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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.

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