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Tags Charles Murray , racial issues , racism charges , racism issues , sam harris

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Old 19th May 2017, 10:46 AM   #1
TraneWreck
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Legendary Comedy Duo: Harris and Murray

Harris is a guy that I find incredibly disappointing. I really liked some of the points he made in debates around the peak of the 4 Horsemen Era, but egad, he has disgraced himself since.

This seems to be the bottom, giving a fawning interview to Charles Murray. Here is a great article breaking down the malicious, vapid, unscientific nonsense Murray spews, and adds a little criticism of Harris for just gobbling it up (Link to the interview is in the article):

Quote:
Asserting that the relatively poorer intellectual performance of racial groups is based on their genes is mistaken theoretically and unfounded empirically; and given the consequences of promulgating the policies that follow from such assertions, it is egregiously wrong morally.

Finally, let us consider Sam Harris and his willingness to endorse Murray’s claims — his decision to suspend the skepticism and tough-mindedness we have come to expect from him. There is a fairly widespread intellectual movement among center-right social theorists and pundits to argue that strong adherence to the scientific method commits us to following human science wherever it goes — and they mean something very specific in this context. They say we must move from hard-nosed science of intelligence and genetics all the way — only if that’s the direction data and logical, unbiased interpretation lead, naturally — to genetically based differences in behavior among races.
https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/201...ce-free-speech

I get that people can disagree, but Murray's nonsense is to phrenology as Intelligent Design is to creationism: same old ******** dressed up in science-y terminology.

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Old 19th May 2017, 11:19 AM   #2
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Did you listen to the actual interview? Harris repeatedly points out that he is not endorsing the theories that Murray is putting forward and is not sure if the research Murray is doing is well-intentioned. He is merely saying that he would rather have such ideas discussed openly rather than closed down by angry no platform mobs on university campuses who threaten violence against him and other academics who merely make troubling claims.

He further says that until recently he only knew Murray by reputation and had always assumed the worst caricatures of him to be true - that he was a peddler of racist pseudoscience - without having bothered to read his books. He says that on having read his books Murray's writing appeared much more careful and unobjectionable than he had asssumed and he wondered what the fuss was about. His decision to give the interview was more of a desire not to be shrieked down and also to apologize for having made up his mind on what he considered to be unfounded malicious character assassinations rather than on a dispassionate assessment of the claims. He expressed certain reservations about certain aspects of the research Murray had done but he does see nothing wrong in principle with "following the science wherever it goes" and why should here be anything wrong with that? After all following the science wherever it goes is the opposite of endorsing phrenology with the former following science and the latter pseudoscience.

Do you or the article have anything to say about the science behind Murray's claims?
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 19th May 2017, 11:34 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Did you listen to the actual interview? Harris repeatedly points out that he is not endorsing the theories that Murray is putting forward and is not sure if the research Murray is doing is well-intentioned. He is merely saying that he would rather have such ideas discussed openly rather than closed down by angry no platform mobs on university campuses who threaten violence against him and other academics who merely make troubling claims.
Yeah, that's a cop-out, though. Would he invite a religious person to spew creationist nonsense without actually challenging them in the name of open discourse?

Quote:
He further says that until recently he only knew Murray by reputation and had always assumed the worst caricatures of him to be true - that he was a peddler of racist pseudoscience - without having bothered to read his books.
I mean, that's who and what he is. The books only validate that, regardless of any high-minded tone they may take.

Quote:
He says that on having read his books Murray's writing appeared much more careful and unobjectionable than he had asssumed and he wondered what the fuss was about.
And this is what really disappoints me about Harris. He should be smart or curious enough to dig into the science and that unambiguously shows Murray to be a hack.

Quote:
His decision to give the interview was more of a desire not to be shrieked down and also to apologize for having made up his mind on what he considered to be unfounded malicious character assassinations rather than on a dispassionate assessment of the claims.
He can interview whoever he wants. The criticism is aimed entirely at the lame, coddling nature of the interview and his seeming enthusiasm for Murray - saying that these are just facts, when they really, really aren't.

Quote:
He expressed certain reservations about certain aspects of the research Murray had done but he does see nothing wrong in principle with "following the science wherever it goes" and why should here be anything wrong with that? After all following the science wherever it goes is the opposite of endorsing phrenology with the former following science and the latter pseudoscience.
1) Leaving a little space to weasel out of criticism is classic Harris.
2) He did not follow the science wherever it went; near as I can tell, he didn't look at the science at all.

Quote:
Do you or the article have anything to say about the science behind Murray's claims?
Yes, the article is all about those claims. It evaluates them one by one, showing how insanely wrong and malicious they are with reference to current scientific understanding of the topics.

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Old 19th May 2017, 12:06 PM   #4
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The article brought up five points. Points one to four the authors broadly agreed with - that there is something that IQ tests measure called g and that it does have a heritability. The authors nitpick these claims but they hardly say that Murray is being pseudoscientific here. In fact, aren't these claims that HAVE stood up in the face of a lot of criticism? I seem to remember that IQ and g are concepts that took a lot of flack and that the tests were argued to be culturally biased. These criticisms seem to have fallen away over the years suggesting that at least some of Murray's contentious claims have become more broadly accepted over the years.

The two of them did discuss the Flynn effect and how the environment can affect IQ tests, but what I remember is that Murray said nutrition and other things have reached an upper limit in its effects given that people are generally much better nourished than they were in say 1948 which is the cited date from which IQ scores have been seen to have improved. They did talk about other possible factors but these have largely been difficult to assess in ways that divide heritability from environment such as numbers of books in the house. Books in the house may be an environmental factor but might also be an indicator of genes if the parents.

But just to repeat my question, did you listen to the podcast?
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 19th May 2017, 12:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
The article brought up five points. Points one to four the authors broadly agreed with - that there is something that IQ tests measure called g and that it does have a heritability. The authors nitpick these claims but they hardly say that Murray is being pseudoscientific here.
Stop, man, you're too good for this. They aren't nitpicking, they are very thoroughly and logically explaining where and how Murray goes wrong. This is to stop the sort of weasely nonsense that you go on to repeat.

Quote:
In fact, aren't these claims that HAVE stood up in the face of a lot of criticism? I seem to remember that IQ and g are concepts that took a lot of flack and that the tests were argued to be culturally biased. These criticisms seem to have fallen away over the years suggesting that at least some of Murray's contentious claims have become more broadly accepted over the years.
This is flatly false. The criticisms have gotten stronger over time.

So, for one thing you're relying on the same shifty, unclear definition of g that Murray uses:

Quote:
But observing that some people have greater cognitive ability than others is one thing; assuming that this is because of some biologically based, essential inner quality called g that causes them to be smarter, as Murray claims, is another. There is a vibrant ongoing debate about the biological reality of g, but intelligence tests can be meaningful and useful even if an essential inner g doesn’t exist at all. Good thinkers do well at lots of things, so a test that measures quality of thinking is a good predictor of life outcomes, including how well a person does in school, how well she performs in her job, even how long she lives.
And this was under the point that the authors found Murray closest to repeating the best supported scientific view.

Quote:
The two of them did discuss the Flynn effect and how the environment can affect IQ tests, but what I remember is that Murray said nutrition and other things have reached an upper limit in its effects given that people are generally much better nourished than they were in say 1948 which is the cited date from which IQ scores have been seen to have improved. They did talk about other possible factors but these have largely been difficult to assess in ways that divide heritability from environment such as numbers of books in the house. Books in the house may be an environmental factor but might also be an indicator of genes if the parents.
Yeah, that was an absolutely embarrassing effort by Murray.

But notice what Murray just acknowledged: nutrition has an effect on IQ. Ok, well, do you think, then, that maybe groups that are poorer and have less access to health care and nutrition may have lower IQ scores because of that?

But feel free to provide the evidence linking nutrition to IQ score. It will be amusing, because the extent to which you are able to validate the claim will be the extent to which you undermine Murray's thesis.

Quote:
But just to repeat my question, did you listen to the podcast?
Did you read the article? I can see you skimmed over it, but you're just repeating points that are dealt with directly.

But to answer yours, no, I did not listen to all 2 1/2 goddamn hours. I listened to Harris' defense of the Bell Curve as dispassionate science and listened to about 40min of the back and forth. Feel free to direct me to a portion that you think undermines any of the argument in the article I linked.

The Bell Curve is a malicious bit of racism that was destroyed 20 years ago and the criticisms have only become stronger since.

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Old 19th May 2017, 12:34 PM   #6
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Sadly not surprised that it needs to be done, but here are a list of very good criticisms of Murray's work:

Quote:
Disturbing as I find the anachronism of The Bell Curve, I am even more distressed by its pervasive disingenuousness. The authors omit facts, misuse statistical methods, and seem unwilling to admit the consequences of their own words. (p. 6)
Quote:
The Bell Curve is a strange work. Some of the analysis and a good deal of the tone are reasonable. Yet the science in the book was questionable when it was proposed a century ago, and it has now been completely supplanted by the development of the cognitive sciences and neurosciences. The policy recommendations of the book are also exotic, neither following from the analyses nor justified on their own. (p. 61)
Quote:
The publicity barrage with which the book was launched might suggest that The Bell Curve has something new to say; it doesn't. The authors, in this most recent eruption of the crude biological determinism that permeates the history of IQ testing, assert that scientific evidence demonstrates the existence of genetically determined differences in intelligence among social classes and races. They cite some 1,OOO references from the social and biological sciences, and make a number of suggestions for changing social policies. The pretense is made that there is some logical, "scientific" connection between evidence culled from those cited sources and the authors' policy recommendations. Those policies would not be necessary or humane even if the cited evidence were valid. But I want to concentrate on what I regard as two disastrous failings of the book. First, the caliber of the data cited by Herrnstein and Murray is, at many critical points, pathetic and their citations of those weak data are often inaccurate. Second, their failure to distinguish between correlation and causation repeatedly leads Herrnstein and Murray to draw invalid conclusions." (pp 81-82)
http://www.intelltheory.com/bellcurve.shtml

Quote:
A good deal of research cited in this section of the book was found to have been funded in part by the Pioneer Fund, which was infamous for its advocacy of eugenics.[17] There's really no subtlety to this. Notably, one of the sources cited favorably multiple times was J. Philippe Rushton, a psychologist who claimed "Mongoloids" were the more intelligent "race" (followed by the "Caucasoids" and then the "Negroids") and believed penis size to be inversely correlated with intelligence.[18] Herrnstein and Murray then took a page out of Thomas Malthus' playbook and used this "research" to call for the end of welfare programs that would cause the moochers, looters, and parasites to reproduce at an increasing rate.
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/The_Bell_Curve

Happy to provide more.
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Old 19th May 2017, 12:37 PM   #7
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Yes. I read the article. You are answering my question with a question instead of an answer. Did you listen to the podcast? This is the third time I have asked. I will assume you have not if you sidestep it again.

Yes, Murray agrees that some environmental factors are present. I don't think he supports the idea that IQ is 100 percent genetic. But there nonetheless is a strong genetic component is his argument. On nutritional grounds poorer groups may indeed have less access to health care and nutrition and consequently may have lower IQs in part due to this. But it doesn't follow from that that nutrition and health care can be the only thing or even the main thing that separates one person's IQ from another's.

In any event, Murray cited a report by the APA called Knowns and Unknowns about Intelligence which he claimed vindicated his research.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inte...s_and_Unknowns
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 19th May 2017, 12:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Yes. I read the article. You are answering my question with a question instead of an answer. Did you listen to the podcast? This is the third time I have asked. I will assume you have not if you sidestep it again.
Perhaps you should scroll back up then.

Quote:
Yes, Murray agrees that some environmental factors are present. I don't think he supports the idea that IQ is 100 percent genetic. But there nonetheless is a strong genetic component is his argument. On nutritional grounds poorer groups may indeed have less access to health care and nutrition and consequently may have lower IQs in part due to this. But it doesn't follow from that that nutrition and health care can be the only thing or even the main thing that separates one person's IQ from another's.
...? You are the one who parroted Murray's argument that the shift in IQ from 1948 to the present (which was 2x as large as the gap between average white and average black IQ's) was explicable by access to nutrition. The more factors you find that aren't genetic, the more the Flynn Effect demolishes Murray's *********.

Quote:
In any event, Murray cited a report by the APA called Knowns and Unknowns about Intelligence which he claimed vindicated his research.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inte...s_and_Unknowns
How did that vindicate him beyond the simple issue of g being something real as opposed to a statistical anomaly? As the article I cited pointed out, being real doesn't mean that g is some essential inner quality. It's not as though Charles Murray invented the concept of g.
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Old 19th May 2017, 01:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
Perhaps you should scroll back up then.



...? You are the one who parroted Murray's argument that the shift in IQ from 1948 to the present (which was 2x as large as the gap between average white and average black IQ's) was explicable by access to nutrition. The more factors you find that aren't genetic, the more the Flynn Effect demolishes Murray's *********.



How did that vindicate him beyond the simple issue of g being something real as opposed to a statistical anomaly? As the article I cited pointed out, being real doesn't mean that g is some essential inner quality. It's not as though Charles Murray invented the concept of g.
Okay, you edited your post. I couldn't know you were doing that while I was replying to you.

The vindication to some extent is that IQ is a heritable quality. This is something that was disputed. There is also a difference between saying that environmental factors play SOME role and that they are the principle determining factors. Is it all about nutrition and health care? Or do genetics play an important part?
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"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 19th May 2017, 01:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
The vindication to some extent is that IQ is a heritable quality. This is something that was disputed. There is also a difference between saying that environmental factors play SOME role and that they are the principle determining factors. Is it all about nutrition and health care? Or do genetics play an important part?
No, this was not the objection to Murray. I gave you a pretty big list of critics and criticisms. None of them challenged the idea that IQ was heritable. They all questioned the degree to which it was heritable and what that said about group differences. From Gould:

Quote:
The central fallacy in using the substantial heritability of within-group IQ (among whites, for example) as an explanation of average differences between groups (whites versus blacks, for example) is now well known and acknowledged by all, including Herrnstein and Murray, but deserves a restatement by example. Take a trait that is far more heritable than anyone has ever claimed IQ to be but is politically uncontroversial body height. Suppose that I measure the heights of adult males in a poor Indian village beset with nutritional deprivation, and suppose the average height of adult males is five feet six inches. Heritability within the village is high, which is to say that tall fathers (they may average five feet eight inches) tend to have tall sons, while short fathers (five feet four inches on average) tend to have short sons. But this high heritability within the village does not mean that better nutrition might not raise average height to five feet ten inches in a few generations. Similarly, the well-documented fifteen-point average difference in IQ between blacks and whites in America, with substantial heritability of IQ in family lines within each group, permits no automatic conclusion that truly equal opportunity might notraise the black average enough to equal or surpass the white mean. (p. 5)
The article in the OP likewise recognizes the heritability of intelligence and explains how Murray gets it wrong:

Quote:
Murray takes the heritability of intelligence as evidence that it is an essential inborn quality, passed in the genes from parents to children with little modification by environmental factors. This interpretation is much too strong — a gross oversimplification. Heritability is not a special property of certain traits that have turned out to be genetic; it is a description of the human condition, according to which we are born with certain biological realities that play out in complex ways in concert with environmental factors, and are affected by chance events throughout our lives.

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Old 19th May 2017, 01:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
No, this was not the objection to Murray. I gave you a pretty big list of critics and criticisms. None of them challenged the idea that IQ was heritable. They all questioned the degree to which it was heritable and what that said about group differences. From Gould:



The article in the OP likewise recognizes the heritability of intelligence and explains how Murray gets it wrong:
Sure. So the question is to what extent heritable and environmental factors interact. Well, we don't exactly know.
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"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 19th May 2017, 01:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Sure. So the question is to what extent heritable and environmental factors interact. Well, we don't exactly know.
Which undermines every assertion about race Murray has ever tried to make.

We do know enough to know that arbitrary racial designations do not carry with them meaningful truths about intelligence or IQ.

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Old 19th May 2017, 02:45 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
Which undermines every assertion about race Murray has ever tried to make.

We do know enough to know that arbitrary racial designations do not carry with them meaningful truths about intelligence or IQ.
I think a question could be posed like this:

Let's say that it is an observable fact that self-identified Ashkenazi Jews and East Asians will get a mean average higher on IQ tests than other groups and that the edge of the bell curve there will also be a higher number of Nobel prize winners than other groups. Could this statistical distribution be explained by:

A) genetic factors alone
B) environmental and cultural factors alone
C) a combination of the two

?

Sam Harris himself says that the research question may answer one way or another, and that would merely be a matter of science. He says that he might wonder why such research would be of interest to someone and also says that there are likely to be suspicious motives behind certain uses of the data but that doesn't change the possibility that certain scientific truths as unwelcome as they may be might exist.

You can call those weasel words if you want, but when you said Harris has "disgraced himself" do you mean that it is disgraceful to even have the discussion? I don't have a problem with discussing the topic at all. Whether or not Murray is right about anything should be a matter of empirical science.
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"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 19th May 2017, 02:54 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I think a question could be posed like this...
No one objects to inquiries of that nature. Again, I linked a bunch of sources that discuss those sorts of inquiries and the OP article cites more.

Quote:
Sam Harris himself says that the research question may answer one way or another, and that would merely be a matter of science. He says that he might wonder why such research would be of interest to someone and also says that there are likely to be suspicious motives behind certain uses of the data but that doesn't change the possibility that certain scientific truths as unwelcome as they may be might exist.
Another trivial statement that no one disagrees with, but...

Quote:
You can call those weasel words if you want, but when you said Harris has "disgraced himself" do you mean that it is disgraceful to even have the discussion? I don't have a problem with discussing the topic at all. Whether or not Murray is right about anything should be a matter of empirical science.
Yes, he absolutely disgraced himself over and over again. The disgrace began with his heartfelt plea in defense of Murray. Murray is not chastised because he is a noble truth teller; he is chastised because is a slimy, lying racist. His work is manifestly terrible, and he has rightly been criticized for both his ****** science work and also the fact that he engaged in **** science to promote racist ideas.

My expectation is that if Harris wanted to discuss this topic with Murray, he needed to approach with the same zeal for skepticism and science that he would approach a discussion with a creationist. Time and time again in that interview Harris both let ******** claims and arguments slide and even endorsed very bad science as "just the truth, man."
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Old 19th May 2017, 03:03 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
No one objects to inquiries of that nature. Again, I linked a bunch of sources that discuss those sorts of inquiries and the OP article cites more.



Another trivial statement that no one disagrees with, but...



Yes, he absolutely disgraced himself over and over again. The disgrace began with his heartfelt plea in defense of Murray. Murray is not chastised because he is a noble truth teller; he is chastised because is a slimy, lying racist. His work is manifestly terrible, and he has rightly been criticized for both his ****** science work and also the fact that he engaged in **** science to promote racist ideas.

My expectation is that if Harris wanted to discuss this topic with Murray, he needed to approach with the same zeal for skepticism and science that he would approach a discussion with a creationist. Time and time again in that interview Harris both let ******** claims and arguments slide and even endorsed very bad science as "just the truth, man."
Then it would certainly help to have someone who knows about the updated research to go on to his podcast and talk about it. You could suggest it to him on Twitter or Facebook. It would be useful to have such a discussion. What it is not useful for and which Harris was deliberately pushing back against is the idea that such discussions are bellowed down with chants of "Racist!" and the physical attacks that accompanied the shut down.
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"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 19th May 2017, 03:29 PM   #16
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The field of behavioral genetics suffers from the legacy, and taint, of eugenics. We are right to be cautious, and we certainly don't want any claims to run past the available science.

That said, it's unfair to paint the field with the broad brush of racism without justification. If we recognize IQ/g is heritable, it's a valid scientific question to ask how and if it follows ethnic groups. To do otherwise is to create an anti-science taboo.

A more recent example is the 2006 discovery of the "warrior gene" - so named because it showed up in a higher proportion in Maori men and was associated with violence and criminality. In the ten years since, the idea has been black-balled and straw-manned because of the same suspicion of agenda-driven bigotry. But there really seems to be a "there" there after all.

No one is claiming "genes are destiny." But we don't react negatively if we find out male pattern baldness or red-green colorblindness has a genetic link. We don't poo-poo science which demonstrates an increased risk of breast cancer. Part of the story is figuring out just how much genes influence higher cognition and behaviors. Autism and schizophrenia are likely to have a genetic component - this isn't a shocker.

Somehow we need to find a way to not throw out the baby with the dirty bathwater. Taboo is not helpful here.
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Old 19th May 2017, 03:48 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Then it would certainly help to have someone who knows about the updated research to go on to his podcast and talk about it. You could suggest it to him on Twitter or Facebook. It would be useful to have such a discussion. What it is not useful for and which Harris was deliberately pushing back against is the idea that such discussions are bellowed down with chants of "Racist!" and the physical attacks that accompanied the shut down.
I mean, don't want to be called a racist, don't fawn all over a notorious racist and engage in unconvincing defenses of his long-debunked ********.

Charles Murray is not a person who has any business around an institution of Higher Education. As I said before, he's barely a step above phrenologists. He falls in the same category of pseudo-scientists as acupuncturists and homeopaths.

If there were physical attacks, those are obviously ridiculous.
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Old 19th May 2017, 03:55 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
A more recent example is the 2006 discovery of the "warrior gene" - so named because it showed up in a higher proportion in Maori men and was associated with violence and criminality. In the ten years since, the idea has been black-balled and straw-manned because of the same suspicion of agenda-driven bigotry. But there really seems to be a "there" there after all.
The "Warrior Gene" dates back to the early 90's. I'm curious what makes you think it has any legitimacy.

Quote:
No one is claiming "genes are destiny." But we don't react negatively if we find out male pattern baldness or red-green colorblindness has a genetic link. We don't poo-poo science which demonstrates an increased risk of breast cancer. Part of the story is figuring out just how much genes influence higher cognition and behaviors. Autism and schizophrenia are likely to have a genetic component - this isn't a shocker.
Again, Charles Murray's critics do not deny that intelligence and IQ are inheritable.

Quote:
Somehow we need to find a way to not throw out the baby with the dirty bathwater. Taboo is not helpful here.
Charles Murray is the dirty bath water.
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Old 19th May 2017, 03:59 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
I mean, don't want to be called a racist, don't fawn all over a notorious racist and engage in unconvincing defenses of his long-debunked ********.

Charles Murray is not a person who has any business around an institution of Higher Education. As I said before, he's barely a step above phrenologists. He falls in the same category of pseudo-scientists as acupuncturists and homeopaths.

If there were physical attacks, those are obviously ridiculous.
Yes, a "notorious" racist is someone who is racist by reputation. In the very podcast that you started this thread about he mentions that he turned down the option of being published in a location where Charles Murray himself was being published. He now regrets the idea that he was dissuaded purely on notoriety alone. And the person who was physically attacked at the university was a member of the faculty who was escorting Murray. As far as I am concerned everyone has business at institutes of higher learning and it shouldn't be a matter for you or a rentamob to determine otherwise.
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Old 19th May 2017, 04:01 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Yes, a "notorious" racist is someone who is racist by reputation.
And he earned that reputation by being a very proud, public racist.

Quote:
In the very podcast that you started this thread about he mentions that he turned down the option of being published in a location where Charles Murray himself was being published. He now regrets the idea that he was dissuaded purely on notoriety alone.
Then he should have done research and he would have had strong reasons.

Quote:
And the person who was physically attacked at the university was a member of the faculty who was escorting Murray. As far as I am concerned everyone has business at institutes of higher learning and it shouldn't be a matter for you or a rentamob to determine otherwise.
On this, we agree.
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Old 19th May 2017, 04:13 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
And he earned that reputation by being a very proud, public racist.



Then he should have done research and he would have had strong reasons.



On this, we agree.
Could you point to some quotes of Murray where he proudly and publicly expresses his racism? It's strange to hear that because I believe he denies he is racist in the podcast and I think Harris also denies he found any racism.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 19th May 2017, 04:19 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Could you point to some quotes of Murray where he proudly and publicly expresses his racism? It's strange to hear that because I believe he denies he is racist in the podcast and I think Harris also denies he found any racism.
Well, that does it, then. They deny it? I also heard The Bell Curve's opening line begins, "I'm not racist, but..."

Here's the Southern Poverty Law Center's page on Murray:

https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-h...charles-murray

His whole game is to dress racism up in science-y sounding stuff.

But seriously, you don't see the obvious racism in manipulating survey data to justify a position that black people are born inferior to white people? It's amazing that his racism needs to be explained.

And, again, the data does not show this. The scientific research does not show this. Murray made ******** up to justify a racist position. That's literally the only reason anyone knows who he is.

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Old 19th May 2017, 04:32 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
Well, that does it, then. They deny it? I also heard The Bell Curve's opening line begins, "I'm not racist, but..."

Here's the Southern Poverty Law Center's page on Murray:

https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-h...charles-murray

His whole game is to dress racism up in science-y sounding stuff.

But seriously, you don't see the obvious racism in manipulating survey data to justify a position that black people are born inferior to white people? It's amazing that his racism needs to be explained.

And, again, the data does not show this. The scientific research does not show this. Murray made ******** up to justify a racist position. That's literally the only reason anyone knows who he is.
You didn't say he stealthily puts forward racist ideas in sciency sounding terminology, you said he was a proud public racist. Where is this proud public rascism? Where are the quotes?
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 19th May 2017, 04:38 PM   #24
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Duplicate.

Last edited by marplots; 19th May 2017 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 19th May 2017, 04:45 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
The "Warrior Gene" dates back to the early 90's. I'm curious what makes you think it has any legitimacy.
It depends on what you mean by "any"?

The paper I mentioned: https://www.researchgate.net/publica...ene_Hypothesis

One from 2009: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2650118/

Some interesting research from 2014: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4776744/


Quote:
Charles Murray is the dirty bath water.
Maybe. I don't know the guy personally. We have an obligation to look at whatever evidence he presents.

What bothers me is when racists cherry-pick research to push their own agenda and that then taints the larger subject unfairly. We don't need to undermine the science in service of social justice.

I want the truth of the matter - even if it's uncomfortable.

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Old 19th May 2017, 04:47 PM   #26
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I haven't read the Bell Curve so I cannot say if it is racist or not, but Wikipedia has two quotes suggesting that the relationship between IQ and race is unresolved and that they suggest both environmental and genetic factors have something to do with it. Is this what sparked the controversy?
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 20th May 2017, 05:47 AM   #27
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I happened to have just listened to (most of) the podcast today. I didn't find anything particularly objectionable.

I thought Harris did an okay job. He brought up a few important points. For instance he brings up the Flynn affect, and at one point quotes Flynn as saying something along of lines of "You only have to posit that the environment of the average black man today is as conducive to mental development as that of the average white mane in 1948 to demolish the idea that there is a genetic component to the racial differences in IQ" (something like that). Murray dismissed this as though it were ridiculous because he seems to assert that the environmental differences simply aren't large enough.

I thought that was the weakest part of his argument. When Harris brings up environmental differences he rightly points out that we can measure at least some aspect of this, but then just basically makes an argument from incredulity saying that it's just inconceivable that the environmental differences could be large enough to explain the measured difference in IQ. Now, maybe he knows more about the research and there are actually valid reasons to think that, but if so he didn't explain them.

Nevertheless I didn't get the impression that he had an agenda. I don't know enough about the science here to form a solid opinion, but I do think that it's possible for him to be wrong and think he was right simply on scientific grounds, and i don't think that the issue is so clear cut that only a racist with an agenda could possibly continue to hold the opinions that he holds.

My own view is that while, as I say, I'm not sure, I suspect that the differences can be explained by environmental differences.
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Old 20th May 2017, 06:01 AM   #28
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Suprising that the push back took this long to come about as this podcast has been out for a while. I thought Harris should have been more critical in the discussion. Perhaps the feedback from the cluster **** of the podcast with Jordan Peterson, where the discussion completely stalled for 2 hours over the definition of truth was still on his mind. But I don't think Harris would hold back that much. In his podcast with Andrew Sullivan before the election, they ripped into Clinton before making the case against Trump. I think as someone who has been unjustly called a racist, like by Affleck on Real Time, he sympathizes too much with Murray.
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Old 20th May 2017, 06:35 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I haven't read the Bell Curve so I cannot say if it is racist or not, but Wikipedia has two quotes suggesting that the relationship between IQ and race is unresolved and that they suggest both environmental and genetic factors have something to do with it. Is this what sparked the controversy?
Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
My own view is that while, as I say, I'm not sure, I suspect that the differences can be explained by environmental differences.
If it comes down to environment there's an explanitory escape clause - improve the environment and race-linked IQ differences disappear. That falls in line with social justice concerns and is an acceptable way forward. If, on the other hand, it comes down to real, demonstrable genetic differences, there's a problem - that's taboo science.

The usual way to placate social justice concerns is to say that race itself is ill-defined, and, coupled with figuring out just what IQ actually measures, the whole subject should be thrown out as junk science.

Can it be repaired? I think it can, but have no idea what the results would show.

What's needed is a tightening of both definitions - race and IQ. Cognitive scientists have been working on the second and came up with "g" which they argue is both internally and externally consistent. So what about race? Can that be pinned down?

It can be, if you just decide our impression of someone's race is misleading and go with a genetic definition instead. That would mean throwing out "self identification" of ethnicity and the kind of social constructs we might want to keep for political purposes, but it has the advantage of a clear definition for purposes of deriving associations - the epidemiology we are interested in.

How to pin down race genetically? Well, look at genes of course!

Scientists have figured out that lighter skinned East Asians get their skin color mostly from a non-working version of kitlg. Northern European people with lighter skin often have a poorly working version of SLC24A5. A small number of pale northern Europeans get their skin color from a non-working MC1R gene. From: http://genetics.thetech.org/ask/ask288

Granted, that's a pretty shallow definition of what race is all about, but it has the advantage of getting the ball rolling. If we find no correlation with skin color (at least one way we talk about race) then fine, no need to press the case any further - it was all a mirage anyhow.

If there is a correlation, then we are back to nature/nurture conversations and have to start separating out those with background A from background B when the genes are the same. This is normal fare in statistical epidemiology.

The gold standard would be linking specific genes to g scores with an underlying explanatory theory - in the way you might determine someone's risk for breast cancer knowing how the genes interact.

In the end, and even if it all plays out nicely (I'm looking at you, reproducible study!), will we find out anything worth knowing? I seriously doubt it. And all the while we risk feeding oxygen to racists. They are even worse than Creationists when it comes to cherry-picking.

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Old 20th May 2017, 06:38 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
It depends on what you mean by "any"?

The paper I mentioned: https://www.researchgate.net/publica...ene_Hypothesis

One from 2009: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2650118/

Some interesting research from 2014: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4776744/
From your last link:

Quote:
However, the largest study on this issue, with more than 4000 individuals, could not confirm the hypothesis that this MAOA genotype moderates the relationship between childhood maltreatment and antisocial behavior, but found statistically non-significant evidence for a main effect of MAOA genotype on having disposition toward violence.1
It is, at best, a radical oversimplification of the relationship between genetics and behavior. Again, it's difficult to respond because I'm not sure what you think they've established about MAOA. It's been used from very trivial points to very, very racist points and even been referenced in court decisions.


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Maybe. I don't know the guy personally. We have an obligation to look at whatever evidence he presents.
First of all, personal relationship has nothing to do with. Second, we've been looking at his nonsense for 20 years. I linked a ton of people who have long since demolished his nonsense.

He isn't dismissed because people ignored him; he is dismissed because people read him and were horrified at both the racism and the bad science.

Quote:
What bothers me is when racists cherry-pick research to push their own agenda and that then taints the larger subject unfairly. We don't need to undermine the science in service of social justice.

I want the truth of the matter - even if it's uncomfortable.
Then Charles Murray should be your enemy. He is the one who cherry-picked and make awful scientific arguments to substantiate his racist thesis.
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Old 20th May 2017, 06:42 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I happened to have just listened to (most of) the podcast today. I didn't find anything particularly objectionable.

I thought Harris did an okay job. He brought up a few important points. For instance he brings up the Flynn affect, and at one point quotes Flynn as saying something along of lines of "You only have to posit that the environment of the average black man today is as conducive to mental development as that of the average white mane in 1948 to demolish the idea that there is a genetic component to the racial differences in IQ" (something like that). Murray dismissed this as though it were ridiculous because he seems to assert that the environmental differences simply aren't large enough.

I thought that was the weakest part of his argument. When Harris brings up environmental differences he rightly points out that we can measure at least some aspect of this, but then just basically makes an argument from incredulity saying that it's just inconceivable that the environmental differences could be large enough to explain the measured difference in IQ. Now, maybe he knows more about the research and there are actually valid reasons to think that, but if so he didn't explain them.
Yes. this is a good summary. And as the article I posted details, Harris gave absolutely MINIMAL effort to the Flynn issue. Even just mentioning it was enough to completely undermine Murray's thesis.

Quote:
Nevertheless I didn't get the impression that he had an agenda. I don't know enough about the science here to form a solid opinion, but I do think that it's possible for him to be wrong and think he was right simply on scientific grounds, and i don't think that the issue is so clear cut that only a racist with an agenda could possibly continue to hold the opinions that he holds.
He has spent two decades attacking minorities, the poor, and anyone else he feels he has proven genetically inferior. I have posted plenty of links to show his long history of malicious racism.

He found a sympathetic host who didn't bother to do much research and they had a little self-pity party. He doesn't come off as objectionable because both he and Harris worked very hard to hide that aspect of his work.
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Old 20th May 2017, 06:54 AM   #32
marplots
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
From your last link:

It is, at best, a radical oversimplification of the relationship between genetics and behavior. Again, it's difficult to respond because I'm not sure what you think they've established about MAOA. It's been used from very trivial points to very, very racist points and even been referenced in court decisions.
I think you were asking for evidence of "any legitimacy," not a conclusion. I'm perfectly happy with "the jury is still out" or "it's not settled science." Association studies are not the best evidence - we'd like a mechanistic study instead. But they offer a way forward, and the root idea seems uncontroversial on it's face: genetics influence phenotype, including "psychotypes."

I propose the science (such that it is) should stand or fall on its own merits without being driven by social policy. In fact, the best pairing is to use the science to direct social policies intelligently. I suppose the question is whether that's even possible or not.

Quote:
First of all, personal relationship has nothing to do with. Second, we've been looking at his nonsense for 20 years. I linked a ton of people who have long since demolished his nonsense.

He isn't dismissed because people ignored him; he is dismissed because people read him and were horrified at both the racism and the bad science.
I'll take this as read, since I only listened to the podcast to form my opinion and am not familiar with how the topic has been mishandled/debunked.
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Old 20th May 2017, 06:59 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
From your last link:

It is, at best, a radical oversimplification of the relationship between genetics and behavior. Again, it's difficult to respond because I'm not sure what you think they've established about MAOA. It's been used from very trivial points to very, very racist points and even been referenced in court decisions.
That's a fair point. These issues are sensitive because people take something like MAOA, find it present in the Maori, and all of a sudden we have people claiming that individuals of a certain background are likely to be more violent.

Both with this and Murray, it's the folks who adopt your position - hey, this is interesting, let's figure out the implications - who are arguing against the racists who think they've found genetic deterministic explanations for why white people are great and everyone else isn't.

As for Murray, I linked his SLPC page. The SLPC is the legal organization that figured out how to hold the leaders of the KKK responsible for the crimes of their followers. It is a network dedicated to hate. There's a reason Charles Murray has a page there.
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Old 20th May 2017, 07:41 AM   #34
marplots
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
That's a fair point. These issues are sensitive because people take something like MAOA, find it present in the Maori, and all of a sudden we have people claiming that individuals of a certain background are likely to be more violent.
It's spin though. Here are two descriptions of candidates for a job:
* “A good leader, with strong achievement motivation, fair bargaining behaviors, and social assertiveness.”
* “Has low impulse control, aggressive, with a propensity to act out violently.”

Both of those fit the behaviors associated with the warrior gene.

Quote:
Both with this and Murray, it's the folks who adopt your position - hey, this is interesting, let's figure out the implications - who are arguing against the racists who think they've found genetic deterministic explanations for why white people are great and everyone else isn't.
Yep. In truth though, I don't think much of behavioral genetics as a science. There is absolutely too much wiggle room when you combine psychology with epidemiology. There's no experimental model and only wild-type correlations. This leads to headline grabbing mischaracterizations of what (if anything) was actually discovered.

That said, I do think those with a racist agenda have a role. Recall the Creationists with their irreducible complexity bit. I learned something when evolutionary biologists took the time to debunk it. That's a service they provided, and it's similar to the "service" rendered by the race-linked genetic determinists. Finding out why they are wrong is worthwhile. The Flynn Effect is worth knowing about.

Maybe a little bunk stimulates a useful immune response. Was Harris too gentle? Too kind? In hindsight I suppose he was. But the topic was worth having on his show.
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Old 20th May 2017, 07:45 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
That said, I do think those with a racist agenda have a role. Recall the Creationists with their irreducible complexity bit. I learned something when evolutionary biologists took the time to debunk it. That's a service they provided, and it's similar to the "service" rendered by the race-linked genetic determinists. Finding out why they are wrong is worthwhile. The Flynn Effect is worth knowing about.
I think this is the best analogy. Very similar situations.

Quote:
Maybe a little bunk stimulates a useful immune response. Was Harris too gentle? Too kind? In hindsight I suppose he was. But the topic was worth having on his show.
You did hear the opening where Harris goes on and on about how unjustly poor Murray has been treated for just being a truth teller...

Harris' failings run far deeper than just not providing enough of a skeptical response to Murray's long-debunked nonsense, though that was obviously a problem.
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Old 20th May 2017, 08:54 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
As for Murray, I linked his SLPC page.
Yeah, I had a look at that, but again I haven't read the whole thing. I don't really see any smoking gun given that you called Charles Murray a "very proud, public racist". This was in the context of you saying Sam Harris should have found it easy to discover that the notoriety was fully deserved, when I haven't seen evidence that Murray is clearly driven by racism. It may be that he is, but it doesn't seem to be as you characterize him.

The SPLC refer to him as a "White Nationalist". Now, there clearly are White Nationalists who proclaim themselves as such and often wave flags and tattoo themselves in a way that make their allegiance obvious. Charles Murray doesn't appear to do this. I am not saying that he cannot be a racist, but he is not an out and proud racist, unlike your characterization.

There are a couple of reasons why Sam Harris himself may be unmoved by the SPLC's page and a reason why Charles Murray's very appearance there is insufficient for him to decide against inviting him on the podcast.

One of those is that Sam Harris has himself been labelled a "white supremacist", I believe, by a writer on Salon (I can't find the article right now, but Harris has referenced it before on his podcast).

The other is that two of Harris's previous guests also have pages on the SPLC, and one of them he has even co-written a book with. They are Maajid Nawaz (who is an anti-Muslim extremist apparently for compiling data on peaceful Islamists (!) and for tweeting a cartoon of Muhammed (!)), and Ayaan Hirshi Ali (who "says she endured female genital mutilation" - but hey, pics or it didn't happen, I guess, and also says some non-complimentary things about Islam).

Of course, Harris also realizes that he's not only courting controversy by having Murray on his podcast but also that he will be called a racist etc... just for having the conversation. He was right.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 20th May 2017, 09:34 AM   #37
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I'd like to see a tally of the warrior gene among cops too, rather than only criminals.

But so far as other comparisons, I think any two groups for comparison would give two bell curves. They would mostly overlap- left side can only go to zero, the right side tapering down toward very small percentages. The big difference would be in the peak of the bell curves. This would be appropriate for say, flavor of apples, texture of gravel, talness vs ability to jump. Anydamnthing.

So far as race vs IQ, many current studies show a difference of one SD, 15 IQ points. That would be a comparison to the peak of the bell curves. But that doesn't mean that any particular black man is necessarily stupider than any particular white man. Because I sure have met some stooopid white men too.

And as far as racism goes, I think minoritys have a higher percent of racism than whites. I don't know how many times I've heard "you white guys are all racist". That is just as racist as "You black guys are sex fiends". If I'm so racist, how come both a Mexican and a Native American named their first born males after me? I think some of you prejudiced minoritys ought to get to know me better before judging me a racist.
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Old 20th May 2017, 09:42 AM   #38
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Last I heard, there are about 7 genes tied to skin color. I don't think any of them have been tied to IQ.

But that does not mean there are no ethnic or regional differences in IQ.

I do think there ought to be more study done though. If for no other reason than the possibility of eliminating the skin color from the equation. Tranwreck, wouldn't it be nice to say "There is no scientific basis to relate skin color to IQ"? You can't say that now. Yet.
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Old 20th May 2017, 09:49 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Yeah, I had a look at that, but again I haven't read the whole thing. I don't really see any smoking gun given that you called Charles Murray a "very proud, public racist". This was in the context of you saying Sam Harris should have found it easy to discover that the notoriety was fully deserved, when I haven't seen evidence that Murray is clearly driven by racism. It may be that he is, but it doesn't seem to be as you characterize him.
You are flatly wrong. Murray has been one of the most influential racists of the last couple decades. His shoddy science has given an intellectual foundation to a wide range of malicious beliefs.

You can stubbornly refuse to see the truth in front of you, but, again, the man generates bunk science for the express reason of attempting to prove that black people are genetically inferior to white people.

Hey, that's *********** racist.

Quote:
The SPLC refer to him as a "White Nationalist". Now, there clearly are White Nationalists who proclaim themselves as such and often wave flags and tattoo themselves in a way that make their allegiance obvious. Charles Murray doesn't appear to do this. I am not saying that he cannot be a racist, but he is not an out and proud racist, unlike your characterization.
Again, you are just wrong. You just listened to a podcast where he presented very bad science to justify his position that black people are inferior to white people. That is a proud, public display of racism.

That you, like Harris, have chosen to ignore the actual science making it difficult to see where the malicious, flawed reasoning takes place is not a compelling argument against Murray's racism.


Quote:
Of course, Harris also realizes that he's not only courting controversy by having Murray on his podcast but also that he will be called a racist etc... just for having the conversation. He was right.
See, this is just sad. It isn't because he had a conversation. It's because he gave a teary defense of the man, validated his incorrect statements as being "just facts," and completely failed to criticize views that have been demolished for two decades. Harris endorsed those views, both explicitly and implicitly.

THAT is the reason for the criticism.
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Old 20th May 2017, 09:52 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
Last I heard, there are about 7 genes tied to skin color. I don't think any of them have been tied to IQ.

But that does not mean there are no ethnic or regional differences in IQ.

I do think there ought to be more study done though. If for no other reason than the possibility of eliminating the skin color from the equation. Tranwreck, wouldn't it be nice to say "There is no scientific basis to relate skin color to IQ"? You can't say that now. Yet.
...I'm not sure why people are having so much trouble following the discussion. Please read the article in the OP.

I and the various scientists I cited are not (1) denying that intelligence and IQ are, at least in part, heritable; we are not (2) the ones making the strong assertion about what the current science proves.

Murray has asserted that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that black people are genetically less intelligent than white people. This is a strong, totally unjustified conclusion.

The arguments you are directing at me, for some reason, need to be aimed at Murray. I fully accept that IQ and intelligence in an individual and in groups is partly determined by a range of heritable factors and environmental conditions. That ruins Murray's arguments, not mine.
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