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Monday, November 8, 2021

Steven Pinker, Steve Sailer and the Cousin Marriage Conundrum part 5

Illustration by Slug Signorino

<-- Continued from Part 4

Unlike Nicholas Wade, who refers to a metaphorical Adam and Eve, Steve Sailer's Biblical characters are actual:

The Muslim practice is similar to older Middle Eastern norms, such as those outlined in Leviticus in the Old Testament. The lineage of the Hebrew Patriarchs who founded the Jewish people was highly inbred. Isaac married Rebekah, a cousin once removed. And Isaac’s son Jacob wed his two first cousins, Leah and Rachel. Jacob’s dozen sons were the famous progenitors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Due to inbreeding, Jacob’s eight legitimate sons had only six unique great-grandparents instead of the usual eight. That is because the inbred are related to their relatives through multiple paths.

While it's possible cousin-marriage was practiced during the time period portrayed by the Old Testament, Jacob's biography is not evidence of "older Middle Eastern norms." The Bible also claims Jacob lived to be 147 years old. Does this mean that cousin-marriage is positively correlated with record-breaking longevity? 

So, from incoherence, to ignoring data, to using the Bible as a source, Sailer's piece fails to meet any standards for good science writing. 

Even worse, it reflects badly on Pinker's explanation for including Sailer's piece: 
Many misconceptions about behavior are harmless, but in these dangerous times some could lead to catastrophe. Steve Sailer's "The Cousin Marriage Conundrum" correctly predicts that it would be unwise to try to graft a political system onto a society without understanding how the psychology of kinship and ethnic identification plays out in the local environment.

Steve Sailer's prediction was proven wrong: currently available on the GitHub account of FiveThirtyEight is a table-based comparison of global consanguinity rates. The least consanguineous, Hungary, is no longer considered a democracy. While Fareed Zakaria, writing in The Washington Post last month calls Iraq's democracy a success.

The third-most consanguineous country, Nigeria, with a rate of 51.2 has been a democracy since 1999.

Neither of those democracies are perfect but then, neither is the democracy of the United States, in which one political party appears to be hell-bound to destroy voting rights and install Trump loyalists in a slow-moving coup. US consanguinity rate: 0.2%.

It may have been a bad idea to invade and "nation build" Iraq on the pretense that it had chemical weapons and was connected to al-Qaeda (I participated in the large NYC protest against the invasion) but Sailer comes nowhere near making a convincing case that the big problem with Iraq and democracy is consanguinity.

Steven Pinker apparently read the utter failure that is "The Cousin Marriage Conundrum" and decided it would be a perfect addition to a volume of "the best science and nature writing" of 2004. 

People claim Steven Pinker is smart, but this is the kind of thing that makes me wonder. 

But perhaps quality wasn't Pinker's overriding concern. Pinker has not acknowledged Sailer in public, as far as I have been able to discover, since 2011, but Sailer's recent review of Pinker's book "Rationality" demonstrates that Sailer still deeply admires Pinker, even comparing him to Sailer's stout defender, the racist Charles Murray:

Pinker competes with venerable thinkers like Noam Chomsky, Jared Diamond, Charles Murray, Thomas Sowell, Francis Fukuyama, and so forth for the mythical title of America’s Top Public Intellectual.



Sailer doesn't seem to hold any resentment towards Pinker for refusing to acknowledge his existence for the past ten years (while Pinker still gives interviews to racemonger Razib Khan) and it doesn't even seem to bother Sailer that Pinker is quoted in the Guardian article, saying that racism is "not just wrong - it's stupid." 

This is the very same article in which Sailer doubles-down on his own racism. He quotes Malcolm Gladwell referring to Sailer as "perhaps best known for his belief that black people are intellectually inferior to white people" and Sailer follows that quote with this:
Other beliefs of mine include that Reno is west of Los Angeles, the Holocaust happened, and the sun comes up in the east.
So Pinker says racism is wrong and stupid and Sailer follows that up by claiming that it is self-evident that Black people are intellectually inferior to white people. 

It makes no sense: being a racist is the core of Sailer's career and personality, why would he continue to admire and align with anti-racist Steven Pinker?

In spite of Pinker's statement against racism, we know Pinker has consistently supported racists and racemongers for the past 20 years: Sailer, Khan, Quillette, Linda Gottfredson, Bo and Ben Winegard, Noah Carl, Brian Boutwell; as well as his continuing promotion of the speculative and extremely improbable claims about Ashkenazi intelligence by Steve Sailer's friendsRon Unz grant recipient Gregory Cochran and white nationalist Henry Harpending.

Tweet from James Beacham, particle physicist at 
the Large Hadron Collider at CERN

Sailer never needs to account for his evidence-free assertions and his absurd racist statements: his career is based on getting paid by racists to mumble racism at other racists. He lives inside a racist echo chamber.

And until recently, Steven Pinker, celebrity intellectual and "venerable thinker" didn't have to answer questions either, about his support for racists. That Guardian article, asking Pinker about his connection to Sailer, is something new, and Steve Sailer knows it, which is why he claims it was an attempt to cancel Pinker:
Pinker goes on:
Sometimes the ad hominem and genetic fallacies are combined to forge chains of guilt by association: “Williams’ theory must be repudiated because he spoke at a conference organized by someone who published a volume containing a chapter written by someone who said something racist.”
Therefore, it was ironic but hardly surprising that The Guardian last week attempted to cancel Pinker.

And again, Pinker's connection to Sailer isn't "guilt by association" as defined by the tortured chain Pinker uses to illustrate the concept, above. The plain truth is that Pinker himself published an incompetent work by a racist.

Is Pinker himself an incompetent editor? Or did Pinker include "The Cousin Marriage Conundrumin spite of it being so bad, because he wanted to promote the career of the indisputably racist Steve Sailer?

Pinker has publicly expressed regret over contributing to Jeffrey Epstein's defense

He has never, to my knowledge, and in spite of his unexplained break with Sailer in 2011, publicly expressed regret over supporting the career of Steve Sailer. Why not?


UGH RACISTS! I feel that I am doing necessary work by documenting racists and the way mainstream media and media celebrities have promoted and continue to promote race pseudoscience, but it's nauseating to have to think about them for days at a time.

Let's have something from Curtis Mayfield to elevate the mood.

Bite your lip
And take a trip
Though there may be wet road ahead
And you cannot slip
Just move on up!
For peace you will find
Into the steeple of beautiful people
Where there's only one kind.

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