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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.

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