Quote notes (#80)

Some concentrated Handle-awesomeness unleashed in a Tyler Cowen comments thread (on Nicholas Wade):

1. You are not going to learn any new Science

2. You are going to learn what happens in your society when a distinguished and relatively prominent Science journalist publishes a prominent book in which he shows a bit of courage and gets as close as possible to promoting an unorthodox and taboo truth without risking utter ostracization.

3. You will learn who cannot risk publically aligning with that position in order to maintain their position and current and future influence. And you will learn the techniques they must employ in order to walk the narrow path between sacrificing their integrity promoting the erroneous orthodoxy itself, and supporting the accurate contrarian position. Don’t hold anything against Prof. Cowen, he’s doing good work, but sometimes he writes a post the purpose of which is not to be a reflection of his genuine understanding or position, but, essentially, to allow Sailer to write in the comments section and do the actual updating of priors.

Asking why people successfully avoid the subject and remain respectable by constantly talking about the Flynn Effect just might be relevant to this lesson.

Learning the topology of PC and influence in your society, and observing the consequences, is in fact very important. Reading the book itself will tell you whether the negative reviews are giving Wade a fair shake or not, and if they’re not, that’s revealing, and the answer to ‘why not’ is extremely enlightening. And also depressing. Learning how to achieve success in life by walking the line, not sacrificing your integrity, but leveraging your popularity, esteem, and status to occasionally promote truth-tellers, is also a very valuable thing to learn.

Another thing to learn is the answer to the question of, “What the point of Wade’s book if it has to be so mellow?”

The point is to very gently walk up to the question of the origin of disparities between human population groups (don’t get hung up on the semantics of ‘race’, just concentrate on genetic relatedness). Right now, the PC-orthodox theory of the origin those disparities is 100% discrimination, oppression, privilege, historical legacy, etc. The orthodoxy says that all human population groups are neurologically uniform in the distribution of various cognitive talents and abilities. That argues for both the necessity and moral imperative of even extremely obnoxious government interventions in countless circumstances involving personnel selection and redistribution of resources.

If, on the other hand, a large fraction of that disparity is fairly attributable to genetics instead of social injustice, then bigotry and discrimination is not a good explanation for the disparity, and thus the government crusade against discriminating employers and coercive disparate impact policies are unjustified. Also, if the ‘test score gap’ cannot be closed by any reasonable government policy, then we should stop slandering decent educators doing the best they can with the materials they have as ‘bad teachers’ who fill ‘bad schools’.

Indeed, if those who are influential and persuasive over the elites in the political class who craft policy could adopt even a 50/50 nature-nurture model of the origin population group disparity, then the implication is a complete upheaval and revolution in government policy, the positive benefits of which cannot be overstated.

As an opening salvo in that ‘So What?’ war, Wade’s cautious eggshell-walking, and Prof. Cowen’s snippy review, are unfortunate deviations from the ideal due [to] the oppressive ideological environment, but they are nevertheless to be commended.

(via (via))

ADDED: Some Sailer gems from the same thread

I’m guessing there’s more going on with the Flynn Effect than just nutrition. Basically, life is becoming more like an IQ test every decade. Back before WWII, the IQ guys, especially Raven, anticipated which direction the world would be moving.


… cultures that tend to have low levels of disorganized violence, such as 20th Century Germany or Japan, tend to be good at organized violence, if they so choose. Cultures that suffer lots of disorganized violence are less likely to get a half dozen aircraft carriers within range of Pearl Harbor.


“Whether or not race is “a coherent concept”, if you apply genetic clustering algorithms to humanity, they basically come up with the same population structure amongst humanity as the old racial models, for the same number of clusters / categories. That’s interesting, no?” […] That’s the unforgivable part: the old WASPs were mostly right. If Francis Galton, Rudyard Kipling, and Madison Grant had sat down together to draw up a racial map of the world, it would have looked an awful lot like a 2014 map drawn up from the latest genome scans.

May 10, 2014admin 7 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations


7 Responses to this entry

  • Handle Says:

    Later in the thread, there’s some discussion of the Flynn effect, which Sailer thinks is due both to nutrition and the increased amount of ‘cognitive exercise’ that modern life provides.

    I then propose a Flynn Effect-based, Economic and Progressive case against open-borders.

    Bottom Line: You can’t motivate left-of-the-bell-curve folks to work hard enough to achieve Flynn Effect gains if you keep importing people 0.5SD above their average, lowering wages at that point, and creating high effective marginal rates of taxation on improvements in human capital. Why struggle to get smarter if you can’t make any more money once you get there?


    Posted on May 10th, 2014 at 1:51 am Reply | Quote
  • northanger Says:

    (T)Race generates multiple genetic trajectories.


    Posted on May 10th, 2014 at 2:43 am Reply | Quote
  • Quote notes (#80) | Reaction Times Says:

    […] By admin […]

    Posted on May 10th, 2014 at 5:20 am Reply | Quote
  • scientism Says:

    Thinking that differences in performance are due to discrimination is far more insane than simply denying race. Progressives deny the influence of culture too. They think all traditions were created equally. They think that people from different cultures raise children the same way and teach them the same values. Of course, there are exceptions to this: the feminists want girls to be raised as boys. A tiny minority of liberals (mostly in France) want immigrants to assimilate. But generally speaking ‘multiculturalism’ is the denial of culture just as much as it is the denial of race. This shouldn’t be surprising, since modern progressivism is an obvious consequence of the Enlightenment project of (mis)conceiving of society as a group of sovereign individuals who negotiate judicial rights with one another, who give up some freedom for the protection of the state, etc. These are all first-rate absurdities that inevitably lead to where we are today: living in countries that are importing millions of people from other cultures while cheerfully thinking the only difference between them and us is dress, cuisine and the words we use to describe things (including whether we say ‘God’ or ‘Allah’ – this being the only conceivable difference between those religions).

    Presumably most cultures have developed a system of statecraft and cultural traditions that are suited to their biological traits and immigration is just as short-sighted for immigrants as it is for the host countries, so perhaps there’s the opportunity here to do better rhetorically instead of always beating the drum of inherited IQ differences.


    Handle Reply:

    Not quite. They think that cultures can have evil, oppressive elements that are used by privileged exploiters to hold underprivileged people down and suppress them from reaching their potential and achieving full autonomy and self-realization.

    It’s not like the progressives aren’t critical of Boko Haram, or they aren’t boycotting the Sultan of Brunei’s Hollywood hotel because he instituted anti-homosexual Sharia law in his home country. It’s just that they think and hope that these people can somehow become ‘moderate’ and enlightened and abandon their retrograde opinions, which are somehow separable from the rest of their ‘culture’.

    I’d recommend Stanley Fish’s Boutique Multiculturalism for an excellent explanation that is 17 years old, but which, alas, never broke through the mental firewalls.


    Posted on May 11th, 2014 at 12:44 am Reply | Quote
  • Lightning Round – 2014/05/14 | Free Northerner Says:

    […] A Troublesome Inheritance linkfest. Related: A round-up of reviews. Related: Handle on Wade’s book. […]

    Posted on May 14th, 2014 at 5:02 am Reply | Quote
  • Roundup of Book Reviews of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance | Occam's Razor Says:

    […] (As is often the case at MR, the comments are more interesting than the post.  Here’s an interesting comment regarding Cowen’s […]

    Posted on May 21st, 2014 at 1:24 am Reply | Quote

Leave a comment