November 18, 2007

A Watson Defender

More than a little too late, but, still, good for William Saletan, the "Human Nature" columnist for Slate, for gearing up his courage to become one of the few James Watson defenders:

Created Equal

Race, genes, and intelligence.

From: William Saletan
Subject: Liberal creationism


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights …

-- Declaration of Independence

Last month, James Watson, the legendary biologist, was condemned and forced nto retirement after claiming that African intelligence wasn't "the same as ours." "Racist, vicious and unsupported by science," said the Federation of American Scientists. "Utterly unsupported by scientific evidence," declared the U.S. government's supervisor of genetic research. The New York Times told readers that when Watson implied "that black Africans are less intelligent than whites, he hadn't a scientific leg to stand on."

I wish these assurances were true. They aren't. Tests do show an IQ deficit, not just for Africans relative to Europeans, but for Europeans relative to Asians. Economic and cultural theories have failed to explain most of the pattern, and there's strong preliminary evidence that part of it is genetic. It's time to prepare for the possibility that equality of intelligence, in the sense of racial averages on tests, will turn out not to be true.

If this suggestion makes you angry—if you find the idea of genetic racial advantages outrageous, socially corrosive, and unthinkable—you're not the first to feel that way. Many Christians are going through a similar struggle over evolution. Their faith in human dignity rests on a literal belief in Genesis. To them, evolution isn't just another fact; it's a threat to their whole value system. As William Jennings Bryan put it during the Scopes trial, evolution meant elevating "supposedly superior intellects," "eliminating the weak," "paralyzing the hope of reform," jeopardizing "the doctrine of brotherhood," and undermining "the sympathetic activities of a civilized society."

The same values—equality, hope, and brotherhood—are under scientific threat today. But this time, the threat is racial genetics, and the people struggling with it are liberals. [More]

As G.K. Chesterton wrote in 1922 in Eugenics and Other Evils:

"The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal.

Also, good for Saletan for showing some sympathy for William Jennings Bryan.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

38 comments:

TotallyAnonymous said...

Here is the link btw:

http://www.slate.com/id/2178122/fr/flyout

You can tell how uncomfortable Saletan is writing about this topic, but it's a start...

Anonymous said...

At some level, when liberals talk about such things, they are saying, "There is a possibility that the old falseholds will no longer be tenable. We may have to adopt new falsehoods."

Everybody is quite aware of racial differences, of course...the only concern is overwhelming evidence being shown to the masses.

Anonymous said...

Actually, here is the link: Saletan Article

It is interesting that selection pressure is still on-going in China, where they don't insist that low IQ individuals are equal to high IQ individuals.

Discrimination and failure are the ways that we purge bad alleles from the gene pool.

Klint Ogden said...

Uncomfortable, perhaps, but his direct referencing of the paper by Rushton and Jensen is certainly a bold step.

tommy said...

Second comment on the article's thread:

I don't care what the "scientific evidence" says - I'll never believe the "truth" that the races aren't equal. We've fought too hard for too long. I also am very disappointed to see Slate publish this pablum - maybe in the National Review or whatever rag Herr Bush reads, but not Slate.

Science be damned!

Anonymous said...

It's funny how easy it is to spot other peoples' self-deception, but so hard to be aware of our own.

Jilmondo said...

BTW, Steve, but you get a head's up here.

Bill said...


It is interesting that selection pressure is still on-going in China, where they don't insist that low IQ individuals are equal to high IQ individuals.

-anon


You guys really don't get it about China. There is no eugenics program in China, and the areas with the highest IQ individuals - cities - have had below-replacement fertility levels for longer than any other regions. Shanghai, perhaps the most sophisticated city in the PRC, has had below replacement fertility since the late 1950s.

The areas where it has been hardest to implement the one-child policy are backward, rural regions where literacy is below average and patriarchal customs pertaining to land-use (farming) rights still predominate.

If anything, Communist policy in China has been "dysgenic" from an IQ standpoint. Chinese will readily admit as much. Ask them about Mao's "WeidaMuqin" policy.

Anonymous said...

Second comment on the article's thread ... Science be damned!

My dear fellow blog commentators:

At the risk of sounding like a rhetorical nuisance, does any of you really believe that science -- that is, the bundle of reasoning techniques and methods associated with that label -- makes any difference in the mind of ordinary people? Especially ordinary "elites," as paradoxical as that may sound?

You see, you may be tempted to think that for instance Newton's laws of motion are now universally "recognized" -- whatever set of actions "recognize" means on the part of ordinary people. But this may well be a bit optimistic. Asking randomly chosen people on the street what, for example, the second law (law of acceleration) means would yield interesting results.

And yet, few dare challenge it as "deeply disturbing" or "simply unacceptable, thinking of the human costs involved due to extra energy consumtion" or some other barely meaningful mouthful.

Why is that?

Well, the answer probably lies in that second comment tommy quotes. Note the assertion "We've fought too hard for too long."

One critical aspect of human behavior is pejoratively referred to as the "herd instinct." Now groups of primates are rather called (if I, as a non-native user of English, am not mistake) "packs" or simply "groups" than herds, but nevertheless there's a great truth to it. Like the gullibility in human infants that Dawkins explains as a prerequisite for being more pliant and educable, perhaps this is a correlate of being social animals with a strong sense of reciprocity. Despite our best pretenses, there's something inherently "asocial" to be a "free thinking individualist." There are always tangible limits to how much you can go against the group without offending somebody.

But, more importantly, this is also expressed in our economic behavior. Normally, libertarian-minded economists (as can be expected of them) despise this. They seem to look at it from purely the perspective of the Wall Street broker. Most people (including yours truly who has lost money due to this) will go for the "winning" stocks which is a choice that makes you a loser in the stock market. The moment a stock becomes a winner is the moment the early bulls who have taken the risk of picking them up and waited for the rise in price start dumping that stock on the gullible crowds. Which reveals the perversity of our Keynesian economy since investing in a winning stock is supposed to be actually rewarding enterprises that have proven their worth. It is supposed to be underlying motive for a more "stable" economy.

I believe people relate to ideas the same way.

The reason why nobody dares challenge Newton (other than Einstein grade special relativity-savvy enthusiasts or brainiacs) is because Newton has proven its worth by, well, how about the automobile? Or the F-22 Raptor fighter bomber?

Let's imagine for a moment what the freak's theories would have been were they only "assessments" of the "potential" of humans.

My guess is he would be treated as probably no differently from Watson.

Please note, I'm not trying to excuse them. I'm only hinting at this: the day when genetic engineering is able to, say, "cure" homosexuality or increase your IQ by two standard deviations or help plastic surgeons remold your bone structure without surgery with a single shot of a powerful medicine will be the day most of these people will convert to the faith.

I'm beginning to think it may be a waste of time reminding ourselves the current dismal reality. Personally, whenever I read anything like the comments section of the NYT article, I feel like a dagger has been drawn into my guts. It feels absolutely horrendous. Probably due to the mechanism I referred to above, that which makes us not terribly "independent," that which makes us ache when we know that we're alone, when the crowds at large hate our guts.

I say let's take a break. Let's be mature men, and drop this masochistic ordeal dealing with the freak show the ignoramuses out there are putting up everyday.

At least, I for my part -- and at the age of 40-something, 40-anything -- am beginning to feel a toll. I can't deal with this anymore.

I know that this issue will not change in the direction that we hope until the cures arrive. For the simple fact that humans, as part of their basic optimism that makes them go on every day in this dismal world, have a very strong evolutionary tendency to avoid things about which there's not much to do other than, well, pretty rude things, if you get my drift.

Let's just concentrate on things that everyone can relate to.

For example, how can we support our troops so that they whack Afghanis and the Taliban (which is making a come back) even more ferociously? Again and again for the next 30 years? This is a winner, why not bet on that stock?


JD

Anonymous said...

I wanted to read the comments at Slate but the comments setup there is horrible! Or is it just me?

hey steve said...

At some level, when liberals talk about such things, they are saying, "There is a possibility that the old falseholds will no longer be tenable. We may have to adopt new falsehoods."

Excellent. Instead of Steve's endless appeals to our opponents' capacity for intellectual honesty, it is cynical appraisals of the battlefield like this one that are required.

This is war. Intellectual warfare, but war none the less. Cultural Marxism is a weapon for dispossessing whites of the United States of America and then folding our national enterprise into a global superstate. That is what is happening. The falsehoods of racial equality are the cornerstone of the project to elect a new people, dissolve the borders and end the country (world) as we know it.

Matt Parrott said...

In Saletan's defense, he did jump on this story from the very beginning with a rational and realist criticism of Watson's (failed) attempts to neutralize his remarks.

This article is not too little or too late. And who could blame him for his trepidation and awkward tone? His audience is Slate, for christ's sake! He'll be lucky if he doesn't get Watsoned himself.

It truly is a momentous day for all of realism and evolutionary conservatism when such a respected voice in the world of bioethics clearly takes our side.

While this won't have the same mainstream media impact as Watson's original lament, I believe that Saletan's defense of realism will actually prove a more important milestone in reconciling the "liberal creationists" to the scientific facts.

I don't know if I could ask for a more powerful tool in persuading my mainstream secular liberal friends than this lucid article by none other than Mr. Saletan himself!

http://www.slate.com/id/2176709/

Big Bill said...

Very, very sly the way Saletan equated "anger" at Watson and his evolutionary racial differences statements with evangelical "anger" at Darwin, generally.

Rather than say, "you liberals are just as screwy as evangelical nutbags on evolution" (which would probably get him crucified), he sympathizes with the liberals, he shows the liberals how they are no different from evangelical nutbags, and gets them squirming like a worm on a hook.

What goes through their heads is, "only evangelical nutbags get discombobulated by evolution, and since WE aren't evangelical nutbags, we just can't get discombobulated about evolutionary racial differences, now can we!"

Believe me, equating liberals with evangelicals as Saletan does is a very, very effective rhetorical device. Liberals just about go nuts to avoid the implication that they are in any way similar to blue collar white Christians.

The false sympathy makes it virtually impossible for them to get fired up against you.

Hillary's Lesbian Lover said...

Evolution forced Christians to bend or break. - Saletan

...or to load up the truck and move to fantasyland.

I believe that Saletan's defense of realism will actually prove a more important milestone in reconciling the "liberal creationists" to the scientific facts.

If you think that leftists (they're not worthy of the appellation "liberal") will learn anything useful from acceptance of the genetic facts then you areall sorely mistaken. These are diehard Marxists, and whatever lesson they learn will not be good for the proles. It will involve either a) vast amounts of new government spending or b) tight new restrictions on thought and speech or c) both.

fifi said...

"At least, I for my part -- and at the age of 40-something, 40-anything -- am beginning to feel a toll. I can't deal with this anymore."

I wouldn't have thought you were a day over 29, JD. Think of yourself as a Machiavellian strategist if it helps. No sense wearing your true beliefs on your sleeve when doing so is counterproductive.

Hillary's Lesbian Lover said...

The moment a stock becomes a winner is the moment the early bulls who have taken the risk of picking them up and waited for the rise in price start dumping that stock on the gullible crowds.

Sometimes. But sometimes it still keeps rising, for reasons wholly unrelated to the gullible crowds. Microsoft, Berkshire Hathaway, and WalMart all remained good buys long after they had become well known for their success. They have justified those rising prices with rising profits. Google has done the same.

Ignoring the herd means ignoring the herd. Don't buy because that's what the herd is buying - but don't NOT buy because that's what the herd is buying, either. Some of my best investment choices involved following the CW.

KlaosOldanburg said...

while the spirit award certainly goes out to the poster who has worked too long and too hard to let a pesky thing like biology interfere, the most creative award has to go to this gem:

What if the IQ test includes dancing?


Just curious- how come the IQ test doesn't include things like dancing, musical improvisation, or rhyming? Aren't these as valid brain functions as math and analogy?

Of course the answer would be something to the effect that dancing, rhyming etc don't correlate to 'real world' results such as getting high paying jobs. And therein lies the whole chicken-and-egg problem Basically you have a circular logic at work here. You take a look at the real world, where blacks seldom get high paying jobs- and then turn around and construct an 'IQ' test, and then fine-tune the IQ test by inluding or excluding certain things, until the test results match the 'real world' statistical outcomes. And then you try to claim that the low IQ scores justify the discriminations against blacks.

To put it in a different way- you can easily construct an IQ test where blacks would come out on top and asians would come out on the bottom (watch some asian break-dancing vids to convince yourself). If in an alternative universe where blacks have all the political power and dominate the economy and the professions- I am sure they would use that other IQ test to justify why they are more equal than everyone else. It's just an after-the-fact justification of the current status-quo.

colin laney said...

Personally, whenever I read anything like the comments section of the NYT article, I feel like a dagger has been drawn into my guts.


For me it's more like a permanent asthma attack - like I can't get enough air - and not as if I've been stabbed. Sometimes it's like my head has been caught in a vise.

At least, I for my part -- and at the age of 40-something, 40-anything -- am beginning to feel a toll. I can't deal with this anymore.

I'm 40. I've "known" since I was 32, on account of an article that Slate magazine ran on the works of Kevin MacDonald. I even remember the author of the piece, Judith Shulevitz. As with you, there is a strong physical component to the knowledge I'm carrying around. I can feel it almost all of the time. Sometimes I just think of it as "The Thorn".

I have very ambivalent emotions about 'awakening' people. Extreme unhappiness seems a guaranteed result of knowing, but seven years of careful diagnosis regarding our situation has given me no special reason for hope or even a plausible direction forward. It seems a poor thing to ruin someone's illusions, guaranteeing them only misery and when you have no remedy at hand.

mnuez said...

Anonymous of The Long Comment, I feel your pain. Exactly as shown in Idiocracy, being hyper-intelligent means often lacking friends. Don’t get me wrong, there are of course plenty of hyper-intelligent people with equally awesome social skills but for the most-part that doesn’t seem to be the case. If you’re really smart and interested in smart things and MOST IMPORTANTLY unwilling to agree with someone simply for the social-benefit of doing so, you’ll be making a lot of enemies and “sounding faggy” so lots of people who will mock you for being intelligent and/or knowledgeable.

Just the other day I looked up MENSA and found that my SAT scores automatically qualify me for membership. Fantastic. In a world of morons, being intelligent only makes you a geek, a nerd or a freak - it has small social value. Unless of course you wear a MENSA cap (do they make those?) which, of course I intend to do as soon as I can employ my superior brain to the task of procuring the membership fees.

mnuez
www.mnuez.blogspot.com

Martin said...

I suspect that Mr. Saletan's employer, Bill Gates, probably agrees with him, and with James Watson. Of course he would never say so publicly. And it wouldn't stop him from tossing out Saletan like yesterday's garbage if he felt he had to in order to quell the outrage of aggrieved activists.

Bill Gates may view himself as a Howard Roark, but he's really more of a Gail Wynand.

Anonymous said...

This is the strongest defense of the gap that I've seen in a mainstream publication since the Bell Curve backlash. Which is pretty significant.

simon newman said...

Agreed, kudos to Saletan.

dearieme said...

"that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights": mind you, I reckon that that statement was itself just political spin. What they wanted to do was state that they would preserve their rights as free-born Britons. They could hardly phrase it thus when about to commit treason against the British Crown, hence the high-falutin' talk. The French Revolutionaries faced a similar problem: how could they promise the French the rights of their ancestral foes? They too went for high-falutin' talk. None of which need matter to the rational: the question is, is it wise to give individuals equality before the law in spite of group-average differences? I do hope it is. "Affirmative action" proponents think that it isn't.

Peter said...

I suspect that Mr. Saletan's employer, Bill Gates, probably agrees with him, and with James Watson.

Microsoft no longer owns Slate. It's now owned by the Washington Post.

none of the above said...

Suggestion: Don't spit at people who are telling the truth as best they can, even when they're doing it later or in less emphatic terms than you'd like.

Shouting Thomas said...

I have absolutely no problem reconciling my Catholic beliefs with an understanding of the theory of evolution. I have no idea why respondents to this site are so certain that religious belief and scientific awareness are mutually exclusive. Perhaps, what you really mean is that you want these two issues to be mutually exclusive.

If blacks as a group suffer from lower IQ than whites, as I suspect they do, then what do we owe those people in the form of Christian charity for their disadvantage?

I think that we are all, in fact, bitterly aware of this disadvantage. We debate the consequences of this disadvantage endlessly.

What do we owe to a brother or sister (within the Christian concept of charity) who has received lesser gifts from God? I am frustrated that we do not discuss these issues from this, very religious, perspective. I am not advocating that we give away phony degrees or plant people in jobs that they cannot handle.

What happens if we make a sincere judgment that our brothers and sisters are laboring with a disadvantage? What, then, do we do to give them the opportunity to live as fully as those who are gifted with intelligence? People are no less human, and no less capable of succeeding in creating a good life because they suffer from low IQ.

In my experience (and I’m approaching old age), people who suffer from low IQ are most helped in shaping a good life by religious faith and discipline. This is quite a quandary, isn’t it?

When I look at the value of religious faith, I don’t really worry about logic. I think of religious faith as something more akin to Yoga for the emotions and spirit. Religious faith developed over centuries because it worked for individuals and societies. We are emotional and spiritual, as well as intellectual, creatures.

Chaim said...

"Personally, whenever I read anything like the comments section of the NYT article, I feel like a dagger has been drawn into my guts.


For me it's more like a permanent asthma attack - like I can't get enough air - and not as if I've been stabbed. Sometimes it's like my head has been caught in a vise."


You guys remind me of the Harvard ladies who described feeling physically sick after hearing Lawrence Summers theorize about why women were underrepresented in science. It doesn't seem so smart to let yourself get all worked up like this.

lmg said...

It seems a poor thing to ruin someone's illusions, guaranteeing them only misery and when you have no remedy at hand.

Getting people to think constructively about the problem, rather than burning the messenger at the stake or pouring trillions of dollars into schemes based on false premises, is worth a little discomfort on their part.

sailer salieri said...

Naive question here: Say you took a group of African villagers who averaged 71 on an IQ test of pure "g."

Now is this to say that, no matter how many times you administer similar tests to them, their scores will ALWAYS be around that area of 71? That for this group, it can NEVER be around 100?

In short, I'm asking that can one be "trained" to perform better on a test of g? And if this is so, and the experiment was conducted, wouldn't it falsify the genetic explanation of the racial IQ differential if their scores were raised?

pwyll said...

Steve, William Saletan does a great job of summarizing a bunch of *your* arguments and packaging them in appropriate form for his audience at slate. Even if you're not credited in his article, it still sounds like I'm reading a more uptight version of you!

I do feel like the dam is breaking - your writing has been key in all of this, and someday you will get proper mainstream recognition as one of the pioneers. "Respectable" journalists may not link to you now, but they will.

When I first found your site I spent almost a whole day reading everything on it. I wouldn't be surprised if many others (including Saletan perhaps?) have done the same!

beowulf said...

Martin,

Microsoft sold Slate to the Washington Post, so Saletan is an employee of Donald Graham, not Bill Gates.

sn said...

Check out Saletan's latest (Monday) - parts of it read a lot like Lynn's 'Race Differences in Intelligence', eg the stuff about mixed-race children (BTW I didn't know that white mother black father gives +9 IQ over blacl mother white father - good news for my niece-in-law, who has black-Japanese father & white mother, she should do well). I haven't seen anything like this from a left-liberal before, he makes Nicholas Wade look cowardly.

mnuez said...

Kudos to Shouting Thomas. Kudos, kudos.

I certainly can see how we can get so worked up over the liars that all which we care about is making them pay, but at the end of the day, if you have any Jewish, Christian, or Buddhist feeling (or a few others as well) might there not be some place for compassion? Might we NOT have some sort of non-embarrassing assistance program for people who aren't lucky enough to have been born with the right genes or circumstances (regardless of their race)?

Throw me to the lions, baby!

mnuez
www.mnuez.blogspot.com

PRCalDude said...

Exactly as shown in Idiocracy, being hyper-intelligent means often lacking friends.

I used to wonder why my old man had so few good friends, if any. He's friendly, outgoing, and always positive. He graduated high school at the age of 16 and entered an electrical engineering program, and is one of the smartest people I know (I think I've reverted to the mean quite a bit). I think you just explained much, mnuez

PRCalDude said...

When I look at the value of religious faith, I don’t really worry about logic. I think of religious faith as something more akin to Yoga for the emotions and spirit. Religious faith developed over centuries because it worked for individuals and societies. We are emotional and spiritual, as well as intellectual, creatures.

I think Alvin Plantinga might upbraid you for that statement, as would Van Til, if he were still alive.

The main problem scientists have is that they're not religiously neutral. Science itself is not, nor is anyone else. Everyone operates on a set of presuppositions. Therefore when scientists try to use science to declare that "God is dead," they're using a circular logic, because modern science has already demanded naturalistic explanations for everything, even though it doesn't know everything.

The existence or non-existence of God and belongs in the realm of philosophy and metaphysics, not science.

TabooTruth said...

The problem also is that we, the HBD movement, have failed to create alternate philosophies that are compatible with the US ideals.

Jason Malloy's insistence on looking at people as individuals isn't going to solve the massive resentment people will feel about being misled. Of course there's resistance to the idea. Accepting it is looking at a black hole!

Martin said...

" beowulf said...

Martin,

Microsoft sold Slate to the Washington Post, so Saletan is an employee of Donald Graham, not Bill Gates.

11/19/2007 1:35 PM"

I stand corrected. I haven't read Slate in a good long time, so I wasn't aware of the change of ownership.

Hillary's Lesbian Lover said...

Microsoft sold Slate to the Washington Post, so Saletan is an employee of Donald Graham, not Bill Gates.

True, but Bill Gates is very, very good buddies with Warren Buffett, who owns a large chunk of the Post and, I believe, sits on the board. That friendship is obvious every year or so, when Newsweek (also owned by the Post) puts out a glory cover with Gates on it talking about what a great guy he is.