Thursday, May 18, 2017

Holy Phrenology, Batman

Speaking of terrible ideas that will not die...

From Vox:
Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ

Podcaster and author Sam Harris is the latest to fall for it.
There follows a long discussion of the details of the science which you can read here.  Then comes the stinger...
It is never a good thing to make poorly justified scientific claims. When it comes to race and IQ, doing so is toxic.

That brings us to the most difficult part of this essay, in which we consider the moral content of Murray’s racial arguments, and the motivation for Harris’s astonishing willingness to showcase them so uncritically. Murray presents himself as coolly rational and scientific as he proceeds to his conclusion of genetically based racial differences: People differ in behavior, groups of people differ in behavior, people differ genetically, groups differ genetically. One way or another, genes are associated with behavior, so of course some group differences in behavior occur because of genes. No big deal. “This is what a dispassionate look at decades of research suggests,” Harris blithely says.

It is a big deal. The conviction that groups of people differ along important behavioral dimensions because of racial differences in their genetic endowment is an idea with a horrific recent history...
Charles Murray's crackpottery is another midden pile of rationalizing shit the Right wallowed in 20 years ago and tracked all over the house.

And Andrew Sullivan is the highly-paid professional Conservative pundit who, to this very day, will go right on claiming that the ineradicable, racist outhouse stink that permeates every surface of Conservatism is actually the fragrant perfume of wild blueberries, weed and freedom.


Knight of Nothing said...

And fuck Sam Harris too, who should damn well know better. In spite of his vocal incisive criticism of Trump, he's made himself into a useful idiot for the Right.

Randle Aubrey said...

I'm fairly certain the main reason Sam Harris had Charles Murray on his podcast was so that Harris' listeners wouldn't think he was a cuck.

After railing against "horrific free speech" abuses on college campuses for so long, there was no way Harris wasn't gonna give Murray a "safe space," if for no other reason than to -- you guessed it -- to make liberals cry.

"Free exchange of ideas," my ass. Harris has discovered, like many of his colleagues (I'm looking at you, Ben Carson), that there's more money and prestige to be had in demagoguery than there is in the pursuit of science.

In the immortal words of Tengrain, "grifters gotta grift."

And to think, I used to actually have respect for that guy. Sad!

trgahan said...

I always ask people who bring this shit up what I am.

Because, in American society, my grandfather (Greatest Generation) wasn't white, my dad (early Baby Boomer) was probationary white, and I (Gen-X...or some such) have been considered white no questions asked my entire life.

So there you have a genic lineage that changing its racial affiliation in under 100 years without a single biological mutation.

Isn't evolution fun!

Mark Dobrowolski said...

In school the studies of genetics and environment are separated. In life, they are inseparable.