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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

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Amy Harmon on race & science

Per her NYTimes bio:
Amy Harmon is a national correspondent for The New York Times, covering the intersection of science and society. 
She has won two Pulitzer Prizes, for her series The DNA Age, and as part of a team for the series “How Race Is Lived in America.”
With this background, Harmon is an excellent counter to the beliefs of "race science" proponents. She reached out to me on Twitter about my commentary on the subject, and she is at the top of my list of people to interview for the podcast, once I get that together.

Two of her most recent NYTimes pieces:
In the latter she writes:
Some people claim that there are not many black research mathematicians because African-Americans are not as intelligent as other races. These people, whom I have reported on for other stories in recent months, almost invariably use mathematical accomplishment as their yardstick for intelligence. They note that no individuals of African descent have won the Fields Medal, math’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. They lack any genetic evidence to explain the gap in average I.Q. scores between white and black Americans that they cite as the basis of their belief, or reason to think that a genetic trait would be impervious to social or educational intervention, or that high I.Q. is key to math ability, which Timothy Gowers, a 1998 Fields medalist, has attributed largely to “the capacity to become obsessed with a math problem.”
And of course "some people" are the proponents of race science. And using the Fields Medal as a signifier of racial intelligence is a problem for race science proponents since they generally tend to believe - as Linda Gottfredson a leading proponent of racial intelligence does - that East Asians are genetically more intelligent than whites (not counting Ashzkenazi Jews.) Here is Gottfredson teaming up with Canadian white supremacist Stefan Molyneux to rank "races" by intelligence.

Steven Pinker is a supporter of Linda Gottfredson.

But the Fields Medal in its history only has six recipients of East Asian ethnicities, based on names, but many more of European ancestry, even by only counting names that are unlikely to indicate Ashkenazi ancestry.

So if the Fields Medal awardees are an indicator of ethnic intelligence and East Asians are more intelligent than those of European ancestry, why wouldn't the East Asians be better represented?

But there's no real science in "race science" so it shouldn't be surprising when their specious claims turn out to be very poorly supported.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Intellectual Dark Web sites & the second string

Bari Weiss mentioned twenty-five people in her Intellectual Dark Web column, but there are plenty more, as even whoever is running this "inofficial" Intellectual Dark Web archive agrees. Although this extended circle lists people mentioned in the Weiss article. I will just include those who are not in the Weiss article, whom I like to call the second-stringers. Several of these names are new to me.

The archive includes Ezra Klein as a member which is absurd so I left him out.
  • John Anderson
  • Bishop Robert Barron 
  • Peter Boghossian 
  • Yaron Brook 
  • Steven Crowder 
  • James Damore
  • Richard Dawkins 
  • Larry Elder 
  • David Fuller 
  • Jonathan Haidt 
  • Lewis Howes 
  • Coleman Hughes 
  • Gregg Hurwitz 
  • Lawrence Lessig 
  • James Lindsay 
  • Bjorn Lomborg
  • Glenn Loury 
  • Greg Lukianoff 
  • Helen Pluckrose 
  • Gad Saad 
  • Sir Roger Scruton 
  • John Stossel 
  • Skyler Turden 
  • Jocko Willinck 
  • Akira the Don 
I would add to the list:
  • Jerry Coyne
  • David Duke
  • Niall Ferguson
  • Linda Gottfredson
  • Iona Italia
  • Jonathan Kay
  • Razib Khan
  • Ezra Levant
  • Richard Lynn
  • Gavin McInnes
  • John McWorther
  • Daphne Merkin
  • Andy Ngo
  • Steve Sailer
  • Jesse Singal
  • Richard Spencer
  • Jared Taylor
  • Bo Winegard
  • Cathy Young
  • Toby Young
Really you could add anybody who writes for Quillette to the list.

Here is another Intellectual Dark Web site with a logo and all. It lists the leaders of the IDW which includes mostly those mentioned in the Weiss article but also some of the second stringers and one mentioned nowhere else - John McWhorter - so I added him to my list.

And I found another IDW site.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Standard IDW Hypocrisy

Bo Winegard blocked me on Twitter for criticizing his support for "human biodiversity."

Bo Winegard's HBD bona fides.

Human Biological and Psychological Diversity - co-written with Ben Winegard and "biosocial criminologist" Brian Boutwell

On the Reality of Race and the Abhorrence of Racism (in Quillette) - co-written with Ben Winegard and Brian Boutwell

Friday, February 22, 2019

The soul of the Intellectual Dark Web

In March 2018 the magazine GQ published an article on one of the activities of the "intellectual dark web": free speech grifting.

The article doesn't use the term "Intellectual Dark Web" but then it was published two months before the Bari Weiss piece popularized the term. But it is full of those "renegades" mentioned in the Weiss article: Milo Yiannapoulos, David Rubin, Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson and especially Christina Hoff Sommers.

The article points out that these self-styled free speech defender are strangely silent about free speech threats from the right:
Serwer theorizes that fixation on liberal college students persists because it involves the environs of scholarly elites, gives elders the opportunity to "sneer at a younger generation," and is politically expedient for conservatives. According to FIRE, an individual-rights organization with ties to the Koch brothers, from 2000 to 2017, there were anywhere from six to 35 self-reported disinvitation attempts annually and 40 percent of them came from the right, while Heterodox Academy, an organization devoted to increasing viewpoint diversity, finds that the majority of successful disinvites came from the right, not the left. Still, libertarian website Quillette summarized these outbursts as "the psychology of progressive hostility." Pundits like to characterize online outrage and an aversion to idea diversity as a phenomenon unique to the left, largely ignoring the death threats directed at the teen Parkland survivors for speaking out against a powerful gun lobby or the conservative dictates of Sinclair Broadcasting and Fox News. Given the myopic focus on liberals, it would seem that Free Speech Grifters are not actually interested in the free exchange of ideas, per se; they are interested in liberal caricature for clicks, social-media followings, and monetization.

The most chilling part of the article is this snapshot of the compromised & corrupt soul of Christina Hoff Sommers:
At Lewis & Clark Law School, Sommers found what seems to be her favorite kind of audience: a disruptive one. Prior to the speech, activists handed out flyers labeling her "a fascist," among other hyperbolic charges familiar to anyone who has spent time on a college campus. When she attempted to give her talk, a handful of students, led by a blonde ringleader in a black "Stay Woke" jacket, disrupted it with chanting about comrades while holding up a cardboard sign that read "No Platform for Fascists." It was a Ben Shapiro wet dream. As the ringleader yelled, "Black lives matter," Sommers turned to the camera euphorically grinning from ear to ear. Here it was: the money shot.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Claire Lehmann: the poor only have themselves to blame

Unfortunately its members are not as well-educated as you would expect from an "intellectual" dark web.

The controversy makes the leap outside of Twitter:
Professional media person: Poor people have money but they just waste it on ‘benders’

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Quillette - Molyneux connections

A glance at Stefan Molyneux’s subscriber count (650,000+) on YouTube suggests that he is a charismatic, persuasive and influential individual. 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.

Quillette authors who have appeared on Stefan Molyneux's YouTube channel
  1. Kevin M. Beaver - May 2015 & May 2016
  2. Peter Boghossian - July 2012 #1July 2012 #2, October 2013,  December 2013,
  3. Brian Boutwell
  4. Richard Haier
  5. David M. Haskell
  6. Adam Perkins 
  7. Michael Shermer
  8. John Paul Wright

Guests on Stefan Molyneux's YouTube channel defended and/or promoted by Quillette

This list will be updated as more information is available.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Jerry Coyne is not really the best judge of who is a misogynist

I'm unsure of whether or not to classify Jerry Coyne as a member of the "Intellectual Dark Web" - he's not mentioned in the Bari Weiss article and he tends to avoid writing for right-wing media like Quillette, although he is a fan, but if he's not actually a member of the IDW he is certainly its biggest cheerleader.

He also appears to be Steven Pinker's publicist. Last week Coyne was sharing with the world Pinker's views on an article critical of the work of Steven Pinker (spoiler alert - Pinker & Coyne agree the criticism was bad and wrong and driven by nefarious motives) and this week he's pondering whether "New Atheism" is dead. Of course Coyne shares Pinker's thoughts with his blog audience.

Coyne shares his own thoughts:
Three articles bashing New Atheism have recently been published (here, here, and here). I already criticized the Guardian piece, and am not going to waste my time on the others. After all, we know the tropes, which have been repeated ad infinitum: New Atheism used to be a lively and going concern, then four old white men (Dennett, Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris [who’s not old]) arrogantly proclaimed themselves leaders of the movement, with at least three of those men being bigoted and/or misogynistic, as well as adherents to the alt-right (Dennett manages to escape those labels). That, goes the narrative, drove people away from New Atheism, an egress that could have been avoided if New Atheism had properly aligned itself with social justice. Now, because of the fault of its leaders and its rejection of wokeness, New Atheism is dead. 
I don’t agree with this narrative on several grounds. Dennett, Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris never proclaimed themselves “leaders of New Atheism”. They became spokespeople for atheism because they all had bestselling books and were also eloquent speakers.  They are not bigots or misogynists, though I admit that Dawkins was sometimes hamhanded in his use of Twitter.
It seems to never occur to Coyne that there's a good reason why Daniel Dennett has escaped being called bigoted and/or misogynistic - because he isn't on the record making bigoted and/or misogynistic statements.

It doesn't occur to Coyne because he doesn't know what bigoted and misogynistic statements are.

Hitchens is most famous outside of New Atheist circles as the guy who said women aren't funny. His long-time colleague at The Nation, Katha Pollitt made clear how much contempt Hitchens had for women - and he was anti-abortion too.

Dawkins is infamous as an Islamaphobe, going so far as to suggest that Christianity is superior to Islam, in spite of Christianity being, you know, a religion that also glorifies crimes against humanity in its sacred texts.
“There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death. I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.”
Richard Dawkins is old enough to remember the IRA blowing up buildings for the sake of Catholic Ireland against Protestant England.

The Christians predictably loved Dawkins comments about Christianity. Dawkins doesn't mind giving aid and comfort to Christians in exchange for bashing Islam.

It's very likely Dawkins will be remembered as much for his part in Elevatorgate as anything else. The vicious threats against Rebecca Watson from Dawkins' fanboys gives plenty of evidence of the fundamental misogyny at the heart of the "New Atheist" movement.

And then there's Sam Harris, named as a member of the IDW, along with Pinker, in the Weiss article. I have blogged about his Islamaphobia, his misogyny and his support for Charles Murray and race science

Coyne gives the whole misogynist game away when he doubts that Muslim women are able to make their own choices:
Today’s Jesus and Mo strip is a good one, particularly timely, and speaks directly to the notion of the degree to which Muslim women “choose” to be covered. When a Western Muslimah (not one in Iran or Saudi) declares that she wears the hijab “by choice,” I never accept that claim at face value. Was she brought up wearing one? Did she go to school where other girls wore them? Are her friends mostly hijabis? This whole notion of “choice” in Islamic dress needs to be examined, yet I haven’t seen a single article on it. It’s the rhino in the room.
I was brought up Catholic and sent to Catholic school and told not to use birth control. I was able to decide to quit the Catholic church and use birth control. So yeah,  if I can make decisions in spite of my upbringing, then I guess I can accept that Muslim women can make their own choices. Even if I don't agree with their choices.

If women are forced to wear something then yeah, we need to fight for their right to make their own decisions. Otherwise it's not our business.

Coyne is unable to understand why feminists in a pluralist society support Muslim women's rights to wear something that signifies their religion - even if the feminists in question don't agree with some of the things the religion says. In a free society we must accept some people will make personal choices we don't like. Coyne is not comfortable in such a society. Because he believes women who make choices he doesn't like are incapable of making their own choices.

Because Jerry Coyne is a bigot. And a misogynist.
So no, I don't think Coyne is a reliable source of who is and is not a bigot and misogynist. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Support the Southern Poverty Law Center

You can tell how effective the Southern Poverty Law Center is at opposing "race science" by how hostile members of the "Intellectual Dark Web" are towards it.

Here is Claire Lehmann urging Sam Harris to sue the SPLC for a straight-up piece of factual reportage.

The IDW is a collection of the most fragile snowflakes - as the SPLC observed Christina Hoff Sommers can't take a single line of criticism
Sommers, an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholar, took to Twitter and claimed that the SPLC “denounced” her as an “enabler of male supremacy.” She told the Weekly Standard that the SPLC was “blacklisting in place of engaging with arguments. They blacklist you, rather than try to refute you.” An email to Sommers’ assistant asking for clarification went unanswered.

And if Christina Hoff Sommers believes a thing you know her Reason Magazine and Gamergate comrade, the toxic Cathy Young, won't be far behind.

Steven Pinker, of course, is also on the record in opposition to the SLPC.  It should be noted that not only is Ayaan Hirsi Ali (named as a member of the IDW in the Bari Weiss article) famously hostile to Islam, she's married to Niall Ferguson who in 2018 created a controversy pulling a fairly typical IDW "free speech grifter" stunt:
In Spring of 2018, Professor Ferguson was involved with College Republican leaders at Stanford to oppose a Left-leaning student take over of the Cardinal Conversations initiative. In leaked emails, he was quoted as asking for opposition research on the student involved. He later apologized and resigned from the said initiative when emails were leaked revealing his involvement in the events. "I very much regret the publication of these emails. I also regret having written them," Ferguson wrote in a statement to The Daily.[118]

Maajid Nawaz managed to get a few million dollars out of the SPLC for expressing an opinion that Nawaz didn't agree with. Opinions are of course protected under the First Amendment, but Nawaz isn't American and the SPLC no doubt settled because no matter the ruling, had it gone to trial, it would have been more expensive than settling. 

McInnes’s complaint against the SPLC – posted online by his lawyer G Baron Coleman – says that that McInnes was “successfully targeted for personal and professional destruction by a self-appointed enforcer of [political] orthodoxy”.
Later, the complaint alleges that the SPLC is responsible for “the termination of Mr. McInnes’s employment, an almost complete deplatforming and defunding and subjecting him to employment discrimination based on his lawful non-employment recreational activities”.
In a statement Monday, the SPLC president, Richard Cohen, said: “To paraphrase FDR, judge us by the enemies we’ve made”, continuing: “The fact that he’s upset with SPLC tells us that we’re doing our job exposing hate and extremism. His case is meritless.”
It’s not the first time McInnes has criticized the SPLC. Last June, he told the Guardian at a New York City rally supporting Tommy Robinson, the far-right founder of the English Defence League, that the SPLC was a “pernicious group that preys on old Jewish people … (with) cultural PTSD because of what happened in world war II”.

The FBI has characterized McInnes "Proud Boys" as an extremist group:
The FBI now classifies the far-right Proud Boys as an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism”, according to a document produced by Washington state law enforcement.
The FBI’s 2018 designation of the self-confessed “western chauvinist group” as extremist has not been previously made public.
The Proud Boys was founded by the Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes. McInnes has insisted that his group is not white nationalist or “alt-right” but the Proud Boys have a history of misogyny and glorifying violence. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) lists them as a hate group.

Does McInnes plan to sue the FBI too? 

McInnes was predictably welcomed back in to the far-right Canadian fold - rejoining Rebel Media, founded by scary Trudeau obsessive Ezra Levant.
And so as first reported by Mediaite, McInnes is now back at The Rebel, where he is presumably free to resume sharing his wide-ranging theories about Jews, this time as his “SJW” alter-ego “Miles.” 
I wonder if Claire Lehmann will be reuniting with Rebel Media. Here she is doing an episode with McInnes back when she was a Rebel Media regular. The Intellectual Dark Web is nothing if not extremely tight-knit. And I've no doubt other members of their little group will be tangling with SPLC in the future.

And that's why it's so important to donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center. I send them money every month.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

The undeniable conservative slant of Quillette - race and gender

Misogyny and racism often go hand-in-hand so it's no surprise that the people in Quillette who support "race science" are having a meltdown over the concept of "toxic masculinity."

I haven't investigated the issue much myself - it's clear that men are overall more violent than women, but there are enough exceptional men - like Fred Rogers for instance - that it appears there is nothing inevitable about individual men being violent.

In any case people like Christina Hoff Sommers are paid by the Koch brothers (who fund Reason magazine among other right-wing media) to defend male cultural/economic hegemony and so of course they're going to jump on this issue.

But what this article makes clear is that Quillette has by no means dropped its devotion to race science, in spite of its increasing notoriety. The introduction to the masculinity melt-down is written by John Paul Wright the most blatantly racist "biosocial criminologist."

Just as many conservatives believe the real problem in our society is anti-white bigotry, Wright believes our society is in the grip of anti-male bigotry.

It's clear that in spite of Wright's academic credentials his real passion is conservative politics, made crystal clear by his book and associated web site Conservative Criminology.

John Paul Wright is the perfect exemplar of Quillette "scholarship."

He's also possibly, if my web analytics are correct, the most devoted reader of Pinkerite so far. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

IDW vs Loving vs Virginia

To demonstrate how lazy - or mendacious - the IDW is, one need only read Razib Khan's Areo article in which he alleges that:
In the United States one hundred years ago, segregation was a fact of law, and there were black Americans and white Americans. Today, it is not a fact of law—and there are black Americans and white Americans. There was no scientific difference between then and now. There has been a historical and moral process of change and development.
 and then consider all he had to do was read Wikipedia's article on Loving v Virginia.

Khan compares the segregation system of a hundred years ago to now, which is odd considering that:
In 1967, 16 states, mainly Southern, still had anti-miscegenation laws.[6]
So fifty-two years ago sixteen states were so opposed to black and white people having children together they had laws against it, and as the Loving case demonstrated were fully prepared to enforce the law.

And you have to wonder what exactly Khan is trying to say with the statement that "there was no scientific difference between then and now" when, as Wikipedia reports:
After Loving v. Virginia, the number of interracial marriages continued to increase across the United States[39] and in the South. In Georgia, for instance, the number of interracial marriages increased from 21 in 1967 to 115 in 1970.[40] At the national level, 0.4% of marriages were interracial in 1960, 2.0% in 1980,[41] 12% in 2013,[42] and 16% in 2015, almost 50 years after Loving.[43]
So in other words, contrary to Khan's suggesting that the issue is "historical and moral process" in contrast to the persistence of racial categories, in fact the historical and moral process does lead to more sexual interactions - and presumably children - between people designated as "black" and those designated as "white."

And the fluidity of "race" identification is demonstrated by Mildred Loving herself:
During the trial, it seemed clear that she identified herself as black, especially as far as her own lawyer was concerned. However, upon her arrest, the police report identifies her as "Indian". She said in a 2004 interview, "I have no black ancestry. I am Indian-Rappahannock." A possible contributing factor is that it was seen at the time of her arrest as advantageous to be "anything but black". There was an ingrained history in the state of the denial of African ancestry.[8] 
How easy to counter Khan's implication that segregation was only an issue one hundred years ago.

Could Razib Khan really be that careless? Or is the article part of the IDW project to erase African American history?

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

More carelessness from Razib Khan

Razib Khan, writing for Areo, the only slightly less right-extremist race science twin of Quillette says:
Our intuitions about race are in many ways imperfectly related to the genetic realities from which they emerge. And those intuitions are embedded in the social histories of our cultures. In the United States one hundred years ago, segregation was a fact of law, and there were black Americans and white Americans. Today, it is not a fact of law—and there are black Americans and white Americans. There was no scientific difference between then and now. There has been a historical and moral process of change and development. 
The dream of the beige future obviates the need to emphasize the moral and ethical aspect of the way we organize societies—in both its urgency and its difficulty. The dream is that science and the march of history will magically make the problems of racism disappear because racial distinction will disappear.
In the first paragraph quoted above he claims there is no "scientific difference" between 1918 and 2018. Since science has so manifestly changed in a hundred years, we can probably safely throw out a perfectly legitimate reading of the sentence "There was no scientific difference between then and now."

But what can that sentence really mean? There's no genetic difference between the population who was "black" a hundred years ago, compared to now? Or that "black" and "white" as classifications haven't disappeared and therefore there is no "scientific difference"?

But before talking about that, there's the issues of Khan's claim that "one hundred years ago, segregation was a fact of law."

As Ezra Klein had to clarify to the equally careless Sam Harris:
Segregation, my mom was alive in segregation. Charles Murray was alive during segregation. We’re talking, I think, it’s within the week of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. This is not ancient history, it is recent history.
So actually the time-span of post-segregation is HALF of Khan's example. I would believe cynically that Khan deliberately said a hundred years instead of fifty years in order to bolster his claim about the rock-solid boundaries of race, but knowing Khan's work as I do, it could be simply that Khan is a bad writer and a lazy thinker. But being a recipient of wing nut welfare will do that to you.

This isn't the first time Khan has reassured his readers that racial boundaries are distinct. And we do know that Khan feels that history tells us much less than genetics when it comes to human culture.

And then there's the issue of the tenuous connection between "black" and "white" and science, never mind "scientific differences." I'll talk about that next.

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