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Monday, August 5, 2019

Taleb v Quillette/IDW

I've mentioned the antagonism between Nassim Nicholas Taleb and the Quillette/IDW gang before, but it's gotten so bad recently someone besides Pinkerite is talking about it (outside the world of Twitter.)

First Things' Joshua P. Hochschild writes:
Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Claire Lehmann seemed like natural allies: Both are contrarian, entrepreneurial free thinkers. But recently, Taleb started calling Lehmann names on Twitter. 
Lehmann had defended behavioral genetics, especially claims about “intelligence”: that it is measured by IQ testing, is genetically based, and correlates with success in life. Taleb has extensively criticized all three claims—they exhibit some of his core themes: misuse of statistics and the difficulty of prediction in complex systems—and now he warned Lehmann to distance herself from the fraudulent field. 
In addition to empirical and mathematical problems, behavioral genetics has a moral problem. Claims about IQ and genetics are historically associated with eugenics. In a culture where social science has outsize influence on public policy—another core Talebian theme—attempts to treat as empirical fact a “racial IQ gap” explainable by genetics seem to imply a ranking of races, a harmful rift in the human family.
Taleb isn't only going after Lehmann, although she richly deserves criticism for her support of race science. He's also insulted Pinker and Sam Harris. I'm really enjoying it.

Meanwhile this Twitterer thinks the conflict has lost Quillette Patreon patrons. But I have no fear that right-wing plutocrats and organizations will step in to take up the slack.

But perhaps this tweet, published on August 3, is the reason that Pinker was recruited to shill for Quillette on August 4.