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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Quillette, Phrenology and Biosocial Criminology

The people behind a couple of Twitter accounts I follow got together to discuss "human biodiversity" - Kevin Bird was interviewed for the "Embrace the Void" podcast.

It's an interesting discussion and you should listen to it.

But I have two objections that are related to each other - the first is that they agreed that Quillette isn't technically a pro-phrenology publication. The second, I felt they struck an overly optimistic note on the current status of "human biodiversity" in Academia.

(Also a minor correction - the Pioneer Fund predates WWII by two years.)

I've edited this exchange a little indicated by ellipses. The transcript starts with minute 54:46 of the published interview.

So if you had to predict or guess, where do you feel the human biodiversity movement is heading in ten years or so...
So I imagine there's still going to be people making claims based on whatever the new techology is, it's pretty much been around since Galton in the early 20th century and since the eugenics movement was really popular and widespread. And the only thing that's making me hopeful is the group is losing legitimate figureheads because the rest of mainstream science is moving without them, it's moving past their ideas. Francis Galton was a hugely impactful field-changing scientist and he was a racist and a eugenicist, like through and through. Then you fast forward -
That happens you know.
Eugenics really phased out of popularity after WWII for very obvious and understandable and valid reasons. And it resurged again after people who were previously racist and eugenicist were no longer in the limelight and so they started forming shadow organizations like the Pioneer Fund and they found people like Richard Lynn and J. Phillippe Rushton and Linda Gottfredson and they started creating a new race science factory with really prominent psychologists...
(discussion of "Superior" review in Quillette by Bo Winegard and Noah Carl)

...wasn't that the article where they mention craniometrics?
That's the one that got everybody to call Quillette "Phrenology Magazine," which is perfect.
Which is technically not accurate...
...Crainiometry was a methodology used for phrenology and inferences made from phrenology but they are not isomorphic things. I still think that calling them phrenologists is true in spirit and so I hold steadfast to doing it but literally it is inaccurate...
...what's happened now is there is no-one with the same legitimacy and power in the field that Galton had or that Richard Lynn had or Arthur Jensen, as time has moved on and as the rest of the fields of science related to these questions have recognized them to be lacking in evidence and justification it has become less popular and less credible people are the figureheads of the movement and so I hope that in a couple of decades there are not people with the reputation in the field who are also spearheading these sort of race science movements like there have been in the past. It's already largely fizzling out within Academia and so once that happens it's a different ballgame the same way as dealing with creationist and climate change deniers and anti-vaxxers is different because they're not actively infiltrating Academia to produce research in align - like formal Academic reputable research...  
I've previously written that in fact it is accurate to claim Quillette supports phrenology, they published a defense of phrenology by Samuel Forster, at the time a criminology undergraduate and who now edits a magazine called Banter, which appears to be a member of the Quillette media family, featuring an interview with grifter James Lindsay, and Areo editor Iona Italia.

In the article Forster makes the connection between phrenology and "biosocial criminology," but he isn't the only one. I recently found a thesis called Biosocial Criminology Versus the Constitution by Karen E. Balter for her Masters in Criminology at Regis University, a Catholic college in Denver. 

In spite of the title, Balter is very much in favor of biosocial criminology, and she is clearly influenced by the leading proponents of biosocial criminology, citing people like Kevin Beaver, Brian Boutwell and yes, John Paul Wright many times. 

As always with biosocial criminologists, her concern is political correctness and she mentions the Lawrence Summers controversy:
Ultimately, Summers resigned. There were various reasons for his action. One reason for his departure revolved around what he said in that speech and the media’s interpretation that Summers was sexist. His comments were based on recognized academic research that supported what he said. However, Beaver and Nedelec (2015) explain that his delivery could have been less callous, and that he could have offered statements that qualified his position. The debate continues, and history provides an explanation.
The Summers controversy had nothing to do with criminology but rather with Summers' hereditarian position that women's brains are innately inferior to men's brains when it comes to STEM subjects. What connects the Summers incident with the concerns of biosocial criminologists is getting their hereditarian message across with less controversy - "less callous."

As with the Forster article in Quillette, Balter finds fault with Lombroso not because she has a problem with phrenology but because Lombroso gave it a bad reputation and she even presents an example of other critics (besides me) who believe this to be true of biosocial criminologists:
The 21st century finds Carrier and Walby (2014) claiming that “Lombroso’s legacy is typically that of embarrassed and patronizing heirs” (p. 14). Biosocial criminologists, according to Carrier and Walby, leave behind atavistic determinism and replace it with what appears to be a more acceptable picture of the same. In other words, today’s biosocial criminologists simply changed the vernacular contained in their research to what they call biopathologization [sic]; everything is a biological disease process.
And Balter admits:
Biocriminology owes its earliest roots to phrenology through its use of biology to explain social behaviors (sociobiology), selective behavior (evolutionary criminology), and the effect of environment on behavior (Rafter et al., 2016).
It's not surprising that a concern of biosocial criminologists is inventing ways to make their positions more palatable. "Human biodiversity" has found a comfortable niche in Academia through Biosocial Criminology and as the title of the Balter thesis makes clear, they know eventually the issue will come to whether the laws of the United States will accept the argument of Biosocial Criminology that its version of phrenology - not head bumps but skin color - is a valid methodology to determine who is likely to have a biologically-endowed inclination to commit crimes. 

What the Larry Summers hereditarian pity parties never mention is that three years after Summers resigned from the Harvard presidency he joined the Obama administration. Poor Larry Summers, destroyed by political correctness.

And Kevin M. Beaver does not seem to have suffered from his phrenology-rooted beliefs. He is currently doing very well as the Judith Rich Harris Professor of Criminology · Director, Distance Learning Program at Florida State University College of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

And in the latest book listed on his FSU page, Advancing Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy, published by the very respectable Routledge, Beaver, with Joseph A. Schwarz writes in the chapter "The utility of findings from biosocial research for public policy":
The biosocial perspective has quickly become one of the leading areas of research within the field of criminology. During the past decade, there has been a tremendous amount of scholarship examining the various ways in which biosocial factors are associated with criminal involvement, delinquency, criminogenic traits and other forms of antisocial behavior. Despite the vast amount of biological research produced over a relatively short period of time, there remains significant concerns regarding this line of inquiry. Of all the criticisms leveled against biosocial research, perhaps those dealing with public policy implications have been the most acrimonious and tenacious. Critics can often be heard arguing that biosocial findings will inevitably lead to a new eugenics movement, that they will justify the use of even more punitive sanctions, and that they will shift attention away from treatment and rehabilitation to harsher forms of incarceration and punishment (Beaver 2013). Following this line of reasoning, biosocial studies, and those scholars conducting such research are either knowingly or unknowingly advocating for the implementation of oppressive policies designed to subjugate criminal offenders.

These critiques regarding the policies that could stem form biosocial research, however, are largely unfounded and likely to originate from a lack of understanding of the biosocial perspective and a misperception regarding the meaning of biosocial findings...
John Paul Wright is cited many times in this book. And Beaver edited a book, Biosocial Criminology: New Directions in Theory and Research in which Wright says:
Page 149:...Areas afflicted by crime and other social pathologies are more frequently black than white, and even less frequently Oriental. Part of the reason for these visible and dramatic differences may have to do with the differential abilities of races to organize socially.

Page 150: From the available data it would seem ludicrous to argue that "race" is a construct devoid of a biological or evolutionary backdrop. That evolutionary forces have produced biological variance across races is now scientifically undeniable. That many of the characteristics that define races appear to be universal and time stable is also undeniable. Evolution can produce many forms of adaptations, but it cannot produce equality.
The connection between race and criminal behavior is clearly complex and involves a range of historical, social, psychological and individual variables. Evolution however, provides a powerful mechanism to understand the development of human races and the distribution of traits and behaviors within and across races. It helps explain why races would appear and under what conditions races would appear. It helps to explain why certain traits would be beneficial and why these traits such as higher IQ, would be unequally distributed across races. Moreover evolutionary theory helps explain why race-based patterns of behavior are universal, such as black over-involvement in crime. No other paradigm organizes these patterns better. No other paradigm explains these inconvenient truths.
So it's rich that Beaver and Schwarz would claim that critics have a misguided understanding of the "biosocial perspective" - thanks to Wright, and Beaver himself for including Wright's chapter on the "Inconvenient Truth" of African American criminality in the book he edited, the world can see exactly how racist the biosocial perspective is.

Beaver understands exactly how extreme his positions are. But Beaver's delivery is "less callous" than Wright's even when Beaver appears, twice, on the YouTube channel of white supremacist Stefan Molyneux to promote his biosocial criminology theories to a very receptive Molyneux.

It should be no surprise that Linda Gottfredson and Charles Murray are also cited in the Advancing Criminology book. Beaver is a fan of The Bell Curve as he recounts in his recruitment narrative in the introduction to The Nurture Versus Biosocial Debate in Criminology: On the Origins of Criminal Behavior and Criminality:
One of the key discussion points that repeatedly emerges when talking with biosocial scholars is how they converted to the biosocial perspective. Take, for example, the experiences of two of us (Boutwell and Barnes). Perhaps most fortuitous was that Beaver was a new faculty member - already deeply enmeshed in the biosocial perspective - when Brian Boutwell and J. C. Barnes arrived at Florida University (FSU) for their graduate studies. Like most students, they entered into the program with very little background in biology, genetics and evolutionary psychology. Boutwell completed his doctoral training in criminology. Barnes studies criminology and criminal justice, also receiving a doctorate in criminology. Our exposure, though, was to the same concepts, theories, and ideas that most of our colleagues experienced in their graduate and undergraduate training in various sociology, political science, and criminology/criminal justice programs. How, then, did we arrive at our current stance that biosocial research is perhaps the most appropriate method for studying human behavior?

Boutwell’s conversion to biosocial science occurred during his first semester in graduate school at FSU. Many of the graduate students elected to enroll in a class known as Proseminar. In the course, a different faculty member would lecture each week regarding his or her particular substantive area of research, offering the students a broad overview of what the faculty as a whole was doing within the college. It was intended, in many ways, to jump start potential mentoring relationships between new students and current faculty. Each week, following the lecture, a group-based reaction paper was due, which included a general response to the topic of that week's presentation. Brian's group was assigned to write a reaction paper to the lecture given by Kevin Beaver. That week, Kevin discussed the broad strokes of biosocial research, offering a very general overview of the basic concepts and ideas. The reaction paper, interestingly enough, expressed concern and reservation regarding the dangers and moral questionability of biosocial research. On further reflection, however, Brian felt somewhat guilty about this incorrigible stance on a body of research he knew nothing about; he sought Beaver out for a further conversation. That conversation blossomed into a broader discussion, which eventually led to collaboration, publication, and ultimately a mentoring relationship that continues to this day (Boutwell & Beaver, 2008).

Barnes' conversion to biosocial research involved far less resistance. He enrolled in FSU's doctoral program via the University of South Carolina's (USC) Master's program. Though he was not attending FSU with the intention of becoming a biosocial scholar, he was introduced to Kevin during his first semester and quickly developed a mentor-mentee relationship. Early discussions between Beaver and Barnes were not particularly "biosocial"but more broadly concerned current theoretical explanations of antisocial behavior. At some point J. C. and Kevin conjured up a paper idea, which J. C. was to take the lead on. The paper required a brief discussion of genetic factors related to human behavior. J. C., recalling a lecture from his time at USC, pulled his notes from a filing cabinet and was surprised to find that he had taken extensive notes on the subject and had even written in the margins of several papers comments such as "this is the type of research I want to do."

Within a year of each other, Boutwell and Barnse because immersed in the work of behavior geneticists, psychiatrists, molecular geneticists, developmental psychologists, neuroscientists, and biologists. Terrie Moffatt and Avshalom Caspi's work, for instance, revealed the intimate connection between environment and genotype, and how ignoring either one produces an incomplete picture of human development. Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, along with other eminent scholars like Richard Lynn, Hans Eysenck, and Linda Gottfredson, revealed the far-reaching importance for traits like human intelligence on a host of outcomes that criminologists and sociologists spend great deal of time trying to understand. The writing of Judith Rich Harris, perhaps one of the most important yet least appreciated of child developmentalists ever, shook many of their closely guarded beliefs about the role of parenting in child development. And of course, the writings of Charles Darwin illustrated in a broad sense what true science should look like - unashamedly based in fact, carefully constructed, and logically assembled in a testable and falsifiable manner. The list could go on. Ultimately, the evidence for Brian and J. C. became too overwhelming. Human behavior was a product of biology and the environment. In some cases, biology appeared to matter more, and in some cases it appears to matter less. But in no instance was there a complete irrelevance for either biology of the environment when studying human behavior. Both are intimately intertwined and simply must be studied in all their interwoven complexity. For all three of us, there was no way around this fact. To operate in a void, only offering passing lip service to the importance of biology was simply not going to be good enough.

Oddly enough, however, it has recently become almost "fashionable" to do biosocial research. Indeed, on might argue that setting up a "debate" between sociology and biology is tantamount to erecting a straw man. As we have already mentioned, certain lines of research (like findings in molecular genetics) have yet to penetrate some of the top journals in criminology. More important, there are still areas that are staunchly off limits to biosocial scholars. Consider the experience of one of the editors while sitting in his office on campus. The door was open and a colleague entered to chat. The conversation was pleasant, until the visitor noticed a copy of Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve (1994) lying on the desk. This realization prompted an odd look from the colleague followed by a very interesting question, which we paraphrase here: "Why would you read such a book. Don't you realize that it is a dangerous piece of literature?" You might have thought a rattlesnake lay curled on the desk. The idea had never entered the editor's mind that the book, or any of its ideas, was dangerous. The editor responded by asking whether the individual had read the book. The response was a resounding "no," why spend timer reading something that simply had to be false?

Though it is a mere anecdote, the collegial conversation represents in a microcosm our experiences since converting to biosocial research. Indeed, there is evidence bearing on a larger trans int he field (Wright et al., 2008). A general rejection of biosocial research is clearly illustrated by Wright and colleagues' analysis of over 6000 criminology/criminal justice faculty members across 33 doctoral granting programs in the discipline. Of those faculty members, 12 reported any time of training or interest in the incorporation and examination of biological factors in relation to overt from of antisocial and aggressive human behavior. As Wright and colleagues note, that represents a whopping 2% of the scholars who are responsible for training the next generation of criminological scientists. If one thinks that the filed has moved past the need for a debate, perhaps one should reconsider.
So Kevin M. Beaver, a leading proponent of biosocial criminology is just chugging along with a nice career, "converting" undergraduates to the belief that black people have evolved to be more inclined to criminality than other "races." Publishing books and papers, appearing on white supremacist YouTube channels, promoting the work of Charles Murray, Linda Gottfredson and John Paul Wright and suffering no consequences at all. Not even close to the terrors endured by Larry Summers before he joined the Obama administration. Although I am surprised that Beaver hasn't been asked to join the Trump administration, his views on race would not be out of place there.

So no, I would not agree with Kevin Bird that human biodiversity has not infiltrated Academia. They are just hiding in plain sight, trying to be "less callous" in delivering their truth about African Americans, after those lapses, like publishing John Paul Wright's blunt explanation of biosocial criminology beliefs or appearing with Stefan Molyneux.

Eventually, when the biosocial criminologists have enough converts and enough funding from plutocrats, they will begin their mission: to ensure police departments are aware of the new phrenological methodology of identifying criminals by their skin color.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Apparently you can make this stuff up ~ Steven Pinker and the non-ban of James Flynn

Steven Pinker continues to aid and abet the Quillette grievance grift.

This time, Quillette published an article by well known intelligence researcher James Flynn in which he claims that his book was "banned" by his publisher.

Pinker echoes the term "banned" in this tweet.

But he wasn't actually banned. He submitted his work to Emerald Publishing in Great Britain and they rejected it and explained why:
I am contacting you in regard to your manuscript In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor. Emerald believes that its publication, in particular in the United Kingdom, would raise serious concerns. By the nature of its subject matter, the work addresses sensitive topics of race, religion, and gender. The challenging manner in which you handle these topics as author, particularly at the beginning of the work, whilst no doubt editorially powerful, increase the sensitivity and the risk of reaction and legal challenge. As a result, we have taken external legal advice on the contents of the manuscript and summarize our concerns below. 
There are two main causes of concern for Emerald. Firstly, the work could be seen to incite racial hatred and stir up religious hatred under United Kingdom law. Clearly you have no intention of promoting racism but intent can be irrelevant. For example, one test is merely whether it is “likely” that racial hatred could be stirred up as a result of the work. This is a particular difficulty given modern means of digital media expression. The potential for circulation of the more controversial passages of the manuscript online, without the wider intellectual context of the work as a whole and to a very broad audience—in a manner beyond our control—represents a material legal risk for Emerald. 
Secondly, there are many instances in the manuscript where the actions, conversations and behavior of identifiable individuals at specific named colleges are discussed in detail and at length in relation to controversial events. Given the sensitivity of the issues involved, there is both the potential for serious harm to Emerald’s reputation and the significant possibility of legal action. Substantial changes to the content and nature of the manuscript would need to be made, or Emerald would need to accept a high level of risk both reputational and legal. The practical costs and difficulty of managing any reputational or legal problems that did arise are of further concern to Emerald. 
For the reasons outlined above, it is with regret that Emerald has taken the decision not to publish your manuscript. We have not taken this decision lightly, but following senior level discussions within the organization, and with the additional benefit of specialist legal advice. I realize that this decision will come as a disappointment to you and hope that you will be able to find an alternative publisher with whom to take the work to publication.
As the rejection letter points out, the book might be actionable in the United Kingdom and they'd rather not take the legal risk of publication.

As with the James Damore controversy, Quillette is ready to take a stand against the right of a private enterprise to make its own decisions about its best interests.

And in fact James Flynn, a New Zealander, could look for another publisher, like say, in New Zealand, or even self-publish. Apparently the right to a platform, regardless of the opinion of the owner of the platform, is what "free speech" means to the right-wing Quillette and IDW gang.

The big enemy here is the government of the UK with its restrictive speech laws. But Quillette has a narrative that says that the left is oppressing free speech, especially of right-wing views, especially race science. And they are not interested in an anti-UK narrative. So instead they spun the story as a "ban" - and Steven Pinker went right along with it.

Quillette fans understand what the correct narrative is supposed to be, in spite of the facts stubbornly refusing to conform with the narrative.

What surprised me most from this little incident was all the people who had no idea Steven Pinker has a long and friendly association with Quillette:

As readers of this blog know, Pinker has been retweeting Quillette articles, especially race science articles, for years, and even published a piece in Quillette.

And of course Pinker was a booster of race science careers long before Claire Lehmann, Australian correspondent for the right-wing extremist Rebel Media, founded Quillette.

So it's clear that this Pinkerite blog is still necessary to continue letting the public know who Steven Pinker really is.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

UPDATE: Virginia reconsiders its devotion to race science

Recently Pinkerite noted the state of Virginia was being sued for requiring self-classification of race for marriage licenses.

The good news is Couples in Virginia Can Marry Without Disclosing Their Race
The attorney general said denying a marriage license for a couple’s refusal to disclose their race poses “serious constitutional questions.” New forms include a “declined to answer” option.
The article links to the list of races provided by Virginia, and it's amazing. The race science proponents of Quillette could never be so imaginative. Among the races listed are "English," "French" and "English-French," "European, " "Jackson (Jack) White " (???) , "Japanese" and "Nipponese," "Octaroon" and "Quadroon," "Red" and "Zorastrian" (the last is a religion.)

But hey, who is to say they are wrong, since the presumed experts on race, the proponents of race science have declared that you can invent any race classification system you like, as long as it works for you maaaaahn.

For the record here are some of the race science categories proposed by race science proponents:

The Winegard/Boutwell system:
Caucasians, East Asians, Africans, Native Americans, and Australian Aborigines
The Gottfredson/Molyneux system
Ashkenazi Jew, Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic, African-Americans, Africans
The system used by Kevin Beaver, J. C. Barnes , Brian B. Boutwell, J. Mitchell Miller, Rashaan A. DeShay, Norman White
White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Other
"Hispanic" is not a race in the same way that "white" and "black" are races, since Hispanics as a group have African and European and other ancestries, but in two of the "race" classification schemes above, they throw Hispanic in anyway. And the Winegard/Boutwell system mentions East Asians but not South Asians, so where does that leave people from India? Are they counting Indians as Caucasian? But yet Indians are counted as "black" in the race classification of England. Meanwhile, the Gottfredson/Molyneux system doesn't mention Native Americans at all, are they counting them in with Asians?

And amusingly, Brian Boutwell is represented by two difference systems, one which counts Hispanic as a race, and one which does not.

It's a big steaming mess, the race classification systems of race science. But as the Winegards and Boutwell make clear, you can invent a system that is useful to you. And to hell with standards, reason, coherence or empiricism.

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 00:49 
  • Chimpanzees, War & History: Are Men Born to Kill? and arguments with Jane Goodall 04:27 
  • Evolutionary Psychology v Napoleon Chagnon 09:31 
  • Pinker's List 12:21 
  • How Jews Became Smart: Anti-'Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence' 18:44 
  • 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.

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