Editor’s note: I have posted two articles on the controversies surrounding Nicholas Wade and James Watson, both from 2014. Watson is in the news once again because he reaffirmed his belief in the genetic basis of Black-White IQ differences, resulting (of course) in a scathing article in the New York Times by one Amy Harmon. The article notes that despite apologizing “publicly” and “unreservedly,” Watson was forced to retire from his research position, resulting in a drastic loss of income. Since then, he “has been largely absent from the public eye. His speaking invitations evaporated. In 2014, he became the first living Nobelist to sell his medal, citing a depleted income from having been designated a “nonperson.’’
Watson probably thought that, since his previous groveling still didn’t help restore his reputation or his research position, he might as well say what he thinks–a good lesson for anyone whose views have been labeled “despicable” & “hurtful” by our liberal/left elite. https://t.co/HQqVHermyf
— Kevin MacDonald (@TOOEdit) January 1, 2019
The latest NYTimes moral panic about Watson includes a comment that Watson’s views have been “supported” by “white supremacists,” with links to someone whose anonymous Twitter handle is Neo (with a grand total of 820 followers — Ms Harmon was clearly at great pains to find such a person ) and to videoblogger Stephan Molyneux, respectively. Here’s a recent tweet by Molyneux that reflects a race realist view on IQ but clearly denies that these differences have anything to do with “White supremacy.” Just the opposite.
East Asians make more than whites in America.
Jews make more than East Asians.
Both are minorities.
Stop talking about “minorities“ being excluded and poor.
You are really talking about blacks and Hispanics.
Which means you are really talking about IQ.
Just be honest.
— Stefan Molyneux (@StefanMolyneux) January 1, 2019
The problem with ruling out a genetic basis for race differences is that, as reflected in Molyneux’s tweet, the result is to invoke environmental explanations of Black and Latino academic failure, and of course this leads the hegemonic academic and media left to blame White “racism” for any failure of Blacks or Latinos — despite a complete lack of scientific evidence and while ignoring the success of some non-White minorities in historically White societies. If Whites are racist, surely they would have prevented upward mobility by Jews and East Asians. As noted below in a section on J. Philippe Rushton and Arthur Jensen, environmental explanations have a long history of failure to explain the difference.
Once again, we see the power of the left to censor inconvenient truths. James Watson must remain a non-person, his reputation forever destroyed:
Eric Lander, the director of the Broad Institute of M.I.T. and Harvard, elicited an outcry last spring with a toast he made to Dr. Watson’s involvement in the early days of the Human Genome Project. Dr. Lander quickly apologized.
“I reject his views as despicable,” Dr. Lander wrote to Broad scientists. “They have no place in science, which must welcome everyone. I was wrong to toast, and I’m sorry.’’
Science must welcome everyone? There is zero evidence that academic science has excluded people because of their race. On the other hand, Asians, especially East Asians, are ubiquitous in research in the hard sciences. No one is being un-welcomed because of their race. Blacks who can perform at the level needed to be a research scientist (probably IQ>140) would be welcomed with open arms.
Here I post two previous comments, both dealing with the controversy surrounding James Watson. However, because Nicolas Wade’s book A Troublesome Inheritance came out around the same time as the Watson controversy, they also deal with some of the controversy surrounding Wade.
There are a wide range of reviews of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance, but some difficult implications are downplayed.
1. With few exceptions (e.g., Jared Taylor, “Nicholas Wade takes on the regime” and Bo and Ben Winegard, “Darwin’s dual with Descartes“), a common tactic is to acknowledge that race exists but then claim that evidence for a genetic basis for race differences is completely speculative. Despite the central importance of race differences, Wade deemphasizes IQ research where most of the research has centered.
A good example of this tendency is evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne who agrees with Wade that races do exist and claims that “except for politically motivated denialists,” we have known that for a long time. (Actually, the idea that race is real is big news to pretty much the entire faculty in the social sciences and the humanities these days, but of course it is not at all far-fetched to label them “politically motivated denialists.”)
So, if for no other reason, Wade’s book is most welcome. However the next move is to claim that there is absolutely no evidence for genetic differences between races. Coyne:
Wade’s main thesis, and where the book goes wrong, is to insist that differences between human societies, including differences that arose in the last few centuries, are based on genetic differences—produced by natural selection— in the behavior of individuals within those societies. In other words, societal differences largely reflect their differential evolution.
For this Wade offers virtually no evidence, because there is none. We know virtually nothing about the genetic differences (if there are any) in cognition and behavior between human populations.
This is simply false. J. Philippe Rushton and Arthur Jensen list ten categories of evidence based on their previous reviews of the literature:
The worldwide distribution of test scores; the g factor of mental ability; heritability differences; brain size differences; trans-racial adoption studies; racial admixture studies; regression-to-the-mean effects; related life-history traits; human origins research; and the poverty of predictions from culture-only explanations. The preponderance of evidence demonstrates that in intelligence, brain size, and other life-history variables, East Asians average a higher IQ and larger brain than Europeans who average a higher IQ and larger brain than Africans [a recent study indicates average African IQ of 75]. Further, these group differences are 50–80% heritable. These are facts, not opinions and science must be governed by data. There is no place for the ‘‘moralistic fallacy’’ that reality must conform to our social, political, or ethical desires. (“James Watson’s most inconvenient truth: Race realism and the moralistic fallacy“)
These data cannot be wished away any more than one can wish away the data showing the existence of race. Read more