Tuesday, November 27

Witless Protection Program

SHEESH. Weigel:
The grand master of the Bell Curve is used to liberals pointing and sputtering at his conclusions. He typically pre-empts this by burying them with research -- research they, the sort of people who believe that human evolution happened but that human biodiversity is a myth, sure have not done.

Is there some sort of prize for proving it's possible to be more than 100% wrong?

Okay, first: Murray? Murray? So he enjoyed a brief primary-season resurrection among already-desperate Republicans, including the sort of Republican who believes saying "White People are Civilization" is a mark of intellectual bravery. It didn't work. It didn't work to the extent that Charles Fucking Murray seems to've noticed, and now is trying to explain, to whom it's not clear, that Asians are actually honorary Whites, and ought to be smart enough (unlike the Coloreds) to realize which side they should be on.

Tell ya whut, Dave: when some rightist intellectual figures out how to tell Republicans why they've been so wrong about so much for so long, and show no signs of ceasing, I'll take notice. Just bringing up Murray more than a week after that last book of his is a sign of derangement. Or worse.

Second, "liberals" "pointing and sputtering"? Research?  For godssakes, The Bell Curve wasn't demolished by critical commentary. It was pre-demolished by basic research forty years prior to its publication. The only people who believed by 1994 that IQ tests measure anything quantifiable at all--let alone measure it well--were psychologists, and Murray wasn't even one of those.

Who sputtered? Really, name one. I can't think of anybody to the left of David Brooks who takes Murray seriously, and even Brooks was a little sheepish about that Decline of White People thing.

Research they "sure have not done"? I'm guessing few have studied Nostradamus, or combed the minutiae of UFOlogy, either. For precisely the same reasons.

We're already skating on the marbles of Hackitude Speedway. But "the sort of people who believe that human evolution happened "?  You mean "non-hallucinatory sentients born since the middle of the 19th century and taught a human language"? And whose "belief" that "human biodiversity is a myth" is somehow the greatest piece of pseudoscience on record? This blog certainly supports exaggeration for effect, especially comic effect, but it also believes that it should be easy, in 90% of the cases and with 90% of writers who employ it, to understand the exaggeration, and to understand what was meant. This, instead (I'm feeling charitable), is just another example of the modern fad for forcing the reader to fill in what you mean. We shouldn't believe that it takes a "sort" to accept evolution. We might grant the use of "human" there, but only on the grounds that it was needed to make a point which was wholly unneeded. Otherwise singling out a belief in "human" evolution sounds like the sort of special pleading a hopeless Evangelical makes if he gets a real high school education.

And no one says biodiversity is a "myth", nor are they required to do so in order to dispute Murray's voluminous evidence; one of his most prominent critics (and pre-critics) was the late great Stephen Jay Gould. (Gould, by the way, was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology at Hahvahd. Murray's a political scientist from AEI.)

It is, of course, the height of biological illiteracy to insist we have to accept Murray's racial "explanations". Especially seeing as how Murray couldn't be bothered to accept the scientific consensus about IQ testing before he spouted off. And we are left, at the end, with just another foolish qualifier designed to fit a preconceived conclusion, just for the satisfaction of claiming that "liberals think they're so smart, but their own beliefs prove them wrong." Cf "Liberals are the real racists/sexists/war mongers", "Welfare is the real slavery", et. al. It's the sort of thing that wows 'em from the pulpit; it's telling that your modern "conservative" either doesn't know the difference, or thinks everyone's in the choir.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

or thinks everyone's in the choir.

Everyone who counts.

Anonymous said...

IQ testing was invented by Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton, who discovered to his amazement that he was the smartest man of his time.

Karen Goldner said...

"...when some rightist intellectual figures out how to tell Republicans why they've been so wrong about so much for so long, and show no signs of ceasing, I'll take notice."

So did you see the Bruce Bartlett article in the American Conservative (http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/revenge-of-the-reality-based-community/). The first line sets the tone (if you have a low tolerance for self-aggrandizement, you need to sit down to read it) but it's very interesting and since he praises Paul Krugman, I think it's a fabulous piece.

Interrobang said...

Right, because "human biodiversity" is defined exactly as "skin colour correlates 100% to intelligence." Never mind that people who actually believe in human biodiversity might have some problems with the idea of there, um, not being diversity among sets of humans.

Phillipe Rushton is dead, Murray has to be older than God, "race science" went out with the Fuhrerbunker, and it's bloody 20-and-effing-12, and we still have to put up with this crap?

Karen Goldner said...

Not sure where else to put this, but I wanted to let you know that I have just published an homage to you: http://thedriveabout.blogspot.com/2012/11/and-now-for-something-completely.html