Featured Post

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, September 13, 2020

Steven Pinker, Andrew Sullivan and the mainstream media gentlemen's agreement

Steven Pinker is even more ubiquitous in 2020 than he was last year, because this year he has a mission to portray himself as a free speech martyr.

And in all the interviews he has given since the Linguist Society open letter, the interviewers have abided by the long-standing gentlemen's agreement in the media to refrain from asking Steve Pinker about his support for Steve Sailer and race science.

The only time I've seen any prominent media person mention Pinker's support for Sailer was when Malcolm Gladwell caught Pinker in the act, and mentioned it in a letter to the NYTimes and on his personal blog:
I wondered about the basis of Pinker’s conclusion, so I e-mailed him, asking if he could tell me where to find the scientific data that would set me straight. He very graciously wrote me back. He had three sources, he said. The first was Steve Sailer. Sailer, for the uninitiated, is a California blogger with a marketing background who is best known for his belief that black people are intellectually inferior to white people. Sailer’s “proof” of the connection between draft position and performance is, I’m sure Pinker would agree, crude: his key variable is how many times a player has been named to the Pro Bowl. 
The only media outlet that picked up on this story was Business Insider - Gladwell: Steven Pinker got his data from a racist. And this was 2009. Not a peep since then even though Pinker was declared by the NYTimes to be a "celebrity intellectual."

If you Google Steven Pinker and Steve Sailer the top hits are from Steve Sailer and me.

And even though the major impetus to Pinker's free speech martyr media tour is a petition against Pinker which mentions Pinker's race science connection, the boys of the media still cannot find a single reason to ask Pinker about his support for the career of professional racist Steve Sailer nor his ongoing support for various race science crackpot theories like the Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence hypothesis.

Sailer himself is not shy about mentioning the connection.

Pinker is not asked about race science nor Sailer by these media outlets:

But this kid-gloves treatment is only for Pinker. The media is not afraid to ask Andrew Sullivan about his support for race science.

In a New York Times interview with Sullivan from August 30, 2020:
I tried out my most charitable interpretation of his view on race and I.Q. (though I question the underpinnings of the whole intellectual project): that he is most frustrated by the notion that you can’t talk about the influence of biology and genetics on humanity. But that he’s not actually saying he thinks Black people as a group are less intelligent. He’d be equally open to the view, I suggested, that data exploring genetics and its connection to intelligence would find that Black people are on average smarter than other groups. 
“It could be, although the evidence is not trending in that direction as far as I pay attention to it. But I don’t much,” he said. (He later told me he’s “open-minded” on the issue and thinks it’s “premature” to weigh the data.)
“I barely write about this,” he went on. “It’s not something I’m obsessed with.”
But he also can’t quite stop himself, even as I sat there wishing he would. “Let’s say Jews. I mean, just look at the Nobel Prize. I’m just saying — there’s something there, I think. And I’m not sure what it is, but I’m just not prepared to accept the whole thing is over.” 
I’ve been reading Mr. Sullivan too long to write him off. I’ve been influenced deeply by him on marriage, torture and other big questions; and I’m aware of how deeply he shaped how we all write for the web. When I nodded along with much of Jamelle Bouie’s criticism of Mr. Sullivan in 2017, I also recognized in Mr. Bouie’s piece the style of fisking that Mr. Sullivan helped popularize almost two decades ago.
I wish Mr. Sullivan would accept that the project of trying to link the biological fiction of race with the science of genetics ought, in fact, to be over.
When I said some of this to Mr. Sullivan, he noted that he had been born and raised in England, and he hasn’t always had perfect footing on American questions of race — though he has seemingly absorbed and mastered so much about American politics. 
But his exit out of big media is a very American story. His career, with all its sweep and innovation, can’t ever quite escape that 1994 magazine cover.

Sullivan's career can't ever quite escape one magazine cover, meanwhile Steven Pinker's career is untouched by his support, for about a decade, of the career of a toxic professional racist, Steve Sailer; and few in the media are interested in Pinker's continuing support for crackpot race theories.

Sullivan alludes to the "Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence" (NHAI) hypothesis when he says:
“Let’s say Jews. I mean, just look at the Nobel Prize. I’m just saying — there’s something there, I think. And I’m not sure what it is, but I’m just not prepared to accept the whole thing is over.” 
Instead of being criticized in establishment media, like Andrew Sullivan, Pinker and friends used a letter from a bunch of linguists complaining about Pinker's race issues to portray Pinker as Free Speech Martyr, and his beliefs - the same that Sullivan holds about race - are systematically ignored.

The gentlemen's agreement in action.

Blog Archive