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Friday, June 2, 2023

Steven Pinker at the 2023 Racist Rodeo (the annual conference of the International Society for Intelligence Research)

Wheee it's the
Racist Rodeo!

The International Society for Intelligence Research is having its annual conference  and guess who's going to be there? 

We are delighted to announce the 23rd annual ISIR conference in Berkeley, California, USA! The conference will be held from Thursday, July 27 until Saturday, July 29 at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza, located at 2086 Allston Way, Berkeley, California. We will begin with a welcome reception sponsored by the Institute for Mental Chronometry on the evening of Wednesday, July 26, with drinks, refreshments, and guest speakers Steven Pinker and Frank Worrell

But this isn't Pinker's first racist rodeo, he was there in 2015, complaining about bad writing

I find it odd that Pinker is touted as some kind of language expert when he chose a truly rancid piece of dreck - poorly argued, poorly researched - written by professional racist Steve Sailer for "The Best American Science and Nature Writing." I think we should all have doubts about Steven Pinker's opinion on the subject of good writing.

But I don't think the primary reason for the speech is a concern for style so much as a chance to retaliate against Stephen Jay Gould and Malcolm Gladwell, or as Pinker describes them in the most weaselly way possible: "critics of the value of intelligence research." Oddly he includes idiot David Brooks with them - Pinker and Brooks are now allies.

Pinker will never get over the fact that Gould humiliated him in the New York Review of Books. And he was mad at Malcolm Gladwell for daring to point out Pinker's cozy relationship with racist Steve Sailer, but Pinker - and Geoffry Miller - seemed to feel better about Gladwell after he signed the Harper's Letter. Miller is an evolutionary psychologist who gained notoriety through fat-shaming.

The audience chuckles when Pinker shows the slide of Gould, Gladwell and Brooks. Pinker says:

...three prominent critics of the value of intelligence research and of the major findings that I think are accepted by most people in this group...

This tells us two important things - "intelligence research" means race pseudoscience - and that Pinker is in agreement with alleged "major findings" that the pack of racists in the room believe in. Pinker continues:

What the three of them have in common is that they are all excellent writers. And what a lot of people who do research in intelligence have in common is, like most academics, they're not. And so in the battle for hearts and minds, I think many of us are bringing a knife to a gun fight. Namely, the people who are most vociferous in proposing the idea that intelligence doesn't matter, it can't be measured, it's all an artifact of socio-economic status, it doesn't matter above a certain low threshold and so on, they present their case very clearly and articulately. And so I think it behooves intelligence researchers to get their side of the story out in an effective matter...

What Pinker is proposing is nothing less than a coordinated political campaign by partisans of race pseudoscience.

But certainly Pinker's buddy Razib Khan demonstrates how badly race pseudoscience proponents write, so bad that even his fellow racists recognize it. Pinker tries to excuse the bad writing of his racist pals due to their being academics, but Khan is not an academic, he's a rightwing political operative posing as a scientist, so what's his excuse?

Pinker was also at the racist rodeo in 2017. He participated in the Distinguished Contributor Interview, available on YouTube. The audio is terrible. The interviewer, David Lubinski is:

...one of 52 signatories on "Mainstream Science on Intelligence",[8] an editorial written by Linda Gottfredson and published in The Wall Street Journal, which declared the consensus of the signing scholars on issues related to intelligence research following the publication of the book The Bell Curve.

I haven't had a chance to review the whole interview but this part is pretty fascinating at minute 3.40:


...How did someone with your background, someone who at one point in his career and I'm not putting him on the spot because Steven said this publicly, said early on, he found individual differences "uninteresting" how did someone at that stage of development become so interested in human psychological diversity that you developed expertise in individual differences and wrote a book like "Blank Slate"


It's true that at the end of "The Language Instinct" my first popular book, I commented on how one topic I did not cover in that book, that I never studied myself up to that point was just because the individual differences in the normal range just seemed a little ripple of noise on top of something interesting that we all have in common. Compared to the question of what makes the brain smart, how do we solve problems, how do we invent things, how do we discover things. What makes some of us a little better than others on a quantitative scale, struck me as less interesting. But then - as you pointed out I was not right back today(?) - individual differences are interesting in a number of ways. One of them is, if you're interested in human nature, what is innate, across the human species, what makes a human human, one of the ways to study it is to look at how something varies. Since you need some kind of independent variable in science to study anything. If you're interested in what do the (?) human nature. You can compare humans to chimpanzees, there are a number of ways of getting at it. But one of them has to be well, let's look at the differences in the genes and see how they correlate with differences in psychological abilities. Another was the fact that - I didn't appreciate until reading an article by Tom Bouchard and his colleagues in the late 80s in Science, that pointed out a problem that I had a deepening appreciation of, that behavioral genetics isn't just the study of the genetic influences but it leads to surprising discoveries about environmental influences, mainly the small contribution of the so-called shared environment, which I think came as a surprise to everyone, pointed out by Robert Plomin and Sandra Scarr, David Rowe and later Judith Harris. One of the profound discoveries of behavioral genetics is not so much that genes matter, though that still comes as a shock to many people, but that the part that isn't genetic isn't necessarily familial, isn't necessarily parental. That there's some profound source of variation in what makes us what we are that is neither genes nor families. That's a discovery that I find, even - almost 15 years after publishing The Blank Slate - it's very hard to get people to even understand it, let alone try to explain it. But that is a profound intellectual puzzle about what makes us what we are. I have my own favorite hypothesis about it, my own interpretation of the evidence. A lot of it seems developmental noise, and so non-shared environment as the name of the variable that counts for that chunk of variance may be somewhat dissuading. Anyway, that was a bit of a digression but in answer to your question, it is a highly interesting question what is it other than our genes that make us what we are and that's something that can only come to light through the study of intelligence and personality...

First, the notable use of the term "human psychological diversity" which I have no doubt is another way of saying "human biodiversity" a favorite euphemism for race pseudoscience promoters, as is, almost always, "individual differences."

I think the subtext for Lubinski putting Pinker on the spot here is "you used to be opposed to race pseudoscience, what made you decide to join our club?"

Second, Pinker is alluding to the theories of his protegée Judith Rich Harris when he talks about "non-shared environment." Basically what Judith Rich Harris meant was society:

What children learn in the context of their home may not, in fact, work in the world outside the home. Western societies demand very different behaviors in the home and outside the home; for example, displays of emotion that are acceptable in the home are unacceptable outside of it ( Dencik, 1989 ; Fine, 1981 ). A central assumption of GS theory is that socialization is a highly context-dependent form of learning. Children learn separately how to behave at home (or in the presence of their parents) and how to behave when they are not at home. The manner of learning, the reinforcement contingencies, may also be quite different: In the home they may be reprimanded for mistakes and praised when they behave appropriately; out of the home they may be ridiculed for mistakes and ignored when they behave appropriately.

What is so incredibly irritating about Pinker's amazement about this "discovery" allegedly made via behavioral genetics is that anthropologist Marvin Harris's entire career, since at least the mid-1960s, has been pointing out the non-family influences on human behavior, via his research strategy "cultural materialism." Specifically infrastructural determinism.

For a comparison of the research strategies of cultural materialism, sociobiology (which Pinker most often agrees with) and the "ideas control behavior" position, see R. Brian Ferguson's "Materialist, cultural and biological theories on why the Yanomami make war."

And Pinker is certainly aware of Marvin Harris, enough to dismiss him with this absurdly simplistic assessment: "But his view of human nature is too narrow — everything boils down to calories."

Apparently Pinker just can't or won't make the connection between Judith Rich Harris' shallow analysis of this "variable" and the decades-long body of work of Marvin Harris.

More about this interview later when I write about Pinker's progress in the exciting field of "human psychological diversity." 

Now back to Racist Rodeo 2023.

Frank C. Worrell is Black, but also takes money from Koch and other right-wing plutocrats, so can be relied on not to make a fuss about the core racist beliefs of many of those associated with ISIR. 

As Pascal Robert said (via F. D. Signifier) :

...the whole purpose of (Black) conservatives is to disabuse the notion that Black people are deserving of any policy that would transform their economic condition, because they are so culturally defective that capitalism can't save them. And they do this because their paymasters, like the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute and other think tanks pay them to say this crap...

Black people willing to sign onto a race pseudoscience club are extremely valuable to organizations  like ISIR, so they can say: "see, even Black intellectuals agree with us about Black people."

For another example see JayMan - if they aren't actually a white nationalist man-baby.

So how racist is the ISIR? Glad you asked.

The current president, Rosalind Arden is a Quillette author who has also co-authored with hardcore race-ranking racist Linda Gottfredson, which is why I recognized her name on sight. Gottfredson was president of ISIR in 2012

Board member Emily Willoughby is a big fan of race pseudoscience

Earl Hunt, president in 2011, now deceased, liked to talk about "racial differences."

2016 president Richard Haier is a Quillette author and a defender of hard-core racist/neo-Nazi Quillette editor Bo Winegard. He's co-authored with  ISIR's 2020/2021 president and current secretary/treasurer, Rex E. Jung

Board member John Protzko wrote a paper on intelligence that cites Linda Gottfredson.

Board member Guy Madison is a sociobiologist who defends all the other promoters of race pseudoscience and has co-authored with white supremacist Edward Croft Dutton.

Board member Andreas Demetriou co-authored a paper that references Pinker, Gottfredson, Charles Murray and Arthur Jensen.

Board member Robert Colom is a big fan of the crackpot theories of Richard Lynn.

Board member Timothy Bates is a race pseudoscience ghoul who likes to retweet other race pseudoscience ghouls like long-time Bo Winegard associate and co-author Cory Clark. Bates was also ISIR president in 2017 & 2018. Co-authored a paper with right-wing racist kook Hans J. Eysenck.

The 2020 conference was a bumper crop of the hardest of hard-core racists featuring Charles Murray, Amy Wax, Greg "600K from Ron Unz" Cochran, Johnny Anomaly, Razib Khan, Stephen Hsu AND Emil O. W. Kirkegaard, who was finally banned last year because Abdel Abdellaoui complained about him.

Other racists were not happy that Kirkegaard was banned. 

The conference flyer for 2022 lists Abdellaoui, and also Emily Willoughby's advisor Matt McGue, a proponent of behavioral genetics (sociobiology); Jochen Paulus, a German journalist; Aljoscha Neubauer an Austrian psychologist; and Anna-Lena Schubert a psychologist with distinct sociobiology leanings, who co-authored a paper with Kirsten Hilger, an ISIR board member who won the Richard Haier prize. The local host was Jakob Pietschnig, who cited, as credible sources, in a paper on IQ: Edward Dutton, Herrnstein/Murray, three citations from J. P. Rushton and seven from Richard Lynn. That guy loves his race pseudoscience. Which is why he is part of the International Society for Intelligence Research.

I finally found the 2022 program online and it turns out that Steven Pinker was at this conference too, giving an invited speech called "Rationality: What it is, why it seems scarce, why it matters" which is part of Pinker's campaign to associate race pseudoscience with rationality.

Of course Richard Lynn and JP Rushton both participated in ISIR conferences. The 2012 conference program notes the passing of two leading promoters of race pseudoscience, Arthur Jensen and Rushton. Rest in hell, racists.

So many extreme racists have been associated with this organization I wouldn't be surprised if they made Steve Sailer their next president.

The ISIR has a Facebook page and they are NOT ashamed of all the racists associated with their organization. Their page banner is full of racists. This demonstrates how obsessed ISIR - and behavioral genetics, sociobiology and "human psychological diversity" is with race.

Top row, left to right: 

Bottom row, left to right:

So apparently "Intelligence" will publish anything as long as the author is devoted to race pseudoscience. According to its Wiki:

It has been criticized for having included on its editorial board biochemist Gerhard Meisenberg and psychologist Richard Lynn, both of whom are promoters of eugenics and scientific racism.[1][3][4][5] The editor-in-chief of the journal defended their involvement on the basis of academic freedom.[1] Lynn and Meisenberg no longer serve in the editorial board as of 2018.[2][6]

Currently Haier is the editor, associate editors are Thomas Coyle, right-wing fan of racists like Bo Winegard, and Sophie Von Strumm a proponent of behavioral genetics via her Hungry Mind lab, and a frequent co-author with Plomin

The editorial board includes Bates, Demetriou, Colom, Hilger, Jung, Neubauer, Pietschnig, Plomin, Schubert plus two names I recognized on sight, David C. Geary, an author at Quillette who co-authored a paper with the "human biodiversity" Winegard twins, and Heiner Rinderman, identified as a "human biodiversity pseudoscientist" in Rational Wiki. And there's Russell T. Warne, another Quillette author.

Probably not everybody associated with ISIR and "Intelligence" is a racist, but even if not, they are comfortable working with lots of racists.

Ooh - more YouTube videos from ISIR conferences:

Linda Gottfredson in 2016 for the "Distinguished Contributor Interview" - I haven't had a chance to watch it yet - I dipped in every now and then and there appears to be plenty of whining about how she's been treated with less than the adulation she expects, because she's a huge honking racist. I don't know if she repeats the performance she gave when she was invited onto racist Stefan Molyneux's show and together they ranked races by intelligence

Brian Boutwell in 2018 - "biosocial criminologist" and some time co-author with neo-Nazi racist Bo Winegard. Boutwell also appeared on Molyneux's show.

Gregory Clark in 2018 - hardcore hereditarian economist. White supremacist Douglas Murray was devastated when Clark was deplatformed.

Toby Young in 2017 - Young was a Quillette editor and comedian Stewart Lee had some amusing things to say about him and Emil Kirkegaard.

I will be reviewing more Racist Rodeo videos ASAP.

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