February 9, 2009

LA Times features John Hawks

U. of Wisconsin anthropologist John Hawks's views on accelerating human evolution are written up here by Karen Kaplan in the LAT. Hawks has the mathematical, verbal, and even artistic skills to be a big name in the Human Sciences / Meaning of It All business. But can you do that from Iowa, or do you have to be at Harvard like Stephen Jay Gould and Edward O. Wilson? Steven Pinker said Harvard's a much better base for that than MIT, so where does Wisconsin rank?

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


Anonymous said...

UC-Santa Barbara is one of the best schools for evolutionary psychology mostly due to the husband/wife duo of John Tooby and Leda Cosmides. UCSB is an example of a school which has less of a reputation overall but is excellent in a specific area. If you want to get a PhD in evopsych, UCSB is one of the top schools to go to.

Anonymous said...

considering you get the University of Iowa and the University of Wisconsin confused, the answer is no.

Anonymous said...

Is it really kosher to mention UCSB and evopsych without mentioning Kevin MacDonald, author of "The Culture of Critique", and probably the only guy who explained the common link between Marxism, Boasian anthropology, psychoanalysis, critical theory and deconstructionism, and their links to open borders lobbyists and the theorizers of the proposition nation?

I don't think anyone else has provided such a powerful explanation for the flowering of Leftism in all its variants. It basically explains how we got to be where we are, and the state of our culture.

I dont know how to provide an explanation for the 20th century without mentioning this book.

Anonymous said...

I dont know how to provide an explanation for the 20th century without mentioning this book.

Tooby and Cosmides promised Judith Shulevitz ten years ago in Slate that they'd do what they could to debunk McDonald, but that it might be best just to give him the dynamic silence treatment.

Pinker dropped by to add his two cents.

Shulevitz was livid, and excoriated all three of them for not having seen to it that he wasn't already an unperson.

Tooby, Cosmides, and Pinker all have dismissed and smeared MacDonald's work, but none of them can actually reply to it.

It's been ten years: no debunking. Either they are unable to respond, or they've decided to go with Plan A: eliminate dissent by making an un-person of the dissenter. This has the advantage of quashing the theory that the standard bearers of ev psych - Tooby and Cosmides - seem unable to answer.

This puts the sciences in the same category with laws and sausages: you don't want to know how they're really assembled. Better to preserve your illusion about the 'free exchange' of ideas'.

I won't go into the various faculty denunciations of MacDonald, as eager an exercise in group denunciation as you'll see outside of Mao's China. If you think of the Duke faculty and the kids they tried to lynch, you'll have the general idea.

If Tooby and Cosmides don't make good on their promise to give a thoroughgoing critique of MacDonald, I think that the the field and its leading lights will need to be dismissed as another ideological fiefdom - comparable to the Gould-Lewontin axis - and dismissed accordingly.

From Gould and Lewontin to Pinker, Tooby, and Cosmides: progress or just further confirmation of MacDonald's theories about how reality is hammered out by shadowy cabals?

Here's Tooby swapping notes with Shulevitz on how to best demolish dissent:

I'm impressed that a "scientist" shows a firmer hand in these matters than a journalist from New York, but there you go. Watch as he upbraids her for wandering perilously close to the free exchange of ideas.


In choosing moral denunciation, what have you done? Many things that MacDonald has not been able to do for himself. Through Slate, one of the web's premier news gateways, you have made the obscure and fringe famous and well-indexed. You have constructed him as the key figure in a scandal or affair - the kind of thing people enjoy reading about. You have publicized his theories, published statements from him and supporters, and become the first major website to provide a link to his own webpage, so that the web-enabled from Kabul to Kiev to Idaho to Gaza, looking for a theoretician for their views, can click on this new discovery.

Having been given this fascinating window in how conclusions in ev psych are hammered out in the equivalent of smoke filled rooms (though I'm sure no one at Slate smokes!), I'm not ready to grant the field status as a real science. It's about the promulgation of lies and the politics of personal destruction. Its votaries do not impress me as persons of an impersonal and scientific cast of mind, but as able politicos, as vicious and as capable as any Clinton attack dog. In the last exchange, Tooby comes across as especially venal and loathsome, the James Carville of Lysenkoism.

What we are seeing here, as in Gould-Lewontin's day, is the superimposition of ethnic agendas on what might have been a science. The Mismeasure of Man becomes The Mismeasure of Man's Cognitive Modules. And so it goes.

Anonymous said...

Antonio Damasio achieved his fame and influence while at the University of Iowa so not impossible. Though I think he was a bit of jetsetter too, with an apartment in Manhattan and possibly one on the west coast too if I recall correctly.

Anyway, is Utah any better than the midwest? Doesn't seem like anyone in the accelerating human evolution crowd is very strategically located to disseminate their views to the rest academia. Not that acamedia is very receptive in the first place.

Anonymous said...

"But technological advances have made natural selection "a much less potent force on us in the present than it was in the past," said Noah Rosenberg.."

Many people seem to forget that selection is not only a matter of survival. Nowadays the sheer number of offspring (who indeed mostly survive) is the driving force of selection. For whatever trait it may be...

John Hawks said...

Thanks, Steve!

I tend to subscribe to Greg Cochran's theory that the quality of ideas is directly proportional to distance from Harvard. So the real question is whether it's possible to do good science without moving to Australia!


Anonymous said...

Why didn't you guys mention the full title of the book: "The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements" ?

So it's the jews all along!

Anonymous said...

Is it really kosher to mention UCSB and evopsych without mentioning Kevin MacDonald...?

MacDonald is at Cal State Long Beach.

Anonymous said...

Having been given this fascinating window in how conclusions in ev psych are hammered out in the equivalent of smoke filled rooms....

Great observation. And this is why the critique by MacDonald's only critic (David Lieberman) is so underwhelming: it doesn't matter how enthusiastically Jews embraced Communist rule in Poland post-1945. In legal terms, it was just cumulative evidence.

The other examples cited by MacDonald remain unchallenged. And, more importantly, one can observe phenomena similar to those MacDonald described as they occur in the present.