June 6, 2013

A query

A leading academic in the human sciences writes:
Steve, I am putting together a syllabus for my course next semester.  I plan to use blogs a lot.  I am writing to ask if you have a recommendation for a blog like yours from the other side of the fence. There are a number I have found that are full of snark and nastiness, and I want to avoid such.

Good question. I'd love to read a blog like mine from the other side of the fence.

My impression is that what usually happens among smart bloggers interested in topics like mine is either:

A. They come to publicly agree with me. After all, I am a knowledgable and reasonable person, with a certain gift for reductionist insight, and I've thought longer and harder about some important topics than almost any other pundit out there, so it's not surprising that bright, honest people often come to realize over time that my way of looking at the world makes a lot of sense.

B. Or they drop the subjects almost entirely. The world is full of people who long ago thought they were going to solve the Mystery of The Gap or whatever, and have now, chastened, moved on to totally other things -- Nicolas Lemann, for example. Or they at least give up blogging, a format in which their readers can easily answer back -- the ignominious collapse of Malcolm Gladwell's blog is an amusing example. Jared Diamond's strategy of issuing the occasional magisterial book and avoiding all public debates is a more dignified strategy than poor Malcolm's assumption that he could wade into debate with me and come out victorious.

C. A third alternative is that I become the Dark Matter of the public intellectual sphere, He Who Must Not Be Named. This pattern seems to be increasing over time, with some obvious examples of prominent figures either rephrasing my arguments in a less reductionist and thus more broadly acceptable manner, or racking their brains to answer my arguments without quoting them.

Any suggestions?

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

Despite it being despised, reductionism is the only method.

Dave Pinsen said...

What about Hi-Octane Siesta?

Steve Sailer said...

Intellectually, more Siesta than Hi-Octane. That's unfortunate, but his ideas to words ratio isn't high enough to maintain my interest.

Anonymous said...

looks like gladwell's career folded like a house of cards. People realized that the 10000 hour rule and other aphorisms were really just feel-good BS.

Anonymous said...

I'd try appearing as a guest on Adam Carolla's podcast. He's clearly interested in some of the same ideas as you, and what he calls his "pirate ship" is broken free from the constraints of mainstream media. His podcast is the #1 podcast and I think things like that are going to affect public debate in the near future ( more than they are now).

Dahlia said...

Ron Unz?
LOLOLLLOLOLOLOL!

I think it is very illustrative of the interests, and especially, the emotional investments, of the Left that so few came out to support him with his soft-hereditarian theory of intelligence. Why get their hopes up again after long ago abandoning the debate before their hearts could be broken?
(BTW, a critic of his theory, if I'm reading him correctly, says Unz was right all along).

Steve Sailer said...

"looks like gladwell's career folded like a house of cards."

I don't expect Malcolm to be living in a refrigerator carton any time soon.

Anonymous said...

I think your contra-theme would be the axiom of equality across demographics and the indifference of man to his demographics, except when fighting the oppression of those who use Human Biodiversity to divide and conquer. It is not a theme for your opponents, but rather, an assumption that is argued in support of what they see as justice (eg, Tim Wise, the NYT, Pharyngula,John Horgan). By itself, there's no natural ally, so support has to come from making it clear how their view supports affirmative action, retribution, etc. Just noting that all people are 'the same' leaves too much money on the table, and is insufficient for the kind of cognitive dissonance those people need to do their job every day.

Anonymous said...

You occasionally mention him, Mickey Kaus.

Anonymous said...

For a second I thought I might start a blog in response to Steve's. But then I realized: What exactly would being on the "opposite side of the fence" entail?

Steve isn't a genetic determinist, nor is he an ethnic nationalist. His positions are generally pretty measured.

It's only rhetorically that they might be read as radical, but that says more about what's considered acceptable rhetoric right now than about the substance of his views.

When it comes to most subjects on this blog, our discursive norms are optimized to completely deny right-wing nutjobs any material to base their right-wing nutjobbery on...but this comes at a huge expense to straightforward discussion of reasonable observations.

Any equally reasonable blog on the "opposite side of the fence" would just draw different inferences from not-terribly-different premises, perhaps couched in more circumspect rhetoric.

Baloo said...

I don't know the term, but the Zoroastrians believed that Ormazd and Ahriman were equally powerful, one good and the other evil, and that either might ultimately triumph. Abrahamic religion changed that, and God is good and all powerful, and Satan isn't coequal with him, but just a pale, evil imitation who will ultimately be destroyed. So, any left-wing version of Steve would, in our modern theology, be pale and weak and doomed to ultimately fail. Anything else would be HBD-heresy:)

Anonymous said...

"I'd try appearing as a guest on Adam Carolla's podcast. He's clearly interested in some of the same ideas as you, and what he calls his "pirate ship" is broken free from the constraints of mainstream media. His podcast is the #1 podcast and I think things like that are going to affect public debate in the near future ( more than they are now)."

Great idea. I'd love this. I'd also like to have a guy like Dennis Miller, who has a radio talk show that's gained an audience, interview Steve.

Anonymous said...

How about Jman? He's a liberal HBD blogger.

Anonymous said...

the last psychiatrist is not exactly on the other side of the fence, but argues from a perspective that culture (or "the system") determines a lot of what we do ...

and he writes really well.

Anonymous said...

gladwell will collect generous royalties and speaking fees far into the future, but his credibility has been irreparably damaged which is probably why he doesn't update his blog or engage in public debate anymore. His writing doesn't hold up to scrutiny by the experts (pinker, or you). There definitely seems to be a backlash.

Anonymous said...

I don't know of any blogs but other pundits like Thomas Sowell stress culture more than genetics to explain the gap.

Anonymous said...

Occasionally, Deep Left Field academics like Tim Wise come to conclusions that are eerily similar to yours, Steve, but they of course are operating with very different priors and a very different normative framework.

Anonymous said...

How about Freddie deboer. Although almost everything he writes on these topics seem in line with your views, but he still insists he somehow is disagreeing with you.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to most subjects on this blog, our discursive norms are optimized to completely deny right-wing nutjobs any material to base their right-wing nutjobbery on...but this comes at a huge expense to straightforward discussion of reasonable observations.

A lot/most of the comments here would be deemed "right wing nutjobbery" by most of the left, I would think. It's their term for the truth. Any logical opinion derived from hate facts must be a hate opinion.

And AFAICT Komment Kontrol is based on "at whim". Unless that is code for some rigorous optimization process Steve isn't telling us, my guess is that it truly is at whim, much like the decision as to what to post on, whether HBD or golf course architecture.

Anonymous said...

There is a false assumption that this leading academic rests his question on. It's that there is no truth, or that HBD is a subject on which that truth can't be known.

You may as well ask to read well argued opinions free of snark and nastiness on the topic of heliocentrism from Galileo's opposition, the Catholic Church.

Perhaps you might prefer say, the cognitive elitists over at GNXP - but one should recognize the vested interest that Razib has in promoting what is good for non-white intellectuals in European countries. It has been nearly a decade since I've read anything on that blog though, so YMMV. Last time I checked there, they banned any WN opinion.

Captcha word: Odin. No joke.

Anonymous said...

I think the anti-Steves are playing a fundamentally different game. Usually their strategy is to shout "raaaaacist" (five A's please) and cite Gould. As long as all right-thinking people agree there's really no need to engage with the opposition based on the evidence. Sneering is easier and more effective than the alternative.

I'd probably troll around for the anti-Bell Curve academics if looking for an opposing view, though the pickings are pretty slim.

Anonymous said...

I am a knowledgable and reasonable person, with a certain gift for reductionist insight, and I've thought longer and harder about some important topics than almost any other pundit out there


You neglected to mention your disarming modesty.

Chief Seattle said...

I second the suggestion that you make a guest appearance on the Adam Carolla podcast. And write a second book, so he can promote it.

Here's a clip from the Gavin Newsom interview. It gets unnecessarily confrontational, but will give you an idea that gets what's going on and isn't afraid to talk about it. Needless to say, Gavin's probably not coming back:

http://dailycaller.com/2013/03/03/adam-carolla-grills-gavin-newsom-on-minority-groups-poverty-numbers-audio/

Anonymous said...

Sister Y's The View From Hell is insight porn worthy of Isteve. Read her piece on Insight Porn. She mentions you in the comments. She shares none of your earnest concerns for the future, she has no earnest concerns, except maybe assisted suicide. Both of you share a disregard for "sacredness".

Education Realist said...

What exactly would being on the "opposite side of the fence" entail?


Yeah, I was wondering. Someone in favor of affirmative action and open borders because of the cognitive ability gap?

Bryan Caplan, maybe? But he's like talking to a wall.

You don't often take political positions, per se, so it's hard to see where the fence would be.

Jason said...

So the great Steven Pinker is asking you for syllabus assistance, is he?

Anonymous said...

Michael Lind.

Anonymous said...

Less Wrong has listed The View From Hell as "gone but not forgotten." Sorry, I thought she postponed blogging while she was writing a book. Sorry.

silicon valley guy said...

'fraid I'm in category C (I'm not any kind of public intellectual though, I'm just a regular guy); just don't have the nerve to "come out" yet as an iSteve reader. No, I'm not proud of it either. I've channeled iSteve in various kinds of company and blown people's socks off. And I've let them think the ideas were mine. Yeah, I'm pretty low.

Steve Sailer said...

Yes, here's Freddie DeBoer's website:

http://lhote.blogspot.com/

Thanks.

Steve Sailer said...

Not Pinker.

But, note, I'm not going to deny further suggestions, for obvious reasons of maintaining confidentiality.

Anonymous said...

Anti-Steve must believe that God put a moratorium on evolution just after humans developed consciousness.

Clutch cargo cult said...

Does Dave Friedman count? He seems mostly liberal but open minded to HBD.

Anonymous said...

The other side of "right" is "wrong". Now why would he want to expose his students to that?

Mike said...

Jonah Lehrer, pre-scandal. He wrote quite a bit on brain plasticity, self-control, and so on. Covered most of the topics you covered, but emphasized the malleable aspects instead of the immalleable. He seemed to be worth reading-- fresh, nondogmatic, engaging. I haven't found anyone really continuing his lines of narrative, though, and he might be out for the count.

http://www.jonahlehrer.com/

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

Since there's the pussy riot, maybe you guys ought to start a thing called the Cock Fight.

candid_observer said...

I agree with with one of the anonomi upthread that the "other side" on the HBD issue simply doesn't see a need to engage the issue intellectually. Why argue for what everyone they might ever care about already "knows" to be true? For them, the blank slate is just the water they swim in. (Mixed metaphors are lovely this time of night).

I've always been struck by the poverty of argument from the "other side" -- even when I, in a more naive time, vaguely counted myself among their members (I always had the problem that their arguments never seemed to establish what was necessary to show). To an extent, I think they genuinely wish to avoid even taking up the argument, because that is a tacit admission that HBD has some intellectual merit. I think for them even the mere real possibility of HBD being true is too much for them to bear. It really does seem as if the truth of HBD would, for them, destroy all they've come to know and love.

Jon Claerbout said...

Slightly off topic but there are leftists with their heads screwed on straight at Naked Capitalism.

Aaron Gross said...

Robert Lindsay is Not Safe For Syllabus, but he might be considered the opposite in a way. He's a race-realist lefty and egalitarian. He's also pretty bigoted against certain groups, Jews and Indian Hindus especially.

William Saletan isn't an opposite either, but I think he'd be a good complement. And he is Safe For Syllabus.

Anonymous said...

It must be pretty hard given the constraints of P.C. to even engage you for lefty intellectual types. You are right, Diamond does the traditional, before the PC, before the Internet thing and simply writes a new book every 5 years. He then cherry picks who he chooses to debate with, and then writes another book. It's very Ivory Tower, and he doesn't have to get dirtied or muddied or say something factually true that will get him Watsoned and dis-invited to important mover and shaker gatherings. You can tell he is as interested in human diversity as Coon was, but he can only take it so far in today's intellectual climate.

Aaron Gross said...

I have a recommendation for everyone who's not Steve Sailer. Don't respond to him (sorry about using the third person here) in the way of (A), (B), or (C) as described above. Especially not (A).

When Sailer's thinking is shallow and wrong - and everyone's thinking is shallow and wrong sometimes - then explain why it's shallow and wrong. Doing so can be interesting, at least as interesting as his original error.

I'd guess that most Important Pundit readers of iSteve just ignore the stuff that's wrong because it's too "theoretical," too removed from policy to bother refuting. I'd like to see some reactions other than uncritical acceptance or silence.

Anonymous said...

The wonderful thing about reading Sailer is that you can apply his techniques to traditional outlets. I now play a game where I count how many articles in the NYT approach the stories from a who/whom framework. (It's all identity politics all the time, it seems.)

Anonymous said...

Steve may tolerate white nationalists on his blog but I see no evidence that he is one. He did invent "citizenism".

Gloria

Bobcat said...

Does Christopher Jencks have a blog?

I once knew a Marxist HBDer named Dom Eggert. He may still be out there somewhere.

Frau Katze said...

Exactly who is this guy,
Robert Lindsay?

He seems to be writing about race but he also seems kind of crazy. At first I thought he was some kind of professional, but it seems he is living off a trust fund! He keeps ranting about "high caste Hindus", he seems to hate them.

I am fairly new to this so if he is a known crank, my apologies.

Luke Lea said...

Walter Russell Meade's blog Via Meadia is a good counterpoint to Steve, whom I read every day. I can't think of another, alas.

Anonymous said...

I'd also love to see Steve on Carolla but Carolla always stops just short of the genetic explanation. He may think it and scoot right up to the edge but he always steps away and does the "cultural" cop out. Though interestingly, he has no problem observing that Jews are smarter and has paid no professional price for it.

LemmusLemmus said...

It would have been helpful if the correspondent had been a little more specific about what he means by "a blog like yours from the other side of the fence." (Or maybe that bit didn't get quoted?)

For a treatment of immigration based on a completely different value system, for example, Bryan Caplan provides very accessible material. In fact, you can nicely juxtapose his "Are Low-Skilled Americans the New Master Race?" with Steve's writing on citizenism.

Dave Pinsen said...

I don't know if he still blogs, but Richard Nisbett wrong a book (Intelligence and How to Get It) that made the nurture case for IQ differences. He blogged for a bit at the Atlantic to promote the book a few years ago.

As for a couple of names mentioned above, I don't recall Kaus writing much about IQ, but on immigration, etc., he shares Sailer's Citizenist perspective. Walter Russel Mead is more of an invade the world guy, isn't he? He also has interns write blog posts under his byline which is weird.

Rasputin said...

I saw someone mentioning David Friedman and that seems sort of reasonable. He's very open-minded, frequently takes the opposite side to Steve on many issues and seems to more or less accept HBD. And unlike Caplan he's capable of actual discussion.

I don't really see him torpedoing his academic career by being explicit about blacks' less charming attributes though.

Reg Cæsar said...

People realized that the 10000 hour rule and other aphorisms were really just feel-good BS.

Either Gladwell misunderstood the rule, or his readers misunderstood him. 10,000 hours comes under the category of "Necessary But Not Sufficient".

Frans Johansson put some needed nuance into the rule. He found it's pretty ironclad in long-established fields like tennis, golf and classical music. (Go ahead, name an exception.) But in a new, wide-open frontier such as punk rock, you can get by with a whole lot less. I suspect blogging is much the same.

On the surface, Johansson appears to be another Gladwell. (He's even a foreign-born mulatto.) But instead of trying to be the next pop-intellectual rockstar, he advises businesses on practical, proven methods to foster innovation. And he's too smart, or maybe too wise, to get sucked into doing a blog.

Anonymous said...

I don't know, Steve.

But as one of your more regular and, dare I say it, prolific contributors (whom wishes to remain anonymous, but has posted some awfully whacky - barely passed the censor - cheeky, posts together with some rather more robust meat), I like to think of myself as a foot-soldier of Field Marshal Sailer doing his little doughty bit dilligently and to the best of his ability.
As Napoleon said "Every private carries a general's baton in his knapsack".

Anonymous said...

Carolla has often called Jews "Italians plus 15 extra IQ points." I'd be interested to know where he got that (more or less accurate) number. Still, as an avid listener I get the feeling he just would rather not have his mind go in the HBD direction, and he's smart enough to know what would happen to his career if he openly spoke of it.

As an aside, Steve: If you haven't listened to Adam, you really should sometime. He's an LA native contemporary and you'd often find him amusing.

Steve Sailer said...

Adam Carolla grew up something like 1.6 miles from me, and is six years younger than me. He wrote a book about all the places he's lived and they are all pretty much on streets I've been on.

Silver said...

I am fairly new to this so if he is a known crank, my apologies.

Robert Lindsay's actually a fairly sharp guy. He goes through wild mood swings between racial realist impatience with blacks and the loony left's approach to racial issues, and bitter denunciations of 'racists' that could have come straight from the diversity playbook. And his blog can get pretty crazy at times. For a devout leftist, though, it's as close to racial realism as I've yet seen.

Silver said...

Steve may tolerate white nationalists on his blog but I see no evidence that he is one. He did invent "citizenism".

Who cares if he is one or not. As I see it, he'd be crazy not to be. Used to be that 'anti-racism' was just something we told WASPs to shut them up, not something we were actually supposed to believe ourselves. Now it seems the entire world's lost its mind over race. WNs often go overboard, but I would still prefer to deal with a WN than an insane white anti-racist. The former has a sense of life that is completely lacking in the latter. At least I can believe that the former would, after a bit of upheaval, be prepared to leave me alone; the latter would forever be trying to force me to live up to his sick 'ideals.'

free advice said...

You don't give any clues what the topic of the course is so your post is kind of aimless except for the opportunity to sound your I'm-such-an-iconoclast horn for literally the first time in hours. This "other side of the fence" innuendo is particularly useless: Does he refer to the respectability fence, or the political alignment fence? Anthro majors? Evangelicals? Some other comments are (predictably) promoting their hippest new DNA/IQ fetishist, not "human sciences" generally. If HBD was indeed the scope of the request for this professor he'll almost certainly do worse with picking someone not Razib Khan.

But since you brought it up. A blogger I found recently who stuck out almost as a mirror-image of Steve, though with a narrower online repertoire, is John Horgan at Scientific American. When he writes about the biocon favorites it's from a defensive establishmentarian/credulous POV, that is to say he subscribes to explanatory models which Steve would dismiss out of hand; but also sometimes can be intelligent on more highbrow, Thomas Kuhn-type of subjects which I find appealing (Steve rarely ventures to that terrain since there's always another TV show about implausible homosexuals to ridicule). Additionally in likeness to Sailer, Horgan can get impressively arrogant/boorish and enjoys catty putdowns.

Steve Sailer said...

Horgan would be a good example: he's in favor of banning scientific research, while I favor research:

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2013/05/scientific-american-ban-race-and-iq.html

Aaron Gross said...

Of course Robert Lindsay's a crank. So is Steve Sailer. So what? Both get enough interesting things right enough of the time to be interesting.

Wait, what's this? "Comments are moderated, at whim."

Of course I was just kidding with that "crank" remark.

Anonymous said...

What I'd like to know, while pursuing some of the sources mentioned here for opposing points of view to Sailer's, is whether anyone can recommend a good replacement for the (in my opinion) irreplaceable Lawrence Auster. Boy, do I miss his opinion in light of all of the recent Obama administration scandals!

Anonymous said...

I don't think Carolla will ever publicly take the leap. For all his I-can-say-whatever-I-want-and-not-give-a-fuck-because-I-have-the-pirate-ship bravado, he still needs guests and he still obviously craves a movie career. Do you think if he comes out as a race realist, liberal Jew Judd Apatow would take an interest in getting his next film project made? Hell, look at the absurd brouhaha that ensued when he simply answered the question: Who's funnier, men or women? Despite his claims otherwise, he ain't dumb.

guest007 said...

Steve,

There are many writers out there who propose that every student in the U.S. can learn organic chemistry, Mandarin Chinese, and creative writing is enough money is spent on welfare, on teachers, on schools, and on social welfare. Of course, those proponents never present any data to support their position.

Maybe the problem is that most social progressives never present any data, studies, or pilot programs that support their positions. They just say what they believe and then challenge others to disprove them.

candid_observer said...

"Horgan would be a good example: he's in favor of banning scientific research, while I favor research:"

The problem with someone who favors banning such research, from the standpoint of representing a good opponent on HBD, is that by definition he doesn't want the issue to be engaged.

Where do you go from "No, we can't talk about it scientifically"?

Horgan presents the additional drawback of being stupid and ignorant of all science. He is his own strawman.

Anonymous said...

abagond is intelligent and worth reading (and is a steve sailer reader/admirer/hater)

abagond and the last psychiatrist form a good response to sailer

FirkinRidiculous said...

Steve, I am putting together a syllabus for my course next semester. I plan to use blogs a lot.

A leading academic, you say? My heart sinks for higher education.

Frau Katze said...

Silver: thank you for your clarification. I read several of Robert Lindsay's posts thinking he sounded quite sensible. Then he went on a huge rant saying Steve Sailer and Razib Khan were filthy racists.

He really seems to hate Razib. Even though Razib is Muslim, he started in about him being descended from high-caste Hindus and started to sound a bit like a lunatic.

I don't have time to read blogs of people who only make sense part of the time.

NOTA said...

One problem with finding a good anti-Steve as a foil: Most of the opposition doesn't think his main topics, or the facts behind them and the facets discussed by Steve, should be discussed much in public. Thus, race/IQ, the nature and statistics of interracial marriages, how well hispanic immigrants assimilate over time, race/crime, the impact of prominent Jews in the media on public discourse, all have the property that:

a. There is a fairly dumb default response to these issues, that amounts to denying their existence, tangling up the discussion in definitions, attacking the speaker for saying things, claiming that the data behind the issues is biased, etc.

b. There are plenty of people who might make smarter responses, but they broadly have the belief that these topics ought not to come up in public discourse very often. Think of the comments about _The Bell Curve_, saying basically that no good could come of discussing this stuff in public, or Tyler Cowan's comment on Ron Unz's discussion of Jewish vs non-Jewish whites' admissions rates to top universities, that the whole topic made him uneasy. (Though what *should* have made him uneasy is Unz' rather slapdash way with data.)

I think these two threads of response work together--many people feel uncomfortable about having some discussions. That makes them more willing to accept a crappy argument in favor of declaring the discussion over and the speaker unworthy of attention. That's how you can get relatively smart people telling you that "science has proven that race doesn't exist" and then ignoring all the evidence that they're being fools.

I see a parallel with the way a lot of the war on terror was and is discussed. Like lots of people feel like yes, we do murder a lot of kids and torture some prisoners and befriend bloodthirsty dictators, but we ought not to discuss that stuff in public, lest the proles/foreigners/someone get the "wrong idea."

In both cases, the concern is that by discussing the issues, you're getting voters and citizens thinking about stuff they ought not to be thinking about. Who knows what those knuckleheads will try to do, if they keep getting hit over the head with the fact that Jews have a lot of influence in American media, or that our bestest buddies of the moment in the middle east use our aid money to outfit more torture chambers?

Anonymous said...

"Horgan can get impressively arrogant/boorish and enjoys catty putdowns."

Horgan has MAOA genes. You can see it in his eyes.

Chip said...

I'll cast another vote for Bryan Caplan, at least on the immigration front. I, too, find him frustrating for the usual reasons.

If Steve has an articulate foil on the HBD front, I'll bookmark it.

Also, Sister Y is working on her book. I am her publisher.

Anonymous said...

Chip,
Make a Kindle version. I can't be reading the stuff you publish in public. Besides, I read on my phone and humping books around is a hassle.

Anonymous said...

Someone who views Idiocracy as a caveat vs. someone who views it as an objective? There should be no problem finding an example of the latter.

RD said...

"What I'd like to know, while pursuing some of the sources mentioned here for opposing points of view to Sailer's, is whether anyone can recommend a good replacement for the (in my opinion) irreplaceable Lawrence Auster."

You said it yourself - Auster was irreplaceable.

I don't think we'll ever see a traditionalist conservative blogger quite like him.

FirkinRidiculous said...

Tyler Cowan's comment on Ron Unz's discussion of Jewish vs non-Jewish whites' admissions rates to top universities, that the whole topic made him uneasy. (Though what *should* have made him uneasy is Unz' rather slapdash way with data.)

Can you explain, or point to a source that explains, what these problems are?

Anonymous said...

FirkinRidiculous, you can read about the problems with Unz's data wrt the admission of Jewish students at the Ivies here:
http://andrewgelman.com/2013/02/12/that-claim-that-harvard-admissions-discriminate-in-favor-of-jews-after-checking-the-statistics-maybe-not

I am Prof. Gelman's correspondent who performed Weyl Analysis on the Harvard alumni directory. Unz's description of Weyl Analysis was ambiguous, and when I first performed Weyl Analysis on the Harvard alumni directory, I incorrectly assumed that Unz meant Gold* when he wrote “Gold—”. In order to figure out how Unz actually performed Weyl Analysis, I had to reproduce his finding that Jews represent 6-7% of NMS semifinalists according to Weyl Analysis. Using the same methodology on the Harvard alumni directory that enabled me to reproduce Unz’s NMS results, I obtained the estimate that Jews represented 7-9% of Harvard College students in Fall 2008 (as opposed to the higher estimate that Prof. Gelman initially reported). I've also performed Weyl Analysis on the current Harvard College directory, which gave the estimate that 6-7% of current Harvard undergraduates are Jewish. Thus, there is no discrepancy when you use the same methodology on both data sets. (Since more than 6-7% of Harvard students are Jewish, it is evident that Weyl Analysis yields underestimates.) I will be writing up my findings at some point in the near future in a blog post.

Also, Prof. Janet Mertz addressed other problems with Unz's data here:
http://andrewgelman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Mertz-on-Unz-Meritocracy-Article.pdf
http://andrewgelman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Mertz-response-to-Unz-March-9-post-final.pdf

Dave Pinsen said...

Ron Unz mentions this post (and Dahlia's comment, which he seems to interpret as mocking Steve) here.

Luke Lea said...

What about the sage from Alabama, the ant man?

Luke Lea said...

I forgot the ant man doesn't have a blog. I certainly fill the bill Steve described (Born-Again Democrat) except I don't have a blog either. But my comments are scattered all over the web. And I do have a website (sort of): http://facingzionwards.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Steve Landsburg or another libertarian might be interesting to read side-by-side w Steve. Alternatively, Andrew Sullivan -- if he weren't so lazy. Or David Frum, if he completes his defection to the other side.

The unfortunate truth, however, is that bloggers aren't usually that thoughtful, b.c. the medium doesn't tend to reward depth of insight, or factual correctness. As far as I can tell, Steve is a singular exception -- nobody else mixes glib off-handedness with genuine commitment to research, deep thought, and limits him/herself to what he/she knows..

Because I am not aware of the precise objectives of your friend, this is a shot in the dark. But if I were I were in college, I would apppreciate being pointed to thought-provoking writers of short pieces of any kind, including magazines.
Leon Wieseltier
Lee Siegel (often wrong, often crazy, always smart, sometimes insightful)
Alan Derschewitz (logical, but dripping with insincerity)
Peter Beinart
Johnathan Cohn (mealy-mouthed, but smart)
Jeffrey Goldberg (sometimes)

The fact that those are Jewish people may reflect the reality that Jewish people can say things that are somewhat controversial and their careers probably won't end.

I would love it if one of my fellow readers pieced together, an AntiSteve, like Frankenstein's monster. Along the lines of Arts and Letters Daily, link on a regular basis to good magazine articles. But only include pithy and rigorously thought-out ones that express AntiSteve views. You would have to throw out 98% of what is written from the other side on Steve's topics, and link to the best 2%.