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...

Friday, December 20, 2019

The mind of a racist, part 2: Steve Sailer's fear of Pakistanis

Although the Steven Pinker tweet I shared in the previous post, The mind of a racist, part 1: Steve Sailer promoted by Steven Pinker was a year old, yesterday's tweet shows Pinker is still promoting hereditarianism.

In response to Pinker, Evolutionary Biology PhD student Kevin Bird pointed out how weak the paper is for the hereditarian point of view.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb had a stronger response.

The hereditarian belief that genetics explains virtually all aspects of human cultural behavior is well-demonstrated by Pinker's promotion of Sailer's crackpot theories about Iraqis and democracy.

David Buller demonstrated how reflexive the hereditarian explanation for human behavior is in his critique of evolutionary psychology, Adapting Minds, Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature, published in 2006.

David Buss (another big name in hereditarianism) mistakes female sexual slavery for female choice.

...in a well-documented study, the anthropologist William Irons found that, among the Turkmen of Persia, males in the wealthier half of the population left 75 percent more offspring than males in the poorer half of the population. Buss cites several studies like this as indicating that "high status in men leads directly to increased sexual access to a larger number of women," and he implies that this is due to the greater desirability of high-status men (David Buss 1999 "Evolutionary Psychology the New Science of the Mind"). 
But, among the Turkmen, women were sold by their families into marriage. The reason that higher-status males enjoyed greater reproductive success among the Turkmen is that they were able to buy wives earlier and more often than lower-status males. Other studies that clearly demonstrate a reproductive advantage for high-status males are also studies of societies or circumstances in which males "traded" in women. This isn't evidence that high-status males enjoy greater reproductive success because women find them more desirable. Indeed, it isn't evidence of female preference at all, just as the fact that many harem-holding despots produced remarkable numbers of offspring is no evidence of their desirability to women. It is only evidence that when men have power they will use it to promote their reproductive success, among other things (and that women, under such circumstances, will prefer entering a harem to suffering the dire consequences of refusal).
So here is how you do an hereditarian study:
  • Observe human social behavior 
  • Buss observes that high status Turkmen men have increased sexual access to a larger number of women.
  • Proclaim it's the result of genetics.
  • Based on his belief that adaptation controls all human behavior, Buss assumes the greater sexual access is due to women finding high status men more sexually desirable. 
  • Done.
  • Buss is done because, thanks to his belief in all-controlling adaptation, he can't be bothered to examine the lives of Turkmen women. It falls to others to point out that the Turkmen society - like many societies throughout history and even continuing into the present time (sometimes via Facebook) - force women into arranged marriages. This information will never be acknowledge by Buss, who instead publishes his work as "Evolutionary Psychology the New Science of the Mind."
The stubborn hereditarian denial of the reality of non-genetic human social arrangements is a never-ending problem in part because they pretend they don't ignore it.

For example, in a VDARE article I linked to here Sailer writes:
Q. Are global differences in IQ caused solely by genetics? 
A. No. As I wrote in VDARE.COM back in 2002: 
"A clear example of how a bad environment can hurt IQ can be seen in the IQ scores for sub-Saharan African countries...

But if you look at Sailer's actual output it is clear that he doesn't account for environment in human cultural behavior. In his Cousin Marriage Conundrum he writes about Pakistanis:
According to the leading authority on inbreeding, geneticist Alan H. Bittles of Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, “In the resident Pakistani community of some 0.5 million [in Britain] an estimated 50% to 60+% of marriages are consanguineous, with evidence that their prevalence is increasing.”
Sailer thinks the prevalence of Pakistani cousin-marriages is due to the genetic nature of Pakistanis,  which is why he believes that Pakistani cousin marriages will continue increasing in England, in spite of the fact that cultural and socio-economic conditions, especially for women are completely different in England than they are in Pakistan.

And of course he is wrong
But as I hear from some people in their teens and early twenties, that doesn't guarantee interest in cousin marriage. Attitudes are shifting. “I wouldn’t marry my cousin because I consider them like my siblings,” says Ilsa, a 17-year-old student from London. “In my opinion, it’s an option. If you want to, you can get married. It’s not like your family is going to force you. It just depends on what the person wants.”
The reason people marry their cousins in Pakistan is because their marriages are arranged. As Pakistani immigrant families, generation by generation, acclimate to the cultural practices - and most importantly, economic opportunities for women - of England, Pakistani families will have less and less power to arrange their children's marriages, and the custom will die out in England.

Arranged marriages are not the result of genetics. They are due to a complex historical, economic and infrastructural network of cause and effect. The Turkmen selling women into marriage is one form of arranged marriage. Pressuring your child to marry a cousin is another. 

The important thing about arranged marriages is that they are extremely common throughout human history. So common there's reason to believe they existed pre-history. 

This puts a serious crimp in the hereditarian claim that human social hierarchies are adaptations, a result of sexual selection. There's plenty of reason to believe that for much of human history many people, and especially women, didn't choose who they had sex - and reproduced - with, they were forced to have sex with whomever their parents chose for them, in cultures that didn't allow divorce and did not have a concept of spousal rape. 

In other words, human sexual preferences were often ignored, throughout human cultural history, in defiance of sexual-preference-adaptation theories of hereditarians.

And so hereditarians simply ignore that reality.

As Louis Menand wrote in his important review in The New Yorker of Pinker's The Blank Slate:
The insistence on deprecating the efficacy of socialization leads Pinker into absurdities that he handles with a blitheness that would be charming if his self-assurance were not so overdeveloped. He argues, for example, that democracy, the rule of law, and women's reproductive freedom are all products of evolution. The Founding Fathers understood that the ideas of power sharing and individual rights are grounded in human nature. And he quotes, with approval, the claim of two evolutionary psychologists that the "evolutionary calculus" explains why women evolved "to exert control over their own sexuality, over the terms of their relationships, and over the choice of which men are to be the fathers of their children." Now, democracy, individual rights, and women's sexual autonomy are concepts almost nowhere to be found, even in the West, before the eighteenth century. Either human beings spent ten thousand years denying their own nature by slavishly obeying the whims of the rich and powerful, cheerfully burning heretics at the stake, and arranging their daughters' marriages (which would imply a pretty effective system of socialization), or modern liberal society is largely a social construction. Which hypothesis seems more plausible?
So although Steve Sailer's overt racism is an embarrassment to the more respectable purveyors of hereditarianism like Steven Pinker and David Buss, his racism is based on the very same hereditarian logic of "deprecating the efficacy of socialization."

And Steve Sailer doesn't think that cousin-marriage is the only essential genetic trait of Pakistanis.

In a recent article for Unz, Sailer posted a tweet from ABC News that said:
Stunning scene in Pakistan as hundreds of lawyers storm a hospital, attacking doctors and staff to avenge what they said was an assault by doctors on a colleague.
Officials say three patients died when doctors had to flee the scene. https://abcn.ws/2LQfKEC 
To which Sailer responds:
You are probably thinking: “Thank God I wasn’t born in Pakistan.”
But that just proves you are racist and therefore deserve to have your country taken over by immigrants from Pakistan (population 219 million).
It's actually not racist to say "Thank God I wasn't born in Pakistan" because saying so acknowledges that the issue is socio-economic-political conditions in Pakistan.

It's Sailer's message that is racist, because the problem according to Steve Sailer is that immigrants from Pakistan could take over your country with their innate, natural-born, crazy violent ways.

This is the reality of hereditarian beliefs, no matter how much it is white-washed.

And in fact, it is the standard template for the output of Steve Sailer.

Kevin Bird recently wrote a piece called The Hereditarian Hypothesis and Scientific Racism in which he says:
Instead of Nobel Laureates and respected tenure track faculty, the new generation of race scientists on the Pioneer Fund dole are untrained post-graduates. While the campaign to promote scientific racism is losing ground in academic venues, it is still lively in online communities under monikers like “Human Biodiversity” and “Race Realism” (Saini, 2019).
But I think this is overly-optimistic. First because "biosocial criminology" has established an hereditarian beachhead in academia, as I discuss here.

And then there are people like Steve Sailer, who make a living spewing racist pseudo-science thanks to the largess of right-wing racist plutocrats, which I will talk about in The mind of a racist, part 3.