Friday, August 7, 2015

August Plow Rust

256 comments:

  1. Justin Weinberg: "I was taking Anonymous (8) to mean, by 'male bias,' something like 'anti-feminist philosophy bias'".

    "Male bias" means "anti-feminist philosophy bias". Subtracting "bias" from both sides, "male" means, _means_, "anti-feminist philosophy".

    Unbelievable. So anyone who doesn't like the kind of feminist philosophy that shows up in Hypatia is automatically biased, and it's a distinctively _male_ bias?! Males are to be associated with bias against feminist philosophy? I honestly can't believe what I'm reading.

    http://dailynous.com/2015/08/03/journal-rankings-useful-guest-post-by-thom-brooks/#comments

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    1. I saw this too, 8:23. It made me quite upset at first glance, just how silly JW's "reasoning" was. I closed the tab quickly, and haven't been back since. This has been good for my heart.

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    2. Wow, 8:23, you really don't understand the way language works. If Weinberg thinks that by "AB", the speaker meant "CB", it does not follow (at all!) that Weinberg thinks that "A" means "C".

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    3. You're right, 8:32; the general principle does not hold. But in context, 8:23's take is the most plausible interpretation of what Weinberg said.

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    4. Did you even bother to read the post jw was referring to, 8:59? Because if so, it is really difficult to see how you could think that 8:23's interpretation was plausible. JW is not making any of the claims attributed to him here. All he was saying is that it seemed like, in the context of what they said, another poster had something particular in mind when they talked about male bias.

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    5. That's right, 9:15. There are lots of contexts where biological descriptors are semantically equivalent with loaded ideological positions.

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    6. Describing x as an instance of y is not the same thing as saying that x and y are semantically equivalent. And assuming that someone else is describing x as an instance of y (based on the rest of the context of a comment they made)
      is even further from holding, yourself, that x and y are semantically equivalent.

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    7. Oh, look, all this quibbling is technically correct, but even so it's pretty damning that JW interpreted the intent in that way.
      I mean, presumably he thinks he's being charitable, so presumably he thinks it is entirely reasonable to have in mind "anti-feminist bias" and write "male bias". So the point, I take it, is to reflect on what sort of person thinks that's entirely reasonable.

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    8. "Wow, 8:23, you really don't understand the way language works. If Weinberg thinks that by "AB", the speaker meant "CB", it does not follow (at all!) that Weinberg thinks that "A" means "C"."

      How does "male bias" mean "absence of feminist journals"?

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    9. +1 to 7:09. That's exactly what I was thinking.

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    10. Way to miss the whole point 7:09. Interpreting someone else (what jw was doing,) is not the same as endorsing what they say.
      Perhaps instead we should all reflect in what sort of people go to such extreme lengths to interpret a short blog post as a damnig indication of someone else, to the extent that those who disagree - even if entirely right - are simply dismissed as 'quibbling'

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    11. "Perhaps instead we should all ..."

      Care to explain how "male bias" means "absence of feminist journals"?

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    12. I already explained why JW's interpretation reflects badly on him even if he doesn't endorse what they say. Odd that you completely ignore that explanation, 2:27.
      What "extreme lengths" did I go to?

      -7:09

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    13. But that means that according to you, the only two options for interpreting that post are to interpret it in such a wat that the op did not mean bias against feminist philosophy to be an instance of male bias (which they clearly did) or interpret it in such a way that they did mean that, in which case it 'reflects badly' on the interpreter.

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    14. Yes, that's right. Those are the only two ways (if I understand you, which I'm not positive I do).

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    15. Then don't you see the problem?
      Imagine you read a comment that says something clearly absurd, like 'there are no bananas in this fruit salad. I think the salad as it stands has a de facto male bias.'

      You either have to pretend that the person making that comment DIDN'T mean lack of bananas to be an instance of male bias (which the clearly did). Or you interpret in such a way that they DID mean lack of bananas to be an instance of male bias - but then you're doing exactly what JW did. So according to you, if you take the latter option, then it 'reflects badly' on you.

      Again, the point is that interpreting a comment in the way it was clearly meant to be read does not mean endorsing that comment, despite all the attempts here to claim otherwise in order to smear JW.

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    16. anti-banana crusaderAugust 10, 2015 at 1:03 AM

      Wait, sorry. It's perfectly obvious that the post can only be interpreted in those two ways, since you gave a logical partition into which any interpretation must fall.
      If I read the loony banana posting, I would not think, "Oh, I see, the poster said 'male bias' but clearly had anti-banana bias in mind." In order for that interpretation to be reasonable it must be reasonable to confuse anti-banana bias with male bias. The way I would interpret your banana post is as mistakenly thinking that males are particularly biased against bananas. I am surprised that you would not understand it in that way. And I would think it reflected, well, in this case not badly but oddly, on anyone who thought the reasonable interpretation was that by 'male bias' the person meant 'anti-banana bias'.



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    17. I think we're just talking past each other, at this point. Because it seems like we both agree that it is true that the person talking about bananas takes anti-banana bias to be an instance of male bias, in which case it seems entirely reasonable to say that a reasonable interpretation of their post was that by 'male bias' the person meant 'anti-banana' bias, which means that it is true that when they said 'male -bias' they had 'anti-banana' bias in mind. All of these things are true regardless of whether or not the interpreter thinks there is any link whatsoever between disliking bananas and male bias, and so don't reflect on the interpreter at all.

      In any case, sorry, but I'm getting pretty bored of yet another round of 'let's minutely parse some short blogpost by someone in order to prove they are loony/corrupt/awful whatever'

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    18. So if I say, "There wasn't any logic at Conference X. I think this shows an anti-male bias", and then someone called me on it, JW would say, "Oh, I think by 'anti-male' she just mean 'anti-logic'"? No, he would call attention to how incredibly stupid and sexist that is. That's what he should have done this time, because the comment was stupid and sexist. But he didn't. He seemed to think it was a perfectly reasonable substitution.

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    19. But he didn't say that it 'just' meant anything. A better example would be ""I was taking 6:36 to mean, by 'anti-male bias,' something like 'anti-logic bias'". And that is what you DO mean in this context. You mean anti-logic bias to be taken as an instance of anti-male bias (that's what you mean, regardless of whether you are right or not).

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    20. You're right.

      (And by "you're right", I mean "you're wrong," which I totally can mean with those words.)

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    21. Good, you're getting it. So if I were to intrepret you'r post, I would say "by 'you're right' 10:19 in fact means 'you're wrong.'" And interpreting it in that way doesn't mean that I'M being unreasonable, that I think it is reasonable to substitute 'you're right' for 'you're wrong' or 'reflects badly' on me in any way. It just means I'm interpreting your post in the way you clearly mean it to be interpreted.

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    22. anti-banana crusaderAugust 10, 2015 at 12:28 PM

      Whoa. First: someone else picked up the conversation after my "anti-banana crusader" comment, and it looks like it's me. But it's not; this is me.
      Right. So, you said:

      Because it seems like we both agree that it is true that the person talking about bananas takes anti-banana bias to be an instance of male bias, in which case it seems entirely reasonable to say that a reasonable interpretation of their post was that by 'male bias' the person meant 'anti-banana' bias

      For the record, I think the first is true but the second is obviously not true. The mistake that the poster made is not semantic. Your gloss makes it sound as if it were a semantic mistake. And along the same lines,


      In any case, sorry, but I'm getting pretty bored of yet another round of 'let's minutely parse some short blogpost by someone in order to prove they are loony/corrupt/awful whatever'


      I'm pretty sure there was no minute parsing until you appeared to defend JW.

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  2. +1 to 7:09. That's exactly what I was thinking.

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  3. I like how when ARG loses an argument, he complains about "technical quibbling".

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    1. who's ARG? and link, please; this is a very underdeveloped post.

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    2. Your butt is underdeveloped.

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    3. Also, the principle of charity dictates that it's better to say "underexplained" rather than "underdeveloped."

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    4. Of all the things here, you're gonna "huh" this!? Whatever: if you say that a claim, assertion, argument, or philosophical point of view is underexplained, you leave open the possibility that it has been adequately developed, even it it hasn't been explained it in a way that is clear to everyone. If you say that it's underdeveloped, you eliminate that possibility. If you want to interpret a claim, assertion, argument, or point of view charitably, it's better to leave that open. It also makes you look like you haveore humility, which I hear is a good thing to appear to have. Okay!?

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    5. Whoever here keeps talking about "ARG" is a fucking moron. Not only is there no such single individual, but even if there were the comments would be idiotic.

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    6. There may be no single individual as the ARG, but the single individual MORON who keeps talking about that empty referent (look it up), is surely, SURELY, singularly unhinged!!! Amirite?

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    7. There is clearly at least one person who fits the description. Many of us have noticed this person frequently being abusive, or derailing the conversation in other ways (slectively quoting people in a way that completely misrepresents the conversation, demanding that his interlocutors defend any other position he happens to associate with the position they're defendiing, etc). The charitable interpretation is that there is only one person who both is so blinded by ideology that they automatically hate anything even vaguely associated with feminism and feminists that they are unable to address particular issues on their merits in this way and is really nasty and frequently pulls obviously unreasonable argumentative moves. If you stick around for a while you'll notice him. he is pretty easy to spot.

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    8. I derail a lot of conversations here. Maybe it's me. I have to wake up early to pump iron, and read and write philosophy, and hug my boyfriend and see my parebts. But if you're unfamiliar with the Adult Swim catalog, may I suggest (in addition to Eric Andre), Squidbillies, and Rick & Morty?

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    9. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7P_lzinzq4g

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    10. Of course there's an ARG, but I don't see any particularly ARG-like comments in this thread.

      Also: I'm the one who wrote 'Huh?' but it's the only thing I've written in this thread (until now), so 6:11's excitement is misplaced. (I don't even understand what 6:11 is on about; the whole exchange is baffling.)

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    11. I don't blame you. That conversation was impenetrable. I think there is something to be said about the fact that JW thinks it is plausible, charitable, and non-problematic (i.e. not worth noting until called on it) to reinterpret the phrase "male bias" as "anti-feminist philosophy bias", but the bulk of the thread here did not say it clearly.

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    12. Sorry to confuse you 6:02. If there's something specific that's baffling, please let me know so that I can try and clear it up for you. It makes me feel bad to write paragraphs only to find out that they don't make sense.

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    13. Modern computers could probably generate that post. In fact, they may have.

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  4. Leiter appears to have dropped his open threads for issues in the profession, which is a shame. It would be nice to have a philosophy discussion forum with very light moderation that does not devolve into ridiculousness regarding femtrolls, angry rage guys, etc.

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    1. Why are you calling me ANGRY RAGE GUY? You stupid f*ck! I will clear this up once and for all: it's the feminidiots who waste our discipline. F*cking feminidiots. Moron! And DON'T EVER call me angry rage guy again or I will personally dispel you!!1!1!1!!!1!

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  5. You all wrong! What was odd about the comment is the assumption that excluding Hypatia is anti-feminist--ignoring a D- journal about X doesn't make you anti-X.

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    1. Your begging the question, 6:46. If someone questions a list of supposedly objective rankings, mentioning a journal that they think should be on the list but isn't, replying by saying " but it's a d-ranked journal so it shouldn' t be on the list' doesn't really help. Unless what you mean is that amongst feminist philosophy journals, hypatia isn' t very highly ranked. But I'm pretty sure that's not true.

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    2. Hi - I was stating an opinion; I wasn't *attempting to prove* hypatia is a shitty journal 705. Rookie mistake on your part. I do think D- is generous, but I could be wrong. Once again, all I meant was that thinking Hypatia is a shitty journal isn't the same as rejecting feminism anymore than thinking Philosophy Today is shitty journal means you reject philosophy. It kind of amazes me this is contentious, but I comfort myself that time and again the internet isn't representative.

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    3. 8:21, you were assuming that hypatia was a d-ranked journal, when the comment you were referring to is, by objecting to the fact that it doesn't appear on a list of objectively good journals, disputing that very claim. So your assumption, by assuming to be true the very question that is at issue, begs the question. The only 'rookie mistake' I made was accidentally misspelling 'you're'.

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    4. A large part of the point is that plenty of women philosophers don't think Hypatia is very good. And a large number of feminist women philosophers don't think Hypatia is very good. Perhaps not a large number of women who call themselves "feminist philosophers" think Hypatia isn't very good, but that's neither here nor there. To think that not thinking Hypatia is very good is to show bias, and male bias, is to mischaracterize the situation. Talk to your favorite woman philosopher in logic or M&E or philosophy of science or ancient philosophy and ask her what she thinks of Hypatia -- most of them will shake their heads and sigh.

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    5. Why should anyone care what "plenty of women philosophers think"? Should we care what "plenty of investment bankers think" or what "plenty of mafia bosses think"? If so, why?

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    6. 7:05 you're being deliberately obtuse. Obviously the context for caring what "plenty of women philosophers think" is in evaluating whether it is "male bias" to think Hypatia is bad. If, e.g., all the women philosophers agreed that Hypatia was bad, then this claim would be pretty strange.

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    7. 8:23: do lots of female and female feminist philosophers think Hypatia is a lousy journal? You write, "talk to your favorite woman philosopher in logic or M&E or philosophy of science or ancient philosophy and ask her what she thinks of Hypatia -- most of them will shake their heads and sigh." Will they? Why? I myself haven't heard many female philosophers slagging Hypatia.

      My guess would be that most of them don't have an opinion one way or the other about it, or at least they shouldn't--because if they don't work on feminist philosophy they probably don't haven't read many papers in Hypatia to have a basis for forming an opinion. The same would be true for most other speciality journals.

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    8. 8:18, I can only talk about what I've heard from the women in my circles, but yes they do. One thing that would explain why you haven't heard it is that people are afraid to say it in public. One thing that would explain why I have heard it is that they are afraid to say otherwise in front of me. But I have no power, perceived or otherwise, while the feminists who support Hypatia have a lot, including the Executive Director of the APA. So I'd guess the former is more likely. Anyhow, many do have an opinion, whether or not they have enough evidence for it.

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    9. Hypatia is considered the standard feminist philosophy journal among a very particular subset of non-analytic philosophers. Whatever opinions people have of the journal is merely a reflection of their opinions of the very specialized content (which is highly abstract and is so in a way that many people consider intellectually vacuous...likely a function of non-training in those traditions). It's like someone in the history department reading Mind.

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    1. Seriously ... what the hell is going on over there?

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    2. It's a beautiful conceptual art project I started to showcase the beautiful words, phrases and ideas which I found in the philosophical blogosphere. I think I would like to enjoy it more but I only have limited time. I write many of the comments myself but try to switch most of my brain off while doing it. Some of the comments are real though. It's a very beautiful project and it makes me feel very good inside!

      I'd really love it if other philosophers started contributing more often! Also, feedback and suggestions for improving the site are very welcome! Thanks so much for your interest guys!

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    3. This is my favorite (I'm not 7:44): "Big question in navigating the academic, particularly the philosophical, job market: are you going to succeed or not? My wife and I came up against this last year when we flew our kids out to public schools while trying to get into the Leiterrific top 100. Three publications and nine student evaluations later, we have finally got tenure. Thank God."

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  7. 10 Former Internet Trolls Explain Why They Quit Being Jerks

    A slightly interesting story, in light of recent trolling operations in the philosophy blogosphere

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  8. So, who do you guys think is the dumbest person in Mensa?

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  9. I am, moron. Now ask me a hard question.

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    1. I got the question from the Eric Andre show.

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    2. You're welcome:

      http://www.adultswim.com/videos/the-eric-andre-show/mensa-convention/

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  10. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3RDb67y5hN4

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  11. http://ericandre.com/videos/mensa-2/

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  12. I would like to use this Facebook post to announce that my paper "A Transformational, Intersectional Ethics of Embodied Microaggression: de Beauvoir, Arendt, and Butler" is now forthcoming in Hypatia! Thanks to everyone in the UK Society for Women in Philosophy and MarketBoost™ Program for their wholly non-critical comments when I gave this paper as a talk: I never could have presented it had there been any icky, meanie boys around. Thanks for excluding them for the sake of gender equity!

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  13. With his latest post, BL solidifies himself as a hypocrite re Internet mob justice

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  14. Anyone read the moronic "Ought Experiment" post on Daily Nous? Comment 26 is kind of lulzy.

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    1. You are clearly the person who wrote the comment. And it's not funny.

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    2. I did not write the comment and it is funny.

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    3. 8:24 is clearly Justin Weinberg. And it's not funny.

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    4. Anyone read the moronic "Ought Experiment" post on Daily Wuss? Comment 26 is kind of lulzy. FTFY

      8:24 is clearly Justice Whineberg. And it's not funny. FTFY.

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    5. Charles Pigden semi-trolls with a bunch of self-indulgent garbage all the time. One time there was an AAP--Australian APA--and someone gave a continental talk the literally nobody showed up to. This guy cried some, then wrote the A-PHIL (Australian mailing list) qq'ing about it some more. CP just destroyed him--through public mailings--saying that his project was stupid, that if he didn't sulk away, he might have made friends to hang out with, and so on. It was actually pretty epic. Wish I had the emails still and I'd post them. Anyway, yeah, he's basically trolling most of the time.

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    6. i found heathcoate's response to pigden and colleagues in a paper rather revealing...

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    7. Comment 26 was signed with a real name. I'm the person who wrote comment 25 on that post. It was a very dumb comment, and I wish I could get rid of it, but I can't. Oh well. Have a nice day.

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    8. Too lulzy. Gone now. No room for humor I guess

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    9. What did it say?

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    10. It was essentially the original question sent to what's his name (Louie something), with "burritos" replacing philosophy. Not really funny, but kind of a relief after the breathless comments about how philosophy is really just a job (said most often by people who already have a secure job in philosophy). Not a substantive post, but it also wasn't mean-spirited, I don't think. But DN must be committed to purely serious posts--otherwise, someone may think that it's a place to have real conversations, rather than carefully scripted blog entries that should enter the official record. BTW, I was not the author of the post and didn't find it that funny, but the fact that it appeared and was then removed suggests that it broke some unwritten rule about the threshold of substance that JW must have thought it didn't meet.

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    11. That actually does sound pretty funny.

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  15. I'm thinking about doing a lecture or two on public shaming in my intro ethics class this fall. Given the relevance to topics regularly discussed here, I'm wondering if any fellow Metabloggers have reading suggestions. I've got a line on some decent articles from the middle-brow popular press, but I can't find much of anything on the subject written by philosophers (other than some blog posts). Is there any such material? Thanks!

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    1. You might want to take a look at the work of legal philosophers, especially those who work on the philosophical foundations of international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law. Scott Shapiro has done some really interesting work on outcasting as a means of enforcement, particularly in the international milieu. Public naming and shaming and pariah making has usurped war (violence) as our primary means of enforcing international law.

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    2. J.S. Mill's On Liberty, especially chapter 4 where he argues that when we disapprove of someone's behavior and it doesn't violate the harm principle, we shouldn't treat them as an enemy or try use social pressure to punish them, even though it is permissible to engage in "natural reactions" like expressing disagreement or avoiding them.

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    3. John Gardner (Oxford) has written about the related issues of vigilantism, and has commented here,

      "PS: one might also observe that when the fantasy spills over into real life, people quickly exhibit the tendencies which show why the rule of law maters so much. Even when they go after the right people they often show no sense of proportion in doing so. I'm afraid that this is illustrated best,these days, by the masked avengers of the internet who like to ruin people's lives and worse in retribution for mistakes that should have been punished a lot less. An after-dinner speaker with a Nobel Prize, for example, says that he is distracted by women at work and wham - the Justice League of Twitter is not satisfied until he is banished from his profession altogether. An apology or even a public rebuke is never enough once this kind of group vigilantism gets underway. I wrote about such endemic injustices of vigilante justice, by the way, in my book Offences and Defences (2007), ch 11. More notably, Ibsen wrote about them in An Enemy of the People (1882)."

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    4. Thanks for the suggestions. The relevant portions of On Liberty are mostly already on my syllabus, but I'm not as current as I ought to be in legal philosophy so hadn't thought to look at Shapiro or Gardner. I really appreciate that this is a blog where people can post helpful info AND swear at each other just for the sake of screaming into the digital void.

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  16. http://www.kcbd.com/story/29660792/ttu-investigating-grade-changes-at-rawls-college-of-business

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    1. who's going to make the first "veil of ignorance" joke?

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  17. http://www.roanoke.com/news/virginia/washington-and-lee-student-accused-of-rape-files-new-lawsuit/article_4d084d7f-8883-5c53-b8cf-1fdd531cab64.html

    "In the lawsuit, a former student identified only as John Doe asserts that he was expelled for having consensual sex with a fellow student, who decided eight months later to accuse him of rape after forming regrets about their romantic encounters. Both the woman and the school’s disciplinary system adopted a 'regret equals rape' mentality at the time of a hearing last November, the lawsuit alleges."

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    1. More feminist justice.

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  18. Anyone want to do some verboten philosophy and question the smug, overconfident claims that race is not biologically real?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcU7U_NMv7s

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    1. A couple of things:

      The interior designer of that house needs to be killed. Professor Leslie has redder cheeks than any character in Grimm's stories and biologists still find the use of the category "race" useful.


      I find it sad that positions like "men are more intelligent both on average and show a greater variance in it" as well as "East Asians are tend to be more intelligent than Caucasians, who in turn tend to be more intelligent than Latinos, who in turn tend to be more intelligent than Black people" are things, despite very good evidence in favour of it, that only racists who do not care about their reputation feel able to say out loud. It is then often argued because "race" has no real basis those finding cannot be true, which is on of the dumbest non-sequiturs.


      Philosophers are only interested in "race" because they want to deny any differences among subpopulations of humans. The same goes for psychologists and shows you that neither science nor philosophy prevents people with a set world view to change their mind.

      Just as the lauded paper by Professor Leslie et al. never considered the possibility that perhaps men tend to be more capable of great intelletual feats

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    2. Did Sarah Jane-Leslie kill your dog or something?

      But obviously 'race is not biologically real' is overly simplistic or else phenotypical heredity would not make any sense. As I understand it, the main *point* in discussions of social categories and biology is that our social categories are so tied up with cultural assumptions that it is difficult to tease apart what is actually biological and what is not.

      Also, no one really knows what intelligence is, so discussions of race and intelligence are ridiculous on their face. Combined with the fact that certain social factors (access to money and cultural expectations of academic achievement) hugely influence what individuals achieve. The superficial 'blacks/asians/hispanics/whites/women/men are inferior or superior' breaks down pretty easily when one realizes that immigrant populations typically have higher achievement rates than non-immigrant populations, even within these overly broad categories.

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    3. 3:34 here, that was all in reference to race considered in a Western/American sense, which is not necessarily the best way to think about these things.

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    4. I don't see this issue being solved until we are able to do IQ tests on newborns (raising all kinds of interesting ethical issues), and then I suspect they'd all be identical.

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    5. I gave IQ tests to a lot of newborns. You're right, they all did equally well. They all had an IQ of zero.

      Stupid, stupid infants.

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    6. 3:47 AM, as a matter of fact, there is a test (the Stanford Binet test) designed to measure intelligence in children. It turns out that a 1SD difference shows up when comparing black/white 3 year olds.

      There is plenty of evidence out there on issues of race/gender/intelligence, but for obvious reasons people don't want to look too hard.

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    7. Yay! A discussion of the genetic basis of intelligence/ inferiority of black people. Just what this blog needs.

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    8. Yeah. I'm not beat for this.

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    9. Race as a biological concept isn't even a verboten topic: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/race/

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    10. Brooklyn's hottest club is called Verboten.

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    11. Yay! A thought-policing shithead - 8:03 - shows up to warn/mock those interesting in having an actual philosophical conversation about race that isn't constrained by thought policing shitheads like him or her.

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    12. 3:47 AM here,Thanks for the info 5:56 -- that's interesting and slightly worrying. I'm all up for looking too hard, similarly, will have to figure out what the Standford-Binet test is measuring and whether their data has long term correlations to achievement (quick glance at Wiki says it's reliable but obviously that isn't the same thing). I assume the picture will be incomplete because creativity is important for the really high levels of intelligence and that's difficult (not impossible) to measure.

      Keep in mind newborns and 3 year olds are quite different, there has already been rapid neural mylenation by that age, and neuroscientists don't know how much of that is due to genetics or environment.

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    13. Biological race realism "isn't even a verboten topic", 8:52? Well, I'll tell you what: write a paper defending the idea that race is biologically real and that one of the things that it explains is differences in intelligence, a claim that is certainly capable of philosophical defense. See what happens to you socially and professionally if you go around defending this position and then come back and tell us that serious discussion of race as biological real is not verboten.

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    14. 9:38, there is a CUNY philosopher that argues for biological race realism. If you're that invested in the topic you could research under him. Keep in mind that you will be labelled racist (potentially for good reason, not merely because of the subject but also because such strong conclusions about biology are astoundingly easy to poke holes in). Problem solved.

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    15. Anyone want to do some verboten philosophy and question the smug, overconfident claims that race is biologically real?

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    16. That's called mainstream philosophy of race, 10:11. It's the orthodox position in contemporary philosophy from what I can tell. No?

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    17. PS: why did the last comment on the guy from CUNY weirdly disappear? I guess you are the moderator of the blog?

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    18. It is 10:14, but that's no reason to argue for the opposite, just as smug and overconfident conclusion (not merely because of the subject but also because that's the nature of biological generalization). Anyway, if 9:38 is invested in the topic there is a philosopher at CUNY who argues for biological race realism, so you could study with him. No one will want to hang out with you at parties, but that's a small sacrifice if you really believe something to be true.

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    19. I'm not smug about biological race realism at all, just annoyed with the smug and, frankly, philosophically sloppy arguments against the view, all accompanied with far too many "knowing" smiles and other types of pathetic, academic social signaling. And the repercussions of taking up the position defended by that guy at CUNY will result in a lot more than people not wanting to "hang out with your at parties". The fact that you trivialize the social and professional stigma and lack of free inquiry about this topic with a description like that just goes to show what an ongoing joke it is to say that philosophers "think critically" about everything. Also, please answer the question: how did you disappear your previous comment? You are the moderator? I'd like to know as you can take guesses at who we are while you are anonymous. It's fucking creepy.

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    20. I did not disappear my previous comment. I don't know what happened to it either and I am not the moderator, don't be paranoid. I made a joke about it because I care about solutions, not endless complaints, and it's fun to joke about tense topics.

      Perhaps I am naive or am slowly beginning to give very little shits about social stigma, but write a Gettier paper with a counterexample or something. That would at least help to open up the conversation, preserving your reputation as a 'philosophically respectable' scholar, and create a dialogue instead of immediate social shunning.

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    21. Ugh. Looking at average IQ scores for various classes of people is extremely dangerous. It makes us more likely ignore an individual's abilities in favor of thinking about the likelihood that they have those abilities. This conversation isn't just not-PC, but it's a dangerous red herring. Quit it please.

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    22. Alright, let us assume for the sake of argument that there is such a thing such as general intelligence, and that IQ is a reasonably good measure of general intelligence(Two claims that are still controversial). And let's take the observed IQ gap between black folk and white folk. Is there good reason to think that the gap in IQ should be explained genetically? Or primarily genetically? Let's restrict it to black people and white people in the United States.

      The most immediate problem is the observed environmental impact on IQ. Because of various historical circumstances, the environment of the average black person and white person in the United States are vastly different in ways that potentially effect IQ. Here is a partial list:

      1. The IQ of the first child tends to be, on average, higher than the IQ of subsequent children. White people in the United States, on average, have less children per household than black families. The fact that black families tend to have more children would effect the average IQ over a population.

      2. Black children, on average, are stereotyped not to be as intelligent. Stereotype threat effects IQ scores,which in turn would effect the average IQ of populations.

      3. Feedback on academic achievements are also determining factors in IQ scores, especially early on in development. Black children are less likely to receive praise in academic environments and more likely to be punished, and due to various social/historical reasons, black children are less likely to be raised in households where academic accomplishments are praised.

      4. Nutrition in early development makes a substantial difference in IQ. For various social/historical/economic reasons, black children are less likely to have good nutrition as comparable white children.

      5. The older the mother, the more likely the child is to have a high IQ(at a limit). Again, black mothers tend to be younger on average than white mothers.

      6. White families are more likely to engage in activities that enrich the intelligence of children(Chess, for example) than corresponding black families.

      cont

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    23. In addition to that, there are other interesting bits about race and intelligence as well. For example, the gap between blacks and whites have closed over the course of the 20th century, which would seem to correspond the various social changes that befitted blacks over the course of the 20th century(.33 standard deviations). In lieu of some substantive genetic change over the past hundred years, the explanation for such a thing seems to be purely environmental.

      The fact that there is a gap between IQ between the white and black population doesn't seem to give us any initial evidence that such a gap is genetic, or even partially genetic. What would be nice, if someone were to defend this hypothesis that the difference is genetic, would give us some reason to think that part of the responsibility for the gap is genetic. But, that strikes me as a pretty difficult program. We don't know the genetic basis for intelligence, or even if there is a single genetic basis or clusters of genetic factors that contribute to the development of intelligence. The hypothesis isn't ruled out, but there isn't an abundance of evidence for it.

      Now, you might be thinking "Sure, it might not be the case right now that such a hypothesis is defensible, but surely it's a position open in logical space, and philosophers should be free to defend it without getting looks!" I think this line of thinking is shortsighted.

      Take, for example, the Bell Curve by Murray and Herrnstein, one of the more popular 'genetic explanation for the IQ gap' pieces. Now, the Bell Curve was seriously, methodologically flawed. It's pretty easy to find criticisms of the Bell Curve all over the place(my personal favorite is Ned Block's takedown of it https://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/block/papers/Heritability.html), and even social scientists on board with the general research program believe it to be methodologically flawed. However, works about intelligence and race are the sort of topic that tends to break out of the ivory tower and effect people and policies. White supremacists and conservatives were using the Bell Curve for years as justifications on various positions, and those who use such research for fodder typically aren't interested on following up criticisms of the studies. I learned of the Bell Curve in middle school, and at that age of my development I didn't have the knowledge to be wary of popular academic populations, and was gripped by the thought that I was genetically fated to be less intelligent(Something that can be upsetting to a 13 year old boy, for various reasons). I think there is a justifiable reason to be hesitant about defending such a hypothesis; the cost of being wrong about it is high, and such a hypothesis shouldn't be casually defended without substantive evidence supporting it. It's not merely some progressive agenda halting scientific progress; it's the type of caution any academic should have when studying topics that can impact lives.

      There is a lot more I can say, but I'll end it with this. It'd be one thing if there was such overwhelming evidence of a genetic basis of the intelligence gap between races. Such a thing might justify the the sort of philosophy metablog whinging about what is perceived as an misguided progressive program in academics. But such a thing doesn't exist in the case of the study of race and intelligence. So why does this have to be the place where the metablog draws another line in the sand?

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    24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    25. Also, with respect to the biological race thing, no one denies that there are certain genetic clusters, and that people within these clusters genetically resemble each other more than they do outsiders. But the modern western concept of race is based on subjective evaluations of phenotypical traits. It would be surprising if such evaluations ended up tracking something genetically robust, especially with how vague our racial categorizations are in the first place.

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    26. I read the bit about our history, and how the gap has been closing. That bit is useful because it demonstrates the the differences are a matter of contingent facts- these facts being the social mistakes we've made. Good. We agree that there have been some mistakes that have hurt black people. And subsequent generations of black and white people have been working together to fix those mistakes. We are slowly, but surely making progress. Good. Now, why are we talking about this?

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    27. Great post, 11:03.

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    28. 2:27 AM here. I never said that race has to follow a simple black/white/brown/yellow line. It is for example well-known that Brahmin people (especially in the US) are among the highest-achieving and most intelligent. And it is equally known that intelligence has a strong genetic basis (dozens of twin studies provide ample evidence).

      I find that Block paper simply pathetic for not mentioning those results. Block argues primarily against a certain misunderstanding of the misleading term "heritability" which is perfectly on point but it does not touch the larger issue.

      It is strange that, despite the fact that intelligence clearly has a strong genetic basis, philosophers either proclaim otherwise or never mention this fact. Instead of withholding judgment or taking a cautious stance they are sure that those differences must stem solely from the environment. This is just as dumb as flat-out rejecting any environmental effects.
      I mean, we have people arguing for infanticide or the view that it is better to have never been born, but we still cannot talk about this particular issue openly. That is because it has real-world significance and philosophers hate to be relevant, because then they might be accountable.


      As for the dumb argument that nobody knows what intelligence is: Even if we cannot come to a precise definition of what intelligence is, IQ-tests still have very good external validity. Ask a psychologist and he will tell you that an underlying general intelligence like g is psychology's best confirmed construct. By the way, since when has lack of precise definition ever stopped philosophers from debating? "Nearest possible world" comes to mind.

      If you don't want to talk about it, well, then fuck off.

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    29. There are several good reasons to believe that there is a genetic component to the black-white IQ gap. For an excellent overview, I recommend the following paper:

      http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/30years/Rushton-Jensen30years.pdf

      P.S. I'm a bit mystified by people talking about this issue as being 'verboten philosophy' and 'philosophically defensible', and so on. This is not a philosophical issue. It is an issue in psychology which should be debated using the data-based methods of that subject.

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    30. I'm extremely wary of getting into this. But here goes anyway...

      For me, the thing that makes the genetic hypothesis plausible is from studies exploiting regression to the mean. One of Jensen's studies matched up siblings (one black, one white) with the same IQ, and compared the IQ of the other sibling. In both cases, the other siblings' IQ had regressed halfway to the mean of their respective population. For instance, pick a black person and a white person whose IQs are both 120, and look at their siblings; on average, the black person's sibling will have an IQ of 100, while the white person's sibling will have an IQ of 110. (The same effect is found in reverse, with low IQs, too).

      Maybe it's my lack of imagination, but I can't think of a single way of squaring this data with the environmental hypothesis. Remember, these siblings have the same parents, the same socioeconomic status, the same neighborhoods, the same schools, the same diets, etc etc. What possible environmental factor could account for the systematic differences?

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    31. What's with the rage? This is a public forum, and it's being discussed, which is what you wanted no? Maybe some of us are in fact, witholding judgment, until we have more information other than "what psychologists say" because psychologists, as with all people, often say stupid shit. A psychologist's best confirmed construct is child's play compared to other science's best confirmed constructs.

      And on your Brahmin point, are they recent immigrants? If so, that's a better explanation than skin color.

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    32. 12:56,
      Take a boy from one family and a girl from another family, being sure to pick two children who wear skirts the same number of days per year. I confidently predict that the girl's sister wears skirts more days per year than the boy's brother.
      Do you think this shows that the tendency to wear skirts is genetic?

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    33. 12:56

      That is pretty easily explained, by some of the points I already suggested. Even if you have two children raised by family of the same race, you can't account for the social phenomenon as being treated as black or as white. Factors such as stereotype threat, less positive reinforcement, and so on still come into play. In fact, it gels really nicely with the environmental explanation: being raised by a family of a different race may confound some of the average environmental factors, but due to the way our society is structured, it cannot eliminate all of it.

      12:39

      Surely, you don't expect Block to mention this fact when it's completely irrelevant to the issue he was discussing(A methodological critique of one body of work, not a general argument for differences in race being explained environmentally).

      Surely you understood that I assumed general intelligence and IQ being a good measure of it in the opening of my post. And how that remark about IQ seems like a strange non-sequitur.

      Surely you understand that it's compatible with the fact that there is a genetic basis for intelligence that there is also a strong environmental effect on intelligence, and that the hypothesis that there is a genetic basis for intelligence is wholly compatible that the difference between two populations isn't explained by it.

      http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/30years/Rushton-Jensen30years.pdf

      I skimmed through the paper, and from the skimming I think that nothing what was said definitively shown a genetic basis of race, and in addition the common mistakes about heritability might explain such misunderstandings. I'd give it a fuller read and a more sustained critique if this weren't a forum with post size limitations and meta-analysis aren't so dense to sift through. I might come back and make some less vague comments, But it is an interesting paper I hadn't read before, and look forward to reading it in depth!

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    34. 12:56, that is interesting but when neuroscientists, geneticists, general biologists etc talk about 'environmental factors' they mean it in a broad sense, such that the environment in the womb is considered to be different even between identical twins. That is evidence to think more about there being some kind of genetic basis, but here is a (possibly ridiculous but still plausible) alternative explanation: for some reason, prenatal conditions change more drastically between white and black children. This change is genetically based, but if you control for these prenatal changes then in theory the difference would be removed. That's an environmental difference not completely reducible to 'hard-wired' differences in intelligence.

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    35. 1:21
      What you propose is a difference which is consistent with the evidence. One might not even have to go that far; if may be the case the gap is explained by some a more mundane genetic difference. But my point is that the evidence isn't really pointing towards the genetic hypothesis. Hell, the evidence is also consistent with the hypothesis that black folk are genetically advantaged with respect to intelligence, and environmental factors explain why the average IQ trails behind.

      Ideally, we would be good scientists and simply continuing gathering evidence on race and iq, and better knowledge of IQ and the myriad of factors that influence it(after all, we don't even have a solid explanation of the Flynn effect yet).

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    36. 12:56 here, responding to 1:09 and 1:17

      Sorry, the way I put the point was extremely misleading (I edited the post just before posting with what I thought was a clarification, but it ended up fucking up what I meant). Here it is more clearly:

      Suppose we look for pairs of siblings *of the same race* such that at least one member of the pair has 120 IQ. Now, ask what the IQ of the other sibling in the pair is. It turns out that on average, for pairs of black siblings, the other sibling has an IQ of 100, while for pairs of white siblings, the other sibling has an IQ of 110. This is a phenomenon that is predicted by the genetic hypothesis, because if the two populations have different genotypes that produce on average different levels of IQ, you would expect the effects of regression to the mean to be different. But it is not, as far as I can tell, something that the environmental hypothesis *could* plausibly predict, let alone *does* predict. The siblings are of the same race, have the same parents, and presumably will share more or less any environmental feature you care to mention. So again, the question is: how does the environmental hypothesis account for the data?

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    37. I love how philosophers are skeptical of IQ, but that skepticism seems to disappear when it comes to other things that psychologists talk about like "stereotype threat" and "implicit bias".

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    38. Plently of people are skeptical of stereotype threat and implicit bias, haven't you been paying attention to this blog?

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    39. It isn't that hard to believe 2:53. Stereotype threat and implicit bias don't have as much potential to do irreparable social damage because they are not necessarily talking about hard-wired psychological facts. I don't see people advocating forcible sterelization based on stereotype threat, for example.

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    40. sterilization*

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    41. 3:08 wins the thread.

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    42. No, 3:02, the people who are skeptical of those things are a few people on this blog, not philosophers in public who love to voice skepticism about IQ but don't question those other things.

      So, 3:08, our skepticism about psychological phenomena should be proportional to the pragmatic significance of their existence. Interesting epistemological stance. Well, since it would be in my self interest (because I will feel nice) to write you off as a person whose claims are not even worth taking seriously, I will be extremely skeptical of anything you say. This is a very fun game.

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    43. 2:50/12:56,
      My analogous example still fits, doesn't it? In my example, you take a boy and girl from different families who wear skirts the same number of days per year -- say 50. The girl has a girl sibling, the boy has a boy sibling. The expected number of days of skirt-wearing regresses hard toward the mean in each case (you expect the brother of the skirt-wearing boy to wear skirts approximately zero times per year, the sister of the girl to wear skirts more than 50 times).

      Do you see why the inference that skirt-wearing is genetic is faulty?

      The x chromosome does code for something, obviously. And what it codes for is very highly correlated with skirt-wearing in our population. But the idea that there is a gene for skirt-wearing is silly.

      (The reason for my pseudonym is that Richard Dawkins has an example very similar to this one, to illustrate what 'heritability' does and does not mean.)

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    44. Yay, open racism on the philosophy blogs! Woot!

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    45. Yay, thought police in academia.

      Please go somewhere else if you are going to try to shut people up. I for one am interested in hearing this debate (I have not commented on the thread yet) take place among people who are interested in the actual truth of the matter, not in its politics (on either side).

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    46. I'm not shutting anyone up. In fact, I think its a good thing that we all see what slithers out from its rock when given the cloak of anonymity.

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    47. Yes, I also think it's good that familiarity with research in psychometrics and behavioral genetics "slithers out from its rock".

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    48. Indeed. I too am enjoying the reboot of the nineteenth-century science of race here in real time.

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    49. They did many twin studies in the nineteenth century? Knew a lot about genetics, did they?

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    50. I think, mr.-the-cold-hard-facts-of-science-confirm-the-racism-I-would-never-articulate-without-the-cloak-of-anonymity that you should check the difference between a remake and a reboot.

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    51. Can you explain why it is racist to have a strong hunch that certain differences between ethnicities are unfortunately due to genetic makeup? Even if it were a fact, how does it follow that single individuals can be discriminated against in the way it is currently standard procedure? And who made this claim here?

      Seriously, please explain why the more pessimistic belief that racism could have a "factual" basis to it, automatically implies that one is happy with racism and the possibility that some people have a disadvantage that society cannot yet eradicate?

      What if it were true, would reality be racist as well? Would it be smarter to never have a sustained debate about what should be done? It is a real possibility that there is a genetic basis to it and I think that the evidence tilts more in this direction. You might disagree, but then you might never find a partial solution to one of American societies biggest problems. There is already research done is this area by shady people like Stephen Hsu. Better an open debate about a real possibility that might never come to happen than waking up in a Brave New World.

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    52. Are others inclined to think that dawkins's refutation by logical analogy is pretty conclusive? Unless you're going to say that skirt-wearing is genetic, it looks like something has gone wrong with the original regression-to-the-mean argument. Although I don't know what, exactly, went wrong with it, the analogy seems pretty tight. And skirt-wearing ain't genetic.

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    53. I'm still another new commenter.

      Does it not bother the environmentalists on this thread that they must resort to smear attacks to "argue" their point? If their logical and scientific arguments were so overwhelmingly persuasive standing alone, why would they need to resort to smears?

      There is an interesting and, to me, rather compelling fact as to the merits of the hereditarian view. In today's science, it is possible to conduct a study which would likely be decisive as to whether the gap in IQ between the races is due primarily to genetics or environment. It is well known that African-Americans have a spectrum of European ancestry, ranging from about 5% to 50% -- averaging, I think, a little less than 20%. This provides for a natural experiment. Nowadays we can determine the precise and accurate level of African vs European ancestry for an individual via genetic tests. A study could be conducted in which large numbers of African Americans would be tested for IQ and also tested for level of African/European ancestry, and the correlation calculated. This should be decisive, one way or another, as to the contribution of genes vs. environment in the IQ gap. A few years back a proposal was made to scientists to conduct such a study, with the study designed by both sides of the debate to ensure that it dealt with all the potential pitfalls each side thought important. The funding for the study was guaranteed by some outside party.

      The hereditarian side of the debate -- including Arthur Jensen, for example -- was more than eager to make this happen. But the project found nobody on the environmental side who would involve themselves in it. As a result it fell through.

      What does that say about the real confidence each side of the debate has in its position? Why would the hereditarians be eager to pursue this, if it were likely to expose the weakness of their science? Why would the environmentalists avoid this, if they really believed in their own position? Why wouldn't they be instead champing at the bit to dismiss, once and for all, the hereditarian view, and reveal it for the racism it was?

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    54. Can I explain why it is racist to have a strong hunch that blacks are innately less intelligent than other whites? Wow. So, umm, you're a philosopher right? You've actually taken classes in, perhaps even teach, logic? There's a reason why you're skulking around here in anonymity, passing off garden variety racism as the hard truth of dispassionate, objective science.

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    55. Wow, 7:47, that's a convincing argument.

      "Skulking", "garden variety racism".

      Bad dog, Bad! Don't even think about doing that again!

      We get it already.

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    56. 7:47, are you for real, or are you one of these psychologically warped losers who get off on posting provocative comments on blogs just to get a rise out of people? Nobody on here is supporting "racism", but just asking a perfectly sensible question about race an IQ and trying to understand what the evidence really suggests. And do you not see the enormous irony of your accusations of people "skulking" in anonymity? The only reason that anyone interested in an honest discussion about this has to resort to having it anonymously on this blog is because of sanctimonious, thought-policing shitheads like you who are eager to label and shame everyone as "racists" if they don't accept the politically correct conclusions on certain issues. And you are questioning whether other people are philosophers? Ask that question while looking in a mirror.

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    57. Nobody here is supporting racism, we're just asking whether blacks are innately less intelligent than whites. Really. Nothing to see here. Nothing to see about what happens on philosophy blogs when people are given the protection of anonymity. Move along.

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    58. 7:45 here.

      With regard to the skirt analogy, I can scarcely even understand what it's trying to prove as applied to regression to the mean.

      How many boys wear skirts? Are we imagining that they are transgender (so are they really boys?)? Are we imagining that they are being brought up as was Hemingway in skirts (in which case one would think that any of his brothers would likewise be dressed in skirts, which would go against the supposed point of the analogy)?

      This analogy strikes me as completely useless in this context.

      Again, the issue is: why do the siblings of African-Americans always regress to a different mean than do siblings of whites? One has to come up with an account in terms of environment that makes sense here. The most obvious and standard things don't apply, since the family environment is the same, and the SES environment is the same.

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    59. 7:28 here.

      How many boys wear skirts? Few
      Are they all transgendered? No

      Your last paragraph replaced with the analogous terms:

      Again, the issue is: why do the male siblings of skirt-wearing boys always regress to a different mean than do the female siblings of skirt-wearing girls? One has to come up with an account in terms of environment that makes sense here. The most obvious and standard things don't apply, since the family environment is the same, and the SES environment is the same.

      I still don't see where the analogy fails. I am (honestly) asking for help.

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    60. "Can you explain why it is racist to have a strong hunch that certain differences between ethnicities are unfortunately due to genetic makeup?"

      History, people. History. You have to think about this claim in the context of all of the other people who typically claimed such things. Who were they? Racists and Nazis, so it's completely reasonable to assume that anyone else who argues for such a position is affiliated with one of these two camps.

      This plus, as stated before, the difficulty of teasing out contingent social facts from biological Truths, with a capital T. Here's a thought experiement. PURELY for the sake of argument, let's assume that there is a hard-wired difference (I cannot stress enough that this is highly unlikely) in IQ between races. Is this hard-wired difference able to change with better social opportunities and access to education and information? Considering the fact that IQs are getting higher over time, I suspect that the answer is a resounding YES. So a deeper and perhaps more important question is: how "hard-wired" are these hard-wired psychological truths? And if they are not deeply so, and can in fact be changed with a change in circumstance, then this entire discussion is a red herring away from the more important fact that we should be increasing educational opportunites and access to information for ALL people, for the sake of humanity. Whether there are differences in IQ between populations *CURRENTLY* is a moot point, because it does not necessarily have to be so.

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    61. 8:14,

      You sound exactly like the creationists who just can't imagine a world in which God doesn't exist, because their whole world and value system would just collapse if God weren't around to prop it up. If, in terms of average genetics, not all human groups are the same on all socially important traits, then your world turns into a nightmare you can't survive.

      But that's your psychological limitation. Don't expect everyone else to be so pathetically weak.

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    62. Posted again for continued relevance. The environment is not identical, even with identical twins. In order to have a SOLID CAUSAL explanation in science, you have to control for all variables, which is nearly impossible in biology unless you grow people in labs with no parents and identical, sterile environments.


      "But when neuroscientists, geneticists, general biologists etc talk about 'environmental factors' they mean it in a broad sense, such that the environment in the womb is considered to be different even between identical twins. That is evidence to think more about there being some kind of genetic basis, but here is a (possibly ridiculous but still plausible) alternative explanation: for some reason, prenatal conditions change more drastically between white and black children. This change is genetically based, but if you control for these prenatal changes then in theory the difference would be removed. That's an environmental difference not completely reducible to 'hard-wired' differences in intelligence."

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    63. Ummmm, "pathetically weak" might describe academic racists who vent in anonymity what they would never say openly in a grad student lounge for example or a faculty meeting.

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    64. 8:14: and 8:23. You should really probably leave the field of philosophy and get a kind of activist or advocate job as you seem more suited for that kind of thing. Perhaps you could go work for some political think tank or the Southern Poverty Law Center, etc. What philosophers do, or should do, is examine the truth of propositions based on evidence and arguments. We aren't primarily activists who structure the discussion and censor the acceptable conclusions based on predetermined positions that must be supported and advocated. You don't seem to understand this and seem to clearly be in the activist/advocate camp. Please do philosophy a favor and go elsewhere.

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    65. 8:34, if you were brave enough to come out in the open with your views, you would start working for Jared Taylor's American Renaissance group where you can use the patina of sophistry you picked up studying philosophy to provide a genteel face for repugnant assertions that have neither evidence nor argument.

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    66. 8:34, are you going to respond to the content of 8:23 or spout off assumptions and ad hominems?

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    67. 5:39 AM and 7:28 AM,

      It's not supposed to be a logically valid inference, it's supposed to be an inference to the best explanation. (Philosophers writing on this topic make this mistake all the time, and it's a howler. My suspicion is that we are too fond of nice clean conceptual refutations for our own good).

      As far as I can tell, what you're saying amounts to pretty much the point that, the observation that some trait regresses to the mean doesn't logically guarantee it has a genetic origin. And of course it doesn't! It's very rare in science to get data that logically entails one particular theory intended to account for it!

      But again, to repeat, I cannot think of any remotely plausible environmental hypothesis here that saves the data. The hereditarian has a simple and direct account: if intelligence is genetically determined and there are differences in the populations, you'd expect to see regression to different means -- precisely what you do see.

      What could the environmentalist say in order to explain the same data? Of course any account of theirs is going to have to postulate some environmental factor that has the same effect. But what could it be? All the environmental factors that people have ever thought could be of relevance -- home environment, nutrition, educational quality, parental investment, socioeconomic status, etc etc -- are going to be shared between siblings in the same family.

      So again, I'm not saying that the data entails that environmentalism is false. But it certainly looks like a degenerating research program.

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    68. True, we can never have exactly the same environment for two individuals. But it strikes me that people like you are hiding behind this simple truth in order to block any thought about genetic factors.

      @ 8:23

      So much for openmindedness. By the way, what is your argument?

      IQ's are not getting higher anymore. In developed countries they Flynn-effect is not observed anymore, sometimes it has even reversed. And there is a good explanation for this: It is first and foremost the poorer subpopulations whose IQ has risen, which is very likely due to better access to better nutrition and health over the decades. And the reason why average IQs are not rising anymore is that they have hit the ceiling. The environment is now almost perfect so that almost anyone can reach his cognitive optimum whose maximum level is set by genes.

      If it were the case that the average IQ had risen in all strata of society, statistics would predict a larger number of geniuses. But that is not the case.

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    69. 8:23,

      You raise some good points, I think, but some of the facts you are citing don't really capture the reality of the situation.

      To begin with, the so-called Flynn effect doesn't really apply to some of the most important cognitive tests around, such as the SAT. SAT scores have NOT been rising, for either whites or blacks, for a number of decades. They have in fact been remarkably stable over the many decades of their use. The gap between whites and blacks on SAT and other like measures in late adolescence did indeed narrow a bit some decades ago, but has been completely stable since (perhaps widening a bit if anything). It stands at roughly 1 standard deviation.

      As for the supposed "racism" of those propounding the view that this gap is importantly genetic, it is worthwhile to note that virtually all of them acknowledge that Asians outperform whites on these tests. It is a strange racism that elevates another race to a higher position.

      The stability of SAT scores strongly suggests that we have reached an asymptote in what we might reasonably expect in terms of further improvements in cognitive ability due to education or other cultural forces. It can hardly be good public policy to pursue the impossible.

      And that is the MAJOR downside of refusing to acknowledge the differences between the races on these socially important traits, if they exist. Money is spent on hopeless efforts; blame is accorded for failure to achieve unachievable goals; society as a whole is twisted around the failures that can never be turned around. It's rather like the crazy goals Mao imposed on China which, despite the utter unreality of their aims, created endless shaming and punishment when they were not realized.

      If we as philosophers really want to be constructive on this point, we need to find a way to handle the reality of the situation, rather than pretend that it is a good thing to lie to ourselves and everyone else as to what is really going on.

      Do we have the courage and maturity as a discipline to do that? Not much that I can see.

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    70. But what could it be? All the environmental factors that people have ever thought could be of relevance -- home environment, nutrition, educational quality, parental investment, socioeconomic status, etc etc -- are going to be shared between siblings in the same family.


      You guys are dense-- the environment is not the same, even between identical twins. This is a basic fact.

      Delete
    71. 8:45, I am happy to respond to the content of anyone here. I am just objecting to the attempt to smear, mock, and shut down honest discussion of the topic. I'm not saying that it is clear that IQ is genetic. But it seems that, at least, this issue is unsettled and an honest discussion not constrained by predetermined positions that people want to enforce will not be as dismissive to the genetic theory as many comments here are.

      Delete
    72. "True, we can never have exactly the same environment for two individuals. But it strikes me that people like you are hiding behind this simple truth in order to block any thought about genetic factors.

      So much for openmindedness. By the way, what is your argument?"

      My argument is the following: that we cannot tease out the genetic basis of anything until the environmental factors are controlled. Then you can get a causal inference, everything else is mere correlation. I am neutral on the evidence.

      All scientists everywhere agree with this, why can't you?

      Delete
    73. Who is the brave one, 8:40? You, who conveniently hold the officially sanctioned, politically correct views of polite academia? Are you taking a "brave" stand against "racism"? Give me a fucking break. And, by the way, I don't have strong views on this accept for the view that the entire discussion around this topic is poisoned by disingenuous thought-policing pricks like you.

      Delete
    74. OK, so now we have the "nothing can be shown to be genetic" guy. Interesting. So, what about twin studies, in general, not just on intelligence, that seem to show remarkable similarities of behavior in children raised in different environments. Coincidence? Or is there a better explanation?

      Delete
    75. The point of raising the Flynn effect, is that even if IQs are not rising anymore, in theory they can rise again. If social circumstances in developed countries change again in a beneficial way, there is no reason to believe that this can't happen.

      Delete
    76. Wait. If Tommy from family 1 wears skirts just as much as Suzy from family 2, even though Tommy's brothers don't wear skirts and Suzy's sisters wear skirts, isn't the best explanation of this in many cases actually genetic? Isn't Tommy's gayness genetic? I thought that attributing gayness to environmental factors was like totally bigoted or something. Aren't gay people "born that way"?

      Delete
    77. 8:56, Just as people on the genetic side are dismissive to environmentalist positions, people on the environmentalist side are dismissive to geneticist positions. This is the nature of debate.

      Twin studies have many issues, see the statistical arguments against them. Twins are not a randomized sample, so it is unclear how generalizable the results are to the other 7 billion people in the world.

      Delete
    78. Finally an honest discussion of whether black people are stupider than white people without the distractions of the politically correct thought police.

      Delete
    79. Some gay people do claim that they are "born that way" but this is a political statement, not a scientific fact. In fact, the evidence shows that genes are probably not responsible for homosexuality, but hormones.

      Delete
    80. 9:07

      Look, if the Flynn effect has, by all the evidence, reached an upper limit, that is hardly evidence that it will go up again. Yes, "in theory" it might happen -- but you need to have a theory that makes sense, not some logical possibility that is dreamed up.

      And, again, the Flynn effect does NOT apply to the tests of cognitive ability which focus on the more "crystallized" forms of intelligence, such as the SAT. Those have been remarkably stable.

      Delete
    81. You know the real problem with the environmental side of the debate here?

      They just don't believe in evolution -- or evolution as it applies to human beings.

      Somehow, in their magical, safe little world, all human groups, however far separated by geography, evolve in exactly the same way at exactly the same rate, like monads.

      Because, like monads, that's the way God designs it.

      Delete
    82. So, 9:26, all the evolutionary biologists and population geneticists who signed this letter do not believe in evolution?
      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/books/review/letters-a-troublesome-inheritance.html?_r=1

      Delete
    83. @ 9: 07 If you were right we could expect intelligence to rise almost indefinitely as long as we tweak society the right way. But everyone agrees that the upper bound for intelligence is set by genes

      Delete
    84. Yes, and if homosexuality is caused by hormones, that means it's not genetic. Because hormones are environmental. I guess the parents of gay children just keep feeding them all those gay hormones for dinner when they are young.

      Delete
    85. "Look, if the Flynn effect has, by all the evidence, reached an upper limit, that is hardly evidence that it will go up again. Yes, "in theory" it might happen -- but you need to have a theory that makes sense, not some logical possibility that is dreamed up.

      And, again, the Flynn effect does NOT apply to the tests of cognitive ability which focus on the more "crystallized" forms of intelligence, such as the SAT. Those have been remarkably stable."


      Wow, a philosopher uncomfortable with a thought experiment, I've seen it all! As far as I can tell, the fact that SAT results haven't changed in is just even more evidence of the already surplus evidence that SAT performance doesn't track very much other than how many books a person has read or how confident they are that they can score well on the test. Neither of these things have anything to do with innate intelligence.

      Delete
    86. "Yes, and if homosexuality is caused by hormones, that means it's not genetic. Because hormones are environmental. I guess the parents of gay children just keep feeding them all those gay hormones for dinner when they are young."

      Great, what you're getting at is the vagueness of the genetic/environmental divide. Look up epigenetics, genes are not just on/off things. You can have a gene for something at it remains unexpressed. Similarly, you can inject testoterone (a hormone) which is neither 'environmental' nor genetic. It's crazy how complicated biology is, right?!

      Delete
    87. 9:26 has a good point if we are honest. People evolved differently in different parts of the world in ways that are obviously recognizable (e.g., physical appearance) and easily recognizable if you aren't willfully blind (e.g., black athletic superiority and Asian's intolerance to alcohol relative to European's). To think that we would all be exactly the same cognitively is a strange, unlikely hypothesis. We would rationally expect differences. So, when we seem to see IQ differences that correlate with the groups that evolved relatively independently, the burden of proof lies more on the environmentalist side than the genetic side, no?

      Delete
    88. I struggle to understand the view that someone who believes there are racial IQ differences is thereby a racist. To people on this thread who are defending this view (or making snarky comments to the same effect), can you explain why you think this?

      Suppose I get interested in the issue and, in good philosophical fashion (follow the argument where it leads and all that) conclude that the best data currently available supports, perhaps only tentatively, the hypothesis that such differences exist. Am I thereby a racist? If so, why? Is it because there are certain factual beliefs such that anyone who believes them, no matter the strength of their evidence, is thereby racist? (If those beliefs are true or justified, would that mean that racism itself is true or justified?) Or what?

      Delete
    89. 9:34,

      I suggest that you read that letter carefully.

      The geneticists etc. who signed it conclude merely that: "We are in full agreement that there is no support from the field of population genetics for Wade’s conjectures."

      Notice what they do not say -- because they know they can't assert this -- that their work in any way contradicts or undermines Wade's conjectures. Why? Because they know perfectly well that there's nothing in their work that might possibly serve as evidence against the view that different races have different genetic averages with respect to socially important traits. And they know this because they understand that evolution does happen on such traits, insofar as they are heritable (and they all are).

      They wrote the best letter they could write to damn Wade without saying anything of real significance. Wade himself called his speculations "speculations". What are they even adding to that fact besides their own outrage, based on the politics?

      Here's another letter you might read, from scientists who have much more direct knowledge of the race/IQ question, and which gives a more balanced view:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mainstream_Science_on_Intelligence

      Delete
    90. Could someone please respond to 9:34's point that over of hundred of the world's leading evolutionary biologists and populations geneticists seem to disagree with the assumptions made by many in this thread about race, heredity, and intelligence.

      Delete
    91. 9:44 also asks a great question. But this raises another important question (worth another entire thread) about the concept of "racism". Yes, it would strange and most unfortunate if the American mother-of-all-pejoratives, 'racism', applied to you simply because you came to hold a belief that was best supported by your evidence. Given that, in non-academic mouths, 'racism' connotes some kind of intentional dislike or hatred, it seems that coming to believe in genetic IQ differences in a dispassionate, scientific manner would not be racist, at least if we use the term as used by normal English speakers.

      Delete
    92. Okay, 9:48! "But everyone agrees that the upper bound for intelligence is set by genes."

      Everyone agrees, great. Everyone agreed that the earth was the center of the universe once, and we all know how that turned out. Consider the length of the history of physics and the length of the history of biology. Since we are still early on, there is no reason to think that what most believe won't be overturned eventually.

      There, did that help?

      Delete
    93. 9:44 does not have a good point because he is quibbling over language, and everyone has moved on to the evidence.

      Delete
    94. 9:48,

      I did respond, directly above your own post.

      From the standpoint of actual scientific assertion, the letter is impressive for its vacuity. Wade said he was going to speculate, and then speculated. The scientists basically assert that, based on their own findings, Wade's speculations are purely speculative.

      Deep.

      Delete
    95. 10:13. I note with interest that the "mainstream science" letter has no signature from an Ivy League university (or Stanford, MIT, Oxford or Cambridge). Two are from Berkeley, both from the ed. school, including Jensen himself (of course),

      Delete
    96. Says more about Ivy League, MIT and Stanford than anything else. But Steven Pinker shares their view and he is from Harvard, does that satisfy you?

      Delete
    97. "9:26 has a good point if we are honest. People evolved differently in different parts of the world in ways that are obviously recognizable (e.g., physical appearance) and easily recognizable if you aren't willfully blind (e.g., black athletic superiority and Asian's intolerance to alcohol relative to European's). To think that we would all be exactly the same cognitively is a strange, unlikely hypothesis. We would rationally expect differences. So, when we seem to see IQ differences that correlate with the groups that evolved relatively independently, the burden of proof lies more on the environmentalist side than the genetic side, no?"

      9:26 does not have a good point if we are honest. How long did it take for humans to cognitively evolve into homo sapiens? How many thousands of years? And how many thousands of years did it take for skin variation to develop among the same species, homo sapiens?

      Delete
    98. Says more about Pinker than anything else ...

      And, seriously, if you're going to invoke authority by citing a two decade old letter you're going to have to take flak about the nature of that authority (where it's from and who they are).

      Delete
  19. Do philosophers have big cocks? Or is it rather that they have 'small' cocks?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. cockito ergo summa theologicatus logico-philosophicock

      Delete
    2. I have a big cock and am failing thoroughly to succeed as a philosopher. Not sure what sort of data point that constitutes.

      Delete
    3. i have big tits and also am not succeeding

      Delete
    4. Hi 7:41! 4:51 here. Uhh, we should, uhh, compare notes and maybe workshop some papers together, at great length.

      Delete
    5. i don't know about anyone else but my cock is massive

      Delete
    6. 7:41 comment deleted?

      Delete
    7. What 11:38 said. Have comments been deleted here? A comment at 7:41 appears to be intact, but I wonder if everyone can see it.

      I hypothesize that comments talking about c*cks and t*ts get treated differently by the blogger spam filter than those without. Probably because of all the c*ck pills that spammers like to talk about. Same goes for comments with links.

      Delete
  20. 10 Things ‘The New Yorker’ Gets Wrong About Free Speech (Part 1)

    The links and data here (there are many) are a useful reminder that threats to freedom of expression on American college campuses are quite real.

    ReplyDelete
  21. does JW get kickbacks from products he promotes?
    also im a tenured professor and can't afford most of those things!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, those are Amazon Affiliate links. He gets a percentage of anyone who clicks on one and then buys anything on Amazon over the next 24 hours.

      Delete
    2. for example? adblock in chrome suppresses all the ads; it's pretty awesome.

      Delete
    3. From the "Back to School" thread. It wasn't ads--his links to products were monetized links.

      Delete
  22. This was pretty funny. I first thought it was posted at the Onion:
    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/08/13/u-illinois-board-rejects-400000-deal-outgoing-chancellor

    ReplyDelete

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