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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

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Malcolm Gladwell: Good Blacks, Bad Blacks

In 1997 Malcolm Gladwell discussed the phenomenon of Jamaican blacks in New York being contrasted favorably for their work ethic to African Americans. The phenomenon demonstrates how much cultural conditions influence the ways people are perceived and how they act.

Gladwell published his thoughts in the New Yorker and then he read an excerpt for This American Life which you can listen to here.

The excerpt ends:
There must be people in Toronto just like (Gladwell’s Jamaican cousin and her husband) Rosie and Noel with the same attitudes and aspirations, who want to live in a neighborhood as nice as Argyle Avenue, who want to build a new garage and renovate their basement, and set up their own business downstairs. But it’s not completely up to them, is it? What has happened to Jamaicans here is not the end of racism, or even the beginning of the end of racism, but an accident of history and geography. In America, there is someone else to despise. In Canada there is not. In the new racism, as in the old, somebody always has to be the nigger.

The black slaves brought to Jamaica were from the same ethnic groups as those brought to the US.

Clearly being black does not make you more criminal or stupid than other "races" although that is exactly the view supported by people like John Paul Wright, professor in the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati College of Education Criminal Justice and Human Services, and director of the graduate program in criminal justice there.

I recently found Wright's Wikipedia page, which had no mention of Wright's views on race even though he was briefly famous as the author of a study used by Trump administration Education Secretary Betsy Devos.

I fixed the Wikipedia entry. But I fully expect someone to come along and white-wash it. I will report about that here when it happens.

Pinkerite has discussed Gladwell's conflict with Steven Pinker which took place in 2009. Pinker reviewed Gladwell's book "What the Dog Saw" and argued with some of Gladwell's claims by using professional racist Steve Sailer as his source for statistics.

Race science promoters refuse to acknowledge such clear-cut evidence against the notion that race is biological rather than cultural. And they are not asked to acknowledge it. Race science promoters go along making claims which are rarely given critical examination because race science promoters are mostly ignored and that's how they keep getting away with promoting their racist views, as John Paul Wright does as a professor and director at the University of Cincinnati.

There is a whole network of biosocial criminologists promoting race theories of criminality. Eventually some journalist will wake up and do an article about them and I fully expect the people at the University of Cincinnati responsible for hiring Wright to express complete surprise over his views. Whether they knew about them or not.

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Guardian has Michael Shermer's number

The Guardian reviewed Michael Shermer's recent collection of Deep Thoughts and pointed out...
Pick up a book, any book. Is it dedicated to “my friends Christopher Hitchens and Steven Pinker, peerless champions of liberty”? Does it have cover puffs by Jordan Peterson and Pinker? Do the chapter headings refer to many alpha men and “controversial intellectuals” (Richard Dawkins, David Hume, David Irving, Hitchens, and Peterson again) but not a single female? 
Is the text peppered with fond reminiscences of boozing with Hitch et al on the global conference circuit? By now you will be getting a strong whiff of a distinctive, testosterone-filled musk. Yes, you’ve wandered into the habitat of that fearless, self-assured celebrity creature: the ageing, raging, white, male, “scientific” truthteller.
It's hard to select a most obnoxious member of the Intellectual Dark Web, but Shermer is certainly in the running, calling a critic of Steven Pinker a "cockroach" for daring to accurately criticize Pinker for misrepresenting the words of others for his own ends.

But if Shermer had considered any woman good enough to mention in his chapter headings it would probably have been Camille Paglia.

Paglia doesn't only hate feminists, although of course she does, she also has utter contempt for women as a group, which is why so many members of the Intellectual Dark Web adore her.

They especially love her when she says things like this:

You really cannot over-estimate how much the Intellectual Dark Web hates women.

Paglia also has a soft spot for pedophilia which is why NAMBLA is proud to quote her on its web site.

Shermer certainly loves her.

Also as The Guardian notes in its review:
For many years now, as the Washington Post and other reputable media outlets have reported, women have been coming forward with claims of sexual harassment and assault by Shermer. He has never been charged with any offences and he denies the allegation. Recently, some of his public speaking engagements have been cancelled as a result. A few months ago, Scientific American discontinued his longstanding column for the magazine. 
Michael Shermer has nothing to do with science so it's surprising they gave him a column in the first place. Like all members of the IDW he is a right-wing political operative attempting to use "science" to claim that women and African Americans have evolved to be intellectually inferior to white men.

Which is why, although Camille Paglia is not named in the Bari Weiss article introducing the world to the term "Intellectual Dark Web" she is what the IDW considers a perfect exemplar of a feminist: a woman who has utter contempt for women.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Brian Ferguson on Infrastructural Determinism

I posted my interview with anthropologist Maxine Margolis recently and included a link to the book she co-edited with Martin F. Murphy, Science, Materialism and the Study of Culture.

I also interviewed anthropologist R. Brian Ferguson last year, and he has a chapter in the Margolis/Murphy book called Infrastructural Determinism, which he has posted on the Academia web site and which can be read in PDF format here.

Infrastructural determinism is the most important concept of cultural materialism, a research strategy most prominently championed by anthropologist Marvin Harris. It is summed up very nicely by Ferguson in his chapter:
The principle of infrastructural determinism begins with a simple premise: the physical world conforms to physical laws that must be accommodated by a society's infrastructural organization. This interface with nature is what gives the infrastructure causal priority within socio-cultural systems. In simplified form, the principle of infrastructural determinism holds that changes in the infrastructure probabilistically determine changes in the rest of the sociocultural system.
It seems common sense, and Karl Marx acknowledged the importance of the means of production, an infrastructural aspect, which Harris considered an important intellectual breakthrough. But Harris notes the infrastructural insights of Marxism were rendered virtually useless by the primacy of the quasi-mystical Hegelian dialectic inserted into Marxist theory.

Meanwhile infrastructural determinism is essentially denied by other research theories like postmodernism, which holds the primacy of thought as the determinative factor as opposed to material conditions, and which denies the possibility of objective standards; and sociobiology which holds that biological differences among humans is the causal factor in human social differences, and which is the ancestor of contemporary hereditarian theories such as evolutionary psychology and race science.

Pinkerite holds that cultural materialism is the most useful and even predictive approach to human culture. And even Steven Pinker has expressed admiration for Marvin Harris, although he apparently never really understood what Harris was saying.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Donald Trump plans to steal some of the 2.2 trillion dollars in pandemic relief

It was a foregone conclusion that Donald Trump, the biggest, filthiest crook the United States has ever seen, was going to try to steal some of the 2.2 trillion dollars in pandemic relief.

So it was no surprise to read today in the NYTimes:

Trump removes inspector general who was to oversee $2 trillion stimulus spending

The question isn't IF Donald Trump, a life-long crook, is going to steal some of it, the question is how much he's going to get away with stealing, and how much the Republican establishment - in the Congress, the executive and the judiciary and Trump's evil cult - are going to help him.

Anybody who thought Trump's evil scheming was going to pause just because there is a pandemic has not been paying attention.

Monday, April 6, 2020

The IDW does its part to help Trump

The podcast host Joe Rogan has said he will vote for Donald Trump over Joe Biden in the presidential election, should the former vice-president be the Democratic nominee. 
The comic was speaking on Friday’s edition of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, which regularly tops the iTunes chart for downloads. Rogan has nearly 6m Twitter followers, regularly appears on television as a commentator on mixed martial arts, and is seen as an influential voice with young and blue-collar male voters. 
During a conversation with guest Eric Weinstein, managing director of Thiel Capital, talk turned to the election. Weinstein, who works for the Trump-supporting tech mogul Peter Thiel, said he would not vote for Trump or Biden, the probable challenger in November.
Of course only gullible Sanders supporters ever believed Rogan sincerely want Sanders to become POTUS.

It's screamingly obvious that Trump would rather face Sanders than Biden which is why Trump was ratfucking so hard with Ukraine.

Rogan was only doing his part for the Trump team, trying to get the nomination for Sanders.

And Weinstein of course is the founder of the IDW and we see how much use he is in opposing a monster from hell like Trump - not at all.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The race crackpottery of Steve Sailer and Bo Winegard part 2


Steven Pinker has not, as far as I have been able to discover, acknowledged the existence of Steve Sailer since 2011, although prior to that Pinker promoted Sailer's career, using him to support his position in a dispute with Malcolm Gladwell and even included him in a collection of "the best" science and nature writing.

But since 2011, no acknowledgement, and I have looked. Although Steve Sailer will tell you that he has had a big influence on Pinker.

Sailer has certainly been a big influence on the thinking of "human biodiversity" proponents like Bo and Ben Winegard.

The Winegards together with the Koch-supported Johnny Anomaly, can be seen promoting "human biodiversity" in this 2020 paper, which cites many of the biggest names in scientific racism including Linda Gottfredson, J.P. Rushton and Richard Lynn. No mention of Sailer though, even to mention he coined the term human biodiversity.

The Winegards like to use a Sailer term "platonic essence" to justify how, although they are certain that a category of humans called "black" exists, and that this category has special evolved traits, at the same time they deny the existence of clear-cut races. How nice to have things both ways, without being conscious of the logical disconnect.

But Pinker, who has also promoted the work of the Winegards, has pioneered the use of equivocation as a career choice.

The Winegards, in their A Tale of Two Bell Curves, included the results of a survey of, they claim, "expert opinion" on intelligence testing and Sailer was deemed to be the most reliable source.

However there isn't much else online linking the Winegards with Sailer. Which is not to say there is no evidence of a relationship. Last June Bo Winegard can be seen having a friendly exchange with Sailer, on Twitter, about movies.

Winegard must have a pretty friendly relationship with Sailer, not only because he engages in casual conversation with him in public, but because Winegard is aware that Sailer is radioactive, since Sailer is infamous as a racist.

Sailer himself acknowledged this recently on his Unz blog (also double-dipping at VDARE) by quoting someone else saying Winegard claimed in his Quillette podcast interview:
one of the triggers to his being fired was him liking a tweet by Steve Sailer…
Pinkerite has discussed the professional racist career of Sailer, in depth in a series of posts but I kept meaning to come back to one particular thing that Sailer said, which demonstrates the utter failure of race "science" as a science.

In my post The racist logic of Steve Sailer, I quoted Sailer from a VDARE article:

Q. But I see all these black people on TV being highly entertaining. They look pretty lively upstairs. Could IQ tests be missing something? 
A. Yes. IQ test questions, by their nature, must have fixed, objective answers. If African Americans are better at subjective, improvisatory responses than they are at objective problem-solving, then IQ will fail to predict fully their patterns of success in the real world. And, indeed, we see much evidence for that every time we turn on the TV (e.g., Oprah).  
Unfortunately, there aren't nearly as many jobs being entertainment or sports superstars as black youths seem to assume, so, overall, IQ remains a quite accurate predictor outside of the tiny sliver of celebrities.
The link to support Sailer's claim that African Americans have a "subjective, improvisatory" kind of intelligence is an article by Sailer himself from 1999 in the National Post of Canada available via the Wayback Machine.

The article contains gems of science such as:
Interestingly, while blacks tend to be more masculine in physique and personality than whites or East Asians, they are often better at typically feminine, more subjective cerebral skills like verbalization, emotional intuition and expression, sense of rhythm, sense of style, improvisation, situational awareness, and mental multi-tasking. Jordan's brain, for instance, enables him to anticipate his opponent's every move while simultaneously demoralizing his foe with nonstop trash-talking. (Try it. It's not easy.)
So Steve Sailer has a problem, which he presents as a frequently asked question, about his racist theories. The problem is that many black people seem very smart indeed.

So Sailer invents a special kind of intelligence for African Americans - "subjective and improvisatory" as opposed to "objective problem-solving." And Sailer declares in his 1999 article that blacks are better at "feminine, more subjective cerebral skills."

There is no scientific evidence that the abilities Sailer claims are black and female are mutually exclusive with objective problem-solving, never mind evidence that women and black people are innately less able to solve problems.

But the absence of evidence will never stop a bigot. Steve Sailer needed a "scientific" justification so he pulled one out of his ass.

And that's where Bo Winegard gets his science - from Steve Sailer's ass.

Although we don't know for sure the reason why Marietta College declined to keep Bo Winegard on its payroll, it has every right to regard Winegard as a crank and a charlatan who dresses up 18th century beliefs and the crackpot theories of Steve Sailer as "science" to try to make a buck.

He might be able to make a buck, but like the career of Steve Sailer, he won't make a buck from people who value intellectual excellence and serious scientific work. Bo Winegard's hope for a career as a race monger rests on the right-wing racist eco-system funded by the same wealthy, cranky, old white men who have supported Steve Sailer for decades. 

And from Winegard's perspective, why not? Shilling the contents of Steve Sailer's ass as "science" sure beats working for a living.

Friday, April 3, 2020

The race crackpottery of Steve Sailer and Bo Winegard part 1

Bo Winegard, fired for "science"
The image above shows Winegard
promoting one of his favorite terms, 

"Equalitaranism" also a favorite term
of Southern segregationists.
I've been thinking about the randomness of race classification systems quite a bit lately thanks to recently posting my interview with anthropologist Maxine Margolis.

Margolis has studied Brazil for decades and discussed the race classification there, which is very different from the system in the United States. In the interview she said: 

Brazil never had a history of legal segregation, the way of defining race in Brazil is very different from the US, there is no "one drop rule" in Brazil.  
Brazil has always classified people by two things: how they looked, so that full brothers and sisters could be classified differently in terms of race, if one was lighter skinned and the other was darker skinned. So how people look. Not who their parents no less grandparents, but also socioeconomic status. Darker people tend to be poor in Brazil, lighter people tend to be wealthier in Brazil. People who are mulattos, who are mixed-race tend to be seen as lighter if they are educated and of a higher social class. 

And Brazil has many, many racial categories not two, like in the US. And there is something like forty different racial terms in use in Brazil, based on how people look, their features, their hair type, their skin color, their lip type, etc. There are all kinds of combinations.
So various cultures have various folk classifications of "race." And nobody claims folk classifications are science. Except of course the proponents of race "science."

Bo and Ben Winegard and their biosocial criminologist pal Brian Boutwell promoted folk classification schemes as useful to science, as I discussed in my post I Have a Nightmare: Steven Pinker, Quillette and the "Biological Reality of Race." They wrote in their article for Quillette, "On the Reality of Race and the Abhorrence of Racism" (my highlight):
Race, then, is not a platonic essence and racial groups are not discrete categories of humans. Instead, race is a pragmatic construct that picks out real variation in the world (which corresponds to shared ancestry) and allows people and scientists to make useful inferences.
The term "platonic essence" they most likely got from professional racist Steve Sailer. But notice that they say that "pragmatic" race categories allow people and scientists to make useful inferences.

This is the kind of sleaze you can expect from race science proponents: equating the understanding of race by non-scientists with scientists. And they expect their audience will be easily gulled by a simple conflation like that.

And considering their article was written for a Quillette audience, they were probably right.

And it must be noted that for all the Winegard brothers claiming that race is not "a platonic essence" and can be mixed and matched in any way, it does not stop them from promoting the notion that there are "black" people and that these "black" people are less intelligent, evolutionarily, than non-black people. Or per Winegard's favorite weaselly euphemism, "human population variation."

Bo Winegard is a race science stooge, so Marietta college did the right thing by declining to renew his employment with them. But there is no actual evidence that's why they declined.

An article at Inside Higher Ed, by Colleen Flaherty, basically pushes Winegard's side of the story calling on race science promoters to weigh in on poor Bo's plight, including Lee Jussim, Richard Haier and Nathan Cofnas. All Flaherty got out of Marietta was:
Marietta declined comment, saying Winegard’s case was a private personnel issue.
Which race science supporters interpreted as their free pass to claim virtually anything they wanted about the case.

Winegard published an article declaring his free speech martyrdom in the Right's favorite race science rag, Quillette. Breitbart promoted Winegard 's Quillette article and Areomagazine, (Quillette's twin sister) said:
Those progressives who consider the firing of Winegard to be a victory, might consider the precedent this sets for conservative policy makers empowered to make decisions about university funding and policy.
Ignoring the fact that what Winegard promotes is pseudoscience. But you can't outdo Rod Dreher in The American Conservative, whose article Hounding The Heretic Bo Winegard is illustrated by someone being burned at the stake.

The idea that this teratoma Bo Winegard promotes, a grotesquerie composed of 18th century belief, contemporary folklore and segregationist defenses, is actual science would be funny except that so many people on the Right believe it is science.

Or as some fool of a lawyer named Scott H. Greenfield put it: Bo Winegard, Fired for Science.

Unfortunately for Bo, the Right's plans to celebrate him as a martyred saint were foiled by the coronavirus. And by the time the pandemic is over the Right will probably have moved onto another grift.

But don't cry for Bo, he is still the house race science promoter at Quillette, and Charles Murray is pretty old. Once Murray is gone, Bo might have a chance at an even more lucrative slot in the generous world of wingnut welfare,  as resident race science promoter at the American Enterprise Institute.

The Right is willing to pay well for anybody who can put a veneer of science, no matter how transparent, on their racism.

Probably because Winegard wants to keep all avenues of potential income open, he recently wrote in Medium claiming race doesn't mean anything to him.

Unfortunately for him, you can still find him and his brother Ben in Quillette, claiming that The Bell Curve was correct about innate African American intelligence and they explicitly rule out the legacy of slavery:
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.
Bo Winegard is as sleazy as he is an intellectual failure. But to truly understand how unscientific, how shameless and how utterly stupid race science is, we must return to Steve Sailer, who has been a big influence on the Winegard brothers and their promotion of "human biodiversity" a term Sailer coined. We'll talk about Sailer in the Part 2 of the race crackpottery of Steve Sailer and Bo Winegard.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Candace Owens, Trumpian Coronavirus Denier

IDW member Candace Owens features prominently in a NYTimes article today about the right-wing approach to the Coronavirus pandemic: denialism and then when that is no longer tenable, blame the left:
Alarm, Denial, Blame: The Pro-Trump Media’s Coronavirus Distortion.
On March 10, the day that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned every American to adopt an “all hands on deck” mind-set, Ms. Owens scoffed at what she called “the mass global mental breakdown” as financial markets plunged. “People think it’s novel that 80 year olds are dying at a high rate from a flu,” she wrote, adding that when future generations study the world’s coronavirus response, “This tweet will age well.” 
Ms. Owens is the kind of influential conservative — she has a huge online audience as well as sway with the White House and top cable news and radio producers — who has been central to spreading doubt about the seriousness of the virus to Mr. Trump’s most loyal supporters. 
In an interview, Ms. Owens said she did not believe that her tweets were irresponsible. “Do I think it’s irresponsible to say the economic impact will be the legacy?” she said. “It’s not about being responsible. It’s about being honest.”

Trump and his team of monsters from hell cannot lose access to the White House soon enough for sane people in the world.

Speaking of Trump and his team, the current pandemic must have put a real crimp in Trump's plans to ratfuck the Democrats.

Way back a million years ago, in August, I posted an article called Trump is the ratfucker.

And just a month later, Trump's biggest ratfucking scheme (so far. that we know of.) was revealed when his quid pro quo attempt with Ukraine hit the news on September 25. Trump Pressed Ukraine’s President to Investigate Democrats as ‘a Favor.'

Now I don't doubt that Trump is planning more ratfucking attempts. That's who Trump is. You can't expect Trump to do anything without cheating. He's cheated his way through life - when he wasn't just handed advantages - and he's not about to stop cheating now.

I still think Trump and his malicious elves Andy Ngo and Ngo's lawyer, Republican committeewoman Harmeet K. Dhillon are likely to try a ratfucking attempt a la the Nazi's Reichstag fire - frame the Democrats for the actions of one rando.

And I think they are likely to do it via antifa. But they can't very well use antifa performance art in the middle of a stay-at-home pandemic.

But once social distancing is over, expect to see more signs of Trumpian ratfucking. All the polls now indicate Biden will beat Trump and Trump is not about to stand by and let that happen without using every possible dirty trick that he and his monstrously evil supporters can dream up.

Our country depends on stopping Trump.

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