Featured Post

The Brian Ferguson Interview

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

Sunday, December 1, 2019

How to do race science part 1

Pinkerite is not a scientist. But that's OK because you don't have to be a scientist to do race science because it's not actually science, in spite of it being promoted as science by the Intellectual Dark Web via Quillette.

As I keep trying to tell the various philosophers, academics, biologists etc. that I follow/follow me on Twitter, if there's one thing you can say about race science is that it's incredibly lazy. It takes race ideas dreamed up primarily in the 19th century and uses them as a basis on which to tack poorly thought-out claims about 21st century life.

The highfalutin' scientific literates on Twitter are constantly trying to talk actual science with race science proponents and that inevitably leads to the real scientists talking past the race science proponents, while giving race science proponents the flattering but mistaken impression they are doing actual science. 

For example, as PZ Myers explained so well, hereditarianism (an umbrella term I am using to cover both evolutionary psychology and race science) doesn't use all of evolutionary theory, but rather only one of its four mechanisms, "adaptation."

So biological scientists and race science proponents don't mean the same thing by the term "evolution" since race science only includes 25% of evolutionary theory.

Which means that "evolutionary psychology" is mis-named. It should actually be called something like "strict-adaptationist psychology."

Stephen Jay Gould critiqued the evolutionary psychology over-use of adaptation in his argument with Steven Pinker in 1997 in an exchange of letters in the New York Review of Books.

Hereditarians believe virtually every facet of human culture is a genetic adaptation. This is so extreme that someone claiming on Twitter to be physicist Allessandro Strumia (who became notorious thanks to his misogyny) insists that like physics, the reason that men dominate wine production is because women have evolved to be less interested in wine production.


I suspect it really is Strumia but I have no way to prove that for certain. If it really is him, his belief that women's career choices are genetic, uninfluenced by patriarchy is even more absurd since he comes from Italy which has some of the most patriarchal attitudes towards working women in Europe.

So last week I got into an argument on Twitter with a race science proponent. The argument started when someone pointed out that IQ scores in the United State vary by state. I immediately thought of what race science proponents would claim, since studying them for several years has taught me all too well how they think.

I knew they would claim that the reason for the difference was the percentage of African Americans in the population - the entire raison d'ĂȘtre of race science is to claim black people are innately inferior to all other kinds of people. One of their major hypotheses for this is Northern Superiority. Which is easy enough to poke holes in by me, a non-scientist and antagonize Steve Sailer, leading race science proponent and also not a scientist, in the process.

Now you may think my characterization of race science thought processes sounds unfairly simplistic. But no, it is not unfair as this race science proponent demonstrated in the middle of the discussion.



Now this aeglmu is an anonymous Twitter rando and while she clearly has faith in the hereditarian view of human IQ she also switches to weak pinkerism with the "at least partly explain" bit.

For as Ben and Bo Winegard, the Quillette race science twins demonstrated in their strong pinkerism  "A Tale of Two Bell Curves" the main line of hereditarian thought holds that the Black-White IQ score gap  is exclusively genetic. I can't see how this passage from the piece can be interpreted any other way:
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. 
The Winegards completely rule out all environmental variables. And the Winegard article was approved and linked-to by major IDW hereditarians Steven Pinker and Sam Harris.

So based on the loose and lazy intellectual guidelines of race science, Pinkerite attempted race science on Twitter. I will share that in the next post, How to do race science part 2.