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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.