G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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This isn’t even about the science; it’s about the rhetoric that even precedes the debate on the merits of the science.
As I’ve mentioned, Andrew Sullivan is being assailed from all sides by a group of bloggers who claim that his complaint that academic discussions and research of group differences in IQ are snuffed out by “p.c. egalitarianism”. Ta-Nehisi Coates challenged that assertion, and by doing so proved Sullivan’s point. Coates – who readily admitted that he barely knows what “standard deviation” is, which implies that his critique of Sullivan is anything but scientifically-based – questioned Sullivan’s desire to explore the debate by suggesting that since the science behind racial IQ differences was once embraced by racists, slaveholders, and eugenicists that he can’t help but project similar characteristics on anyone, today, who broaches the topic. By that logic, Coates (and other liberals) can’t support labor unions either since they were once often used as tools to crowd out black labor.
But to Sullivan’s original point about “p.c. egalitarianism”. He wrote a post in response to a piece at Alternet which gave examples of where researchers and scientists have avoided venturing down the path of IQ discussion for fear of what it would do to those researchers’ careers. We have another very recent example, possibly, where a seminar scheduled to be conducted by Dr. Steve Hsu titled “The Genetic Basis of Variation in Mental Abilities” was cancelled for reasons which Hsu refuses to mention (I’ll take blogger’s license in assuming that the seminar fell on the wrong side of the “p.c. egalitarianism” divide).
Only speaking for myself, the interest in the Race-IQ question and The Bell Curve partially stems from the same response I have to ever having a door slammed in my face. Being forbidden to enter makes me want to do just that. It piques my curiosity. Why can’t I explore this room? What is being hidden from me? In any embattled debate between nurture and nature, I see the nurture side similar to those in a game of capture the flag whose charge is in sight of the opposing team. The battle becomes more entrenched and violent as their jewel becomes at risk.
Most of the acrimony comes from blank slatists’ and anti-racists’ beliefs about the intentions of those sniffing around the Race-IQ question. But it’s worth remembering that slave-owners and eugenicists embraced racial differences in order to mold society in a certain way; most of the people like Sullivan, Murray, or Steve Sailer who root around the topic today are somewhat against a molding of society, though one that moves in a different direction. The difference between today’s so-called racists is that they are operating, thankfully, on the premise that even if blacks are found to have an innate lower group average IQ, this reading does not diminish the rights due them by virtue of their humanity.
That being said, here are all of the links to the various opinions on this debate:
And we have many responses from the left:
And a couple from the right:
A longer treatment coming tomorrow.