Featured Post

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

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Apologists for Quillette & Race Science

The Nation has published Donna Minkowitz's piece on Quillette Why Racists (and Liberals) Keep Writing for Quillette.

I knew it was coming because Minkowitz contacted me weeks ago to ask me about information I had posted on this site.

Overall the article covers most of the bases, although I was disappointed Minkowitz didn't mention Kevin Drum's defense, in Mother Jones, of Quillette race science as displayed in a review of Angela Saini's "Superior" in Quillette.

One of Quillette's editors Jon Kay of course denies Quillette's promotion of race science, and once again uses the Drum article to try to paint Quillette as a centrist enterprise.

I hope you're proud of yourself, Kevin Drum of Mother Jones.

Of course Pinkerite responded to Drum's piece: Yes, Kevin Drum, Quillette is defending phrenology.

The responses to Minkowitz's article demonstrated a high percentage of Quillette and race science fans are also supporters of Trump.

And then there are the allegedly liberal apologists for Quillette like Zaid Jilani.

By "non-white contributors" Jilani is referring to Coleman Hughes, kept around by Quillette to attack black people, most notably to argue against slave reparations, a move absolutely adored by rightwing media

In September of this year Hughes wrote an article in Quillette in which he attempted, I believe, to avoid the embarrassing fact of Quillette's support for race science by creating an otherwise pointless dichotomy of past-lens vs gap-lens:
The question of black progress, therefore, is less a matter of weighing the reality of progress against the reality of regress than it is a matter of looking at the same reality through two different lenses. Through one lens, progress means reducing the size of black-white racial gaps; let’s call this the gap-lens. But through another lens, progress means improving black outcomes relative to where they were in the past; let’s call this the past-lens. 
The rationale for choosing the gap-lens is this: if not for our racist history, the racial gaps we observe today would not exist. That history includes not only two and a half centuries of chattel slavery, but also the many and varied Jim Crow era policies, from school segregation to redlining, that prevented blacks from taking advantage of the American dream. To measure the width of a racial gap, this view holds, is to measure the depth of America’s failure to redress that history. What’s more, if we fail to close statistical gaps between blacks and whites, then we would be surrendering ourselves to live in a permanently racially-stratified society, a society in which—even if everyone were doing better than their parents—whites would hold more economic power than blacks in perpetuity.
The reason it is important for Hughes to claim we should stop talking about "gap-lens" - which is the difference between African American well-being and white well-being - is because per race science, the gap exists due to African American genetic inferiority.

By focusing on "past-lens" one only compares the well-being of African Americans of the past to that of African Americans at present and avoids the embarrassing fact that race science considers Claire Lehmann to be likely more intelligent by nature than Coleman Hughes.

If Hughes can get his readers to agree we shouldn't think about "gap-lens" he can avoid having to think about Quillette's race science position at all.

And Quillette's race science position is so firm it has its very own race science proponent on staff, as can be seen in Quillette's "Team" listing: Bo Winegard.

Winegard, along with his brother Ben wrote an article for Quillette that is much-beloved by members of the IDW, Sam Harris and Steven Pinker, "A Tale of Two Bell Curves" in which it is falsely claimed that critics of The Bell Curve have misrepresented The Bell Curve's hereditarian position on race and IQ.

More importantly, the article demonstrates the strict hereditarian view of race and IQ which rules out all other reasons for Black-White intelligence testing results gap except genetics. I guess we could call that gap-lens:
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.
As Minkowitz responds:
Actually, there is a wealth of data showing that better education and higher incomes lead to higher IQ scores across racial groups.
Only a fool or a race science stooge can deny that Quillette is very clearly devoted to promoting race science.

Blog Archive