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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.