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

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Cash Aid to Poor Mothers Increases Brain Activity in Babies, Study Finds

This is exactly what hereditarians and race pseudoscience-mongers don't want to hear.

Especially race pseudoscience-mongers, who are closely allied to libertarians, who certainly don't want the government to give cash payments to poor people.

The sociobiology message: "everything is caused by genes" is the greatest aid to the Right ever invented.

From the NYTimes article:

“This is a big scientific finding,” said Martha J. Farah, a neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania, who conducted a review of the study for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, where it was published on Monday. “It’s proof that just giving the families more money, even a modest amount of more money, leads to better brain development.”


Katherine Magnuson, a co-author of the study who directs the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin, said she was surprised that only a year’s worth of aid made a difference. “It shows how sensitive the brain is to environments,” she said.

Thanks to being descendants of people, who, only five generations ago, didn't own anything because they themselves were property, and, after Emancipation, were tormented and immiserated by the white majority through means both legal and extra-legal, Black Americans are more likely to be poor than any other ethnic group in the United States.

These facts are the reason why the IDW and its race pseudoscience allies deny Black history and why they hate the 1619 project so much.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Razib Khan for sale

I am extremely sick of talking about and thinking about race pseudoscience promoter Razib Khan. 

The past week has been such a tiresome trek through racism and utter shamelessness. Not only because of Khan himself but all his horrific defenders. Although Steve Pinker was strangely missing in action, there was still his biggest fanboy Jerry Coyne, plus Nicholas Christakis and, as always, Claire Lehmann who paid Khan to agree with Charles Murray that Black Americans are an existential threat.

Like Khan, Lehmann doesn't care about scientific rigor, all she cares about is getting paid to promote racism masquerading as science. 

After this post I'll have to take a break for a little bit from being eyeball deep in their ethics-free bullshit.

Thanks to reading the transcript from Khan's October 2021 interview, which I talked about in my previous post, Razib Khan blackmail strategy revealed, I found further confirmation that Razib Khan is a race pseudoscience promoter for the money. 

As I said in the post The appalling race pseudoscience career of Razib Khan:

My theory is that over the past 20 years he has become addicted to the easy money of being a right-wing political operative. I suspect biochemistry is much harder than writing (badly) his Substack articles or a letter of protest to Scientific American. 

And as long as the feckless - or worse - like Steven Pinker, Nicholas Christakis and others keep defending and promoting him,  while Ron Unz (and/or whoever else) keep paying him, what incentive is there for Razib Khan to get a career that is not appalling? 

Khan will likely spend his entire career, like Charles Murray, on wingnut welfare.

About minute 73 of the video, Khan says this: 


...I mean everyone has a price, like I'll go woke for like uh for Elon type money, I mean there's there's a price you know what I'm saying? Like if you show me the cash like, I will I'll say whatever you want me to say. But at this point um, no one's like offering me money to conform so I'm not gonna conform, you know, like I'm just gonna say what I think is true...

There's plenty of reason to doubt Khan's incessant babbling about his non-woke positions is purely from his love of the truth, although I'm certainly willing to believe he's dull enough to believe the race pseudoscience garbage he professes. 

But we have evidence that Khan has gotten money directly or indirectly from the following right-wing racist extremists: Ron Unz, Peter Thiel, Charles Koch, Taki Theodoracopulos and Mark Carnegie. Certainly Thiel and Koch, at least, are capable of paying Khan "Elon type money."

And now we see Khan freely admitting, to a friendly audience, that he has zero ethics when it comes to his political positions. 

I'm sure I could find many more embarrassing statements from Khan if I combed through his many online platforms: there's his Twitter account, his Brown Pundits site, his Substack, his articles for Quillette and City Journal, podcast interviews and YouTube videos and - it seems endless. All he seems to do all day is express his poorly-organized and unoriginal right-wing views.

Because he's not a scientist, he is a political operative.

Those opposed to race pseudoscience don't need to pay someone like Khan. We have working scientists like PZ Myers and Adam Rutherford. 

Adam Rutherford, who is only two years older than Khan, is more their kind of guy: an actual geneticist - with a Ph.D in genetics - an opponent of race pseudo-science and a great writer as well as a charismatic and funny presenter. I realize the Insitome Institute probably couldn't afford Adam Rutherford and anyway he's busy with his own projects, but there is surely a range of science writers between Razib Khan and Adam Rutherford, so that the Insitome Institute could have found someone better qualified and less likely to embarrass them.

But as Krugman noted, the Right has a wingnut welfare system to pay for tame intellectuals - and yes, as unimpressive as he is, Khan is what passes for an intellectual on the Right:

Wingnut welfare is an important, underrated feature of the modern U.S. political scene. I don’t know who came up with the term, but anyone who follows right-wing careers knows whereof I speak: the lavishly-funded ecosystem of billionaire-financed think tanks, media outlets, and so on provides a comfortable cushion for politicians and pundits who tell such people what they want to hear. Lose an election, make economic forecasts that turn out laughably wrong, whatever — no matter, there’s always a fallback job available.

Lucky for the right, the world is full of the morally bankrupt like Razib Khan, happy to take money to make the world a worser place.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Razib Khan blackmail strategy revealed

 Currently available on Twitter here.

Sometimes having a 20+ year long career as a race pseudoscience-promoting political operative requires harsh methods.



...I mean, so, I keep a lot of ah you know, I keep a lot of that to myself partly because if someone who's an academic decides to denounce me, and I know things about them, I'll just divulge what I know. So ah to be entirely frank, I've been open about that as a pre-emptive strike. Ah please, I know you have a reputation, a bigger reputation than me, and I've heard things about you, and I will just divulge it to my 35,000 followers if you decided to come at me. So um, keep the information, keep all your texts, keep all your DMs, and use it against people. Now if you're a normal person, you're a normie, you don't have to deal with this. 

I did a podcast with my friend Colin Wright, he is an "arch-binarist" I don't know if you know Colin, he's managing editor at Quillette and he is a proponent of this controversial concept called "the sex binary" and so ah he has friends who ah were making fun of - academic friends who were making fun of what he called "gender ideology"  - I don't know too much about it so I'll use Colin's terms. I'm not saying I really know much about what this means. And now they're denouncing them and all these things and he has records of what they thought...

Followers of Pinkerite will recognize the name of Colin Wright. Both Khan and Wright are sad cases, both went to college to study science and both have ended up not with real science careers, but rather, becoming political operatives for rightwing causes, specializing in anti-trans hatred for Wright and race pseudoscience racism for Khan.

The interview is from Alex Kaschuta's Substack from back in October 2021. It can be found on YouTube here. The transcripted section begins around minute 16 in the video.

Kaschuta's most recent interview is with Emil Kirkegaard, even more hardcore blatantly into racism than Razib Khan.

I've always suspected that Steve Sailer uses the blackmail strategy to keep Steven Pinker - who quietly dropped Sailer in 2011 - from publicly denouncing him. 

Maybe Khan got the idea from Sailer, who has been a bit like a race pseudoscience mentor for Khan ever since Khan completed his first undergraduate degree, twenty-two years ago.

The political operative was seen plying his trade on Twitter recently. 

It's certainly curious that someone of the "old liberal world" has spent 20+ years taking money from racists and Holocaust deniers. 

Razib Khan, like all right-wingers, likes to denounce identity politics, but he engages in it himself whenever it is useful for him. 

He even has a blog called "Brown Pundits" and on its about page it says: "We have a number of editors and contributors, who all share a connection with, or interest in, the Indian subcontinent and its far-flung diaspora."

What better place to denounce identity politics than on a political operative's blog dedicated to bringing together individuals of the same ethnic identity?

I sometimes wonder if rightwing promoters of race pseudoscience, like Razib Khan are simply incapable of maintaining coherent thought for any length of time, and that's why they have to take wingnut welfare to get by. Maybe Razib Khan is just as bad at science as he is at writing.

Maybe people like Khan are such hypocrites because they don't even understand what hypocrisy means.

More identity politics from Razib Khan.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

The appalling race pseudoscience career of Razib Khan

Razib Khan, an atheist, compares
the belief in systemic racism to religion 

The purpose of this site is to get the word out about all the people in the media, in science and in academia
who promote race pseudoscience - which often bleeds into racism, and especially, in the United States, into anti-Black racism.

Although I am occasionally contacted for background info by professional journalists - as with the Undark article about Razib Khan by Michael Shulson and the Quillette article by Donna Minkowitz, sometimes it feels like I am not making any progress getting the word out about the individuals and organizations promoting race pseudoscience. 

Which is why it was nice that Razib Khan put together a political campaign attacking a Scientific American article about E. O. Wilson: not only did the letter help to show who people like Nicholas Christakis are, it created a controversy, which led to more people learning about the appalling race pseudoscience career of Razib Khan. Probably way more, in one swoop, than I reach in a year.

Fun fact - Stephen Jay Gould, the great Satan of race pseudoscience promoters, was attacked by Khan in a way characterized by biochemist Larry Moran as "childish" - but you didn't see Moran writing a protest letter about it and getting all his friends to sign it. Maybe because Moran is an actual scientist while Khan is a political operative.

The SciAm letter controversy revealed many people in science and academia were utterly clueless about Khan's career as a pseudoscience-monger, and there's really no excuse. In addition to the Undark piece, there was the controversy in 2015 when the New York Times hired then dumped Khan when journalists pointed out Khan's history of race pseudoscience claims. I had a small part in that, because Jamelle Bouie had linked to my personal blog, among other sources, to reveal Khan's race obsession.

Although according to Khan's own testimony, "getting cancelled" was no big deal for him.

I became aware of Khan and his race pseudoscience blog, Gene Expression around 2005. I had basically dismissed him as yet another racist crank, until I realized in 2006 that Steven Pinker was helping to promote his career. Something I later discovered Pinker had done for racist Steve Sailer in 2004.

I've written about Khan on my personal blog and on Pinkerite several times, including:

  • His latest Quillette piece, December 2021, is entitled "The Aristocracy of Talent" and if we are talking the aristocracy of literary talent, Khan ranks as a peasant. He's such a bad writer even his fellow racists recognize it

And what should be the best known thing about Razib Khan, his 2021 review of Charles Murray's "Facing Reality" in which Khan says in so many words, in agreement with "his friend" Murray that American society must do something about the fact that Black Americans are innately, genetically pre-disposed to being stupid and criminal and if America does not do something about those genetically-degraded Blacks we "face disaster."

Only in America - someone born in Bangladesh moves to this country and makes himself a lucrative career dehumanizing a group of Americans whose roots in North America and the United States go back centuries. 

That's nothing against Bangladesh: European immigrants have been rising in the social pecking order on the backs of Black Americans for a long time, although admittedly, not all Europeans all at once. The Irish have about the palest skin around but it took them awhile, as most of them were impoverished and fleeing famine, to become respectable enough to be truly white. As this caricature from 1876 makes clear.

Razib Khan is a pioneer in that respect, pushing the boundaries so that all you have to do to get a leg up in the American nativist hierarchy these days is to portray Black Americans as subhuman and deny the existence of systemic racism. You don't even have to have European ethnicity anymore. 

Khan's family must be so proud of him.

We can see this new system in action from the very beginning of Razib Khan's appalling career. The anti-immigration, white supremacist hate organization VDARE gave immigrant, non-white Razib Khan his start on the road to race pseudoscience fame and fortune.

In May 2000, right around the time he received his BS in biochemistry from the University of Oregon, Khan can be seen sharing his thoughts on race and intelligence with racist Steve Sailer on the VDARE web site (the link goes to the archived version of the page.)

If by "intelligence" one means analytic reasoning skills, it seems that the Northeast Asians —Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans — are somewhat more intelligent than the white norm. (I believe the I.Q. difference is generally listed as somewhere between 2-8 points, depending on the study). Most of the evidence also seems to point to New World Indians' scoring slightly below whites.  Thus, Mestizos (white-Indian mixes) would have slightly lower IQs than whites, while Eurasians (white-East Asian crosses) would have slightly higher IQs.  The correlation between the increasing blondeness of high I.Q. Eurasians would be somewhat mitigated if the less intelligent Eurasian men happened to import intelligent East Asian women to make up for their competitive disadvantage on the marriage market, while the more intelligent Eurasians would marry less intelligent blondes (i.e., European derived females).  The key is how much more intelligent the high status Eurasian males are, and how much more intelligent Asian females are vs. European females

In addition, the most intelligent Eurasian men might also be the most "nerdish" as Mr. Sailer would say. [See Steve Sailer's essay "Nerdishness: The Great Unexplored Topic" at http://www.iSteve.com/nerds.htm ]. This would make it rather more difficult for them to attract high status "blondes."  What I am saying is that there is a difference between the macho Mestizo and black men, who attain high status in most likely extroverted fields (say entertainment, sports, law, politics, and business) while highly intelligent Eurasians might be funneling into scientific fields, making their values, and their possible mates, a bit different.  Melinda French Gates for instance, to use the classic example of a nerd-wife, is attractive, but not blonde.

Sailer must have been impressed. By March 2002 he was praising Khan and referring to him as a geneticist. Although if Khan's Wikipedia page is to be believed, his only credential at that point was for biochemistry.

Khan then got a column at Unz Review and started his own website, Gene Expression, which has archives available here. 

June 2002, the first month archived, is full of racist gems:

Khan discusses Steve Sailer's views on race and asks when Sailer will write a book on the topic. In a different post he refers to the "race realist project" and "politically correct scientists like Cavalli-Sforza who deny the reality of race." Khan recommends the work of J. Phillipe Rushton, infamous racist and crappy scientist: "read Rushton's Race, Evolution and Behavior: A Life History Perspective and you get the same data interpreted in a rather different manner."

The June 30 post again acknowledges his debt to Rushton and he uses the term "human biodiversity" coined by Sailer.

...here is something that I want to look at from the prism of human biodiversity: 21% of Asian-Americans, 11% of Hispanic Americans, 10% of white Americans and 6% of black Americans describe themselves as "Secular." This tends to map onto Rushton's Rule rather well (blacks at one end-Asians at the other).
The "Rushton's Rule" link goes to Steve Sailer's website.

In a post from June 27, Khan writes:

How much more social science data do we really need to convince people about race differences? We've had decades of a consistent 15 point gap between blacks and whites-spanning Jim Crow, desegregation and the rise of the black middle class. And yet the dominant position still remains that the gap is an artifice of social discrimination and oppression. What will really convince the opposition-what they'll have a harder time dismissing-are genuine structural differences (neurological) between races on average in the neocortex itself. 

Khan's view here in 2002 is identical to the one expressed in his positive review of Charles Murray's book in 2021. 

And Khan's view of race isn't merely "scientific":

Now, it is true that I believe that races are different. I also believe that private organizations-individuals or corporations-should be able to take race into account in their everyday decisions.

Another view Khan shares with his friend Charles Murray.

Clearly Razib Khan's two decades-long job of smearing Black Americans has been extremely easy. He simply repeats the same J. Phillippe Rushton/Charles Murray talking points year after year, with some slight changes to the wording. But the message is always the same: "Black" people are portrayed as completely separate from the rest of humanity, and claimed to be genetically inferior both intellectually and morally. 

And he's been paid well to promote this message, by Unz, Quillette, Taki's Magazine, and who knows what or who else. We know that Charles Koch along with other rightwing racist plutocrats give millions via Donors Trust to white nationalist organizations like American Renaissance and Khan's original mentor, VDARE. It wouldn't be surprising if they gave money directly to Khan. And Khan has already written for the Koch-funded City Journal

But Khan hasn't written exclusively for racist organizations. For a time Khan was even pushing race pseudoscience via Discover magazine.

But it's not all fun, Khan will have you know. Sometimes he has to venture outside the race pseudoscience bubble and answer questions about his race beliefs and he finds it just so tiresome, as he told one of these (likely astro-turfed ) pro-IDW organizations the "New Liberals":

Ultimately like I know people in Academia who talk about like systemic racism and prejudice and all this stuff, I just say like it's really easy, all you need to do is minorities that you think should have these jobs, you guys just need to like draw straws and one out of five of you resign and free up the positions, hire somebody of color, and we're all good, right, it's a simple thing to do, but they never do it, do they? They don't make the hard decision, I told an acquaintance of mine who wanted to talk to me about racism and I just got sick of it, and I was just like, well what you need to do is give your son's inheritance to a Black family. If you're talking about wealth and equality right now, he needs to be poor, and make his own way, and they need to have money, so just do it. And the person flipped out at me. Cause they just wanted to talk. And I'm just not super interested in talking. I am a non-white person. I don't need to be talked to about racism all the time. It's not interesting to me.
Not interesting to him. But interesting enough to monologue about race in the most flippant, offensive way possible. "give your son's inheritance to a Black family." See, systemic racism solved. Why didn't those stupid Old Liberals think of that?

Recently he was bemoaning his job along with neo-Nazi Bo Winegard, another Quillette author.

So why doesn't Khan get a real science job, doing what he has credentials for: biochemistry and biology? 

Kathyrn Paige Harden promoted 
Razib Khan's career in 2017. 
In 2021 Khan testified she was his friend

My theory is that over the past 20 years he has become addicted to the easy money of being a right-wing political operative. I suspect biochemistry is much harder than writing (badly) his Substack articles or a letter of protest to Scientific American. 

And as long as the feckless - or worse - like Steven Pinker, Nicholas Christakis and others keep defending and promoting him,  while Ron Unz (and/or whoever else) keep paying him, what incentive is there for Razib Khan to get a career that is not appalling? 

Khan will likely spend his entire career, like Charles Murray, on wingnut welfare.

Friday, January 21, 2022

James Baldwin spins in his grave as Nicholas Christakis uses his name to defend racist Razib Khan

I will get around to addressing the Scientific American article written in response to the death of EO Wilson, and the protest letter that Razib Khan wrote against it, signed by a bunch of academics including race pseudoscience-monger and #1 Pinker fanboy Jerry Coyne.

I only skimmed the Scientific American piece when it was first published and nothing jumped out at me, but if Khan is using an attack on it to promote his race pseudoscience career, it must be better than I realized.

I will say one thing though - it's curious that a handful of scientists and academics consider Khan their leader, when he is primarily a right-wing political operative and he signed his own letter, not as a "geneticist" which is how he currently identifies on his Twitter account, but just as "Razib Khan, Unsupervised Learning, Substack." The only signer not associated with a science-related institution, he identifies as a guy with a Substack.

I was glad to see that two signers of Khan's letter removed their signatures when they found out who Razib Khan is. 

Which caused Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University Nicholas Christakis to jump in and defend Khan. 

And he did it in the name of James Baldwin.

Somehow I think Baldwin wouldn't appreciate being used to defend Khan, who recently wrote a rave review of Charles Murray's latest book for race pseudoscience-promoting rag Quillette. Khan agreed with Murray that we must "connect the dots" about Black Americans or "face disaster."

 But then, Christakis has no problem with race science trash rag Quillette - he has published in it.

And since he has a connection to race pseudoscience trash rag Quillette, it's unlikely Christakis can plead ignorance of who Khan is.

But many people don't know about Khan's racist career. It's depressing. I mean, I'm doing my best here to get the word out about all promoters of race pseudoscience. Sure I don't talk about Khan all the time on this site but I have talked about him plenty. And still so many people don't know about his 20+ yearwell-remunerated career as a rightwing political operative and promoter of race pseudoscience.


Another curious aspect of this letter incident - I see lots of people defending E. O. Wilson against the charge of racism. I hadn't researched Wilson much, but it didn't take long to find him praising extreme racist J. Phillippe Rushton for his claims about race. I will have to look into this further.

UPDATE: Matt Yglesias jumps in to defend Razib Khan from criticism. 

How dare anybody have second thoughts about supporting a cause of a gigantic racist like Razib Khan!

UPDATE 2 - Nicholas Christakis, Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University incorrectly attributed the quote to Baldwin, when it was another member of the Civil Rights generation, Bayard Rustin. And Christakis got the quote wrong too.

Note that Christakis was corrected by Angel Eduardo, a member of the advisory board of far-right leaning, Republican-connected, race pseudoscience friendly anti-CRT grift organization FAIR

I hadn't really taken notice of Christakis on this site before, I didn't realize how deep in he is with race pseudoscience and far-right positions. I will pay more attention going forward.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

The heritability fallacy

Although Pinkerite focuses most often on the political implications of the promotion and funding of race pseudoscience, every now and then I must get technical. 

Because, although most race pseudoscience promoters are obvious oafs, there are mainstream promoters of race pseudoscience, like Steven Pinker and Jonathan Haidt, who base their support for race pseudoscience on claims that, at a causal glance, seem like they might be true. 

The kind of claims that make people you'd think would know better, like Gideon Lewis-Kraus, write an article promoting the sociobiology politics of Kathryn Paige Harden, which implied the critics of her claims are anti-science.

Harden's theories rest on the concept of heritability. Here we see Harden quibbling on Twitter with Freddie de Boer's use of the term, in a book which she generally likes.

In the same thread, professor of psychology Eric Turkheimer argues with Harden about the terminology. We can see that even people thoroughly immersed in making arguments about heritability don't agree with each other about the term.

Unfortunately Turkheimer dropped the online debate. 

Harden then went on to publish a book "The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality" making huge claims in favor of a sociobiological approach to social policy, and, in typical sociobiology fashion waxed dramatic, claiming that those who refused to accept her claims were no better than felons.

Late last year I wrote a post about the term "heritability" and how often it is misunderstood

Not long after, a Twitter friend pointed me to this excellent paper The heritability fallacy by David S. Moore and David Shenk:

For hundreds of years, the word ‘heritable’ was used without confusion as a synonym for ‘hereditary.’ But in the early 20th century, the word was repurposed to represent something new and rather narrow...

...The term heritability was first given this new meaning in J. L. Lush’s 1937 book Animal Breeding Plans.1 In that text, Lush proposed a calculation for what he called ‘heritability’ that neatly codified the then-popular deterministic viewpoint. Because, Lush argued, an animal’s phenotype (i.e., its observable traits, such as intelligence, height, eye color, etc.) is a function of genetic instructions plus the finishing influence of the environment, we should be able to statistically separate the influence of each. Relying on mathematical guidelines from the geneticist Sewall Wright, Lush proposed that in any given group:

Vp (phenotypic variation) = Vg (genetic variation)

+ Ve (environmental variation)

Lush asserted that the Vg portion of that total can reasonably be termed ‘heritability,’ as it revealed the portion of the trait variation that could be accounted for by variation in genes. The intention was ‘to quantify the level of predictability of passage of a biologically interesting phenotype from parent to offspring’. In this way, the new technical use of ‘heritability’ accurately reflected that period’s understanding of genetic determinism. Still, it was a curious appropriation of the term, because—even by the admission of its proponents— it was meant only to represent how variation in DNA relates to variation in traits across a population, not to be a measure of the actual influence of genes on the development of any given trait. For example, in a large group of people with eyes of different colors (Figure 1), ‘Vg’ only represents the extent to which variation in the group’s DNA accounts for variation in different eye colors in that group—not whether or how DNA is responsible for the development of eye color. In that sense, it was a highly misleading new use of the term (even in the context of determinism) that was bound to cause confusion: And indeed it did...

...because the term (if not its new-fangled scientific meaning) is so familiar to the public, the casual misinterpretation of the term’s narrower meaning has been rampant in the popular press. For many decades now, we have been entertained with journalistic accounts of twin studies suggesting that ‘personality is heritable’, ‘criminals are born, not made’, and ‘cheating genes play [a] large role in female infidelity’. Twin studies have reaffirmed the strong public impression that some physical and personality traits can be passed directly from parent to child through DNA. While understandable, this impression is flatly incorrect, as brightly illustrated by three significant flaws in some scientists’ use of— and thus the public’s understanding of—the term ‘heritability.’

The article concludes:

 Heritability statistics do remain useful in some limited circumstances, including selective breeding programs in which developmental environments can be strictly controlled. But in environments that are not controlled, these statistics do not tell us much. In light of this, numerous theorists have concluded that ‘the term “heritability,” which carries a strong conviction or connotation of something “[in]heritable” in the everyday sense, is no longer suitable for use in human genetics, and its use should be discontinued.’ Reviewing the evidence, we come to the same conclusion. Continued use of the term with respect to human traits spreads the demonstrably false notion that genes have some direct and isolated influence on traits. Instead, scientists need to help the public understand that all complex traits are a consequence of developmental processes. Without such an understanding, we are at risk of underestimating the extent to which environmental manipulations can have profoundly positive effects on development. Thus, the way ‘heritability’ is used in most discussions of human phenotypes not only perpetuates false ideas; it also blinds us to steps we might otherwise take to improve the human condition.

I am beginning to suspect that psychologists who work in genetics are reluctant to drop the term heritability because the confusion masks the fact that when it comes to the claims of people like de Boer and Harden, there is no there there

And you can see why there would be a temptation to maintain the facade. Statistics-based claims about genetics give the field of psychology a quantitative aspect it normally does not have. It gives the impression that psychologists are real scientists. And if you've staked your career on that, the confusion over the term "heritable" could save you from facing an eventual reckoning, at least for the length of your professional career.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Andy Ngo supports a traitor, shot while trying to murder members of Congress

Those who have followed the career of grifting sleazoid Andy Ngo, as I have, will not be surprised to see him, on the anniversary of the January 6 attempted coup, portraying Ashli Babbitt as a martyr.

During the coup, Babbitt tried to lead a murderous mob right to members of Congress. 

Washington Post:

Babbitt and others were attempting to breach a barricaded door inside the Capitol building on Wednesday afternoon, angrily demanding that three U.S. Capitol Police officers who were guarding the door step aside, one of the clips shows. The officers moved away as colleagues in tactical gear arrived behind the rioters, according to the clip and other video posted online.

Roughly 35 seconds after the officers moved away, as she climbed up toward a broken section of the unguarded door, Babbitt was shot by an officer on the other side.

Babbitt, a 35-year-old California native, and more than a dozen others appeared to be trying to get into the Speaker’s Lobby, a hallway that would have given them access to the House of Representatives chamber, according to a Post analysis of video footage and plans of the Capitol

Not only was (still is?) Ngo's lawyer a Republican committeewoman, Harmeet K. Dhillon, but during the run-up to the 2020 election he acted as Trump's ratfucker, promoting the Antifa panic. 

Trump loved the Antifa panic narrative so much, he tried to use it for January 6.

President Trump on Monday privately — and falsely — blamed "Antifa people" for storming the Capitol, even though clear video and documentary evidence exists showing the rioters were overwhelmingly Trump supporters.

Why it matters: Despite facing an impeachment vote for an assault he helped incite, the outgoing president is still sticking with his tried-and-true playbook of deflecting and reaching for conspiracies.

I will never forget how Quillette and the IDW worked with Andy Ngo and supported his career.

Christina Hoff Sommers supported Andy Ngo and gave a shout-out to others who were apparently Andy Ngo supporters including Jesse Singal, Sam Harris, Peter Boghossian and Cathy Young.

This is the kind of thing, along with the report that Peter Thiel secretly funded Quillette, that makes you realize just how extreme are many people associated with Quillette and the IDW.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The Lockwood Saga ~ the influence of Jordan Peterson

Geneticist Adam Rutherford recently had some distressingly true things to say about the ability of scammers and grifters to promote themselves, and how hard it is for debunkers to keep up with fervid imaginations and shamelessness.

He name-checks Jordan Peterson. Today we'll look at the influence of Peterson on the thought-processes of racist Bo Winegard and his Neville Chamberlain, Patrick Lockwood.

But first, just so you know what a martyr I am, although the following text is based on the transcript provided with the video, the transcript frequently screws up so I had to listen to this with my own ears all the way through to ensure that the transcript is faithful to what is actually said, and make sure the punctuation is added and accurate. Yes, it was torture. Thanks for asking.

One more thing before we get into it: recall that earlier in the video, Lockwood described people who react negatively to race pseudoscience claims as "los(ing) their minds."

So we are at minute 45:32 in the video. My highlights:


What I would propose is that, you know, if the person is extremely closed-minded then there's probably not much of a conversation you can have. If you've got someone that is probably in, you know the top two-thirds of open-mindedness, then what I would recommend probably is something like finding the pain.

Because if we go to first principles, the first principles of this radical social justice ideology is that life as Peterson, says quite ah presciently, that life is best viewed as a series of, like, victim-driven you know, narratives etc.




And that's a highly problematic way of looking at the world. Because yes, life is overall a struggle and overall problematic, that's a fair statement. The problem is that despite the fact that we are base creatures crawling across the earth, we also have the capacity to aspire to something better than that and we can lift each other up and we can heal etc such etc.

So if in this argument with someone who has a more radicalized mindset, what can you do to get to the person's pain? Because that would be, as a clinical psychologist that's the first place my mind goes. If someone sees the world through the victim narrative, how can I get in touch with the part of them that feels like a victim and allow that to breathe and have space because I think if you don't uncork that bottle, then it's just going to shake up and become fizzy all over you, when you start debating.


I wonder though, with, I mean, how many of the people, I think that's the appropriate to put it - the narrative, right? Seeing the world through an oppressor-victim basically that that is the world view right, now a lot of the people who have that world view are incredibly affluent privileged people and it's not clear to me that they actually think they're the victim, they just think the what, they, that's the lens those are the spectacles they look to for example it is see the world as like everything is victim-oppressor.


Right but I mean for me this goes back to you know Paul Bloom's book you know, "Against Empathy the Case for Rational Compassion" because we can highly highly empathize with people even though we are not part of that group. You can be a white kid at you know Harvard and you can hear about all these news articles and these racist incidents and shootings "oh boy that's terrible. I don't want to be part of terrible. I have to identify with this group of people and make sure I'm not on the side of terrible."

Mm hmm.


Being able to get them to articulate "I'm desperately afraid of being identified with being a terrible person, this hateful group of people" I think that's a great place to start with a lot of these social justice warriors, because there's literally nothing wrong with one to be anti-terrible, if you know?




Like I don't find that any bit morally problematic 



I don't either.
You know? I think it's just the way that that fear-driven instinct is managed is problematic. It's managed through this hyper rationalization and this hyper-focus on things that don't need to be focused on.
So what we see, again and again is Lockwood denying the possibility that the views of his political opponents, the "social justice warriors," could be based on rational analysis. Even when he admits that there are real-world instances of social injustice, he invents internal narratives for SJWs to portray them as pitiful squirrely creatures whose only response is emotional: "I'm desperately afraid of being identified with being a terrible person."

And Lockwood's straw-manning is so extreme that he even denies that SJWs have a hope of a better world. He contrasts his straw-manned portrayal of their "problematic" view of the world to "we also have the capacity to aspire to something better than that."

As if no social justice advocate has ever attempted anything constructive to build a better world and instead they all spend all their time peeing their diapers.

Now conveniently for Bo Winegard, Lockwood's attitude about "social justice warriors" perfectly matches Winegard's attitude towards people who criticize race pseudoscience.

This part was especially revealing about Lockwood's interactions with his political opponents:
if you don't uncork that bottle, then it's just going to shake up and become fizzy all over you, when you start debating.
I think that if someone becomes "fizzy" with Lockwood when debating him it is because of Lockwood's blatant assumption that the person he is debating is an emotion-driven hysteric. People will tend to find this annoying. But apparently Lockwood assumes they are expressing irritation not because of what he is doing but because of their internal, inexplicable "pain."

I know first-hand about this tactic because Lockwood pulled it on me. I wanted to discuss his support for race pseudoscience promoters - and this was before I found out about his friendly interview with neo-Nazi Bo Winegard. His response was to insist I was upset, and offer a one-on-one session with him. And he persisted in spite of my continuing rejection of his unwanted offer.  

Now if Lockwood was just some Twitter rando it would be unremarkable. But he is a clinical psychologist, as he keeps saying, so what he is doing here is politicizing  psychiatry - or I guess in his case psychology. 

Wouldn't this be considered a breach of professional ethics?

Lockwood looks to Jordan Peterson for how best to address the concerns of one's political opponents - by dismissing their concerns as "victim-driven narratives":
...the first principles of this radical social justice ideology is that life as Peterson, says quite ah presciently, that life is best viewed as a series of, like, victim-driven you know, narratives etc.
Jumping ahead in the video to minute 50:49
... so there's actually an empirical dispute there about what is our society like, that's really important to have. And I would wager for example that if we talk to Jordan Peterson, Jordan Peterson would say it's not as bad as these people make it seem. And that's one reason he thinks that this narrative is something of the problem is because it's actually not matching reality.

So both Lockwood and Winegard mention Peterson as an authority in their attitudes towards their political opponents. Peterson claims that their opponents' "narrative" should be dismissed because it does not match reality.

But Jordan Peterson is a charlatan.

And he was known as a charlatan well before this video was published.

In January 2018, a year and a half before the Lockwood/Winegard Munich Agreement was published, biologist P. Z. Myers made a video explaining why Peterson's claim about lobsters and humans was absurd.

As Myers states early on: "he walked right into my wheelhouse and made some specific claims about evolution and nervous systems that were straight-up idiotic and ignorant."

This is my second-favorite video by Myers, second only to his evisceration of evolutionary psychology.

Watch it and then imagine thinking a bullshit artist like Jordan Peterson was a reasonable authority on anything.

Monday, January 3, 2022

The Lockwood Saga

What to do when your stupid Twitter argument 
is winding down but you want to keep it going

I think the new book by Max Chafkin, The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley's Pursuit of Power is very good, although very concerning, considering Thiel is, like Charles Koch, a right-wing extremist billionaire who is happy to throw his money behind horrible people and evil causes. 

As I demonstrated in the previous post, long before me, people were calling Peter Thiel a psychopath or a sociopath. 

It isn't only because of his political positions, as repellent as they are, but because of the ways he expresses himself,  and because of his priorities, which seem to be exclusively wealth and power. 

But recently I got into a stupid argument on Twitter with an individual named Dr. Patrick Lockwood, because Lockwood didn't like my use of the term "psychopath" to describe Thiel.

Now without stupid Twitter arguments, Twitter itself would scarcely exist, and I wouldn't usually mention the argument on Pinkerite.com. But it turned out that Patrick Lockwood, who I initially assumed was some garden-variety false-certainty Twitter rando, is part of the Quillette/IDW industrial complex. Oh lucky me.

A pretty strong hint about the Quillette/IDW connection was when, after the stupid argument was winding down, and without my knowledge, Lockwood posted one of my tweets and asked for opinions about me. Lo and behold, Quillette managing editor Colin Wright and Quillette author, Gamergate cheerleader and Koch money recipient Cathy Young popped up.

Colin Wright claimed I was a psychopath because that's what Colin Wright always does because I criticize his political views and his employer. Since his views and employer are indefensible, he has no option but to defame me. 

But hey - although my conflict with the Quillette/IDW industrial complex is a war of words, it's still a war and war is hell. 

I did a little Googling and discovered Lockwood has had a profile for almost a year in a little club called "Reality's Last Stand" along with a bunch of people associated with Quillette and race pseudoscience, including Claire Lehmann, Jonathan Haidt, Razib Khan and Wright.

Eventually I discovered that Lockwood had recorded a very cordial interview with Quillette author and racist Bo Winegard

I'm not calling Winegard a racist because of his race pseudoscience beliefs, as idiotic as they are - I'm calling him a racist because of his neo-Nazi policy dream of national race quotas. 

But, you see, he doesn't think it's racist to want to "preserve a country's demographic composition." The boldness of Bo Winegard's stupidity is un-freaking-believable. 

Now of course unlike the Nazis, Winegard doesn't specify which racial groups he has in mind and how exactly the "demographic composition" would be apportioned, and how exactly he would achieve his ideal composition.

But then, the Nazis took quite a while to figure out a final solution to their racial demographics apportionment quandary, long after they had a racial demographics concept in mind.

Many people were annoyed with Sam Harris because he gave a very friendly interview to Charles Murray - another indisputable racist - without pushback against Murray's race pseudoscience beliefs. Ezra Klein debated Harris about it, and the late Michael Brooks did a smart and funny episode on his show about it. 

In this video, Lockwood and Winegard are a second-string Harris and Murray. They even mention the Harris/Murray controversy early on in the conversation. Warning: the video is 90 minutes of self-serving race pseudoscience justification and appeasement.

I will be discussing the lowlights below the video. 


At around minute 3, Winegard expounds on his "sacred values" theory, the transparently self-serving claim that anybody who has issues with his race pseudoscience is simply reacting out of taboo aversion rather than reacting to the clownishness of his "science."

Lockwood responds: 

Interesting so this would probably partially I think explain maybe one of the reasons why people are so just flabbergasted by the concept of a race and IQ when it shows up online or in a Sam Harris talk or whatever, like people lose their minds over this concept because it seems to be reinforcing racism and bias and prejudice in a way that, you know, we shouldn't be using science to do that, I guess it's the attitude because of the sacred values.

Lockwood's turn of phrase doesn't indicate that critics of race pseudoscience might have rational reasons for their criticism, but rather Lockwood, a clinical psychologist, describes the critics of race pseudoscience as people who "lose their minds" over the concept.

I'm not gonna lie -  it was painful to listen to these two dummies affirm Bo Winegard's idiotic belief-system, with Winegard moaning about his role as martyr for The Pure Scientific Truth while Lockwood smiles and nods. 

Adding to the pain of listening is Winegard's extreme vocal fry. He sounds like a 14-year-old goth girl. Also his speech patterns occasionally reminded me of Forrest Gump, which is awful because I love Tom Hanks and there's no comparison between him and a grubby neo-Nazi like Bo Winegard.

At minute 11:55 Lockwood mentions Helen Pluckrose as if she's the voice of sweet reason. Pluckrose is an infamous grifter, only slightly less repellent than James "your mom" Lindsay and bitter Peter Boghossian with whom she perpetrated her big grift. Haaratz did an excellent piece on the scam they ran to get themselves noticed by the gullible of this world:
According to their own account, the writers took parts of the chapter and inserted feminist "buzzwords"; they "significantly changed" the "original wording and intent” of the text to make the paper "publishable and about feminism." An observant reader might ask: what could possibly remain of any Nazi content after that? But no one in the media, apparently, did.

Indeed, in public, the trio constantly downplayed the amount of re-writing they did to the original text. On Joe Rogan’s podcast in October 2018, Lindsay described how they'd "modified the words and added theory around it so that it would fly," and in another interview explained that this was to "get past plagiarism." 

Chapter 12, he noted, included sentences like: "This is why we need the Nazi Party, and [this is] what is expected of people who are going to be part of it." What did they change? "We took that out [the Nazi party reference] and replaced it with ‘intersectional feminism.’" What's left is an entirely anodyne sentence, stripped of any identifiable Nazi vestiges. Hardly "owning the grievance warriors."

So what did the text in the article accepted by Affilia actually look like? Was it, as Fox News claimed, a "feminist Mein Kampf", suggesting men should be treated the same way as Hitler victimized Jews?

It is surprising, to say the least, that none of the journalists reporting on the controversy actually bothered to compare the two texts. If they'd done so, they would have found that the Affilia article didn't contain anything that could be recognized as "Mein Kampf" even by a Hitler expert, let alone a lay person

After a positive reference to an ethics-free grifter, and after having suggested critics of race pseudoscience lost their minds, Lockwood shifts into appeasement mode:


I was just chatting with Helen Pluckrose about this a little bit. It seems like there's a spirit or an intention that people are missing out on, and how do we arrive at this intention or spirit of, kind of a charitable or favorable attitude towards our quote-unquote opponents and -


- Yeah 


- and from from my take just as a clinical psychologist not a research psychologist, it seems like most of what I observe online with incendiary characters and topics is, people start off with, it seems like people start off with the intention to prove someone wrong. And that might end of itself be the place to start with a respectful disagreement - is as opposed to having this intention to prove someone wrong, what if we had the intention to understand. And that's why I like kind of the Buddhist concepts of beginner's mind and whatnot. Because if you have the idea in your head that you know nothing then generally speaking you're more apt to learn something and respectfully disagree like I'm walking into this chat with you knowing almost nothing about your research, kind of on purpose because I could easily kind of creep on you online to figure out what you've written. I'm not going to do that because I actually want to kind of learn for the first time from you what you believe. And without any bias or preconceived notions on my part, you know what I mean?

Yeah because why would you want to prove that racist bullshit, presented as science, is factually incorrect? How rude.

And of course Lockwood knows exactly what Winegard's "research" is about, that's why they talk about the Sam Harris/Charles Murray controversy right at the beginning of the interview. That's what prompted Lockwood to say "people lose their minds."

Throw in Lockwood's reference to Buddhist beginner's mind ("and whatnot") and that paragraph is a recipe for vomit stew. If you did not feel like puking after reading that paragraph (and hearing it spoken is ten times worse) you have a stronger stomach than I do, my friend.

I'm calling it now - Patrick Lockwood is the Neville Chamberlain of race pseudoscience.

But there's only so much I can take of this double-barrel bullshit in one sitting. I will discuss more lowlights in the future. 

After my gorge lowers back the hell down.

Part 2 of the Lockwood Saga: the influence of Jordan Peterson