Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I Appreciate the Link Love and Mention from Andrew Sullivan, But Analogies of People and Dogs in this Race IQ Debate Are Not a Good Look

Well played Mr. Sullivan, well played indeed... 

It is a backhanded complement to be called out in a smart and witty manner by a leading member of the pundit classes whose skills you respect.

In response to the kerfuffle about the piss poor social science research done by the Heritage Foundation's Jason Richwine and his efforts to correlate IQ and race, Sullivan wrote at his site the Dish how:
But it is abhorrent to tar someone researching data as a racist and hound him out of a job simply because of his results, honestly discovered and analyzed. One particularly disturbing statement came from 23 separate student groups at Harvard: 
We condemn in unequivocal terms these racist claims as unfit for Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard University as a whole. Granting permission for such a dissertation to be published debases all of our degrees and hurts the University’s reputation … Even if such claims had merit, the Kennedy School cannot ethically stand by this dissertation whose end result can only be furthering discrimination under the guise of academic discourse. 
My italics. They are, of course, caricaturing the argument – I know of no scholar who believes that genes are entirely responsible for the racial differences. 
Central to his claim is the idea that certain groups are genetically predisposed to be more intelligent than others. In his troubling worldview Asians are generally at the top, with whites in the middle, Hispanics follow, and African Americans at the bottom. To justify his assertions he cites largely discredited sources such as J. Philippe Rushton whose work enshrines the idea that there are genetically-rooted differences in cognitive ability between racial groups.
Sullivan then playfully twisted my ear--or alternatively hit me on the nose with a newspaper for making a mess (you will get the reference in a moment)--as he continued:
Here’s another caricature of it: 
Human beings have not existed long enough to be divided into separate and distinct racial “species.” 
Of course not. We remain the same species, just as a poodle and a beagle are of the same species. But poodles, in general, are smarter than beagles, and beagles have a much better sense of smell. We bred those traits into them, of course, fast-forwarding evolution. But the idea that natural selection and environmental adaptation stopped among human beings the minute we emerged in the planet 200,000 years ago – and that there are no genetic markers for geographical origin or destination – is bizarre. It would be deeply strange if Homo sapiens were the only species on earth that did not adapt to different climates, diseases, landscapes, and experiences over hundreds of millennia. We see such adaptation happening very quickly in the animal kingdom. Our skin color alone – clearly a genetic adaptation to climate – is, well, right in front of one’s nose.
The analogy between human beings of difference "races" and dog breeds is problematic on a number of grounds: I will let such reasons go uncommented upon; they are for you to engage. 

I reiterate my default position on race and IQ. 

There is no such thing as human sub-species. Two, race is a social fiction. Three, race is a category that is arbitrary and not fixed. Melanin is accounted for by a rather minuscule part of the human genome. There are lose groupings of people based on in-breeding and geographic proximity. This is not an accurate proxy variable to accurately measure "racial" differences.

I am willing to allow for the following, however.

Perhaps IQ tests measure the ability to take a particular type of test designed by certain parties to measure a certain narrow range of abilities? 

Let's entertain the following thought experiment: If Kalahari Bushmen gave their version of an IQ test to me and Andrew Sullivan, while we are both of different "races," it is likely that we would each fail it miserably. 

A twist. The Kalahari Bushmen and I are both "black." So by failing their IQ test, am I closer to being "white?" Is this a function of biology, nature, or nurture?

One final quick exercise as a means of demonstrating both the almost inevitably problematic destination of discredited race science and the unstated (and dangerous) assumptions underlying its internal logic.

Let us suppose that Mr. Sullivan's above passage was altered as followed:
Of course not. We Human beings remain the same species, just as a poodle Caucasian and a beagle Negro are of the same species. But poodles, Caucasians in general, are smarter than beagles, Negroes and beagles Negroes have a much better sense of smell. We bred those traits into them, of course, fast-forwarding evolution.
Ultimately, we are left to ask have human beings been "bred" like dogs as a function of environmental and geographic adaptation. 

I am comfortable being called a "naked ape." A dog? Not so much.


Michael Varian Daly said...

Kinda/Sorta the same issue from a much different angle: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/may/12/how-to-spot-a-murderers-brain

chauncey devega said...

Forbidden knowledge is always the sweetest and the most tempting is it not? Then again is it the info, its use, or application and context that gets folks in trouble?

Vic78 said...

If he didn't have AIDS I'd kick his ass. Sully's a scumbag and proud of it. Why waste your talent with him and his filth?

chauncey devega said...

Come now. Play nice. What do you think of his claim and why does he consistently want to talk about race and IQ?

Vic78 said...

He's a racist half wit. I don't think much of his claim. He might be the only person in the world that takes the Bell Curve seriously. I take it he's what we call a true believer. He has to bang that chicken. He can't help himself.

CNu said...

Sullivan destroyed your handwaving. Though this is by far the most important battlefield on which race studies is obliged to engage, it is also the area in which students of race are perennially least qualified and prepared....,

chauncey devega said...

So contrarian. If you want to suggest that there are different human "species" by all means argue that claim. I am imminently curious. Please send over a guest post and I would feature it.

Moreover, if you want to argue that those black and brown "races" are genetically "different," i.e. "deficient" in IQ by implication from "whites" by all means do that too.

You are an interesting case. Always fascinating.

How do you get over the construct validity problem w. this race science mess, and how different "races" may have very similar genetic "problems" w. disease profiles, etc.?

The consensus is that race and IQ is foolishness. I would hope you are not now supporting the hbd crowd.

He did me a favor. I appreciate it.

CNu said...

Are you pathologically incapable of arguing facts to the point where you must always put words in the "other's" mouth?

Not even Sullivan, who casually and effortlessly mopped the floor with you, invoked "species". Instead, he stated the - as yet unrefuted by you - obvious. In response to which you have nothing except how "offended" you are.

At this juncture, all you've got is "hurty feewings" and specious appeals to consensus authority.

As for my black man bona fides, my measured and documented IQ is six standard deviations above the mean - so in GATTACA world I and my progeny win no matter what science, technology, or policy is spawned pursuant to these perennial Aristotelian efforts.

chauncey devega said...

Your progeny would not win Cnu. Because you are "black." That is the whole point.

I have included links above.

Read the very thorough and readable essay on Feagin's site for others.

The IQ race hustle is really not that interesting to all but a few hbd types.

I get that your Malthusian tendencies are dependent on some type of biological determinism. But the race science dog don't hunt. Never has.

1. There are no human subspecies. We have not existed long enough to be divided up in such a way. Heck, Inuits and some East Africans are genetically "similar" whatever that means. Moreover, there is more in-group variability than out-group variability within populations. Penguins and bugs are more "different" than any given two people of the same "race."

2. How do you account for in-group variability? So "whites" score "better" on IQ tests and "blacks" score "worse." Okay.

Now what of those blacks like we say repeatedly during WW1 and WW2 who do better than poor Northern whites? What does that do for the tests? Or that some "blacks" do better than other "blacks"? Are they more "White?"

3. Intelligence. How does an IQ test correlate to such a nebulous concept?

4. Race is a socially constructed category. As smart as you are you must understand that basic fact. So a social category and box made up by the State--"Hispanic" is a great one--can then be used as a variable in a complex model to determine "intelligence." Come now. Talk about some basic construct validity problems. Simple Data Analysis 101 problems.

5. Check out the great book form Savage to Negro or even the newer book Racecraft to get a sense of the magical thinking masquerading as science working through day-to-day white supremacy that drive the hbd race iq hustle.

6. This is all about how models are defined if you read the compilations on this issue or even the too and fro in some of the journals it comes down to construct validity. Is intelligence a function of heredity? Sure. "Dumb" people may have "dumb" kids. But how much does environment play into that? And what of the social context of race? Do such arguments hold on a mass scale for large groups? And what exactly are we measuring--thus my example of the Kalahari bushmen.

7. So a researchers defines 10 or so "races"--even that is just meh to write--that are relatively arbitrary and then proceeds to try to gather data. Okay, again, what defines those "races"? What of intragroup differences? What of migration? What of how I can change "races" by lying, passing, moving from country to country, making a time machine, etc. etc. etc.

The race science project is bankrupt. Thus, why I and many others have no interest in it.

CNu said...

All of what you wrote above is true of dogs as well, as also what Sullivan said about them. I made my bones crushing race/IQ/HBD - but did it far more succinctly and persuasively than the current crew on deck.

It's the current crew's inability which has clowns like Richwine (an easy mark) and far more dangerous actors like Pinker enjoying a rennaissance.

chauncey devega said...

"All of what you wrote above is true of dogs as well"

And maybe bacteria too? But that does not mean it applies to human beings, and/or if it does what the takeaway is.

The idea that a person can generalize from something as arbitrary as skin color to something called "intelligence" is just such a specious argument that it is not taken seriously in most circles. Now, that does not mean the idea is not without power--thus why we are still refuting such crackpot science centuries later.

CNu said...

The idea that a person can generalize from something as arbitrary as
skin color to something called "intelligence" is just such a specious
argument that it is not taken seriously in most circles.

Goddayyum...., for the very last time, please give up the tired-assed canard of "most circles". Your "circles" don't have the benefit of working microbiologists on their side.

Your "most circles" owes everything to Stephen Jay Gould and Thomas Sowell (of all people) who carefully eviscerated Charles Murray when he made the last major attempt at eugenic resuscitation in the 1990's.

Their isht hasn't aged any better than Murray's.

Point being that HBD folk continue to be well-funded and they continue to vigorously work the elite echelons of biology and microbiology in their neverending quest to articulate a scientific narrative which maps to the obvious and onto facts that Sullivan noted about dog breeds, and which the anti-HBD crowd has not yet stepped up its game to meaningfully dissect or artfully counter. Thus, my assertion that Sullivan destroyed your arguments before they were even uttered.

He stated a pedestrian obvious known to everyone about dog breeds which DO differ dramatically from one another in sensorimotor and cognitive capabiities while all belonging to a common species. Even you must admit the correctness of Sullivan's assertions because you suffer from that repugnant sentimental attachment to canines too. (personally, I have less than no use for animals who sniff each others butts as a significant part of their instinctual socializing)

You have no counterargument for this and science is on developmental tear which puts Moore's Law to shame and HBD enthusiasts are part of that science/technology/policy making effort.

I get that your Malthusian tendencies are dependent on some type of biological determinism.

What exactly is it that you suppose you "get"? "Fitness" is as fitness does - and everything else is merely conversation...,