy career of Andy Ngo, including his promotion by Quillette:
For his next act, Ngo joined Quillette where he is a “sub-editor.” Described as the voice of the intellectual dark web, Quillette published a report on May 29 claiming fifteen reporters who cover the far right were really “Antifa journalists.” According to the Columbia Journalism Review, the article by “estabished right-wing troll,” Eoin Lenihan, was picked up by the neo-Nazi Stormfront website within a day, and a day after that a video was uploaded to YouTube containing “imagery of mass shooters intercut with images of the [Antifa] reporters.” The names of the journalists were put on a list called “Sunset the Media,” while the video ends with a notorious neo-Nazi saying he won’t “disown” anyone who kills the reporters. 
Two journalists, including Shane Burley, wrote of the unnerving effect of being put on a Neo-Nazi death list. Another targeted journalist wrote that Quillette had crossed the line from being merely reactionary to “reckless endangerment” and bluntly stated that its list “could’ve gotten me killed.”

It's likely that Andy Ngo and Trump's reelection campaign will engage in some ratfucking in Portland today.