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Geneticists Denounce Nicholas Wade's "Speculative" Chapters as "Speculation"
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Some geneticists have published an open letter denouncing as “speculation” the chapters in A Troublesome Inheritance that author Nicholas Wade labeled as “much more speculative.”

Responses:

Ron Unz at the Unz Review: Race/IQ: Should Scientists Bother Reading the Books They Denounce?

Henry Harpending at West Hunter: At Least Erroneous in Faith

Geoffrey F. Miller in the comments at West Hunter:

The 144 letter signatories apparently couldn’t agree on _anything_ beyond ‘speculative Wade is speculative’, and that there’s a lack of good evidence on topics that have been intellectually taboo, career-destroying, and grant-unfundable for decades (surprise!).

If they really had the courage of their convictions, they would have outlined an empirical strategy for disproving Wade and protecting their Blank Slate doctrine, e.g. a large-sample, high-powered, multi-continent analysis of allele frequency differences on the thousands of loci that jointly predict cognitive and personality traits. It would only take a few tens of millions of dollars to find compelling evidence of negligible genetic differences across human groups in mental traits.

Yet the signatories show zero interest in advocating for research that might challenge their world-view. I wonder what proportion of these 144 know in their hearts that such a project would stand an all-too-high likelihood of finding what they most fear.

 
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  1. Plainly insincere and done to appease financial backers of research.

  2. Another collection of academics striking attitudes….

  3. Thoughts on the passing of Robin Williams?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Robin Williams is dead? That's sad.

    He was the greatest guest in the history of late night talk shows. Maybe his movies weren't so hot, but they gave him an excuse to go on TV and promote them, at which he was supreme.

  4. @Bill M
    Thoughts on the passing of Robin Williams?

    Robin Williams is dead? That’s sad.

    He was the greatest guest in the history of late night talk shows. Maybe his movies weren’t so hot, but they gave him an excuse to go on TV and promote them, at which he was supreme.

    • Replies: @Bill M
    Yes, agreed, he was great as a guest and on stage because of his incredible energy. He was often accused of stealing other comedians' material, but he seems to have gotten away with it because of his incredibly energetic performances on stage.
    , @Bill M
    You sound like you don't really give a sh*t. You tend to follow movies and pop culture to a certain extent, so I'm a bit surprised that you're pretty blase about it.
  5. @Steve Sailer
    Robin Williams is dead? That's sad.

    He was the greatest guest in the history of late night talk shows. Maybe his movies weren't so hot, but they gave him an excuse to go on TV and promote them, at which he was supreme.

    Yes, agreed, he was great as a guest and on stage because of his incredible energy. He was often accused of stealing other comedians’ material, but he seems to have gotten away with it because of his incredibly energetic performances on stage.

  6. OT, but this illegal immigration article in the Canadian papers is something.

    http://o.canada.com/news/texas-town-opens-its-heart-to-child-refugees

  7. “Damn it, evolution exerts selection pressure on many heritable traits, but absolutely no influence on cognitive ability.” Any reasonable person can believe this, right?

  8. @Steve Sailer
    Robin Williams is dead? That's sad.

    He was the greatest guest in the history of late night talk shows. Maybe his movies weren't so hot, but they gave him an excuse to go on TV and promote them, at which he was supreme.

    You sound like you don’t really give a sh*t. You tend to follow movies and pop culture to a certain extent, so I’m a bit surprised that you’re pretty blase about it.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
    And who could forget Steve's callous dismissal of Paul Walker's untimely passing. We begin to see a pattern.
  9. The most deplorable one [AKA "The fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:
    • Replies: @Frances
    Why gentrification? The School Without Walls is a Title 1 DC public school offering Latin in all grades and spoken Latin to preschoolers.
  10. There is nothing wrong with “speculation.” Speculation is where science begins. Harpending’s and Cochran’s hypothesis in The 10,000 Year Explosion about Neanderthal/Human interbreeding was entirely speculative, and yet it turned out to be correct.

  11. @Bill M
    You sound like you don't really give a sh*t. You tend to follow movies and pop culture to a certain extent, so I'm a bit surprised that you're pretty blase about it.

    And who could forget Steve’s callous dismissal of Paul Walker’s untimely passing. We begin to see a pattern.

    • Replies: @Bill M
    Right, but Walker was not a star, so it didn't seem that egregious.

    Snide comments like, "Robin Williams is dead? That’s sad....He was the greatest guest in the history of late night talk shows" just make one sound like an a**hole that's disrespectful of the recently departed.
  12. @kaganovitch
    And who could forget Steve's callous dismissal of Paul Walker's untimely passing. We begin to see a pattern.

    Right, but Walker was not a star, so it didn’t seem that egregious.

    Snide comments like, “Robin Williams is dead? That’s sad….He was the greatest guest in the history of late night talk shows” just make one sound like an a**hole that’s disrespectful of the recently departed.

    • Replies: @Lowe
    What are you talking about? Do you expect Steve to post a eulogy?
  13. What’s even sadder is seeing Geoffrey Miller open a website with Tucker Max.

    • Replies: @Bill M
    Yes, it is kind of pathetic. But Miller is more of a popularizer than a hard core researcher.
  14. Real scientists need to stamp out this speculation stuff, but quick. Where will it end? Before you know it, people will be speculating as to how an electromagnetic wave appears to a moving observer, or how particles might behave if they acted like waves, or imagining what it would be like if continents drifted around the surface of the Earth. No good can come of it.

  15. “Snide comments like, ‘Robin Williams is dead? That’s sad….He was the greatest guest in the history of late night talk shows’ just make one sound like an a**hole that’s disrespectful of the recently departed.”

    The fact he doesn’t worship at the altar of celebrity doesn’t make Steve an a-hole. Speaking as someone generally not obsessed with celebrities lives or deaths, Williams’s death hits hard. He was such a brilliant comedian, a whirlwind.

  16. How is calling Robin Williams “the greatest guest in the history of late night talk shows” snide? In the central arena of American celebrity, Williams was #1 of all time. (And that was the opinion of Johnny Carson, too, who made Williams and singer Bette Midler his last two guests).

    I offered that for younger readers who know Williams mostly from his movies to get some sense of what older people are going on about. The man’s genius was most on display in promoting his movies on talk shows.

    Jonathan Winters blazed the path Williams followed (Google “jonathan winters jack paar stick” and watch the video), but Winters couldn’t really keep it together for all that long. I recall once on Letterman that Williams was on fire, and then he saw Winters standing in the wings so he called Winters on stage and the two started riffing off each other brilliantly, at which point a peeved Letterman broke it up and demanded a commercial and when they came back Winters was gone. My guess is that Letterman had some reason for not wanting to have anything to do with Winters.

    In contrast, Williams was a consistently great guest for many years.

    • Replies: @Bill M
    Look, if you really respected him, you would have devoted a post to him rather than this comment section BS. He was just a f*cking clown to you, wasn't he?
  17. @spandrell
    What's even sadder is seeing Geoffrey Miller open a website with Tucker Max.

    Yes, it is kind of pathetic. But Miller is more of a popularizer than a hard core researcher.

  18. @Steve Sailer
    How is calling Robin Williams "the greatest guest in the history of late night talk shows” snide? In the central arena of American celebrity, Williams was #1 of all time. (And that was the opinion of Johnny Carson, too, who made Williams and singer Bette Midler his last two guests).

    I offered that for younger readers who know Williams mostly from his movies to get some sense of what older people are going on about. The man's genius was most on display in promoting his movies on talk shows.

    Jonathan Winters blazed the path Williams followed (Google "jonathan winters jack paar stick" and watch the video), but Winters couldn't really keep it together for all that long. I recall once on Letterman that Williams was on fire, and then he saw Winters standing in the wings so he called Winters on stage and the two started riffing off each other brilliantly, at which point a peeved Letterman broke it up and demanded a commercial and when they came back Winters was gone. My guess is that Letterman had some reason for not wanting to have anything to do with Winters.

    In contrast, Williams was a consistently great guest for many years.

    Look, if you really respected him, you would have devoted a post to him rather than this comment section BS. He was just a f*cking clown to you, wasn’t he?

    • Replies: @Sean c
    Give it up. Not everyone has to hero worship celebrities. It is sad he killed himself, but for millions of Americans we go about our lives because we did not personally know the guy.
    , @polynikes
    Demanding sympathy from someone? That's one of the weirder comments, I have read in a while.

    I'm not huge into a nation (about every news show I turned to this morning covered it quite a bit) mourning an actor's death. And I wasn't a huge fan of Williams. Still, sometimes somebody who did something in sports or entertainment that I liked or connected to their work passes away and I feel a little sadness. So, I guess I get the sentiment here.

    But still...demanding someone mourn? I guess it fits in with the need for someone to always be outraged or offended by something these days.
    , @Dennis Dale
    You can't possibly be serious. If you want conspicuous, glib expressions of grief, I'm sure Twitter is blowing up with them right now. Go. Indulge. But hurry; in such cases the inconsolable have a tendency to lose interest and wander off.
    Maybe you should make a video.
  19. @Bill M
    Look, if you really respected him, you would have devoted a post to him rather than this comment section BS. He was just a f*cking clown to you, wasn't he?

    Give it up. Not everyone has to hero worship celebrities. It is sad he killed himself, but for millions of Americans we go about our lives because we did not personally know the guy.

  20. @Mike – FFS, he’s only just found out. If you want wall to wall Robin Williams, try BBC news this morning – 7 minutes out of the 10-minute headlines (including two talk-show clips), then another 10-minute item – all repeated every hour but with additional tributes as various celebs are rung (or wrung) for a quote. The story was the first and the last item on BBC’s 2.5 hour “Today” programme.

    Steve – this week’s “Desert Island Discs” guest is one M Gladwell.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_Island_Discs

    It would be interesting to do some analysis on who makes “the great and the good” (as perceived by BBC producers) over the years – the show’s been running since 1942.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Desert_Island_Discs_episodes

    • Replies: @fnn
    “Desert Island Discs”

    The world-historical episode of that series is the one with Diana Mosley. Essential to understanding the lunacy of the 20th and 21st centuries.
  21. A substance-abusing, suffering-from-depression, multiple-marriage-and-children entertainer offs himself. In other news, water is wet.

    Robin Williams is a good example of why, when you marry, reproduce and divorce multiple times during your heyday when you’re rich and popular, you’d best stay rich and popular. Like David Duchovny having to pay a wife, Tea Leoni, who’s about as wealthy as he is, the courts don’t care that Robin Williams has half the income he had 10 years ago. Too, his latest sitcom sank without a trace, and that had to hurt someone of his stature.

  22. @Bill M
    Right, but Walker was not a star, so it didn't seem that egregious.

    Snide comments like, "Robin Williams is dead? That’s sad....He was the greatest guest in the history of late night talk shows" just make one sound like an a**hole that's disrespectful of the recently departed.

    What are you talking about? Do you expect Steve to post a eulogy?

  23. “Wilkey says

    The fact he doesn’t worship at the altar of celebrity doesn’t make Steve an a-hole. Speaking as someone generally not obsessed with celebrities lives or deaths, Williams’s death hits hard. He was such a brilliant comedian, a whirlwind.”

    Robin Williams seemed like a decent guy, and his suicide is a sad event. That said, a brilliant comic is still – in the end – just a comic. Comics, as Steve has often pointed out, are often not especially happy or pleasant people, and perhaps, based on the lives of a lot of them, prone to depression.

  24. @Anonymous Nephew
    @Mike - FFS, he's only just found out. If you want wall to wall Robin Williams, try BBC news this morning - 7 minutes out of the 10-minute headlines (including two talk-show clips), then another 10-minute item - all repeated every hour but with additional tributes as various celebs are rung (or wrung) for a quote. The story was the first and the last item on BBC's 2.5 hour "Today" programme.

    Steve - this week's "Desert Island Discs" guest is one M Gladwell.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_Island_Discs

    It would be interesting to do some analysis on who makes "the great and the good" (as perceived by BBC producers) over the years - the show's been running since 1942.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Desert_Island_Discs_episodes

    “Desert Island Discs”

    The world-historical episode of that series is the one with Diana Mosley. Essential to understanding the lunacy of the 20th and 21st centuries.

  25. Mike says:
    Look, if you really respected him, you would have devoted a post to him rather than this comment section BS. He was just a f*cking clown to you, wasn’t he?

    First you’re offended that Steve didn’t bring up Williams’ death, so you did, and then you’re demanding that Steve explode in a flood of tears and superlatives.

    Personally, I’m sorry to hear that Williams was so depressed that he felt compelled to take his own life despite the tremendous success he’s had and continuing opportunities. However, I have enough people in my own life I’m genuinely concerned about that I can’t gin up much emotion about the problems of celebrities I have never met, don’t really know much about, and whose existence doesn’t affect me one way of the other. I understand that it’s de rigeur for the TV hosts to pretend to do so, but most of us don’t have to.

    Just between us, I’ve never really cared Williams’ style of comedy. I understand that others do, and therefore his death means more to them. This isn’t North Korea, though, where you can punish those who don’t feign sufficient grief at the death of Dear Leader.

  26. Lol @ at actually getting worked up over Robin Williams.

  27. Of course if genetics ruled out Wade’s hypotheses these scientists would assuredly have said so. So what we have here, is a letter signed by 139 geneticists which in effect admits differences between societies may be part genetic.

  28. I assume that this being upset that Steve is insufficiently upset about the death of Williams is some sort of bizarre leg-pulling. At least I hope it is.

  29. BBC coverage of the Robin Williams tragedy has been sustained through the day – 5pm news included lots of psychologists on male menopause, men’s refusal to seek psychiatric help, the “tears of a clown”, even a professor who had found a link between creativity and mental illness – presumably the link that John Dryden noted more than 300 years ago.

    • Replies: @John Derbyshire
    Aristotle got there first.
  30. @The most deplorable one
    Gentrification in Education?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/spoken-latin-a-modern-remedy-for-the-nations-age-old-reading-problems/2014/07/31/20269f54-0792-11e4-a0dd-f2b22a257353_story.html

    Why gentrification? The School Without Walls is a Title 1 DC public school offering Latin in all grades and spoken Latin to preschoolers.

  31. @Bill M
    Look, if you really respected him, you would have devoted a post to him rather than this comment section BS. He was just a f*cking clown to you, wasn't he?

    Demanding sympathy from someone? That’s one of the weirder comments, I have read in a while.

    I’m not huge into a nation (about every news show I turned to this morning covered it quite a bit) mourning an actor’s death. And I wasn’t a huge fan of Williams. Still, sometimes somebody who did something in sports or entertainment that I liked or connected to their work passes away and I feel a little sadness. So, I guess I get the sentiment here.

    But still…demanding someone mourn? I guess it fits in with the need for someone to always be outraged or offended by something these days.

  32. @Bill M
    Look, if you really respected him, you would have devoted a post to him rather than this comment section BS. He was just a f*cking clown to you, wasn't he?

    You can’t possibly be serious. If you want conspicuous, glib expressions of grief, I’m sure Twitter is blowing up with them right now. Go. Indulge. But hurry; in such cases the inconsolable have a tendency to lose interest and wander off.
    Maybe you should make a video.

  33. @Anonymous Nephew
    BBC coverage of the Robin Williams tragedy has been sustained through the day - 5pm news included lots of psychologists on male menopause, men's refusal to seek psychiatric help, the "tears of a clown", even a professor who had found a link between creativity and mental illness - presumably the link that John Dryden noted more than 300 years ago.

    Aristotle got there first.

  34. @The fourth doorman of the apocalypse

    Gentrification in Education? “Spoken Latin: A modern remedy for the nation’s age-old reading problems?”

    Why didn’t we think of this before? It’s only a matter of time now before we’ve osedClay the apGay, oBray!

  35. The fury of quoted scientists who feel that they are “misrepresented”! I discovered this phenomenon first w.r.t. homosexuality research.

    Form what I’ve learned about the logic of science (mostly Popper) I was convinced that logical implications exist objectively, i.e. that they can be overlooked by the original researcher, but detected by his readers.

    My pet example is Tycho Brahe who collected a lot of astronomical data believing that his data confirmed the conventional theory (Ptolemaios) – not foreseeing that Kepler would use just these data to prove (and at the same time, correct) the revolutionary speculations of Copernicus.

    So I was surprised that scientists would so pugnaciously demand that their own factual and political (!) conclusions must be “respected”, i.e. using their findings in different contexts for different conclusions is unacceptable from reasons of professional ethics. (See http://respectmyresearch.org) Could Tycho Brahe have asked Kepler to “respect his research”?

    I suppose that this new tendency in science has something to do with the present appreciation of property rights vs. plagiate in science. If my scientific findings are my property, I should have the right to license and franchise them in a way that my brand is not endangered.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Science used to operate similar to that before maybe the 16th century or even well into the 17th. Scientists didn't publish their results, instead tried to keep it as a secret. The start of modern science was the time when people started publishing their results instead of hiding them, tried to replicate them, realized that only results replicated by others meant anything, and that keeping them secret meant every generation had to restart research from scratch, and that it was better to stand on the shoulders of giants.
  36. @Stogumber
    The fury of quoted scientists who feel that they are "misrepresented"! I discovered this phenomenon first w.r.t. homosexuality research.

    Form what I've learned about the logic of science (mostly Popper) I was convinced that logical implications exist objectively, i.e. that they can be overlooked by the original researcher, but detected by his readers.

    My pet example is Tycho Brahe who collected a lot of astronomical data believing that his data confirmed the conventional theory (Ptolemaios) - not foreseeing that Kepler would use just these data to prove (and at the same time, correct) the revolutionary speculations of Copernicus.

    So I was surprised that scientists would so pugnaciously demand that their own factual and political (!) conclusions must be "respected", i.e. using their findings in different contexts for different conclusions is unacceptable from reasons of professional ethics. (See http://respectmyresearch.org) Could Tycho Brahe have asked Kepler to "respect his research"?

    I suppose that this new tendency in science has something to do with the present appreciation of property rights vs. plagiate in science. If my scientific findings are my property, I should have the right to license and franchise them in a way that my brand is not endangered.

    Science used to operate similar to that before maybe the 16th century or even well into the 17th. Scientists didn’t publish their results, instead tried to keep it as a secret. The start of modern science was the time when people started publishing their results instead of hiding them, tried to replicate them, realized that only results replicated by others meant anything, and that keeping them secret meant every generation had to restart research from scratch, and that it was better to stand on the shoulders of giants.

  37. The site you link, http://respectmyresearch.org, speaks eloquently to your point. Researchers whose work has been disrespected by anti-gay activists on the right are urged to feel their fury and vent their indignation. As far as pro- and left, crickets.

    Not that the good guys of WWT would ever do such a thing, of course. A hypothetical.

  38. The statement by the geneticists is best understood as a quasi-religious proclamation of their pious faith in the modern Boasian doctrine of HUMAN EQUALITY.

    As historians on both the Left (e.g. see David Hollinger’s book After Cloven Tongues of Fire: Protestant Liberalism in Modern American History) and the Right (e.g. see Paul Gottfried’s book Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt: Toward a Secular Theocracy) have noted, modern Western intellectuals have replaced their prior beliefs in the theistic doctrines of liberal Judaism and Protestantism with a quasi-religious belief in the doctrine of human equality–especially in terms of denying the existence of any important innate differences between ethnoracial groups (this is often couched in terms of believing in “Equality” or “Multiculturalism” or “Diversity”). According to this widely held new secular religion, the very worst possible sin is to be identified as a RACIST. Therefore if someone is found to have expressed blasphemous racist viewpoints, then these evil heretics are to be denounced and expelled from the upstanding righteous society of believers in human equality. For this reason we members of the modern Alternative Right–who are often Race Realists who believe in human biodiversity (in essence believers in innate HUMAN INEQUALITY)–refer collectively to the dominant Western academic, cultural and governmental institutions (which all fervently seek to uphold the Boasian doctrine of HUMAN EQUALITY) as “The Cathedral”.

  39. […] also: Letters: ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’ and Geneticists Denounce Nicholas Wade’s “Speculative” Chapters as “Speculation&… from steve sailer and At Least Erroneous in Faith from henry harpending and and Darwin on the Need […]

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