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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Response to "A Tale of Two Bell Curves" ~ Part 2

Unlike Pinker and Coyne, the HBD web site -
which links to work by them,
the Winegards and Razib Khan,
claims to know exactly what race is
and which races exist



Originally posted on my personal blog January 21, 2018

For my discussion of the Winegard brothers' Quillette article about the Bell Curve I excerpted the section concerning the racial component of intelligence. What I want to do in this blog post is address the sources the Winegards linked in that excerpt.

Please note that in my opinion the Winegards failed to demonstrate that "race" has any real meaning outside of the colloquial one generally used by North Americans. I will get to that issue when I review their  On the Reality of Race and the Abhorrence of Racism piece.

On to the references for their Bell Curve piece.

Here is the first paragraph that contains links from the excerpt.
Although one would not believe it from reading most mainstream articles on the topic (with the exception of William Saletan’s piece at Slate), the proposal that some intelligence differences among races are genetically caused is quite plausible. It is not our goal, here, to cover this debate exhaustively. Rather, we simply want to note that the hereditarian hypothesis is reasonable and coheres with a parsimonious view of the evolution of human populations . Whether or not it is correct is another question.

Link #1: The Saletan piece

The Saletan piece is used by the Winegards to show that at least one mainstream media contrarian is on board the belief in race-based intelligence differences. Its title is "Liberal Creationism" and was posted November 18, 2007.

What the Winegards fail to mention is that ten days later, November 28, 2007, Saletan posted an article titled "Regrets" and said this (excerpt):
...But the thing that has upset me most concerns a co-author of one of the articles I cited. In researching this subject, I focused on published data and relied on peer review and rebuttals to expose any relevant issue. As a result, I missed something I could have picked up from a simple glance at Wikipedia. 
For the past five years, J. Philippe Rushton has been president of the Pioneer Fund, an organization dedicated to "the scientific study of heredity and human differences." During this time, the fund has awarded at least $70,000 to the New Century Foundation. To get a flavor of what New Century stands for, check out its publications on crime ("Everyone knows that blacks are dangerous") and heresy ("Unless whites shake off the teachings of racial orthodoxy they will cease to be a distinct people"). New Century publishes a magazine called American Renaissance, which preaches segregation. Rushton routinely speaks at its conferences. 
I was negligent in failing to research and report this. I'm sorry. I owe you better than that.
In his 1994 review of The Bell Curve, Charles Lane discusses the connection between The Bell Curve and the Pioneer Fund:
Which brings us back to Murray and Herrnstein. They cite in their book no fewer than thirteen scholars who have benefited from Pioneer Fund grants in the last two decades—the grants total more than $4 million. Many of The Bell Curve’s sources who worked for Mankind Quarterly were also granted Pioneer money.16
But the Winegards, who don't mention the shady racist sourcing of The Bell Curve also don't mention that Saletan apologized for failing to mention the shady racist sourcing of his beliefs in racial intelligence issues.

Link #2: a parsimonious view of the evolution of human populations

In case anybody is foolish enough to buy into the Winegards presenting themselves as objective analysts of the claims in The Bell Curve, this link, used to argue "the hereditarian hypothesis is reasonable"  links to their own work Human Biological and Psychological Diversity which shows them to be firmly in the "human bio-diversity" camp.

The next paragraph contains this:
Scholars who support the hereditarian hypothesis have marshalled an impressive array of evidence to defend it. Perhaps the strongest evidence is simply that there are, as yet, no good alternative explanations.
Link #3: an impressive array of evidence to defend it

In addition to their own HBD paper, which I'm sure the Winegards feel is just as impressive, they describe another "impressive array of evidence" which turns out to be a paper THIRTY YEARS OF RESEARCH ON RACE DIFFERENCES IN COGNITIVE ABILITY written by the previously mentioned (by Saletan) Phillippe Rushton president of the racist Pioneer Fund along with equally racist Arthur Jensen who argued that programs like Head Start were doomed to fail because the genetic stupidity of those the program served. Studies have proven Jensen was wrong but you'll never hear about that from the likes of the Winegard bros.

To take the paragraph as a whole, the Wingards are claiming that racists, funded by racists making racist claims, are providing "an impressive array of evidence" to defend racist conclusions. And the strongest evidence in favor of racist explanations, they claim, is that there are "no good alternative explanations." Later on the Winegards dismiss without argument poorly-presented alternatives, but since the Winegards are already True Believers in "human bio-diversity" they have no desire to seriously consider alternative explanations. I'll get to that in the next post.

Next paragraph
Upon first encountering evidence of an IQ gap between Blacks and Whites, many immediately point to socioeconomic disparities. But researchers have long known that socioeconomic status cannot explain all of the intelligence gap. Even if researchers control for SES, the intelligence gap is only shrunk by roughly 30% (estimates vary based on the dataset used, but almost none of the datasets finds that SES accounts for the entire gap). This is excessively charitable, as well, because intelligence also causes differences in socioeconomic status, so when researchers “control for SES,” they automatically shrink some of the gap.
Link #4: socioeconomic status cannot explain all of the intelligence gap

One again, they link to the work of Arthur Jensen, The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability (Human Evolution, Behavior, and Intelligence)

Link #5: almost none of the datasets finds that SES accounts for the entire gap

This links to a piece on the Florida State University web site which you can't access without login credentials so I can't examine it, but presumably it's by Bo Winegard, the Winegard associated with FSU.

So what's the score so far? Of the five links, two are to their own work, two are to work by Jensen/Jensen & Rushton) and one is to a piece that Saletan apologized for because of a Rushton connection.

More looks at links in the next post. Don't worry, we haven't heard the last of Jensen and Rushton.