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The Great Awokening Leading to the Great Retraction—and A New Dark Age for Science
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The “Great Awokening”—the Maoist Cultural Revolution we are living through—is impacting academia heavily[The Great Awokening and the Second American Revolution, by Eric Kaufmann, Quillette, June 22, 2020]. We’ve seen the closing of the London Conference on Intelligence in 2018 and the firing of researcher Noah Carl by Cambridge University partly for attending the London Conference on Intelligence. But also in 2018, a mathematics journal retracted and then deleted all evidence of a study that drew allegedly sexist conclusions (it supported the thesis that male intelligence has greater variability). I said at the time that Political Correctness was finally invading hard science and that this would lead to a new, anti-rational Dark Age. Since then, evidence is mounting that the Great Awokening is indeed leading to a Great Retraction which—exactly as Mao urged—puts politics in command.

This Cultural Revolution, taken to new extremes of insanity in the aftermath the death of the violent criminal George Floyd, has always been Orwellian—the Multiculturalist Party knows best (especially with regard to scientific research); language must be constantly policed and changed; and, as with “Silence is Violence” the usual meaning of words is turned on its head.

Orwell’s eerily prescient novel Nineteen Eighty-Four also gave us the concept of the “Memory Hole.” Party functionaries would rewrite history as it suited the Party and cast information that did not suit them into the darkness by making it no longer part of the official record.

The fear of mobbing experienced by the more cowardly scientists—reliant for the livelihoods on institutions that are in the grip of Black Lives Matter Fanatics—has led to some to put their own research down the Memory Hole. Research is even being forcibly retracted by academic journals—in one case of particularly disgraceful case, the research of two scientists who are now dead and therefore cannot sue.

Just recently, the publisher Springer Nature retracted a paper “Poverty and Culture” by Lawrence Mead of New York University, from the journal Society [Society, 2020]. Mead’s crime: simply arguing that black culture differs from white culture and this may be a contributory factor to greater black poverty in the U.S. This provoked the Woke mob and publisher caved, overturned the careful peer-review system in the process [Springer Nature retracts paper that hundreds called “overtly racist”, Retraction Watch, August 6, 2020].

An even more disturbing case occurred back in June. American psychologist Cory Jane Clark is an assistant professor of psychology at Durham University, in the northeast of England. She is also “Director Academic Engagement” at the Heterodox Academy, which claims to promote “diverse viewpoints” and be “open inquiry are critical to research & learning.” She has even published an article demonstrating that “Liberals” are more biased, and resistant to evidence that questions their biases, than non-Liberals [Equalitarianism: A source of liberal bias, By Bo Winegard et al., SSRN, 2018].

But Woke pressure is now so strong on academics that even those who have previously been inclined to question its dogmas are feeling the need to conform.

Consequently, Clark tweeted, that she and her colleagues had decided to withdraw one of their scientific studies. They wrote:

Over the past weeks, we have heard considerable concern and scrutiny over our recent article on religion, violence, and IQ in Psychological Science. In particular, papers by Karis et al. (2015; pointed out by Fearon and Eisner) and by Dickins et al. (2017; pointed out by Sear) have prompted us to spend much of the last week digging deeper into the research behind our measures—a level of vetting we should have done before submitting the paper. As a result, we no longer have confidence in our findings. Because of imputation for many countries, the homicide data have limitations that call our conclusions into question. The IQ data, however, have much more serious issues. The persistence of these highly questionable data sources in the psychological literature has convinced us that research with certain kinds of flaws should be pulled from the record as its existence steers us further from the truth rather than closer to it. We now believe our paper falls into that category and are retracting it immediately

On this basis, the authors have retracted the study “Declines in Religiosity Predicted Increases in Violent Crime—But Not Among Countries with Relatively High Average IQ” [By Cory Clark et al., Psychological Science, 2020]. And they also appear to be withdrawing from the entire discussion of group differences in IQ.

The study had found that religiosity seems to suppress violent behavior in low-IQ societies to a greater extent than it does in high IQ societies. This actually makes a great deal of sense: Intelligence is associated with empathy and impulse control, meaning that intelligent people are less criminal. (This is discussed in Arthur Jensen’s 1998 book The g Factor). Religiousness also tends to preach moral behavior. But in a more intelligent society, it will be less necessary because intelligence will do that job for it.

According to a report on the website Retraction Watch , which tends to gloat over some of the retractions it reports, the authors were clearly under intense pressure from ideological academics over this study and, seemingly to avoid any further fuss, retracted it. They did so despite the fact that—as they imply—the criticisms of it were nothing more than the normal “limitations” inherent in a study which uses the best available data, such as that some of the sources could be questioned or had low levels of reliability .

Peer-review is meant to be the scientific Gold Standard. But now, increasingly, if something passes peer-review it is “science”—unless it offends against Leftist orthodoxy. Then it must also pass “post-publication review,” a test of whether the authors and journal have sufficient courage to stand up to the fanatical, anti-science bullies who call themselves in “Liberals” and, in some cases, “scientists.”

And Clark and her colleagues are not the only case of this memory-holing. At around the same time, Elsevier withdrew an eight year-old study by J. Philippe Rushton (1943-2012) and Donald Templer (1938-2016) entitled “Do pigmentation and the melanocortin system modulate aggression and sexuality in humans as they do in other animals?” which had been published in the psychology journal Personality and Individual Differences in 2012.

The Rushton-Templer study had been a “review article” which had merely hypothesized that as aggression was linked to darker pigmentation in individuals then this might be the case when comparing sub-species, such as different sub-species of human. It had passed peer-review in the usual way.

But in November 2019 this study was criticized, by, it seems, an anonymous SJW keyboard warrior called Evopsychgoogle who faulted it because of

…misrepresentation of research on pleiotropy, misrepresentation of the authors’ sources, cherry-picked citations which misrepresent the state of the literature, and no disclosure of the authors’ conflict-of-interest. Far from being a simple hypothesis, this article is a source of misinformation, which is being weaponized by White supremacists. [A critique of Rushton and Templer’s 2012 paper, Medium.com, November 19, 2019]

The SJW also criticized the paper for citing a much-criticized study, also published in Personality and Individual Differences, by Richard Lynn on race differences in psychopathic personality (that has not been withdrawn) [Racial and ethnic differences in psychopathic personality, 2002] and studies by Hans Eysenck.

Usually, science deals with these problems—with the exception of the allegation of a conflict of interest—via other scientists writing a critique of the study. The claim that a study is being “weaponized” by outside groups would be irrelevant to its scientific validity.

In addition, retracting a study is a very serious issue. It implies that you may be incompetent. Thus scientists tend to avoid doing it.

Nevertheless, Rushton’s study was withdrawn and the journal’s editor, one Donald Saklofske [Email him] a former colleague of Rushton’s at the University of Western Ontario, implied that the journal was looking into papers it had published by Hans Eysenck (1916-1997), one of the founders of the journal. But Eysenck’s papers have not been yet withdrawn, perhaps this is because Eysenck was such a huge figure in psychology and has so many supporters even now. [Elsevier journal to retract 2012 paper widely derided as racist, Retraction Watch, June 17, 2020]

But apparently not the study by the 90-year-old Richard Lynn, cited in Rushton’s 2012 paper. Lynn is still alive (and has just published an autobiography). Dead men cannot sue.

So Personality and Individual Differences journal can appease the Woke Mob, with no consequences, by withdrawing, on spurious grounds, studies by dead men that are unpopular with this Woke mob. It can, in so doing, “Memory Hole” perfectly acceptable scientific research, which would not be withdrawn if it reached opposite, Politically Correct conclusions even with the same limitations.

And now the anti-science mob has helped to get two other papers withdrawn and has a third in its sights.

The first showed that endometriosis correlates with attractiveness. The authors have requested a retraction because a student wrote to them saying that the paper might cause a Woke backlash. The second presented measured criticisms of Affirmative Action. This was widely condemned on Twitter and voluntarily withdrawn. The third argues that fat people are dishonest compared to thin people. The mob have not yet successfully pressured the authors into withdrawing this piece of (empirically accurate) “fat shaming” [A retraction and a retraction request as Twitter users call out sexism, fat-shaming, and racism, Retraction Watch, August 6, 2020].

These cases illustrate an important lesson. Science involves the fearless pursuit of truth. But too many professional scientists appear to be in it for the money and prestige. Such scientists can, therefore, be prone to cowardice when faced with anti-science bullies.

This can only undermine science at universities, deter those who excel in science from going into academia, and contribute the decline of the university.

As I said two years ago, we are entering a new Dark Age.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. While I sympathize with the writer’s need for a useful simile for the current turmoil, the Cultural Revolution is not it.

    Though elites of all stripes characterize the CR as chaotic and destructive, it was just the opposite for the 400 million people it emancipated.

    It was well planned and executed and achieved its goals while growing GDP by 6.5% annually.

    Read https://www.unz.com/article/the-great-proletarian-cultural-revolution/

    • LOL: Richard B
    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  2. @Godfree Roberts

    While I sympathize with the writer’s need for a useful simile for the current turmoil, the Cultural Revolution is not it.

    I agree – the term Cultural Revolution might well be “too fucking big” (Keith Richards in debunking the conspiracy theory, that the Rolling Stones had once been supresssed by the US deep state).

    What instead? – Don’t Dave Rubin’s The Regressiv Left and Haidt/Lukianoff’s Coddling of the American Mind  fit quite well?

    My one modification would be: The Coddling of the Western Mind.

    (Now I think of dementia as a form of cozy regression, too. – I’m thinking of Joe Biden, that is).

    The overreaching arc of the always-expanding Western Woke Age is: Emotions beat reason.

    PS

    Nobody in Asia and Russia seems to care much for our latest craze for dedifferentionism***. – Other than that they make fun of us – cf. baizuo – the – haha! – woke white left!

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

    *** beware – I made this one up

  3. Applying ‘peer review’ to the ruminations of people that have basket weaving degrees is a worthless effort.

    The Social Sciences and Humanities produce people with the opinions they learned from their teachers. They have no real knowledge. There’s no provable ‘science’ in the Social Sciences and Humanities because real science requires empirical evidence.

    Intelligent people might read an article from a basket weaving PhD, but only agree with it if it matches their existing world view. Otherwise it is rejected because they know it’s just some bullshit by someone that shouldn’t have a PhD to begin with.

  4. SteveK9 says:
    @RoatanBill

    I had similar thoughts. However, political influence is definitely increasing in areas that one would consider ‘harder’ Science. Medicine has become highly corrupted, not by ideology, but by money.

    • Replies: @RoatanBill
  5. @SteveK9

    Going to your average MD should be free because Big Pharma should be paying their salesman instead of us.

    The average MD takes credit for what the immune system actually accomplishes. I respect a surgeon because there’s a demonstrable skill involved. A good diagnostician is also a valuable asset to a community. The average MD is just a gate keeper to get big pharma’s meds.

    There should be no laws concerning drugs of any kind, not pro or con. There should be no such thing as a prescription, everything from aspirin to heroin should be over the counter. If people want to have an MD look at them and recommend some meds, fine. If a person wants to self medicate, let them.

    If the prescription pad were made null and void with everything over the counter, medical costs would sharply decrease along with the long wait times to see a somewhat phony ‘health professional’ MD. The drug problem would disappear as loads of dopers OD on abundant supply and good riddance. The money in illicit drugs would vanish along with the violence of the drug cartels and the funds for the CIA black ops.

  6. One data point from out in the trenches. Since the first of April I have been doing independent study and found an abundance of technically-obsolete but informative medical textbooks available for purchase. I began with Gorbach’s Infectious Diseases (6 bucks + shipping), proceeded to Janeway’s Immunobiology by Murphy (8 dollars + shipping) and am now working my way through the start of White & Fenner Medical Virology (5 dollars + shipping). I have now reached a bump in my road. I don’t know if other people are doing this and plundering the inventory, or if perhaps the running dog capitalist imperialist pigs are building propaganda defenses, but the 3rd edition of Plotkin Orenstein Vaccines seems to be no where to be found for less than two hundred dollars.

    If anybody has a suggestion I would be most grateful.

    I really would like to read this book before the SWAT team shows up at my front door to vaccinate me.

    • Replies: @Jefferson Temple
  7. @Morton's toes

    Why? The SWAT team is going to do what they are there to do, even if you haven’t read any of those textbooks. Save yourself some money and worry. Watch Corbett Report’s 4 part series on Bill Gates on YouTube for free. That should convince you of what is going on.

  8. anon[206] • Disclaimer says:

    While the English speaking countries fall into a dark age where no one questions the established orthodoxy and universities fall into a stasis where no new ideas can ever take hold, the Slavic and Oriental countries will take over as the new centers for learning in the world while preserving the forbidden knowledge of scientists like Rushton. If this degeneration continues (and I don’t see anything stopping it in the next 20-30 years), an education from an institution in the English speaking world will be seen as something as a joke.

    • Agree: Richard B, Mary Marianne
    • Replies: @Richard B
  9. Science is fake and gay. I won’t miss it.

  10. Richard B says:

    This can only undermine science…and contribute the decline of the university.

    …we are entering a new Dark Age.

    If we are truly entering a new Dark Age, and it certainly looks like it, the decline of the university means the decline of the human race itself.

    Why?

    Because the university is a social institution.

    Specifically a teaching-learning institution.

    As a teaching-learning institution it is the culmination (though not completion) of the teaching and learning that begins in the family, the most basic bio-social unit since the Paleolithic Age.

    Social Institutions are adaptational mechanisms

    As adaptational mechanisms they may or may not have survival value.

    To the extent that they do, that survival depends on our ability to respond to ourselves, each other, and the environment we struggle to control.

    Verbal behavior is species-specific.

    It is the one thing that seperates us from all others species.

    The highest point of that behavior is science, the model of knowing.

    To the extent we lose science as a source of adaptation, we lose ourselves.

    To the extent the hostile elite are successful their victory will be Pyrrhic.

    From the point of view of social institutions, the university is The House Of The Intellect.

    Losing that is equivelant to losing our minds.

    And that definitely seems to be the case.

    If we continue to lose our collective minds we will destroy our social institutions, the very source of human adaptability.

    In short, if this insanity is permitted to continue it will serve as proof that the human race is a biologically maladaptive species that shouldn’t laugh at the dinosaurs for getting themselves extinct.

    After all, they lasted a lot longer than we have so far.

    • Replies: @Francis Miville
  11. Richard B says:
    @anon

    the Slavic and Oriental countries will take over as the new centers for learning in the world

    Actually, they will be the new centers of indoctrination.

    Which is what the universities in the West already are.

    And, since anti-White hatred is central to that indoctrination, those White professors indoctrinating the young will become as irrelevant as a giant pile of rotary phones.

    A process already well under way.

    Such Whites could go to the Left of Stalin and it won’t save them.

    In some cases, as this article makes clear, the water has already reached their lower lip.

    But, as I’ve said many times before, and will say again, because it’s worth repeating, what we’re really witnessing is

    The Pyrrhic Victory Of The Hostile Elite

    Why?

    Because, the hope of creating a “redeemed” country capable of solving once and for all its many social and economic problems, is vain, illusory, and destructive.

    Why?

    Because, the effort to impose a social order free of control and sustained by force only increases the uncontrolled exercise of naked power.

    And, as history has shown, especially in communist countries, force destablizes the very social institutions that power controls.

    And when force fails there is no alternative.

    So, the whole thing collapses.

    And societal collapse is another process already well under way.

    Just look around.

  12. As I said two years ago, we are entering a new Dark Age.

    Indeed we are Mr. Welton with scientific illiterates like yourself who deny global warming. https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lance_Welton#Climate_change_denial

    • Troll: Richard B, Bill Jones
  13. @RoatanBill

    I used to be of the opinion that conservatives were troglodytes.

    Now, I know.

  14. @RoatanBill

    “They have no real knowledge. There’s no provable ‘science’ in the Social Sciences and Humanities because real science requires empirical evidence.”

    What an interesting…. opinion. Say hello to Carnap when you get back to Vienna.

  15. The dark age was off to a good start way back in the early eighties when using ‘science by press conference’ to equate HIV and AIDS despite all the obvious flaws with the hypothesis. Soon came the sugar free and cholesterol misinformation. Now AZT and its ilk continue to kill so called AIDs patients and statins ruin the health and pocketbooks of people who were not necessarily sick.

  16. @Richard B

    I don’t agree : universities as we have know them should not be reformed nor restored but closed down. All former ages that were too brillant intellecttually left behind human catastrophes. Only military academies should be allowed for the time being. Anyway, America was never known for the quality of its intellectual life at any time in history, this country would have actually done better if nobody had been allowed to go beyond K-12 or require more for any job, as up to nowadays real inventors were educated without them and made their discoveries and inventions with them as adversaries rather than auxiliaries. In medicine the stagnation of knowledge as managed by big pharma has been going on since WWII. The great awokening cannot wreak much more havoc and at the point where we are I wouldn’t be against a modicum of Khmer Rouge on the left and of Handmaid’s Tale on the right.

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