June 23, 2009

Almost Two Orders of Magnitude

It's interesting to compare the number of hits turned up by Google for searches of two figures important in the history of IQ research:

- Sir Cyril Burt, who among much else, conducted early research on separated twins from which he derived a high estimate of the heritability of IQ.

- Rick Heber, whose Milwaukee Project to use intensive daycare to raise the IQs of poor black children was widely lauded at the time and continues to be cited unskeptically, as in Richard J. Nisbett's new book Intelligence and How to Get It.

The day after Burt's death in 1971 at 88, an anti-hereditarian colleague advised Burt's distraught housekeeper to burn his papers. Soon, widely publicized charges appeared claiming that Burt had fabricated his twin research, charges which couldn't be disproved from Burt's papers, which were now ashes. Leon Kamin and Stephen Jay Gould jumped in. Later research did much to salvage Burt's reputation, but by then the conventional wisdom had hardened. (Arthur Jensen concluded in his 1998 magnum opus The g Factor that most of the charges against Burt were exaggerations, but that he wouldn't use Burt's later publications, but that it hardly matters since subsequent separated twin studies, such as the famous Minnesota Twins project, came to almost identical conclusions.)

In contrast to Burt, Rick Heber turned out to be a conman who was sent to federal prison for stealing from the Milwaukee Project. In a way, Heber's criminality makes the Milwaukee Project a little more usable to nurturists, since the costs of the project -- $14 million supposedly spent on just 40 children over a half dozen years beginning in the relatively low-cost 1960s -- were so insanely high that they couldn't possibly be replicated on a mass scale. So, knowing that Heber was skimming some of that $14 million actually makes the Milwaukee Project look less ridiculous on the cost front. However, that knowledge also raises questions about it on the findings front. So, Heber's crimes have, unlike whatever it was that Burt did, been shoved down the Memory Hole.

A Google search of

"Cyril Burt" scandal

turns up 2,310 hits.

Meanwhile,

"Rick Heber" scandal


turns up 26 hits.

They say history is written by the winners, but I say that history is written by the history-writers.

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

45 comments:

kudzu bob said...

T.S. Eliot wrote in one or another of his essays that no cause is ever entirely lost nor ever entirely won.

Keep on keeping on, Steve.

RKU said...

no cause is ever entirely lost nor ever entirely won.

Yes, indeed!

Let's consider another numerical comparison of references from about 50 years ago in the late USSR.

At that point, there were probably 13,429,208 published references to the stupendous genius and astonishing heroism of Nikita Khrushchev and 0 references to Alexander Solzhenitzyn, a former zek who'd just been released from the gulag.

Yet today, I doubt there's a single individual in all of Eastern Europe or Russia who thinks highly of Khrushchev, except perhaps that "he wasn't as bad as Stalin". On the other hand, Putin gave Solzhenitsyn an official state funeral, and urged that his books become part of every public school curriculum.

(Of course, Solzhenitsyn's writings have meanwhile vanished from American society, but that's another story entirely...)

Anonymous said...

No, it's written by the winners. That's why so many of my comments on a certain war are banned.

Anonymous said...

http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i39/39ferguson.htm

Not Every Child Is Secretly a Genius

The Wobbly Guy said...

Interesting the lengths the crazies will go to to justify their illogic.

Not via conspiracy, but by a series of shared viewpoints where any action taken in support of their cause is justified.

I'm beginning to think of the left/liberal/socialist/global warming/uniform human intelligence/keynesian folks (the crazies) as essentially nuts, because the facts against their cases are so many and so prevalent that ignoring them is just insane. Even worse yet is formulating policy based on their insane beliefs.

Josh said...

Yeah, but if you search "Cyril Burt" it comes up with about 27,000 hits compared to 510 for "Rick Heber". I think Burt would invariably attract more interest because he is a heavyweight figure who is well known.

Also, truth can win out. Wikipedia does have this entry about the Milwaukee Project:

Controversy

The Milwaukee Project's claimed success was celebrated in the popular media and by famous psychologists. However, later in the project, Rick Heber, the principal investigator, was discharged from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and convicted and imprisoned for large-scale abuse of federal funding for private gain. Two of Heber's colleagues in the project were also convicted for similar abuses. The project's results were not published in any refereed scientific journals, and even the existence of the project as described by Heber has been called into question. Nevertheless, many college textbooks in psychology and education have reported the project's results uncritically.[1]

Josh said...

Also, if people want to ensure history gets it right GET ON AMAZON!

Provide reviews of Nisbett's book, Outliers, Guns Germs & Steel & Mismeasure of Man.

Steve Sailer said...

I believe the "Controversy" section in the Wikipedia entry was added in the last week (i.e., since I brought it up).

Black Sea said...

Anecdote along similar lines:

Last September, when Sandra Bernhard's anti-Sarah Palin tirade, while "performing" at a Washington D.C. Jewish Community Center, was being discussed in the media (here and there), I did a little experiment at the New York Times website.

For those who may have forgotten, Bernhard referred to Palin, repeatedly, as a "bitch" and a "whore," suggested that Palin, "stay with your new Goyish crappy shiksa funky bullshit," and then threatened that, if Palin were to visit Manhattan, she would be "gang-raped by my big black brothers." Anyway, after spending a few minutes at the Times search engine, I discovered the following:

"Michael Richards+racist" produces 318 hits.

"Mel Gibson+anti-semitic" produces 1,170 hits.

"Don Imus+racist" generates an impressive 2,090 hits.

However, after fiddling with a series of different keyword combinations, I was unable to find even one Times article referencing Bernhard's Washington DC performance. Perhaps, in the future, history will be written by the search engines. But let's hope, not by the New York Times.

Ron Guhname said...

"In a way, Heber's criminality makes the Milwaukee Project a little more usable to nurturists..."

The Milwaukee Project is useful to criminologists: An effective way to reduce crime is to not fund nurturist research projects.

Red Lepond said...

"Steve Sailer" and scandal racks up 14,800 hits. I'm shocked, shocked!!

headache said...

"On the other hand, Putin gave Solzhenitsyn an official state funeral, and urged that his books become part of every public school curriculum."


I'm reading "200 years together" and it is very informative and impeccably researched. You guys are missing out on so much. Of course his other books like Gulag Archipelago are also classics.

Anonymous said...

History is literally written by left-wing college professors. And I am using literally, literally

Anonymous said...

They say history is written by the winners, but I say that history is written by the history-writers.


But isn't this just another example of history (and social science) being written by the winners? Or are people who hold realistic views on race and IQ not the among obvious losers of the past 65 years in your view?

Maybe the line should be "influential history is written by the winners", but in any case, your "history is written by the history writers" tautology is just dumb.

dearieme said...

When the accusations against Burt arose, one of them was that his two research assistants were an invention. A university statistician whom my wife knew said "But that's wrong, I've met one of them". He was, however, too spineless to write a letter to The Times to that effect.

dearieme said...

The history of the Vikings was written by the monks who were pillaged - the losers, then.

Peter A said...

Actually Solzhenitsyn is not popular in Putin's Russia at all. He has the reputation of being a moralizer and a scold - and no one likes being scolded. Sadly I wouldn't be surprised if more Russians today admire Stalin than Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago is probably more read in the West than it is in Russia even today.

I'm not sure why RKU thinks there were ever lots of encomia to Khrushchev. Even when he was leader of the country he was embattled.

Moral of the story - truth and justice do not always prevail.

John Anello said...

Perhaps, in the future, history will be written by the search engines. But let's hope, not by the New York Times.

History will not be written by the New York Times. The journalists there will soon be working hot dog wagons in Manhattan after the paper goes bust in October.

Anonymous said...

No, it's written by the winners. That's why so many of my comments on a certain war are banned.

Then get your own f'ing blog.

Anonymous said...

This topic is covered in the film, Demographic Winter.

The film explains the impact of falling fertility on prosperity.

The goal of avoiding overpopulation seems reasonable. The current situation suggests that those most willing and most able to change behaviors to more sustainable modern lifestyles are also the people who are decreasing quickly, while those lacking the interest and ability to help develop sustainable lifestyles are increasing.

Zimbabwe.

suomynonA said...

headache: I'm reading "200 years together" and it is very informative and impeccably researched. You guys are missing out on so much. Of course his other books like Gulag Archipelago are also classics.

In what language?

You know, it would be tedious, but do-able [for someone like me, drawing on his memory of "college" German, with a little aid from some optical scanning software & Babelfish & Leo & a good old German-English dictionary], to translate it from German into English.

I don't know how it would compare to the original Russian, but the basic facts ought to be there.

Better yet, we could start some sort of a "Wiki" project, with 10 or 20 guys, each of whom had a little "college" German under his belt, and each guy could be assigned 20 or 30 pages, and we could do it as a community effort.

Anyone interested?

PS: I could also take a stab at the French [which tends to be a lot easier to translate into English than is German].

PPS: If we wanted to be really ambitious, then we could translate both the German & the French, and then compare the results afterwards.

bg said...

Maybe the line should be "influential history is written by the winners", but in any case, your "history is written by the history writers" tautology is just dumb.

so create a blog with crappy webmastering, ultra-moderated comments, dismally slow approval of comments, un-linkd by any respectable website but nonetheless is still able to attract cult-like following.

Neuroskeptic said...

"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it." - Churchill

josh said...

RKU: "...Solzhenitsyn's (btw cant we just call him Solly?) writings have meanwhile vanished..." Uhm,why do you think that is? People prefer shorter books? Too depressing? Maybe Cancer Ward could have used a beautiful but feisty lady doctor? Its a mystery why he isnt big over here....:)These "projects' that purport to raise black levels of learning and "prove" the IQ gap to be illusory seem to border on child abuse. These kids are relentlessly drilled on bullsh*t to give the Potemkin-like appearance of learning;I recall the lady from Chicago who was on 60 Minutes with her "miracle" school,having these poor kids reciting Shakespeare;behaving like puppets. How could these kids---and all the others drilled in NCLB rote crap have any enjoyment of school?? How could they do anything but get the hell out of there as soon as possible!

PRCalDude said...

OT: More confirmation of your diversity mortgage meltdown thesis, Steve.

Andrea Freiboden said...

You know... these days history is written by whiners. It's all about victimology.

Andrea Freiboden said...

Whiners complain more, and those who complain express themselves more. Compare Clint Eastwood characters and Woody Allen characters. Which ones do more 'thinking' and talking?
Alvy Singer is more likely to write a book--on any subject--than Harry Callahan or the Man with No Name.

silly girl said...

Backward Anonymous,

What is this German volume you are referring to?

It would be rare for any work of any popularity to be unavailable in English.

Anonymous said...

They say history is written by the winners, but I say that history is written by the history-writers.

It's written by history writers alright, but only those employed by the winners, only from among those whom they know wouldn't bite the hand that feeds them, and, therefore, who are willing and able to "internalize" the rationalizations of the winners since no one can tolerate writing what they know to be blatant lies decade after decade and yet have the stamina and energy to go on.

--

Alvy Singer is more likely to write a book--on any subject--than Harry Callahan or the Man with No Name.

Could explain why some of us -- after badgering Steve with a couple hundred mails -- find themselves unable to write a single line since non-Alvy Singer-types can themselves take only so much of their own wah wah.

On the other hand, it may also mean that those who can't write as solidly and incessantly as Steve does are, well, not up to par for fighting.

And then there's the fact that maybe history is written pretty much for just that: to show, in no unclear terms, who's the winner. It doesn't matter what you say, but how you say it -- that is, emphasizing which ideological orientation. Just check out that confused fool Adam Curtis's "Century of the Self" documentary. It doesn't get more confused, obscurantist, vile and ideologically obsessive than that, and yet he won awards for "best documentary," because he's superb at activating the masses' default processing mode -- which is what I call "resonant thinking." It's like the stuff on $PLC: pick any piece, and all there is in it is pretty much like "blah blah blah racist blah blah blah hate group/nativist blah blah blah anti-immigrant blah blah blah homophobic blah blah blah conservative (yes, that's a smear word for them) blah blah blah..." well, you get the picture. All you need is throw in the right phrases, and those who do their thinking "resonantly" rather than analytically will buy it, since it resonates with their amigdala.


JD

Aaron Haspel said...

"They say history is written by the winners, but I say that history is written by the history-writers."

Or as I prefer to put it: History is written by the whiners.

Anonymous said...

"It would be rare for any work of any popularity to be unavailable in English."

True. Makes you wonder...

Half Sigma said...

"They say history is written by the winners ..."

As we are aware, HBD-denialists have won a decisive victory in suppressing the truth.

suomynonA said...

silly girl: What is this German volume you are referring to?

Apparently it's been translated into German & French, but not into English.

My idea was that we could create some sort of a "Wiki" - and maybe use something like Subversion for version control - and then we could each chip in about 20 or 30 pages towards a complete translation.

And maybe we could have a German language team and a French language team working as a Team A/Team B so as to provide a control for one another.

Anonymous said...

"Half Sigma said...
"They say history is written by the winners ..."

As we are aware, HBD-denialists have won a decisive victory in supressing the truth."

Hence the need to get on amazon and other sites to provide corrections.

silly girl said...

Backward Anonymous,

I looked at the reviews on Amazon.de. Two neutral 4 star reviews. One guy hated it and gave it 5 stars.
Anyway, it is like 35 euros new. Kinda pricey. I have access to a top university library. They have lots of obscure volumes in German. I'll see if I can find it there. I'm not really dying to translate it, however.

headache said...

suomynonA said...
In what language?


German


Anyone interested?
I'm game. Send me a link.

headache said...

silly girl said...
It would be rare for any work of any popularity to be unavailable in English.



Yeah...

silly boy said...

silly girl said...
Solly's "200 years together" is pretty popular in Germany. It’s obvious why nobody in the US wants to know about it, isn't it. But from your above-avg. interest in the matter and your lame attempts to discredit it, I think you know much more than you are letting on.

silly girl said...

"But from your above-avg. interest in the matter and your lame attempts to discredit it, I think you know much more than you are letting on."

silly boy,

Uh, I don't know anything about it so I have no opinion. Why do you think I am trying to discredit it? I simply said the book is kind of expensive and then reported the reviews at amazon. With only three reviews, there is very little I could possibly understand. They easily may not represent the general opinion of the book, and I can't have my own opinion because I haven't read it.

silly girl said...

headache,

Maybe I missed something, but generally book publishers want to make money. I have read plenty of books in German that are not available in English, but they were not mass market type books. A really popular book would be translated so the company could make money, unless of course, there is some reason not to. Maybe this is one of those cases. More likely it seems that the publisher doubts it will have enough appeal. I sure can't know. However, since English is very popular as a second language among educated people, obviously publishers would get the most bang for their translation buck by having an English edition.

Anonymous said...

"Then get your own f'ing blog."

That weird statement has nothing to do with the fact that history is, indeed, written by the winners.

ben tillman said...

Anyway, it is like 35 euros new. Kinda pricey.

Try 55 Euros. There is a second volume covering the period from 1917 on.

David said...

The Wobbly Guy said

"I'm beginning to think of the left/liberal/socialist/global warming/uniform human intelligence/keynesian folks (the crazies) as essentially nuts, because the facts against their cases are so many and so prevalent that ignoring them is just insane. Even worse yet is formulating policy based on their insane beliefs."

Religion persists. The Dark Ages never entirely lost, either.

David said...

John Anello said

"the New York Times. The journalists there will soon be working hot dog wagons in Manhattan after the paper goes bust in October."

Optimist!

Anonymous said...

Revisiting the Milwaukee Project
would likely reveal that focusing on the research project ("results"
meagrely published in 1988, 21 years after it began )is a little like focusing on the stage set and ignoring the drama. What is starkly revealed is how deluded and terrified most parts of American society are re the bio-social facts of life & also what a venal and corrupting underbelly the typical mega university has.