Two hours of Sam Harris whining


I didn’t listen to the Sam Harris/Ezra Klein conversation, I couldn’t possibly bear it. I read the transcript, and that was more than enough. Harris’s main theme: ‘everyone is picking on me.’ Klein keeps pointing out that he’s promoting bad ideas, that he isn’t engaging with people’s actual concerns, and that his brand is all about defending his identity, white identity, while denying that he engages in identity politics…because his line of attack is a blanket condemnation of all identity politics while labeling everyone else as engaging in it. It’s infuriating.

Here’s a revealing sample from near the end.

Ezra Klein
We all have a lot of different identities we’re part of all times. I do, too. I have all kinds of identities that you can call forward. All of them can bias me simultaneous, and the questions, of course, are which dominate and how am I able to counterbalance them through my process of information gathering and adjudication of that information. I think that your core identity in this is as someone who feels you get treated unfairly by politically correct mobs and —

Sam Harris
That is not identity politics. That is my experience as a public intellectual trying to talk about ideas.

Ezra Klein
That is what folks from the dominant group get to do. They get to say, my thing isn’t identity politics, only yours is. I will tell you, Sam, when people who do not look like you hear you telling them that this is just identity politics, they don’t think, “God he’s right. That is just identity politics.” They think this is my experience and you don’t understand it. You just said it’s your experience and they don’t understand it.

There is also the part where Harris declares that he has black friends, therefore you can’t accuse him of casual racism. The part where he reveals that he knows nothing about Charles Murray’s work outside of The Bell Curve and can’t comprehend how anyone can think he has racist motivations. But mainly, Harris is all about how others have dared to criticize Sam Harris.

I think it’s damning enough that Harris thinks so highly of himself that he would walk unarmed into a duel with Ezra Klein, and get fairly and politely slaughtered on all points.

Of course, Harris probably emerged thinking that Klein never even touched him.


Just a thought…I just now posted about how there are rational Christians and foolish ones, and how, if you must be a Christian, you should do yourself the favor of being the kind who cares about the evidence. You know, a non-atheist could look at our side and say something similar: do yourself the favor of not simply blindly following the self-appointed leaders of your tribe, and think about more than just their ideas on one issue. Harris is right that there is no god, but there’s a whole lot of other shit that he’s flamingly, painfully wrong about.

Comments

  1. Saad says

    That is my experience as a public intellectual trying to talk about ideas.

    Ugh, imagine calling yourself a public intellectual.

    *cringe*

  2. davidnangle says

    I came here to say that, too, Saad. How do you not look like an ass saying that?

  3. starfleetdude says

    If Harris was actually being a brave, oh so brave truth-teller, he’d acknowledge that the claim of there being a racial correlation with intelligence is vanishingly weak and that observed differences are clearly due to environmental and cultural factors. The stichk of Herrnstein, Murray, Rushton, et. al. of there being a genetic component to intelligence is just an excuse to do nothing about inequality. It’s like the old Jim Crow era line that those darkies are just lazy and the gummint is just wasting our money trying to help them. It’s great that Klein has shown Harris to be the fraud that he is on this subject.

  4. says

    There is no “racial correlation with intelligence” because “intelligence” remains undefined and “race” is damn near undefined too.

  5. starfleetdude says

    @4, agreed about the concept of intelligence or “g”, which in practice is measured by test results. Given how even simple test-taking tactics like passing over the more difficult questions to first answer the easy ones can improve scores shows how silly it is to infer there’s some ineffable yet meaningful “g” that’s involved. Practice taking enough tests (and of course studying about the subject of the test beforehand) and surprise! You get better at it. Not exactly a profound finding.

  6. tulse says

    It disappoints me that, in these discussions, no one challenges the notion that “IQ” is central to success in life. I know plenty of smart people who are disorganized, lack drive, lack empathy and social graces, and thus do more poorly than someone who is comfortable glad-handing and self-promoting. Various personality traits go into being a success as well as various cognitive skills. I would be very interested to see, for example, the correlation of “social intelligence” with success, as my hypothesis would be that, in many domains, people skills will far outweigh IQ in producing career success.

  7. Ishikiri says

    Steve Shives pointed out in a video earlier this week that one of the most infuriating things about Harris is that his arrogance won’t allow him to accept that someone could have a genuine disagreement with him. He either thinks they misunderstand him or they know he’s right and they’re lying in service of some agenda.

  8. HappyNat says

    As a non-public, non-intellectual, I’m beginning to think that “public intellectual” Sam Harris is a self important dunderhead.

  9. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Sam Harris claims to be a “public intellectual”. Who knew he could be so funny?

    Saad: “Ugh, imagine calling yourself a public intellectual.”

    David Nagle: “I came here to say that, too, Saad. How do you not look like an ass saying that?”

    Irony might save you, but I suspect Harris thinks that is a synonym for metallic.

  10. says

    tulse@#6:
    It disappoints me that, in these discussions, no one challenges the notion that “IQ” is central to success in life.

    Good point. I think a lot of rational non-jackass people assume that everyone has figured out that “IQ” is not the central thing that leads to success. But there are many who wish to believe there is something inherently superior about them to justify their station in life. They weren’t just lucky to be born white, or have parents that owned a house and were willing to put it up as collateral to get them a good education, or didn’t grow up drinking water full of lead, etc. No, there’s something special about them – because “Gosh I was lucky!” doesn’t sound anywhere near as cool as “I am a self-made success.” Does it?

  11. rietpluim says

    Frankly, I’ve never quite understood what identity politics is, but thanks to Harris now I do; it is anything that may improve the position of minorities. No wonder why white, male politics is no identity politics!

  12. doubtthat says

    The summary does not come close to representing the avalanche of absolute horsehit Harris spewed during that discussion. I recommend that everyone read the transcript (so you don’t have to hear Harris’ condescending voice).

    He argues that Tanehisi Coates is dishonest, can’t understand why Murray’s career dedicated to basing social policy on the “immutable” fact that black people have lower IQs than white people, argued that figuring out what the “environment” is irrelevant to determining whether the IQ difference is genetic or environmental (seriously, straight up says legacy of slavery, Jim Crowe…etc. is irrelevant), and misquotes, misstates, and misrepresents Klein and others’ positions.

    It was an epic shitshow.

  13. petesh says

    He either thinks they misunderstand him or they know he’s right and they’re lying in service of some agenda.
    Sadly, this is extremely common among our species, and possibly others.

    On IQ: As a fast-tracked 14-year-old, considered certain for college at least, I acquired “Know Your Own I.Q.” by the distinguished professor Hans J. Eysenck (in this regard a predecessor of Harris). So I tested myself. The conclusion was very mostly above 100, with a recommendation for trade school since abstract thought was clearly challenging for me. I burst out laughing and have not “believed” in IQ ever since.

    (I figured out quickly that my problem was that I had not cheated, which evidently the good professor assumed all his readers would do.)

  14. Jack-booted Verbalist says

    Harris just cannot see that it is possible for his analysis to be anything but objective, while the rest of us interpret data through our own “identity”. Klein tries again and again, and Harris just glides on by. Talk about a blind spot. How can anyone not see this?

  15. imback says

    A public intellectual is apparently someone who publicly identifies as intellectual.

  16. doubtthat says

    The anti-IdPol people have the causality backwards. They somehow believe it’s the discussion of remedying past identity crimes – slavery, segregation, Native American genocide/removal, denying women property rights, vote…etc. – that keeps those identities relevant. As if somehow rhetorically ignoring someone’s race will magically cause the police to no longer react to that person’s race.

    The entire basis of the Peterson-Harris types is staggering historical ignorance.

  17. sockjockwarlock says

    Harris calling TaNehisi Coates “dishonest” after listing down his “black friends” such Ayaan Hirsi & Maajid Nawaz kinda show his bias, doesn’t it? Ta-Nehisi Coates himself is an atheist, yet deals with race & other issues deeper than Harris’ “black friends” combined; the kind of issues Harris would dismiss as “identity politics”.

  18. doubtthat says

    God, I just remembered another part of that interview that made me want to fucking vomit:

    I mean, this is why John Rawls’s veil of ignorance thought experiment was so brilliant. To design a just society, a great heuristic, is to think of the society you would want, not knowing who you’re going to be in it. That’s the perfect nullification of the logic of identity politics.

    Yes, if we were to design a society, we would not to design one with crushing structural racism. But there is crushing structural racism.

    What do you even say about that shit? We should design our policies based on the universe in Harris’ imagination?

  19. says

    Ezra Klein
    I think that your core identity in this is as someone who feels you get treated unfairly by politically correct mobs and —

    Sam Harris
    That is not identity politics. That is my experience as a public intellectual trying to talk about ideas.

    Sam Harris (to self)
    “There is a fist flying at me. I’d better block it with my face.”

  20. doubtthat says

    And now I remember the way he kept interrupting Klein to point out that Murray argues for a Universal Basic Income. Harris clearly does this as an attempt to respond to Klein’s characterization of Murray as a far right wing activist – to imply that Murray has heterodox beliefs and is a deep thinker not just some ideologue.

    Murray wants to replace ALL social programs with a UBI. This is the rationale behind it:

    >blockquote>Importantly, Murray’s idea is that once we eliminate the entire welfare state, we will replace it with a UBI program that provides a flat level of financial assistance per adult. A single mom raising two kids would receive no more than a childless man, and a married couple with one child would receive more than the single mom. That somewhat defies common sense, but The Bell Curve’s preoccupation with the problem of “encouraging the wrong women” to have children clarifies that the goal is to avert the alleged dysgenic impact of improving the material living conditions of low-income children.
    https://www.vox.com/2018/4/10/17182692/bell-curve-charles-murray-policy-wrong

    Harris is so stunningly ignorant of the historical, social, economic, and policy issues. It makes him an easy mark for a guy like Murray.

  21. numerobis says

    I thought it rather revealing near the start of the interview where Harris claims to quote Klein to prove that he (Harris) is being called names. Then Klein digs up what Harris seems to be trying to quote and … it’s not at all the same words.

    If you’re going to quote someone in your opener to the debate, shouldn’t you at least have the words written in front of you when you do that?

  22. microraptor says

    mnb0 @22: The thing that’s “wrong” with identity politics is that it makes racists look like racists. Also, it implies that the opinions and experiences of anyone who’s not a white, heterosexual cisgender male has value.

  23. twarren1111 says

    Thank you Dr Myers for your insight. I have been influenced by both Ezra Klein and Sam Harris. It has been difficult for me to accept Mr. Harris’ errors on this issue and your insight has helped. With that being said, I think what is very important is to be careful about the fallacy of ad hominem. The issue is the issue, not the person. Thus, what made me most pleased is that both Ezra and Sam for 2 hours kept on the issue. They challenged one another. But they respected each other as people. My overall take is that Harris may be making the error of confusing his fear of being incorrect on the issue they were discussing as if it was a defect within him. In other words, Harris was doing a ‘reverse’ or self directed ad hominem type of error. I hope that his rationality will win out. I hope that at some point we see Harris look more into Murray’s publications and after analyzing it all again let’s ‘his public’ know he now gets it. That’s science after all.

  24. Oggie. says

    No, no, no, no, no! You are all misunderstanding. Since being a white heterosexual cis-gendered college-educated older male is the standard against which all are judged, then the political system of a white heterosexual cis-gendered college-educated older male is, by definition, also the standard. So supporting white heterosexual cis-gendered college-educated older male ideals, social conventions, right-wing politics, and world view is NOT engaging in identity politics. It is, rather, the absolute normality of white heterosexual cis-gendered college-educated older males in our world which makes impossible for a white heterosexual cis-gendered college-educated older male to engage in identity politics. Unless, of course, said white heterosexual cis-gendered college-educated older male speaks up for those who have been systematically disenfranchised, impoverished, abused, harassed, assaulted, raped, lynched, maimed, and otherwise been treated, and continue to be treated, as second class citizens. Then the white heterosexual cis-gendered college-educated older male (such as myself) becomes an engager in identity politics and thus is a traitor to his (my) identity which is not actually an identity because it is the standard against which all others are judged and found wanting.

  25. tacitus says

    You know, a non-atheist could look at our side and say something similar: do yourself the favor of not simply blindly following the self-appointed leaders of your tribe, and think about more than just their ideas on one issue. Harris is right that there is no god, but there’s a whole lot of other shit that he’s flamingly, painfully wrong about.

    Fortunately, Harris is likely a passing phenomenon, only possible because of the continuing predominance of Christian influence in American society. Once that predominance is over, which, if the current trend continues, will be in another generation or two, people like Harris will no longer be able to claim to be leaders of the “atheist community” — they will just be reactionary right-wingers, and safely ignored.

  26. says

    I hope that at some point we see Harris look more into Murray’s publications and after analyzing it all again let’s ‘his public’ know he now gets it.

    Bless your heart.

  27. lemurcatta says

    I don’t blindly follow Harris. For example, I think he screwed up badly by embracing Andrew Sullivan’s responses to this Murray controversy. Sullivan has no idea what he is talking about and Sam would be wise to recognize this fact. But I came away from the recording with a much different impression on how it went. I feel that many of Ezra’s main criticisms of Sam were fairly thoroughly devastated when Sam spoke to his embrace of Ayaan and Nawaz. It isn’t about defending Murray because Murray is another white guy who speaks about controversial ideas (and therefore evidence Sam is engaging in identify politics). It seems wise to consider Sam has spent more time defending a Somali born former-muslim woman than he has defended Murray. No matter what you think of Ayaan, this is an important consideration if you are going to accuse Sam of the things Ezra did.

  28. nomadiq says

    I fear Harris didn’t learn much during his PhD – at least not what he should have learnt. I’m sure he was well read and wrote a very elegant thesis. But the central skill to be learnt is not ‘knowledge in your field of work’ but the practice of deep skeptical thinking about evidence brought forth by yourself and others.

    Anyone can be taught to acquire data from amazingly complicated apparatus (or from trivial written intelligence ‘tests’). The skill is in analysis and critical thought of the experiment. Its why during peer review of scientific papers a reviewer wont ponder too much on ‘did they use the machines right? – do these numbers seem right?’. Its usually trivially true that they are – unless the author is deliberately faking data, which does happen. The data is almost always ‘correct’ considering what the experimenter intended to collect. The meat is in ‘what question is asked?’, ‘is the subject clearly defined’ and ‘can this experiment answer it?’.

    I don’t know how anyone can look at the methods to compare intelligence from one person to another and conclude anyone has a racial (also a poorly defined concept) or individual difference to someone else. Its a poorly defined, poorly controlled experiment. I don’t even see how it would be fair to compare intelligence scores across identical twins. Thats how poorly setup the notion of experimentally determined intelligence is.

  29. raaak says

    @29,

    I feel that many of Ezra’s main criticisms of Sam were fairly thoroughly devastated when Sam spoke to his embrace of Ayaan and Nawaz.

    But the tribe does not need to be strictly racial. Harris, Ali, and Nawaz still belong to the same tribe in many ways (military intervention, immigration, campus free speech wars, the cultural Marxism thing, etc). As it is usually the case, Harris has no idea what he is doing. He is too lazy to study history or get himself educated about geopolitical nuances of the world and only looks at the case of Ali and Nawaz from a very very narrow point of view (Western leftist objections to their speech) and then rushes to offer them unconditional defense. This is the very definition of identity politics.

    It isn’t about defending Murray because Murray is another white guy who speaks about controversial ideas

    Again, wrong. Murray is not just talking about controversial ideas. He is a policy wonk who goes to congress and testifies based on his junk science. It is junk science, not because study of IQ is junk science (though historically it has been), but because he has blown the results way out of proportion and is using them to suggest sweeping policies which will affect lives of hundreds of millions of people for generations to come. Isn’t it worth some skepticism? I mean, Harris said multiple times that the science is settled and when Klein pointed that it was not, he called the disagreeing scientists’ position fringe. The level of ignorance on display here is tantamount to a flat earther calling Newton fringe.

  30. raaak says

    I noticed that Harris has done a podcast with a former skinhead. Apparently, he thinks he needs to show he is not on the racists’ side. I agree. He has become a tool, a useful idiot for them. He says he hates racists and at the same time staunchly defends the racialist position on race and intelligence.

    Here is a 30’s version of Harris’ position:
    I agree Jews are greedy. I agree that they demonstrate parasitic behavior by trying to control a nation’s banks and suck its wealth. Science has shown that Jewish women sit with their legs open as opposed to modest Aryan women who always sit in a proper manner. I agree that Jews are generally unclean and it is one of their racial traits. I agree with all that. But guyssssssss!, murder is wrong!! Let’s find a humane way to deal with this. I want EVERYONE to prosper. I want everyone to be treated as an individual. Can we please please just stop researching these scientifically proven and completely mainstream facts?

  31. doubtthat says

    I feel that many of Ezra’s main criticisms of Sam were fairly thoroughly devastated when Sam spoke to his embrace of Ayaan and Nawaz.

    What possible argument of Ezra’s was rebutted with the “I have non-white friends” defense?

    First, that could be tokenism. Trump nominated Ben Carson to a position in his administration. That doesn’t eliminate all criticism of Trump’s behavior and policies in so far as race is concerned.

    Second, his personal relationships have nothing to do with the shocking ignorance and pathetic reasoning he displayed. It doesn’t matter how many non-white people he knows if he is just wrong on the effects of poverty and structural racism.
    I read the entire transcript and I confess to not being able to give you a single decent point Harris made in the entire exchange. It was a series of shockingly terrible reasoning and straight up factual inaccuracies, a number of which I’ve described in this thread above.

  32. rietpluim says

    mnb0 The problem with identity politics is that it is emotional and subjective while the white male’s point of view is rational and objective. Harris says so himself.

  33. lotharloo says

    Holy fuck. HOLY FUCK. Sam Harris is like a baby, a stupid pathetic mewling fucking baby, and I apologize in advance to all babies for this comparison.

    Sam Harris

    No, you called me a pseudoscientist and a junk scientist over and over again.
    Ezra Klein

    The scientists, Nisbett and Paige Harden and Turkheimer, said that they believe Murray’s interpretation of this, ultimately, is pseudoscience and is way, way, way out in front of the data. I
    Sam Harris

    But you know Turkheimer has apologized for that. What do you with the fact that he’s apologized for that?

    The most important thing in the world is who has been mean to Harris and whether they have apologized for it or not.

  34. says

    The poor reasoning on display not only in this blog post but in some of these comments is abhorrent, from straw man to ad hominem. First of all, Harris isn’t just saying “everyone is picking on me.” Being picked on and being unfairly slandered are not the same (evidence for the latter is provided copiously by Harris throughout the podcast, such as the SPLC reference). If Klein suddenly found himself in the SPLC’s crosshairs, he would truly understand Harris’ plight, his defenses of his reputation falling on deaf ears. And it could happen to Klein, given that it happened to Harris who is a Trump-hating (more or less) political liberal, as Harris also points out to Klein repeatedly.

    Klein’s charge that Harris identifies as “someone who feels he gets treated unfairly by politically correct mobs” can barely be said to be accurate, if at all. Harris is targeting specific people, like Klein, for slandering him by creating dishonest article titles, retweeting known falsities about his views, etc. Klein fails to address these direct criticisms of his own behavior (which says something about his character), and instead sanctimoniously points to Harris’ “issues” with identity (a red herring).

    Additionally, Harris HAS engaged in good-faith disagreements over his views, like the long podcast he did with the Very Bad Wizards where the hosts, Tamler and Dave, gave some serious challenges to his moral landscape argument. Despite deep philosophical disagreements, you don’t see Dave or Tamler retweeting nonsense about Harris. That’s what good-faith disagreement looks like.

    Regarding the race science stuff, we should be careful about being overconfident in either direction (as with any area of study). Nisbett clearly overstates the certainty of his conclusions, as you can see in this thorough, academic review of his work: http://laplab.ucsd.edu/articles2/Lee2010.pdf.

    P.S. One comment above claims that Harris seems condescending. Perhaps. But to my ears, the condescension of Klein takes the cake–at times he seems to be talking to Harris like a child, using phrases like “I don’t want you to get too defensive.” Dude, you don’t talk about HOW someone is arguing; you just address the fucking logic.

  35. starfleetdude says

    Matt Yglesias posted this today about Murray and his quest to link IQ and race. Long and totally worth a read if you want to know why Sam Harris is a goddamned idiot.


    The Bell Curve is about policy. And it’s wrong.

    Charles Murray is an incredibly successful — and pernicious — policy entrepreneur.

    Here’s a quote from Murray himself that ought to make Harris hang his head in shame. (Note: emphasis in the original)

    We are silent partly because we are as apprehensive as most other people about what might happen when a government decides to social-engineer who has babies and who doesn’t. We can imagine no recommendation for using the government to manipulate fertility that does not have dangers. But this highlights the problem: The United States already has policies that inadvertently social-engineer who has babies, and it is encouraging the wrong women. If the United States did as much to encourage high-IQ women to have babies as it now does to encourage low-IQ women, it would rightly be described as engaging in aggressive manipulation of fertility. The technically precise description of America’s fertility policy is that it subsidizes births among poor women, who are also disproportionately at the low end of the intelligence distribution. We urge generally that these policies, represented by the extensive network of cash and services for low-income women who have babies, be ended.

    How interesting then that it’s blacks and brown immigrants who shouldn’t be breeding. Not.

  36. mrquotidian says

    By the end Harris is clearly desperate and latches on to this old gem:

    You have the fact that — this is actually in Reich’s recent book, of which that op-ed was a crib — the finalist in the 100-meter dash in the Olympics, the male finalist, every single finalist since 1980 has been of West African descent, right? That does not appear to be an accident, and it doesn’t matter what country they came from. It does not appear to be best explained by environment.

    Just staggering. This little factoid just floats around in our culture- it’s almost like the old football commentator Jimmy the Greek’s notions of slave breeding. A classic “just so” story. Luckily for Harris, Ezra lets him off easy on this misguided point. How does Harris, a self-proclaimed intellectual, display such a paucity of understanding of the untold number environmental of factors that influence one’s competitive running ability, let alone the completely nebulous concept of IQ? Christ, even Malcolm Gladwell has a more decent understanding of this topic.

  37. starfleetdude says

    Regarding the race science stuff, we should be careful about being overconfident in either direction (as with any area of study).

    There’s no good reason to believe that race and IQ are even weakly correlated. I think any skeptic would be aware that the burden of proof is on the side making a claim. Here’s a link to a paper on the subject that shows how environment and culture can account for the differences Murray and his ilk claim is due to genetics.

    Regarding the race science stuff, we should be careful about being overconfident in either direction (as with any area of study).

    https://uiowa.edu/crisp/sites/uiowa.edu.crisp/files/10.13.pdf

  38. says

    Doubtthat, because Klein directly charged that Harris’ arguments were racially motivated (by his “tribe” of white men), it DOES matter, logically, for Harris to point to someone like Ayaan. If you can point that the logic you’re defending applies independently of race, then it works toward disproving that your argument is racially motivated. More broadly, if you can show that the logic you’re defending applies independently of some outside, non-relevant factor, then that works toward disproving that your argument is motivated by that factor. Deductive reasoning 101 brother.

    This is different from saying you have a “black friend” to “disprove” your racism or hiring Ben Carson if you’re Donald Trump.

  39. raaak says

    Regarding the race science stuff, we should be careful about being overconfident in either direction (as with any area of study)

    The issue here is not determining what the verdict is on IQ. The issue is Harris’ miserable failure at being a skeptic which he purports to be and has made a lot of money claiming so. He says he has no interest in IQ, has not researched it himself and even hates talking about it, yet he defends Charles Murray’s position as mainstream and accuses others to be on the fringe.

    Obviously, this is not anymore about free speech or poor Charles Murray being targeted by a scientific mob. This is about Harris firmly advocating racialist position on IQ and offering unwavering support for it. The first one to be called out for being “too confident” here is Harris himself.

  40. says

    Thanks Starfleetdude. The paper you linked looks like an interesting contribution to the debate, though I wonder if you read the review of Nisbett I linked, which in no way suggests we can be as confident as you are in this claim: “There’s no good reason to believe that race and IQ are even weakly correlated.”

    Additionally, the paper you linked triggers my “confirmation bias warning” since it says this in the abstract: “The aim of our review is to demonstrate that differences among social groups in terms of cognitive ability are largely illusory.”

    But, I’ll read it with an open mind, and I suggest you do the same with the Nisbett review.

  41. starfleetdude says

    @43, as someone who has been following the race/IQ question since the 1970s, I no longer give Murray and his ilk the benefit of the doubt. As Yglesias makes very clear in his excellent summation of Murray’s political agenda, it’s actually about making excuses to justify existing racial discrimination. That Sam Harris credulously gives Murray’s pseudoscience cover is not only morally wrong, it’s stupid.

  42. lotharloo says

    This conversation once again confirms my suspicion that Sam Harris is more of an idiot than a racist.

  43. says

    “The issue here is not determining what the verdict is on IQ. The issue is Harris’ miserable failure at being a skeptic which he purports to be and has made a lot of money claiming so. He says he has no interest in IQ, has not researched it himself and even hates talking about it, yet he defends Charles Murray’s position as mainstream and accuses others to be on the fringe.

    Obviously, this is not anymore about free speech or poor Charles Murray being targeted by a scientific mob. This is about Harris firmly advocating racialist position on IQ and offering unwavering support for it. The first one to be called out for being “too confident” here is Harris himself.”

    It’s part of the issue, at least. It’s also about the mob, and about the free expression of controversial ideas. I’ll ignore your ad hominems of Harris as they add nothing to the conversation. You’re probably right that Harris is too confident in the other direction, though I didn’t say he wasn’t. However, I think when you say this, you go too far:

    “This is about Harris firmly advocating racialist position on IQ and offering unwavering support for it.”

    Having a controversial conversation with someone, in my mind, doesn’t seem to be the same as providing unwavering support.

  44. doubtthat says

    @46 lcuddy12 .

    Did you listen to Harris’ podcast with Murray? The entire preamble is the usual whining about platforming (Murray’s racist pseudoscience was dismissed as such by the scientific community in 1994), but more disgusting, Harris defends his position on the merits describing Murray’s position that the gap between the IQ scores of white people and black people in the US is the result of genetics and is immutable.
    Throughout the conversation Harris defends, argues for, and supports Murray on the merits.
    That nonsense can only be described as unwavering support for Murray. Harris maintains this support through multiple layers of humiliation as people who know more explain what he got wrong and he just keeps vomiting up malicious nonsense.

  45. raaak says

    However, I think when you say this, you go too far

    It seems your charge of me hurling ad-hominems at Harris is based on the above. I don’t think I am going too far at all. For someone who admits that he knows very little about the topic of race and IQ to claim the facts are completely on Murray’s side without offering any caveats, without adding a modicum of skepticism to this acceptance, is in fact falling for the racialist position.

    I mean, Harris could start taking one of those online statistics courses. The instructors in almost all of those courses warn students sternly that “correlation does mean causation”, yet this crucial criticism (which might have a good counter-argument btw) does not even come up from Harris. Only Klein mentions it in passing.

    I think I am being too lenient on Harris. It is probably his voice!

  46. rietpluim says

    lotharloo

    This conversation once again confirms my suspicion that Sam Harris is more of an idiot than a racist.

    Those two are not mutually exclusive. Racists are stupid, otherwise they wouldn’t be racists.

  47. doubtthat says

    @40

    because Klein directly charged that Harris’ arguments were racially motivated (by his “tribe” of white men)

    That is not an accurate summation of what Klein was saying. Klein is arguing that Harris’ tribal affiliations have blinded him to the plight of black people in America and the way that affects things like IQ scores. This remains true whether Harris finds common cause on other issues with people who are not white.

    Additionally, Klein rightly points out that because Harris places himself in this “free speech” “anti-anti-racist” camp, when Harris sees Murray, a member of this tribe, threatened, he reacts irrationally:

    I think you’re missing a lot, because you are very radically increasing the salience of things that threaten your identity, your tribe — which is not the craziest thing to do in the world, t’s not a terrible thing to do, we all do it — without admitting, or maybe even without realizing, that’s what you’re doing.

    This tribe is not defined by race. It’s defined by ideology and political affiliation, so simply finding members of that tribe who are not white does nothing to explain how that tribal affiliation is blinding Harris to the impact of race on American society, specifically black people.

    More broadly, if you can show that the logic you’re defending applies independently of some outside, non-relevant factor, then that works toward disproving that your argument is motivated by that factor. Deductive reasoning 101 brother.

    I seem to recall learning about the difference between soundness and validity in logic 101. Regardless of the validity of your argument – which, you know, not great – beginning with false premises will necessarily lead you astray.

  48. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My problem with those who oppose “identity politics”, is that they actually participate in “identity politics”. They are fearful of those who don’t have the same melanin content, those who have different genitalia or gender, who aren’t heterosexual, who don’t believe in their imaginary deities, etc. They are fearful that they can’t compete on a level playing field. They feel if they don’t have a leg up on the competition, they will be failures. I keep hearing the fear I have heard for fifty years.
    I don’t have much sympathy for those who claim we are a post-sexist and post racist society, but can’t show equal results.
    They want the present privileges in place that really make equal opportunity just so much window dressing.
    I always like to point to the Rooney Rule in NFL hiring of head coaches. What the rule does is eliminate discrimination prior to interviews for the position. For every “white” candidate interviewed, a minority candidate had to be interviewed. Significantly increased the percentage of head coaches who were from minorities. Still not where it should be based on the percentage of minority players in the NFL. But it did do away with the structural discrimination keeping minority interviews at a low level.

  49. says

    @lcuddy12
    What adhoms and reasoning problems?

    What slander?

    What is the relevance of other putative good faith interactions since the ones here can stand on their own?

    What retweeted nonsense?

    SPECIFICALLY.

  50. says

    Hi doubtthat. This claim that you made is contradicted by the article I cited that reviews Nisbett’s work: “Murray’s racist pseudoscience was dismissed as such by the scientific community in 1994”–though it does depend on which part of the science you’re referring to. Regardless of Harris’ style (whiny or not), he has legitimate reasons regarding platforming. So it’s not JUST whining, even if that’s all you happen to hear due to your dislike of Harris. I heard the conversation, and I agree that Harris could perhaps have been more challenging to Murray. However, he did not agree with Murray on all points, and was not satisfied with Murray’s answer to why he even did the research to begin with.

  51. Tethys says

    What exactly are SH’s legitimate reasons on platforming? He seems to profit from his frequent appearances on various platforms, so clearly occupying one is not the problem.

  52. says

    Hi again doubtthat. If your interpretation of Klein’s claim is correct (though it’s arguable that my interpretation is also correct given Klein’s lack of clarity on the matter), then it’s even worse, since whether Harris has been blinded to the plight of black people is irrelevant to the central issue of the conversation (I admit that it is relevant peripherally).

    Because I reject the relevance of your interpretation of the claim to the conversation, the rest of your points crumble away too (now that is an example of validity without soundness). But just for the hell of it, I’ll address the following point.

    Certainly the tribe does not have to be defined by race, but that is what Klein implies at some points in the conversation–not the least of which because he does not address it when Harris reminds him of the fact that Murray’s original data supposedly showed that Asians have higher mean IQs than whites.

    Let me ask you this, if a black person or Asian person made the same arguments that Harris is making, you’re telling me that you would heap upon her the same criticisms? Would you say to her, “Look, I know you’re not white, but based on the ideas you’re presenting you’re part of the white tribe, and you’re contributing to the problem of racism by talking about it this way.”

  53. says

    Brony Social Justice Cenobite:
    Answer to question 1: I pointed out straw men, ad hominems, and a red herring in my initial post here, so read that again if you haven’t already done so. If you seriously can’t see the ad hominems on multiple posts here after reading through them, I can only think that we have a different understanding of “ad hominem.”

    Answer to question 2: I was referring to the slandering of Harris’ reputation by painting him as an ignorant “racialist” who is as dangerous as a white supremacist (by implication). The Vox article is a nice example. I’m not a defender of Harris’ ideas necessarily, but headlines should read something “Harris is wrong because of X” rather than “Harris is peddling junk science.”

    Answer to question 3: the relevance of the good-faith point is that Klein makes broad generalizations about Harris’ character and implies that Harris is a child who can’t handle disagreement. My point in mentioning the Wizards is that he CAN handle disagreement when it is truly in good faith.

    Answer to question 4: take your pick, but I’ll just mention one (re?)tweet from Glenn Greenwald with an out of context passage from one of Harris’ works. The tweet had a pic of Harris with the words “genocidal fascist maniac.” Wow, that’s a call for good faith dialogue if I ever saw it!

  54. says

    Hi Raak. I somewhat answered your first points in my response to doubtthat. But regarding your point about correlation is not causation (the false cause fallacy), I don’t think it applies. If I recall, but correct me if I’m wrong here, at least some of the research in The Bell Curve was based on a complex statistical analysis where the P-values were statistically significant. And I believe that analysis was done multiple times. This sort of procedure is one of the ways scientists move beyond correlation.

  55. says

    @lcuddy12
    1) You named no names and cited no posts. If you have the guts to claim you see ad homs and reasoning problems you can point to them.

    The most specific you get is “one comment above”, not nearly good enough. I don’t give a fuck what you think I should be able to see, I give a fuck about what you can or can’t show.

    2) Why is that slander? That’s actually a thing with characteristics. Harris doesn’t have the guts to outline the characteristics, maybe you can be more competent than he is.

    3) You missed the part where I said that these interactions can be described as good faith independently of others. Since you didn’t actually do that you have done no work, and you’ve merely asserted that the other interactions we’re good faith (a secondary issue I’m simply not going to pursue until you line up equivalent interactions between compared sets).

    4) If it exists you can show it to me.

  56. says

    Hi Tethys. After looking back at when I first used the word “platforming”, I was responding to doubtthat, so maybe he can clarify what he meant. I was referring to things like Murray being physically attacked. You’re right that Harris has a platform. But even with a platform, it’s not fair when one’s reputation is unfairly slandered.

  57. John Morales says

    lcuddy12 .:

    I was referring to the slandering of Harris’ reputation by painting him as an ignorant “racialist” who is as dangerous as a white supremacist (by implication).

    Quoth Harris:

    So, I felt a moral obligation to have him [Murray] on my podcast. In the process of defending him against the charge of racism and in order to show that he had been mistreated for decades, we had to talk about the science of IQ and the way genes and environment almost certainly contribute to it. Again, IQ is not one of my concerns and racial differences in IQ is absolutely not one of my concerns, but a person having his reputation destroyed for honestly discussing data — that deeply concerns me.

    So, here is the actual quotation by Vox:
    “In an episode that runs nearly two and a half hours, Harris, who is best known as the author of The End of Faith, presents Murray as a victim of “a politically correct moral panic” — and goes so far as to say that Murray has no intellectually honest academic critics. Murray’s work on The Bell Curve, Harris insists, merely summarizes the consensus of experts on the subject of intelligence.
    The consensus, he says, is that IQ exists; that it is extraordinarily important to life outcomes of all sorts; that it is largely heritable; and that we don’t know of any interventions that can improve the part that is not heritable. The consensus also includes the observation that the IQs of black Americans are lower, on average, than that of whites, and — most contentiously — that this and other differences among racial groups is based at least in part in genetics.”

    Is that to what you refer as slandering?

  58. John Morales says

    PS re #59:

    But even with a platform, it’s not fair when one’s reputation is unfairly slandered.

    True; but then, even with a platform, it’s fair when one’s reputation is fairly slandered.

    (Heh)

  59. says

    Hi John Morales. I was referring to the title of the article, and the use of the term “junk science” which contradicts this passage later in the article:

    “We believe there is a fairly wide consensus among behavioral scientists in favor of our views, but there is undeniably a range of opinions in the scientific community. Some well-informed scientists hold views closer to Murray’s than to ours.”

    So are those supposedly well-informed scientists peddling junk science too?

    But I was also referring to the subtitle targeting Harris, and the pic of Harris in the article with a derogatory heading, and passages like this one: “Finally, let us consider Sam Harris and his willingness to endorse Murray’s claims — his decision to suspend the skepticism and tough-mindedness we have come to expect from him.”

    Again, if we are to believe the article’s prior claims that well-informed scientists hold similar views, then why single out Harris’ supposed “suspension of skepticism”?

    As we can see from some of the comments on this thread, not everyone reads through everything they see before forming an opinion, so sometimes the title is all that matters. As everyone should know by now, just one tweet can end a person’s career in our current world, even inaccurate or misleading ones. Given this, even if it was only the “junk science” thing, it would still qualify as slander, since most definitions of slander target some stretching of the truth to damage a person’s reputation.

  60. says

    “True; but then, even with a platform, it’s fair when one’s reputation is fairly slandered.”
    Nice :) Or would that be an oxymoron…

  61. doubtthat says

    @53 lcuddy12 .

    This claim that you made is contradicted by the article I cited that reviews Nisbett’s work

    Nope. Not even close. You provided a review that was skeptical of the claims Nisbett made regarding the degree to which environment effects IQ. Nisbett failing to prove his case does not result in Murray’s claims being true, because they are not. Survey data of IQ results that do not control for the effect of culture do not prove culture to be irrelevant. The article you linked does not come close to demonstrating that the IQ difference is genetic and immutable.

    The platforming issue with Murray is absolute nonsense. Quoting Ygelsias:

    What’s more, despite the mythmaking around Murray, nobody has silenced or stymied him. He is one of the most successful authors of policy-relevant nonfiction working in America today. He’s ensconced at the center of the conservative policy establishment as an emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. In 2016, he won the Bradley Prize, a prestigious conservative award that carries a $250,000 stipend. He regularly publishes op-eds in the Wall Street Journal. The New York Times reviewed Coming Apart twice. Tom Edsall featured it in a column (he says it raises “issues that are rarely examined with the rigor necessary to affirm or deny their legitimacy”), and David Brooks recommended it twice, lauding the “incredible data,” along with the analysis. PBS built an interactive around it.

    https://www.vox.com/2018/4/10/17182692/bell-curve-charles-murray-policy-wrong

    Histrionic nonsense. Anyone complaining about Murray’s lack of exposure can safely be ignored.

    @55 lcuddy12 .

    If your interpretation of Klein’s claim is correct (though it’s arguable that my interpretation is also correct given Klein’s lack of clarity on the matter), then it’s even worse, since whether Harris has been blinded to the plight of black people is irrelevant to the central issue of the conversation (I admit that it is relevant peripherally).

    1) I am correct. Please quote anything from Klein that supports your claim in comment 40 that “Klein directly charged that Harris’ arguments were racially motivated.” He did no such thing.
    2) The issue of the effect of Harris’ tribal commitments on his ability to rationally assess Murray’s work and related topics was central to the section of the 2hr podcast where they debated it.

    Because I reject the relevance of your interpretation of the claim to the conversation, the rest of your points crumble away too

    Yes, it’s amazing how effective doubling down on a blatantly wrong position can be if the claimant doesn’t give a shit about accuracy.

    Certainly the tribe does not have to be defined by race, but that is what Klein implies at some points in the conversation…

    This is a very sad interpretation. Klein makes a very correct point about white privilege: The fact that Harris is white insulates him from the cultural dynamics that he so sloppily dismisses. Whiteness is the background situation that allows Harris’s tribal notions to form – why he’s more worried about people criticizing the work of Charles Murray than he is about the damage done by Murray’s policy work.
    But that tribe is not defined by race.

    he does not address it when Harris reminds him of the fact that Murray’s original data supposedly showed that Asians have higher mean IQs than whites.

    Why would he? That data suffers from the same explanatory weakness as the black/white gap. It adds nothing to the discussion, and it’s pretty clear the “model minority” canard is the result of cultural, not genetic factors, not the least of which being Asian immigrants since 1965 coming from higher social classes in their native countries.

    Let me ask you this, if a black person or Asian person made the same arguments that Harris is making, you’re telling me that you would heap upon her the same criticisms? Would you say to her, “Look, I know you’re not white, but based on the ideas you’re presenting you’re part of the white tribe, and you’re contributing to the problem of racism by talking about it this way.”

    I mean, there are non-white people who make these arguments, like Dinesh D’Souza. They are wrong on the science no matter who describes them. And yes, I think a person like D’Souza is very much a member of the “Aggrieved Conservative Tribe”.

  62. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    lcuddy12 #56:

    an out of context passage from one of Harris’ works. The tweet had a pic of Harris with the words “genocidal fascist maniac.”

    @Brony, Social Justice Cenobite #58:

    If it exists you can show it to me.

    lcuddy12 seems to be referring to this screenshot. The tweet no longer exists.

    The quote was, “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them,” from The End of Faith. (link leads to the page)
     
    In the book, it had been attached to a tortured daughter Taken scenario, to demonstrate beliefs decide behavior. Yadda yadda slippery slope… killing people with certain beliefs – made violent and unreceptive to persuasion or capture by said beliefs – may be justified as self-defense. Suddenly, the West has a bloody war of ideas in the Muslim world.

  63. says

    @CompulsoryAccount7746
    Thank you for providing that. I see no reason to doubt Reza Aslan’s honesty or sincerity so the use of “good faith” doesn’t seem to apply. I can understand feeling negatively about it but that’s not a “good faith” issue from what I can tell.

  64. John Morales says

    lcuddy12 . #62:

    Hi John Morales. I was referring to the title of the article, and the use of the term “junk science” which contradicts this passage later in the article:

    Fine. So it’s not the bit I quoted and to which Harris refers, but what you personally think constitutes slander.

    “We believe there is a fairly wide consensus among behavioral scientists in favor of our views, but there is undeniably a range of opinions in the scientific community. Some well-informed scientists hold views closer to Murray’s than to ours.”

    So are those supposedly well-informed scientists peddling junk science too?

    I don’t know, but so what? The gist of what you quoted is that such consensus as may exist is not unanimous, but is not what Murray believes. It certainly doesn’t show Harris has been slandered, which was your actual claim.

    But I was also referring to the subtitle targeting Harris, and the pic of Harris in the article with a derogatory heading, and passages like this one: “Finally, let us consider Sam Harris and his willingness to endorse Murray’s claims — his decision to suspend the skepticism and tough-mindedness we have come to expect from him.”

    A pattern of behaviour, right? ;)

    (Funny how that works)

    Again, if we are to believe the article’s prior claims that well-informed scientists hold similar views, then why single out Harris’ supposed “suspension of skepticism”?

    In case you failed to notice the why, let me quote yet again:
    “So, here is the actual quotation by Vox:
    “In an episode that runs nearly two and a half hours, Harris, who is best known as the author of The End of Faith, presents Murray as a victim of “a politically correct moral panic” — and goes so far as to say that Murray has no intellectually honest academic critics. Murray’s work on The Bell Curve, Harris insists, merely summarizes the consensus of experts on the subject of intelligence.
    The consensus, he says, is that IQ exists; that it is extraordinarily important to life outcomes of all sorts; that it is largely heritable; and that we don’t know of any interventions that can improve the part that is not heritable. The consensus also includes the observation that the IQs of black Americans are lower, on average, than that of whites, and — most contentiously — that this and other differences among racial groups is based at least in part in genetics.””

    Given this, even if it was only the “junk science” thing, it would still qualify as slander, since most definitions of slander target some stretching of the truth to damage a person’s reputation.

    Gotcha. He’s, in your own words, being unfairly slandered, mostly due to headlines and selected quotations of him.

    (O brave defender!)

  65. raaak says

    lcuddy12 . @57,

    I somewhat answered your first points in my response to doubtthat

    You managed to dodge the point. It makes sense for Nisbett (or even Murray) to adamantly insist on their science-based positions. They both are experts with credentials and all that.

    Harris, on the other hand, claims to be a skeptic, a layperson, whose only real weapon is reason, critical thinking and weighing evidence on both sides. He doesn’t do any of that. Quite the contrary, like a true charlatan, he baits and switches. He first cozies up to Murray because he is persecuted by the left, then uncritically accepts his scientific interpretation of the data and that is all that matters. Harris can disagree all he wants after that and talk about how we should be nice to each other. Nobody, not the racists, not the anti-racists will care. By admitting the racialist position is mainstream science he has put his weight as an intellectual and as a celebrity behind that stance. This is a colossal failure. You cannot escape from this by drawing false analogies between Nisbett and Harris.

    This sort of procedure is one of the ways scientists move beyond correlation.

    I did not understand what you were talking about. Either explain it or provide citations to support your claim. I find your claim that Murray has managed to establish some form of causal relationship between race and IQ highly dubious though.

  66. John Morales says

    raaak, I reckon someone with a PhD in cognitive neuroscience would (should?) have some expertise in the topic, indeed, significantly more than the typical person. So that adds to his weight.

    By admitting the racialist position is mainstream science he has put his weight as an intellectual and as a celebrity behind that stance.

    Admirably succinct.

  67. says

    @64 doubtthat. Looks like you may not have read through the article fully. The review I linked references both Nisbett’s and Murray’s work. Murray’s work is cited as a legitimate source, not dismissed. You said it was dismissed in 94. Additionally, the original Vox article by Nisbett et. al. contradicts your point, since the authors admit that there are some legitimate scholars who are closer to Murray’s view than to theirs.

    Maybe you’re right about Klein’s meaning, I could mine for quotes that support my view as you did, but it doesn’t really matter because, as I’ve already argued, both interpretations constitute bad reasoning. The entire podcast was NOT about “The issue of the effect of Harris’ tribal commitments on his ability to rationally assess Murray’s work and related topics.” That’s what Klein tried to make it about. The main thing I do agree with Harris on is that the science/facts can and should be separated from the rest of it (as important as the other stuff is), which is what Harris kept trying to remind Klein about on the podcast. You and Klein either think this shouldn’t be done or can’t be done. I’m guessing we’ll have to agree to disagree here.

    You say that the tribe is not defined by race, but also that “the fact that Harris is white insulates him from the cultural dynamics that he so sloppily dismisses.” So people who are not white, but still believe the same things Harris does, where did their beliefs come from, in your eyes? If their whiteness did not “insulate” them, why don’t they agree with you and Klein? You mention D’Souza, yet I doubt you would tell him he’s wrong with the same level of sanctimony and condescension that you tell Harris. You would likely just refer, rightly, to D’Souza’s poor reasoning. You wouldn’t, and couldn’t, say that his whiteness clouded his judgment somehow.

    Do you honestly not see the problem here?

    Imagine that we were discussing communism, and rather than letting you talk about the facts about communism as Karl Marx originally wrote them, I insisted that you speak about the damage that some bad communist regimes have done to their people. We should be able to separate the facts from how we react to them, personally and culturally.

    My argument about platforming has nothing to do with Murray’s other accomplishments. I’m not arguing that he is impoverished in some way. Murray was physically attacked for trying to speak–that’s wrong, end of story. If it happens even once, to anyone, it should be stopped, in my view.

    Regarding the IQ gaps, you’re missing the crucial point that if both data suffer from the same weakness, why is Klein focusing mostly on the white/black gap? Why isn’t he worried that the data, even if false, could lead to unfair social policies against whites in favor of Asians?

  68. says

    Sky captain, yes thanks, I was referring to that tweet. I actually saw the tweet so I know it was sent, but it has been deleted at this point. I didn’t respond to the rest of Brony’s comments because I already answered them, and he was being a disrespectful douche (there’s my ad hominem).

  69. says

    I’m not sure how to respond to you John. Are you arguing for some sort of relativism/subjectivism? If so, as you should know, your view is no more valid than mine, since these theories deny any sort of objective truth. But if we are in an objective universe where words have agreed-upon meanings (as I believe we are), then you should understand the meaning of the word “slander” and how my examples support the case for slander against Harris.

    The reason why the reference to the other scientists illustrates slander is because the authors chose to personally target Harris rather than those scientists for condemnation, when both were equally worthy of criticism.

  70. John Morales says

    lcuddy12 .:

    I’m not sure how to respond to you John. Are you arguing for some sort of relativism/subjectivism?

    What? No.

    I’ve clarified that your claim about slander is based on, um, idiosyncratic considerations.

    If so, as you should know, your view is no more valid than mine, since these theories deny any sort of objective truth.

    So, if so, you’d accept my supposed argument, conceding it. But (again), no.

    (Also, intersubjectivity is a thing)

    But if we are in an objective universe where words have agreed-upon meanings (as I believe we are), then you should understand the meaning of the word “slander” and how my examples support the case for slander against Harris.

    I do understand your conception of the meaning of the word “slander” and how by that conception your examples “support the case for slander” against Harris; you’ve been perfectly clear.

    (Quotation marks because here you concede that there is a genuine doubt whether slander is truly applicable, and you’re making the case that it is by adducing such supporting evidence)

    The reason why the reference to the other scientists illustrates slander is because the authors chose to personally target Harris rather than those scientists for condemnation, when both were equally worthy of criticism.

    You mean, like this?

    “So, here is the actual quotation by Vox:
    “In an episode that runs nearly two and a half hours, Harris, who is best known as the author of The End of Faith, presents Murray as a victim of “a politically correct moral panic” — and goes so far as to say that Murray has no intellectually honest academic critics. Murray’s work on The Bell Curve, Harris insists, merely summarizes the consensus of experts on the subject of intelligence.
    The consensus, he says, is that IQ exists; that it is extraordinarily important to life outcomes of all sorts; that it is largely heritable; and that we don’t know of any interventions that can improve the part that is not heritable. The consensus also includes the observation that the IQs of black Americans are lower, on average, than that of whites, and — most contentiously — that this and other differences among racial groups is based at least in part in genetics.””

  71. says

    Raaak, as I said already, I agree that Harris could have been more challenging to Murray. But, again, I wouldn’t go that far. It’s not like Harris suddenly turned into Donald Trump; he was just a bit less critical than he should have been.

    And again, the “racialist” position that Harris was defending with Murray is, as Nisbett admits, accepted by many legitimate scientists, including the guy Harris tried to get published in Vox, Richard Haier. So it’s not like Harris was defending something like, say, eugenics. He didn’t fall THAT far off the rational wagon. But h e definitely should have done more research prior to the debate.

    Sorry, but I’m not going to explain statistics here to you. Google “statistics” and find a basic overview. The gist is that the analysis Murray ran to get his initial data was done multiple times–he even had others do it again. They discuss this issue on the Harris podcast, if you remember. The more times you run a similar experiment/analysis and get the same result, the more likely the result can be attributed to causation rather than correlation.

  72. says

    John, it’s not my conception. It’s basically the dictionary definition. I said: “most definitions of slander target some stretching of the truth to damage a person’s reputation.” Here’s the dictionary definition: “the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation.”

    Considering this definition, the onus is on you to show how my examples do NOT illustrate slander. For example, is Harris’ reputation not damaged by a false, inflammatory retweet, if others see it and believe it to be true? What is your argument that this does not constitute slander, by the above definition?

  73. says

    @lcuddy12
    And there it is. This is very common among aggreived Harris fans. You don’t know what an ad hominem is. Hint: the presance of something you find insulting does not constitute an ad hominem.

    This is why I press people like you to actually back your shit up. It feels bad therefore it’s irrational apparently.

    You still haven’t pointed out the ad homs and reasoning problems and it’s becoming apparent that it’s because you can’t. But go on and believe it’s because of my naughty language that you are incompetent at picking up on the substance.

  74. says

    Google “statistics”

    All the statisticians in the world just groaned and facepalmed.

    Next time I have to deal with a creationist, I guess I’ll just say “Google biology”, and be done.

  75. Tethys says

    the facts about communism as Karl Marx originally wrote them

    Do you mean socialism? The Marxist philosphy in The Communist Manifesto has just as much in common with the actual communist regimes as Nazis have with socialism. Since most people associate Soviet Russia with communism, and they in fact murdered Marx and coopted his work, it would be stupid to have a discussion about communism as envisioned by Marx without mentioning the fascism and murdering parts as envisioned by Stalin.

  76. raaak says

    as I said already, I agree that Harris could have been more challenging to Murray.

    I agree because the level of challenge he presented to Murray was ZERO.

    and again, the “racialist” position that Harris was defending with Murray is, as Nisbett admits, accepted by many legitimate scientists, including the guy Harris tried to get published in Vox, Richard Haier.

    First of all, am I supposed to turn off so many bullshit detector alarms regarding race science because Richard Haier? In any case, it is accepting things uncritically that is astounding ,not just accepting. If Harris -having already a PhD in neuroscience- had examined all sides of this debate and then claimed that he agreed with Murray, I would still be against that, but I would never call him a failure. What he has done-like I said- is some sort of intellectual bait and switch. He started with Murray’s persecution stories and ended up defending inferiority of non-white races (intelligence-wise)!

    Instead of correcting the err of his ways, he brings up “blacks are good runners” or “John Von Neumann is brighter than me” tropes showing again he has no idea what he is talking about. He is- as Klein puts it- so blinded by his identity politics and his disdain for the left that he cannot even see how ridiculous, and unscientific he has become.

    statistics

    I brought up statistics in the context of Harris not examining Murray’s views critically. Correlation-causation thing was one avenue he should have explored if he was sincere in being a real skeptic not a phony one. I don’t want a statistics debate either first because I am not an expert in that field and second because it is not really relevant here.

  77. John Morales says

    lcuddy12 .:

    John, it’s not my conception. It’s basically the dictionary definition.

    Heh. Well then, Harris should get legal recourse against this dictionary definition slander, maybe?

    (I’d love to see him sue, walking the walk he talks)

    Considering this definition, the onus is on you to show how my examples do NOT illustrate slander.

    Leaving aside you’re appealing to a dictionary definition in reference to a legal claim, I can but note that your case is not convincing, relying as it does on perception rather than on substance. The pattern of behaviour, no?

    Anyway, I’ve thrice quoted that to which Harris initially objected, and thrice you’ve ignored it.

    What is your argument that this does not constitute slander, by the above definition?

    My argument is that I think the critique of Harris’ position is perfectly and appropriately pertinent and factual. Since truthful slander is (ahem) also oxymoronic, it follows it does not constitute slander.

    But hey, let me not be unremittingly critical — here is something you’ve claimed that I entirely endorse:

    So it’s not like Harris was defending something like, say, eugenics. He didn’t fall THAT far off the rational wagon.

  78. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    But if we are in an objective universe where words have agreed-upon meanings (as I believe we are), then you should understand the meaning of the word “slander” and how my examples support the case for slander against Harris.

    This is tangential to the discussion at hand (or perhaps not), but a universe in which words such as “slander” have agreed-upon meanings is a world of social constructs, and is most definitely not an objective universe (what would slander be without human society?). Even if you can point to meanings that are so widely accepted that they make it into a dictionary, we still need courts and juries to interpret individual cases (and what counts as slander in, say, the UK may not count as slander in the US). That doesn’t mean that we live in a Humpty-Dumpty caricature of a subjective universe, but rather that words do not have some sort of objective meaning independent of the humans who use them (or, as Giliell put it in another thread, even the Mississippi River is a social construct).

  79. doubtthat says

    @70 lcuddy12 .

    Looks like you may not have read through the article fully. The review I linked references both Nisbett’s and Murray’s work. Murray’s work is cited as a legitimate source, not dismissed. You said it was dismissed in 94. Additionally, the original Vox article by Nisbett et. al. contradicts your point, since the authors admit that there are some legitimate scholars who are closer to Murray’s view than to theirs.

    I did read the entire thing which is how I know it does not remotely establish any of Murray’s claims.

    But notice how awesomely sloppy you’re being, here. The Bell Curve is like 900 pages. It’s possible to cite, for example, the very detailed data collection in that book favorably while still disagreeing with the main contention that our nation should stop poor, stupid, minority women and immigrants from having children. The more controversial elements of Murray’s writing as well as his policy prescriptions, which is what people object to, are not even minimally supported by that article. Those ideas have been dismissed.

    I could mine for quotes that support my view as you did

    No, you can’t, because Klein said nothing that remotely approaches your nonsense representation of his views.

    The entire podcast was NOT about “The issue of the effect of Harris’ tribal commitments on his ability to rationally assess Murray’s work and related topics.” That’s what Klein tried to make it about.

    Haha, what? Who cares if the “entire podcast” was about that or not? It was a two hour podcast, they talked about lots of stuff. This was one point that Klein advanced that was very well reasoned and incisive. Harris looked like an awesomely self-deluded fool in that exchange.

    The main thing I do agree with Harris on is that the science/facts can and should be separated from the rest of it (as important as the other stuff is), which is what Harris kept trying to remind Klein about on the podcast. You and Klein either think this shouldn’t be done or can’t be done.

    What’s amusing is that both you and Harris not only try to distance the context of Murray’s work from the science, but you try to distance Murray’s science from Murray. You have been wrong throughout in both explaining what Murray’s thesis is, what his scientific claims are, and what Harris said about them.

    Murray argues that the negative IQ gap between black and white people in America is immutable, genetic, and justifies an elimination of all welfare programs, affirmative action, and demands a closure of our borders.

    Harris describes that as uncontroversial and settled scientifically. That is madness.

    But fine, isolate the science and Murray fails just as thoroughly. Provide evidence that supports the claim of genetics and immutability. You have not done so. The article you linked does not do so. I will wait.

    So people who are not white, but still believe the same things Harris does, where did their beliefs come from, in your eyes? If their whiteness did not “insulate” them, why don’t they agree with you and Klein?

    There are an infinite number of ways to be ignorant. Throughout history, there have always been members of an oppressed group/class who parrot the worst claims about their group to curry favor with the elites. There are also people who are just dumb. There are people in oppressed groups who are fantastically lucky and interpret that good fortune as ability and attack other members of the group accordingly.

    Again, the Tribe Klein mentions is the group of people who say moronic, often racist or sexist things, and then suffer criticism. This is a dynamic that extends across all demographics.

    D’Souza, yet I doubt you would tell him he’s wrong with the same level of sanctimony and condescension that you tell Harris. You would likely just refer, rightly, to D’Souza’s poor reasoning. You wouldn’t, and couldn’t, say that his whiteness clouded his judgment somehow.

    Do you honestly not see the problem here?

    Since D’Souza isn’t white, of course I wouldn’t say that, it’s not true. There are many ways a person can be blind, and if you read about D’Souza’s history, he benefited from a great deal of privilege throughout his life that did have the effect of blinding him to a number of things.

    You are making an elementary reasoning error – interpreting a way of becoming a dumbass, unconsidered whiteness, as the ONLY way of becoming a dumbass. Because this is a type of privilege blindness, as a matter of fact, white people are the most privileged class, so you see this dynamic most often expressed in dickhead white people like Harris.

    Imagine that we were discussing communism, and rather than letting you talk about the facts about communism as Karl Marx originally wrote them, I insisted that you speak about the damage that some bad communist regimes have done to their people. We should be able to separate the facts from how we react to them, personally and culturally.

    This is stunningly daft.

    First, if we were discussing how to implement policy ideas based on Marx’s writings, we would be absolute morons to not study how they worked or failed in history.

    Second, you have the analogy backwards. Harris is attempting to explain life in the Soviet Union by reading Das Kapital. He’s engaging in a detached, useless thought experiment that ignores actual reality. He’s telling us, “No, there aren’t any gulags in the Soviet Union. I know this because Marx doesn’t say anything about them.”

    You see the problem with that?

    Murray was physically attacked for trying to speak–that’s wrong, end of story. If it happens even once, to anyone, it should be stopped, in my view.

    Exactly zero people involved in this conversation disagree with that. Just because he was unjustly assaulted does not mean his racist, pseudoscientific ideas should receive more air time.

    Regarding the IQ gaps, you’re missing the crucial point that if both data suffer from the same weakness, why is Klein focusing mostly on the white/black gap? Why isn’t he worried that the data, even if false, could lead to unfair social policies against whites in favor of Asians?

    When you say things like this, it makes me think you haven’t read or listened to any of the discussion between Klein and Harris.

    Klein’s words:

    Here is my view: Research shows measurable consequences on IQ and a host of other outcomes from the kind of violence and discrimination America inflicted for centuries against African Americans. In a vicious cycle, the consequences of that violence have pushed forward the underlying attitudes that allow discriminatory policies to flourish and justify the racially unequal world we’ve built.

    To put this simply: You cannot discuss this topic without discussing its toxic past and the way that shapes our present.

    The conversation between Murray and Harris, one not unique to them, is particularly important right now because it shows how longstanding, deeply harmful tropes are being rehabilitated across the right as a brave stand against political correctness, and as a justification for cutting social programs and giving up on efforts to foster racial equality.

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/3/27/15695060/sam-harris-charles-murray-race-iq-forbidden-knowledge-podcast-bell-curve

    As for why there aren’t fears of Asians dominating whites, well, that tells you how utterly meaningless IQ is. Once again, trying to deal with this issue conceptual just leads to utter nonsense. In America, economic, social, legal, and political power are all held by white people. There is no oppression of white people based on their race (poor whites are often oppressed economically…by wealthier whites).

    The same bad science underlies the claim, but it has no social or cultural relevance, unlike the black/white issue where Murray himself argues the IQ difference justifies harsh social penalties for black people.

  80. Bruce Anderson says

    Sam Harris is in it for the money. Race and IQ pseudoscience is a big business. If he’s not shilling for money then he’s just about the dumbest “intellectual” on the planet.

    People like Like Harris, Lauren Southern, Stafan Molyneux and entire rogues gallery of e-celebs and fake intellectuals have a great scam going. But the problem is, they need to continuously pull stunts in order to remain relevant and gain clicks and donations. Racist pseuedoscience is a money maker that never gets old. Plenty of racists will spend money to be told that black people are inferior. If we could do a forensic analysis of Sam Harris’ page views, clicks and donations I’m pretty sure that whatever shtick he was engaged in wasn’t generating the clicks and funds he thought he deserved. That’s when he decided to jump on the race and IQ bandwagon. Even Charles Murray probably doesn’t believe much of what he says or writes. But he’s made a very good living doing it.

  81. DanDare says

    Sam: there’s this data. That’s just neutral fact. There’s policies arising from the data. They may be a problem. People are blind to the data because they don’t like the policy stuff.

    No.

    The data is wrapped up in assumptions of causation and meaning. Its those assumptions that are fucked.
    Take the same tests and categorise by peoles eye color. Will there be differences? Probably. Does it mean we should have social policy based on eye color?
    If we treat blue eyed people differently over 100 years or so will the eye color difference in IQ be more pronounced? I predict yes. Will it be because of genetics. No.

  82. says

    It disappoints me that, in these discussions, no one challenges the notion that “IQ” is central to success in life.

    This.
    Not to mention that this whole shit is ill defined anyway, research shows that “intelligence” only contributes 25% to a kid’s success in school. The remaining and overwhelming 75% are shit like social status, family support, health, etc.
    And from purely anecdotal evidence: I have two kids. The older one is clearly the one who is more “intelligent”. From a very young age onward she showed levels of cognition and proficiency way beyond anything usual for her age. At 2 she constructed sentences like “dear uncle M., may I offer you a drinking straw?”. At age 5 she drew houses in three dimensions.
    But she’s also got her issues and one of them is being easily distracted and another one is lacking ambition.
    Her little sister is smart, but not extraordinary. But she is ambitious and dedicated. She wants to know things, she wants to get better, she wants to be at the top. On her last school report card the worst grade was a straight A.

    +++
    lemurcatta

    I feel that many of Ezra’s main criticisms of Sam were fairly thoroughly devastated when Sam spoke to his embrace of Ayaan and Nawaz.

    And Trump clearly is not racist because of Ben Carson and Dubya was almost MLK reincarnated because of Rice.
    Also, just because you can find a black woman who agrees that muslims probably should be exterminated, even though you would do so with a heavy heart does not make the idea any less reprehensible.

    +++
    Murray

    If the United States did as much to encourage high-IQ women to have babies

    I simply love it when men tell me that my most important contribution to society is having babies.

    We urge generally that these policies, represented by the extensive network of cash and services for low-income women who have babies, be ended.

    Really, if those strumpets see one or two babies starve to death they may act a bit more responsibly!

    lcuddy12

    If you can point that the logic you’re defending applies independently of race…

    But it doesn’t. Finding one or two people from a minority (or even a larger number) who agree with your point is an anecdote, not data. There are gay people arguing that gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry or adopt. There are women who think that abortion should be illegal. That doesn’t mean that a cis guy arguing that abortion is illegal is him trying to control women’s bodies.

    Why isn’t he worried that the data, even if false, could lead to unfair social policies against whites in favor of Asians?

    Since you mentioned it…
    White men benefit the most from affirmative action
    Ooops.

  83. Holms says

    I think it’s damning enough that Harris thinks so highly of himself that he would walk unarmed into a duel with Ezra Klein, and get fairly and politely slaughtered on all points.

    Of course, Harris probably emerged thinking that Klein never even touched him.

    No different to when he took a drubbing from Noam Chomsky then. How many years ago was that? And he has learned nothing since then. His confidence is invincible.

    #29 lemurcatta
    …I feel that many of Ezra’s main criticisms of Sam were fairly thoroughly devastated when Sam spoke to his embrace of Ayaan and Nawaz. It isn’t about defending Murray because Murray is another white guy who speaks about controversial ideas (and therefore evidence Sam is engaging in identify politics). It seems wise to consider Sam has spent more time defending a Somali born former-muslim woman than he has defended Murray.

    This defense of Sam is essentially ‘he sometimes agrees with black people’ and so is already quite a weak defense of him, but it is demolished entirely when you realise that he defends them because they agree with him politically.

  84. snuffcurry says

    it DOES matter, logically, for Harris to point to someone like Ayaan. If you can point that the logic you’re defending applies independently of race, then it works toward disproving that your argument is racially motivated.

    A one-drop rule, if you will. People of color are interchangeable, so zeroing in on this one, lone person is “proof” of something. If this is what counts for “proof” amongst self-styled rational intellectuals, the term has no serious meaning and the person wielding the “proof” is obviously uninterested in anything other than an endless and unprofitable* wank, because now all you need to demonstrate the correctness of any opinion, no matter the quality and quantity of evidence to the contrary, is find a person who agrees with you (or, say, selectively cherrypick from MLK speeches to pretend he’d be disappointed in how divisive you are being when you characterize racism as racist).

    What exactly is the insertion of Hirsi Ali in this conversation with Klein otherwise meant to prove? This obviously isn’t her area of expertise, either, so it must mean that she is being tapped as an ally and fellow traveler of scientific racism by virtue of her skin color. We’re not allowed to disagree with her because she’s black? I thought that was the sort of thing Harris was against, conferring special authority and attributing deeper knowledge to people of color on the subject of racism. Her opinion cancels out the rest of black humanity’s experiences because she’s a friend and Fellow Intellectual? I wonder how she earned or was gifted such a soubriquet, when nature has deemed her a simple-minded mudperson.

    It’d be one thing if these people were being intellectually honest, but they’ll literally say anything to avoid the pesky absence of all facts and data that support their comforting, elitist just-so stories and never-ending martyrdom. Here’s history, staring them in the face, demonstrating pernicious, institutional oppression and inequality, but they’d rather attribute plainly unequal outcomes to an elaborate fantasy that, totally by coincidence, protects the status quo and their enviable place in it. But, as Harris says, we’re just “confused.” And according to Hirsi Ali, naysayers objecting to Murray’s proposed eugenics project in the US are spreading “racial poison.” I guess they don’t agree much at all or, alternatively, they’ll opportunistically skirt hard truths by any means available to them in the heat of the moment. So Hirsi Ali acts the heavy on twitter while Harris, playing for a more urbane crowd, dons his patronizing good cop cap when he knows the recorder’s on.

    *well, Harris is definitely earning a living here

  85. says

    You mention D’Souza, yet I doubt you would tell him he’s wrong with the same level of sanctimony and condescension that you tell Harris.

    I think you’d be surprised by the level of sanctimony and condescension we’d be able to reach when telling D’Souza he’s wrong.

  86. doubtthat says

    There doesn’t have to be anything wrong with Nawaz in this scenario. The question is why Harris clings to him like a “I’m not-racist, see!” life jacket.

    They share, broadly, a position on Islam. Somehow Harris thinks this excuses him from being ignorant of and dismissive towards the astonishingly racist treatment of black people in the United States.

    It’s a nonsensical argument – “My defense of a long-debunked reactionary pseudoscientist who says that black people are dumb because of genetics and we should stop them from having too many kids cannot be racist because I agree with two people of cultural Muslim heritage about the problems with Sharia law.”

  87. petesh says

    So it’s not like Harris was defending something like, say, eugenics. He didn’t fall THAT far off the rational wagon.

    @74: You may not have noticed that there is a significant cadre of philosophers (Savulescu, Bostrom et al) who are in fact trying to revive eugenics, under its original name; and a number of biologists (Church) who insist that what JBS Haldane called “positive eugenics” (which was essentially Galton’s original conception) is not in fact eugenics. It would not surprise me if Harris supported it, though I don’t know he does; in any event, it would not be as unusual as you seem to think. Nathaniel Comfort had a good piece in The Nation a while back going into the history and prospects of eugenics. I strongly oppose eugenics, but I do not call its supporters irrational; just morally deficient.

  88. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    “We believe there is a fairly wide consensus among behavioral scientists in favor of our views, but there is undeniably a range of opinions in the scientific community. Some well-informed scientists hold views closer to Murray’s than to ours.”

    So are those supposedly well-informed scientists peddling junk science too?

    “Closer to Murray’s than to ours” isn’t “the same as Murray’s.”

  89. F.O. says

    No different to when he took a drubbing from Noam Chomsky then. How many years ago was that? And he has learned nothing since then. His confidence is invincible.

    And let’s not forget when he went utterly Dunning-Kruger with Bruce Schneier; when Schneier pointed out the problems in his reasoning, Saint Sam dismissed them as “practicalities”, then accused Schneier of being a liar* (after having invited him for a debate!?)

    * implicitly, because Saint Sam is unable to make statements that are positive, unambiguous and specific; unlike Dawkins, Hitchens and pretty much every other “public intellectual”, Saint Sam doesn’t own the shit he says.

  90. lotharloo says

    @95:
    And? The regressive left is a reality. It does not mean that anyone who is accused of being a regressive left is one but certainly there are liberals for whom the primary concern is to be the opposite of the Republicans and to parade their open-mindedness, even if it means stepping on minorities within minorities. It is a phenomenon any ex-muslim is familiar with.

  91. Rob Grigjanis says

    @96:

    The regressive left is a reality.

    Can you name a few? Those, as Nawaz puts it, “atheists who are on the side of the Islamists, defending Islamism in the name of cultural tolerance”. I can’t think of any myself, but maybe I’ve just missed them.

  92. starfleetdude says

    I can’t think of any either. It seems to me that it’s a label that’s being applied to those who express concern about how Muslims as a class are discriminated against because of the acts of terrorists who act in the name of Islam.

  93. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    Also, the difference between science and pseudoscience isn’t necessarily the conclusions, it’s the process.

  94. raaak says

    @91,

    because I agree with two people of cultural Muslim heritage about the problems with Sharia law.”

    They agree on much more. Harris for example has advocated some sort of ideological screening for those who want to travel to the West! This is Hirsi Ali’s position( PDF document, p5) too. Interestingly, this is also what Herbert Spencer (Jihad watch) has also been advocating for a long time.
    By embracing Murray and calling his quackery, “science”, he should logically agree with Murray’s proposition to subject travelers (and immigrants) to the West to mandatory IQ tests.

    I am sure though that all he wants all this to make sure someday we all live in a post-racial society.

  95. says

    Lol wow, you guys are really on a roll here. This is my favorite claim so far: “I think you’d be surprised by the level of sanctimony and condescension we’d be able to reach when telling D’Souza he’s wrong.” I applaud that honesty.

    I’m not going to respond to all of your nonsense, but I will respond to some of it because, come on, this is kinda fun.

    First, I am not arguing for legal slander, I am arguing for the wrongness of slandering one’s character socially/morally. Thus, using the dictionary definition is appropriate. This is based, philosophically, on my commitment to virtue ethics. We should treat others, even those we disagree with, with respect, and we should try to accurately assess what they are saying. That passage you keep citing, John, is not relevant to my point. I didn’t say that the article was all slander. But you asked me for an example, so to answer your charge all I have to do is provide one (though I provided more).

    Regarding communism, yes I was referring to communism, not socialism. Karl Marx argued for a socialist economy, though his general philosophical view is known as communism.

    And now to my friend doubtthat… sigh. You claimed that Murray’s ideas were dismissed by the scientific community in 94. I provided clear evidence that they were not. You did not clarify whether you were talking about his science, or his social policies, though I assumed science since you said “scientific community.” Now you’re talking about his social policies. Can the scientific community “dismiss” social policies? Have all libertarian social policies been “dismissed”, or just Murray’s?

    I didn’t say the article establishes Murray’s claims, I cited the article to show that Murray’s claims were not dismissed, as you claimed. For the douche who keeps asking me for examples of bad reasoning (as though I haven’t provided them in just about every post), there’s a clear straw man and red herring. Not only did doubtthat misinterpret what I was saying, but he derailed the conversation to a separate, irrelevant point.

    Ok fine, let’s touch on that quote mining point. I initially claimed that “Klein directly charged that Harris’ arguments were racially motivated (by his “tribe” of white men).” You called me out for a supposed straw man, saying, “Klein is arguing that Harris’ tribal affiliations have blinded him to the plight of black people in America and the way that affects things like IQ scores.” After reading through the pertinent parts of the debate again, I still think there is a case to be made for both interpretations of Klein. The only passage you cited to support your view is this one:

    “I think you’re missing a lot, because you are very radically increasing the salience of things that threaten your identity, your tribe — which is not the craziest thing to do in the world, it’s not a terrible thing to do, we all do it — without admitting, or maybe even without realizing, that’s what you’re doing.”

    But this passage, as I said at first, is ambiguous. Additionally, Klein makes claims like this: “I don’t think you realize that the identity politics software is operating in you all the time and, I think it’s strong.” And you yourself, doubtthat, said that Harris reacts “irrationally.” If identity politics is operating all the time in a person, and he is acting irrationally as a result, does that not suggest that his reasoning is somehow racially motivated?

    To my eyes, one could draw either conclusion from these quotes, both of which I have pointed out the logical issues with.

    You said: “Murray argues that the negative IQ gap between black and white people in America is immutable, genetic, and justifies an elimination of all welfare programs, affirmative action, and demands a closure of our borders. Harris describes that as uncontroversial and settled scientifically.”

    You have again conflated the scientific and the social. Harris repeatedly reminds Klein that he is not defending Murray’s social policies. Additionally, Murray’s argument for the elimination of welfare programs is based on additional (unstated by you) premises that relate to libertarian philosophy. So your summation here counts as another straw man.

    I apologize for my claim about “the entire podcast.” I see now that I misread your initial claim which pointed to that particular part of the podcast, rather than the whole thing. But again, how Harris “looked” is irrelevant. Klein “looked” like a sanctimonious tool. So what?

    I never argued that Murray’s interpretation is correct; I argued that he is not peddling “junk science” due to there being other legitimate scientists who hold similar views (straw man # 3 just in this reply alone). The article I linked does not support either view (Murray’s or Nisbett’s), and is a balanced reading of the research. However, you can find this in the conclusion about Nisbett: “Nisbett’s certainty regarding his own premature conclusions is quite remarkable. Some of this may be owed to the disturbing possibilities raised by the alternatives.”

    You argue that there are an infinite number of ways to be ignorant, yet you reserve a special animus for Harris and Murray. Hmmm, I wonder why… So then if you were arguing with D’Souza, you and Klein would literally have almost nothing to argue. This, despite D’Souza (hypothetically in this case) presenting the exact same logic. Again, how do you not see the problem here?

    I wasn’t committing the error in logic you think; I was using that example to illustrate the deeper motivations of your reasoning.

    You said: “First, if we were discussing how to implement policy ideas based on Marx’s writings, we would be absolute morons to not study how they worked or failed in history.”

    I didn’t say anything about implementing policy ideas—I said if we were discussing communism (straw man # 4). You had literally just quoted me as having said that before immediately misinterpreting me right afterwards. Your analogy is so off the wall I don’t even know how to respond to it. For one, Harris is not trying to “explain life in America.” Maybe you can spell out the attributes of interest in that argument so I know what the hell you’re really saying.

    Wow, another one (# 5)? Come on doubtthat, I’m beginning to seriously doubt… that you can hang here. I didn’t say that because he was assaulted he deserves more airtime. I said two separate things. I said it was wrong for Murray to be attacked. And I also said that Murray’s work shouldn’t be labeled “junk science”, not that he deserves more airtime.

  96. says

    Wtf guys? Are you really going to attack me for not attempting to explain statistics in a fucking post like this? Additionally, if you are going to argue that correlation is not causation, you’d better know what causation means! Statistics help us figure out causes, that’s all that’s relevant to the point I was making. Also, if anyone is so confident that Harris or Murray is engaged in this fallacy, please explain explicitly how, using quotes from Harris (I haven’t seen it clearly outlined yet).

    And PZ Meyers: I didn’t say “google statistics” as a substitute for argumentation as is the implication with your creationist example; I said it because he said he didn’t understand statistics, and that would be a quick way for him to get an overview. Obviously I’m not recommending that one get a thorough understanding of statistics via a google search.

    Giliell, can you provide another link to the article on affirmative action? I don’t have the Post and have used up my free readings for the month. Maybe you can point me to the underlying research, rather than to a Post article (since the post leans left)?

  97. says

    “Closer to Murray’s than to ours” isn’t “the same as Murray’s.”

    So what? The quote you responded to still suggests a continuum of legitimate science, which Murray does not fall outside of. For example, Deepak Chopra is legitimately NOT a legitimate scientist. I hope we can all agree on that here. The journal of Intelligence is not ruminating over article submissions from Chopra. But journals like that DO accept submissions from Murray, and that’s the point.

  98. John Morales says

    lcuddy12 ., yeah, it is kinda fun.

    First, I am not arguing for legal slander, I am arguing for the wrongness of slandering one’s character socially/morally. Thus, using the dictionary definition is appropriate. This is based, philosophically, on my commitment to virtue ethics. We should treat others, even those we disagree with, with respect, and we should try to accurately assess what they are saying. That passage you keep citing, John, is not relevant to my point. I didn’t say that the article was all slander. But you asked me for an example, so to answer your charge all I have to do is provide one (though I provided more).

    No-one disputes slander is not a good thing to do, I was mostly amused at “unfair slander”, as if there were another kind.

    That passage you dismiss is actually the very thing about which I asked, but which you imagine was me asking you for an example ( “Is that [quoted passage] to what you refer as slandering?”). Clearly, your answer is “no”, since you contend that it has no relevance to your slander allegations. Which means you hold that it is not slanderous to note that Harris presented Murray’s IQ racialism as an undisputable scientific fact during his talk with Murray.

    (Nice to end on a note of agreement, no?)

  99. says

    Hi John. Yeah, you’re right. Unfair slander is of course redundant. Although I think the passage can probably be said to be slanted, and worded in a more inflammatory way than necessary, it would be harder to argue that it constitutes slander than with the other examples I provided.

    So, sure, we can agree on that one.

  100. raaak says

    lcuddy12 .

    Since you only brought up the point about statistics, can I infer that we agree with the rest of what I claimed about Harris?

    Going back to statistics discussion, I wrote about correlation-causation problems in Murray’s work only in general terms. The reason was- as it has been explained to you three or four times now- that we expect Mr.horseman of atheism to be more rigorous in examining claims that he admits he knows almost nothing about.

    Here’s me @48:

    warn students sternly that “correlation does mean causation”, yet this crucial criticism (which might have a good counter-argument btw) does not even come up from Harris. Only Klein mentions it in passing.

    Then you wrote @57:

    If I recall, but correct me if I’m wrong here, at least some of the research in The Bell Curve was based on a complex statistical analysis where the P-values were statistically significant. And I believe that analysis was done multiple times. This sort of procedure is one of the ways scientists move beyond correlation.

    to which I responded @68:

    I did not understand what you were talking about. Either explain it or provide citations to support your claim. I find your claim that Murray has managed to establish some form of causal relationship between race and IQ highly dubious though.

    And here was the place you told me to google and you will not teach me statistics which I did not ask you to. It was you who claimed that Murray has gone beyond mere correlation and has shown causality in his work. Asking you to provide citation for your claim or explain it better does not mean you have been asked to teach statistics.

  101. secondtofirstworld says

    As someone who’s not proud of belinging to fringe right as a teen, there’s a lot to unpack here. It speaks volumes about American secularism that Aayan Hirsi Ali is still a thing. Where I’m willing to overlook her fraudulent and successful attempt at asylum, I’m less accepting on her connection to Geert Wilders. A racist xenophobe and Islamophobe. So Harris’s claim being a friend to her is less than flattering.

    In recent months debates have flared up about the extent and limits of freedom of speech regarding people booted off Twitter. Plenty of people who subscribe to racialist ideas use gabs nowadays, including Milo, Sargon, Molyneux and to bring tribalism’s “independence of race” (to mean token minority) so does Tila Tequila. White supremacy nowadays isn’t just as fringe that an obviously non-white person can be one, it goes as far as an allied hacker relocating to the Ukraine, because Hitler has never ever said anything about Slavic people. I’m pulling a leg here, both the Russian (collaborationist) and the Japanese versions of Mein Kampf had the relevant chapter omitted.

    In a very tight nutshell, post civil rights, the descendants of puritans met with the ones of countries not big on minority rights (the Balkans, Eastern Europe). Cultures where Jews and gypsies (and even Germans) had to live on separate streets, or in a separate village, and nobody married anybody outside their community. A practice washed away by WWII. Chalk it up as unintended consequence of communism, but the collective guilt post the war and the actual guilt during it had reshaped demographics. That did not happen in America. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that people who supports pogroms will reject living with others they consider lesser beings. It’s well documented that redlining has only strengthened self imposed isolation.

    Racialist ideals are indefensible obviously because they don’t follow any scientific method. A decent discussion ends there, were it not for the underlying cause, the importance of being important. Those buy into such ideas who already view themselves as superior, including toward women. It’s not a white or Anglo Saxon thing, Idi Amin or Marcos are good examples.

    lcuddy12, you commit my most favorite fallacy, the one where in one large country one large group has members who similarly think as the things operate in their domain, it’s applicable globally. Murray talks about humanity, not the American society, so such an extraordinary claim requires global evidence, one he clearly lacks. What he doesn’t lack is an admiration for Rushton who was infamously punished for polling illegally. Earlier this week, a different poll was conducted with a group of white people asking them about their opinion whether they’d accept it if the EU will introduce the use of Arabic numbers in a compulsory fashion. So many have concentrated negatively on the term Arabic, they’ve forgotten they already use it. It’s an exercise in pointing out the effects of ignorance.

    What you’re trying to seemingly achieve here is negating intersectionality, as if ignorance disguised as science exists purely on its own, without any real world implications. That’s not how humans work. If you had read upon genocide denial (the phenomenon that made me hate the movement) you’d know the tactic exists to serve several purposes, but chief among them is acceptance for psychopathy. You’re fully entitled to have an unpopular opinion, but in a best case scenario also a moral obligation as to why it’s unpopular. Harris fought and lost the uphill battle of trying to get American conservatism to drop Judeo Christianity from its core tenets, so the alt right is the next best thing.

    Speaking of one statistic, I have a specific “fever dream” that involves the hacker living in the Ukraine, the feds have found hard drugs in his place, yet he wasn’t charged for that, and later his computer crime sentence got vacated (thus how he could leave the country). Now, spending less than a year in jail despite those drugs, it’s either statistically more feasible he was let off for being white (arrested for the same crime they are usually let go before arraignment) or, and it’s the “crazy part”, it was informing on associates. In a gang setting he’d be dead already, but the alt right is more trusting.

  102. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I am not arguing for legal slander, I am arguing for the wrongness of slandering one’s character socially/morally. Thus, using the dictionary definition is appropriate. This is based, philosophically, on my commitment to virtue ethics.

    Okay, please explain to me how the anti-slander position arises out of virtue ethics but will *not* arise out of at least one other meta ethical system…

    It really seems to me like you don’t actually know, properly, what metaethics are generally and what virtue ethics are in particular.

    While it may be that you could come up with an ethical system that does not have an explicit stance on slander, there’s nothing about the existence of an anti-slander rule that is in any way unique to virtue ethics.

  103. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Ooops. My 108 was for lcuddy12 .

  104. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @lcuddy12 .

    Why not visit Mano Singham or Pervert Justice (another blog right here on the FtB network that happens to be written by me) and check out why even after proving that there is an interracial difference in group mean IQ scores, it requires assumptions – not science – to agree with Murray’s stance that we know what that means for intelligence heritability, population genetics for intelligence, the differential racial distribution of alleles for intelligence, or policy implications.

    Murray assumes he knows why interracial group mean IQ score gaps exist, then proceeds to make public policy recommendations from there.

    This is a heck of a lot like a pseudoscientific Galileo measuring the time to fall of objects of similar density but the same weight and concluding that bigger objects just have bigger fairies pulling them toward earth, so the objects move with the same speed/acceleration.

    Yes. Murray is being pseudoscientific. Please do some reading. And when you get done with the first two, I have a couple more, and they’re just for you.

  105. chigau (違う) says

    lcuddy12 . FYI
    HTML lesson
    Doing this
    <blockquote>paste copied text here</blockquote>
    Results in this

    paste copied text here

    .
    There is also
    <b>bold</b>
    bold

    <i>italic</i>
    italic

    Using any of these will make your comments containing quotes from other commenters easier to understand. They will not help your comments make sense.

  106. doubtthat says

    Regarding communism, yes I was referring to communism, not socialism. Karl Marx argued for a socialist economy, though his general philosophical view is known as communism.

    Yes, and? That is not a response to anything I said nor does it resolve the fundamental ridiculousness of your analogy.

    And now to my friend doubtthat… sigh. You claimed that Murray’s ideas were dismissed by the scientific community in 94. I provided clear evidence that they were not. You did not clarify whether you were talking about his science, or his social policies, though I assumed science since you said “scientific community.” Now you’re talking about his social policies. Can the scientific community “dismiss” social policies? Have all libertarian social policies been “dismissed”, or just Murray’s?

    This is such a trivial complaint. Happy to say I wasn’t clear. I was specifically talking about Murray’s claims that the IQ difference between black people and white people in the US is genetic and immutable. He gathered a lot of survey data that people cite. Those are very different things.

    Murray is not a respected member of the scientific community.

    I cited the article to show that Murray’s claims were not dismissed, as you claimed.

    And as I have now pointed out a half dozen times, that article does not demonstrate that. It demonstrates that one scientist cited Murray on something that wasn’t the claims under scrutiny. This is a very weak point. He gathered a lot of data and drew terrible conclusions from it. People still use the data, almost no one supports his scientific conclusions.

    Additionally, Klein makes claims like this: “I don’t think you realize that the identity politics software is operating in you all the time and, I think it’s strong.” And you yourself, doubtthat, said that Harris reacts “irrationally.” If identity politics is operating all the time in a person, and he is acting irrationally as a result, does that not suggest that his reasoning is somehow racially motivated?

    Jesus, man, this is just sad. No, he is not suggesting it’s racially motivated because the “tribe” in question is the class of pundits making controversial assertions who suffer blowback. I don’t know how Klein could have been more clear. This is not even a complicated notion.

    To my eyes, one could draw either conclusion from these quotes, both of which I have pointed out the logical issues with.

    You need to have those checked, then, because you are straight up inventing nonsense.

    You have again conflated the scientific and the social. Harris repeatedly reminds Klein that he is not defending Murray’s social policies. Additionally, Murray’s argument for the elimination of welfare programs is based on additional (unstated by you) premises that relate to libertarian philosophy. So your summation here counts as another straw man.

    Dude, this is so tedious. Murray is wrong on the science. He did not demonstrate that the IQ gap is genetic and immutable. That’s the science. He is wrong.

    But once again we bump up against your stunning ignorance about this topic. You don’t know what Klein said, you don’t know what Harris said, you don’t know what Murray said.

    The Bell Curve is a book that uses the IQ difference between black and white Americans to justify policy outcomes:

    The technically precise description of America’s fertility policy is that it subsidizes births among poor women, who are also disproportionately at the low end of the intelligence distribution. We urge generally that these policies, represented by the extensive network of cash and services for low-income women who have babies, be ended.

    https://www.vox.com/2018/4/10/17182692/bell-curve-charles-murray-policy-wrong

    I urge you to read that entire article. You cannot separate the science from the social in the Bell Curve because it is a book that uses junk science (genetic + immutable) to justify a eugenics policy. It really does. That’s what the book is about. That’s why people criticize it. It also explains why Murray arrived at a position that wasn’t supported by the data – he engaged in motivated reasoning. He had the conclusion before he did the research.

    Murray has written a series of other books that approach this same conclusion from other directions. This is how we know he is an unapologetic racist. He wrote a book that concluded white art was better than black art because the encyclopedia entries about white art were longer. I know right now you are thinking, “That’s impossible. That is so dumb no one could possibly do that.” You need to learn about the people you’re defending:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Accomplishment

    But again, how Harris “looked” is irrelevant. Klein “looked” like a sanctimonious tool. So what?

    Man, you’re one of these folks who don’t understand figures of speech?

    Ok, let me clarify: Harris’ responses in that section revealed astonishing ignorance and a complete lack of self-awareness.

    I never argued that Murray’s interpretation is correct; I argued that he is not peddling “junk science” due to there being other legitimate scientists who hold similar views (straw man # 3 just in this reply alone).

    Find me a published scientist in the field who believes the IQ gap between between black and white Americans is genetic and immutable. Even the folks defending Murray don’t go that far, for good reason. There is no evidence supporting that claim, no study that successfully controlled for cultural influence.

    The article I linked does not support either view (Murray’s or Nisbett’s), and is a balanced reading of the research.

    Dude, this is such a tired refrain from you. It is based entirely on you not understanding (refusing at this point since it’s been explained 20x) which portion of Murray’s work we’re talking about. You cited an article that merely disagreed with one of Murray’s critics. It does nothing to establish any of the claims from Murray that are being criticized.

    You argue that there are an infinite number of ways to be ignorant, yet you reserve a special animus for Harris and Murray.

    Because they are arguing black people are genetically inferior to white people. I hold the same level of animus towards anyone making that argument.

    So then if you were arguing with D’Souza, you and Klein would literally have almost nothing to argue.

    This is just not true. We would have almost the exact same things to argue about. My guess is that D’Souza, at some point in his loathsome career, advanced those same arguments.

    This is all stemming from your failure to grasp what Klein meant by “tribe.” That affiliation is not about race in this case.

    I wasn’t committing the error in logic you think; I was using that example to illustrate the deeper motivations of your reasoning.

    No, you were. It was an incoherent analogy that only worked when it was flipped.

    I didn’t say anything about implementing policy ideas—I said if we were discussing communism (straw man # 4). You had literally just quoted me as having said that before immediately misinterpreting me right afterwards. Your analogy is so off the wall I don’t even know how to respond to it.

    At this point I think we’re just bumping into some fundamental competency issues.

    I believe I explained in some detail why this was a mistaken notion. You seem to think Harris and Murray are just discussing some data detached from reality – like just reading Das Kapital. The problem, though, is that social effect of black people suffering through slavery, segregation, red lining, mass incarceration…etc. is baked into the results of that data. When a black person takes the test, they do so having grown up in a horribly racist society.

    So, it’s not like discussing communism or Das Kapital, it’s like discussing a real world thing – the Soviet Union – while trying to avoid any real world facts. It’s ass backwards and why the discussion is so insulting and impoverished.

    I don’t know a simpler way to say this for you. Murray and Harris are not discussing conceptual ideas, they are discussing analysis of empirical data.

    For one, Harris is not trying to “explain life in America.” Maybe you can spell out the attributes of interest in that argument so I know what the hell you’re really saying.

    Harris is discussing the gap in IQ between black and white Americans. I challenge you to actually listen to his podcast with Murray. Here is what he says:

    People don’t wanna hear that intelligence is a real thing, and that some people have more of it than others. They don’t wanna hear that IQ tests really measure it. They don’t wanna hear that differences in IQ matter, because they’re highly predictive of differential success in life. And not just for things like educational attainment and wealth, but for things like out-of-wedlock birth and mortality.

    People don’t wanna hear that a person’s intelligence is in large measure due to his or her genes, and there seems to be very little we can do environmentally to increase a person’s intelligence — even in childhood. It’s not that the environment doesn’t matter, but genes appear to be 50 to 80 percent of the story. People don’t want to hear this. And they certainly don’t want to hear that average IQ differs across races and ethnic groups.

    And, Harris said, “for better or worse, these are all facts,” and “there is almost nothing in psychological science for which there is more evidence than these claims.” He attacked the critiques of Murray’s work as byproducts of a “politically correct moral panic that totally engulfed Murray’s career.”
    https://angrywhitemen.org/2017/04/26/sam-harris-whitewashes-the-bell-curve-during-interview-with-charles-murray/

    How is that not a discussion of life in America?

    And I also said that Murray’s work shouldn’t be labeled “junk science”,

    But it is junk science. The entirety of your argument against that claim is one article that does not remotely validate any of Murray’s conclusions.

    Sad effort.

  107. says

    @lcuddy12
    Fascinating. Clearly we don’t have the same ideas about respect and I’m not budging from your first post because so much remains unexplained and clearly we don’t agree on what constitutes respect. And you care about respect so much you don’t actually say what is disrespectful. I can do that though.

    I care about the supposed ad hominems, straw men and other things you refer to in your #36. Apparently in your #101 you think it’s respectful to answer with things other than what I reasonably asked you for.

    You tied nothing to ad hominem. It remains a mere accusation and thus name calling until substantiated. I find it fascinating that you seem unprincipled with respect to respect because if you meant what you said you would not be using douchebag (I don’t actually care so I don’t suffer the inconsistency problem, unless you are tossing around non-standard ideas of respect like I do but think it’s respectful to avoid saying so like you did with slander. I guess it’s respectful to want us to read your mind).

    Literally no one said that Harris was just saying that everyone was picking on him. You made that up, and this was after referencing a straw man which can’t be conclusively tied to anything specific since it was jumbled up with the rest of what I guess are respectful accusations to you.

    You just say Harris provides evidence for slander and that the SPLC situation is evidence. I guess you think it’s respectful to just expect people believe it because you say so, but I looked and nowhere does Harris explain how it constitutes slander. Like you he seems to think I should just believe it because he says so.

    You think it’s respectful to say Klein’s title is dishonest without saying why.

    You think it’s respectful to describe one of Klein’s responses as a red herring without showing that Klein’s response did not address what Harris’s said and functionally was a distraction, you just asserted it. I’ve read the transcript and Klein didn’t fail to respond, you seem to simply not like his response and hide behind the ambiguity of “fail” which contains no substance.

    Respect? You? Fuck and shit don’t have any meaning next to this. You didn’t earn my respect from you first comment and you don’t get what you don’t give.

  108. raaak says

    What is the science-y part of TBC that Harris (and lcuddy here) are so sensitive about? What is the science that Harris thinks makes American history a totally irrelevant factor in the debate?

    Well, Murray and his buddy ran a few regression analyses on some data-set which qualifies for academic work, I suppose. With their status, they could have published that work in a professional journal without the rabble-rousing. If they had done that, no one outside psychometric circles, would know who these guys are today. Their work would have been buried in a huge pile of similar work done by their peers.

    So, they found a way to milk the thing for money. They added a political thesis and made it a book about social policy. And lo and behold, it worked. Klein politely calls Murray a policy entrepreneur. This is an understatement. Murray is a political snake-oil salesman. I know that there are strong statistical arguments against TBC (to lcuddy: google them!) But we don’t need to be a scientist or be trained in psycho-metric statistical methods to see how wrong it is to claim IQ can be used as a practical tool for social engineering!

  109. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Let’s compare and contrast, shall we?

    First, the Bible:

    Universe of reasonable thinkers: My FSM! What is with Christians? They are clearly creating myths that are pseudoscientific and, frankly, untrue.
    Christians: But wait, the Bible says that there was a city named Jerusalem, and look! There really is a city named Jerusalem, and archaeology proves it was there 2000 years ago! Obviously everything in the bible is true, nothing is made up, and the bible couldn’t possibly be pseudoscientific because archaeological scientists said it was true!
    Sam Harris Fans: Those stupid Christians are totally missing the point.

    Then The Bell Curve:

    Universe of reasonable thinkers: My FSM! What is with Murray? He’s clearly creating myths that are pseudoscientific and, frankly, untrue
    Murray Defenders: But wait, The Bell Curve says that there are gaps in interracial mean group IQ scores, and look! testing by psychology proves that they were there 20 years ago and are still there now! Obviously everything in The Bell Curve is true, nothing is made up, and The Bell Curve couldn’t possibly be pseudoscientific because psychologists said it was true!
    Sam Harris Fans: Wow, yeah, those Murray Defenders are totally right on. What’s with those hypocrites who say that they want to think rationally about this stuff but call Murray pseudoscientific? There’s no other explanation: it be irrational tribalist hating on unpopular opinions. If only those other people could be consistently rational!

  110. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    I don’t think it’s inconceivable for someone to push a fringy but honest scientific conclusion into pseudoscience or junk science.

    The quote you responded to still suggests a continuum of legitimate science, which Murray does not fall outside of.

    No it’s drawing a distinction between well-informed scientists and Murray. That’s also a very tortured inference to make in the context of these scientists ripping Murray to pieces. Oh and you also have to conflate scientific opinion with scientific work which isn’t something you should do either. The foundations of your argument are not water tight. I suspect you know this because you deflect into another argument.

    And your next argument about him being a legitimate scientist so he can’t do junk science is just embarrassing. First of all it’s only a superficially related point. Why Gish Gallop? But even worse is it’s such a bad argument. What kind of skeptic doesn’t know about Linus Pauling and vitamin C? If a legendary scientist like Pauling can also do junk science where do you get off on making the argument that Murray can’t? I can only think of as really embarrassing or extremely dishonest. And considering the track record of the “economically anxious” I’m betting dishonest.

  111. lotharloo says

    @Rob Grigjanis:

    Sure, for example when the Islamists and Muslim apologists disrupted Maryam Namazie’s talk and then the local feminist group sided with the Islamists against her.

  112. Ichthyic says

    what’s wrong with the entire “regressive left” thing Nawaz invented, is that it was never anything more than a strawman to sell to gullible conservative numpties… who promptly and with gusto ate that shit up.

    and still do.

    that… is what’s wrong with him. he’s never been honest.

    but conservatives LOVE their misinformation. so much tastier with all that sugar on top.

  113. Saad says

    Are the people who soil their pants when a popular ethnic cleansing proponent gets punched in the face while trying to promote ethnic cleansing in public counted among the regressive left? What about the white woman who wrote a post titled “I’m a liberal feminist and next month I’m marrying a Trump supporter”? Or those who think white supremacists should be allowed all sorts of platforms because people can’t know lynching is wrong if they can’t witness a debate about it on a university campus?

    I wonder if that’s what Harris and Nawaz mean by regressive left.

  114. doubtthat says

    Regressive Left = people who do not immediately swoon when a tedious (usually white) man says, “Let’s unpack this…”

  115. lotharloo says

    Right, you asked for particular examples of “regressive left” and once you were given that example, you ignored it and then parroted that “nah, they don’t exist”, so yeah, fuck intellectual honesty I guess.

    @KG:
    That’s an interesting read and I’ll keep an open mind about it. However, there are a lot of contradictions in the article. For example, the article mentions that how after return from Egypt Nawaz was even more fervent in his extremists views:

    Far from displaying doubts about HT or playing a low profile, as might be expected if he had rejected HT, after his return to England Nawaz publicly and repeatedly declared that his imprisonment had hardened his conviction of the significance of HT’s ideology and mission.

    But then it mentions that:

    In a subsequent interview with the Austrian newspaper, Die Press, Nawaz stated, “During the time of graduation, I decided to leave Hizb ut-Tahrir; I was 29 years old and it was 2006.”

    Nawaz indeed graduated from SOAS with his BA in Arabic and law in 2007. However, he announced his resignation from HT several months later in May 2007.

    To be honest, that’s not really inconsistent. There are a lot of doubtful believers who display their doubt by publicly doubling their religious efforts and displays.

    I‌ did not read all the article but it seems the general points of Nawaz story are not disputed:‌ he was a fundamentalists, the went to jail and after he was released he denounced his extremist views. So I don’t see how the charge of “fraud” can fly.

  116. Rob Grigjanis says

    lotharloo @118: So, Goldsmiths Feminist Society agreed with Goldsmiths Islamic Society that Namazie is an islamophobe, and condemned Goldsmiths Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society for inviting her to speak. And this is an important example of “atheists who are on the side of the Islamists, defending Islamism in the name of cultural tolerance”? Right.

  117. lotharloo says

    @Rob Grigjanis:
    What exactly is your point?‌ You asked if I could name a few and I‌ did. Are you going to start backpedalling now? And besides, Namazie’s talk was disturbed and she was also threatened and instead of condemning the Islamists, the supposed feminists decided to side with people who advocate for one of the very patriarchal religions and social systems.

  118. Rob Grigjanis says

    lotharloo @125: I asked for atheists who defend Islamism. I’m not seeing the atheists, and I’m not seeing the “defending Islamism”. Apart from that, good job!

  119. lotharloo says

    @Rob Grigjanis:
    Regressive left does not refer to only atheists. You are quoting Nawaz wrongly here.

    I’m not seeing the “defending Islamism”.

    So let me get this straight. An ex-muslim non-white woman dares to criticize Islam which in white societies makes her a minority within the minority. She is invited to give a talk and her talk is disrupted and she is intimidated during the process and the Islamic society labels her an “Islamophobe” and demands that she is silenced. The feminist and LGBT society looks at this and says, “The muslim society got this exactly right, she should not have been invited” which basically agrees with their position that ex-muslims should be silenced, fuck the minority within the minority.

    I suppose from your lofty privileged vantage, minorities within minorities are non-existent and they do not matter in the grand scheme of things, good to know.

  120. Rob Grigjanis says

    lotharloo @127:

    Regressive left does not refer to only atheists

    I didn’t say it did! But Nawaz said it includes some atheists, and I was asking you to name some of them. It seems you couldn’t do that, so you thought blowing smoke and misinterpreting what I wrote was just as good.

    “…basically agrees with their position…”? Holy fuck, that “basically” is doing a lot of work.

    You “suppose” way too much. But that’s what ideologues do. Carry on, sunshine.

  121. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @lotharloo:

    My mom told me that 2 is the same as 3.

    She also told me that 4 is the same thing as 6.

    p1: 2 = 3
    p2: 4 = 6
    3: 2 + 2 = 3 + 3 (from p1)
    4: 3 + 3 = 6 (from counting on my fingers)
    5: 2 + 2 = 6 (from step 3 & step 4)
    6: 2 + 2 = 6 = 4 (from p2 & step 5)
    7: 2 + 2 = 4 (restatement of 6)

    So, here I have a proof that 2+2 = 4. The proof is utter bullshit. It starts with ridiculous premises and goes through unnecessary rationalization (you could just do the counting on your fingers step for 2+2 instead of 3+3), though it does come to a conclusion that happens to be true.

    You’re saying

    The feminist and LGBT society looks at this and says, “The muslim society got this exactly right, she should not have been invited”

    But you can’t assume that because they came to the same conclusion that they used the same premises or the same reasoning. 10 years ago a conspiracy theorist who had never left the state of Nebraska and knew no person involved could have accused Harvey Weinstein of serial sexual assault. If a court later comes to the same conclusion, that in no way says that being a conspiracy theorist is rational or reasonable or that we can throw people in jail on a conspiracy theorist’s say so.

    So three groups came to the same conclusion, that a particular “ex-muslim non-white woman” should not have come to a particular school to give a particular speech at a particular time. Can you quote their argument and reasoning to show that the feminist and queer groups actually supported the arguments and reasoning of the islamic group?

    I mean, I’m opposed to all violence, and it’s easy for me to stand uniformly opposed to all corporal punishment in schools. So… q2, I guess: If my child comes home from school and describes being beaten for getting a math question wrong and I tell the child that the teacher was at least correct to say that 2+2=4 before I head out to the school to scream for my child’s teacher’s firing, am I supporting the teacher or not?

    Further:
    q3: You asserted that the feminist and queer groups supported “islamists”, but your example is of feminist and queer groups coming to the same conclusion as a “muslim student society.” Setting aside the previous question about whether happening to agree with a conclusion is the same as “supporting”, right now you’re assuming that every muslim student society is “islamist”. If you want to prove that feminists and queers are supporting “islamists” you’re going to have to show them supporting actual islamists and not just any muslim/s.
    Isn’t that supremely fucked up?

    quoting you further:

    The feminist and LGBT society looks at this and … basically agrees with their position that ex-muslims should be silenced, fuck the minority within the minority.

    It’s possible to make a case against yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater when there is, in fact, no fire.
    q4.1: Is the theater owner silencing anyone by admitting after-the-fact that a jerkface who was willing to yell fire should not have been sold a ticket?
    q4.2: What about the Feminist Friends of the Theater society? Are they silencing anyone when they decide, after the fact, to release a statement that the jerk face should not have been sold a ticket?
    Let’s admit here that the event has already occurred, but that these statements could have an influence on future decisions to permit that particular jerk face to attend future events, which would, if it occurred, have a real impact on the jerkface’s ability to have input into the nature and quality of community theater in the jerkface’s own hometown.
    q4, in sum: Has the owner or the FFotT silenced the jerkface?

    q5: If the argument against falsely yelling, “Fire!” in a crowded theater never references race, gender, or religion, but the jerkface is a minority within a minority, does the FFotT’s statement constitute a fuck you to all the people who share the jerkface’s demographics?

    q6: If it does not automatically constitute a fuck you to the minority within a minority, then don’t you, here, talking about your real-life case have to make more of an argument than “someone said this one particular person shouldn’t have given this one particular speech on this one particular campus (possibly even qualified further by time, though I don’t know that)”? It seems like you would have to quote them saying, “the minority within the minority must not be allowed to speak” before you can successfully argue here that they want to silence the minority within the minority. Because anything else, even fucked up shit with which I would disagree (like, “we’ve been having a lot of Islamist violence in this town in the last couple weeks and I don’t want anyone saying anything about Islam until the cops catch the perpetrators”), might have the effect of silencing a particular person or even a particular group for a particular time and in a particular context, but even then you’re not having people agree with the Islamists demanding no criticism of Islam. You’re having scared people make decisions that are probably (but not necessarily) stupidly conceding a particular ground to the violent until other tactics can remove the violent people from the field.

    A(n entirely hypothetical) statement saying that Islamists are thugs is not agreeing with Islamists even if some Islamist man doesn’t want to walk on the same sidewalk with women and your best woman friend is asking if the two of you can cross the street so as not to have to pass too close to the Islamist thug.

    You have a much harder case to make here than you think, and you haven’t really begun to make it.

    Maybe the feminist & queer groups in question really did “support islamists”. I don’t know enough to say. I do know that you haven’t shown that here, for many reasons, and encourage you to actually take up your burden of proof if you want people here to take seriously your idea that feminists and queers (and atheists) are “supporting islamists”.

  122. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @rob, #2^7:

    Holy fuck, that “basically” is doing a lot of work.

    QFT

  123. lotharloo says

    @Rob Grigjanis:
    “Regressive left” is a term that applies to the left. It does not mean “regressive atheists”. Someone mentioned that Nawaz invented the term, implying that is what is wrong with Nawaz. I mentioned regressive left is a reality in the left. Then you jump in and assert that it only applies to atheists. It does not. And Nawaz also does not maintain it that it applies to only atheists, he was using it to refer to some atheists at the particular quote and if you want to know which ones, then ask him.

    @Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    The only thing that is massively full of shit is your post.

    Is Maryam Namazie’s talk akin to a “jerkface” shouting “fire” at a theater, which the latter is a cliche reference to a disruptive behaviour not covered within someone’s freedom speech? Wonderful example you got here: an ex-muslim’s criticism of Islam by your example is not covered by one’s freedom to speech and I suppose should and could be suppressed.
    Stick to white feminism shit face.

  124. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    “supporting Islamists” is a claim, lotharloo.

    I’m willing to listen to the evidence, but you’re not providing it. If you’re not willing to provide it, that’s fine. You are not compelled to do so. But I’m not a part of the campus where this happened. I don’t have the full background. I don’t know what the particular statements you reference do or do not say.

    Further, I’m not willing to says “muslim student society” = Islamists without further proof.

    Therefore, your claims are entirely unsubstantiated in this forum unless and until you provide actual evidence. I tried to provide some questions that would walk you through the argument you need to make. Even if you do want to produce a real argument, you don’t have to do it in that form.

    But right now, you still have no argument at all for the idea that atheists (or even feminists or queers) “support Islamists”.

  125. lotharloo says

    @Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden:

    This was their statement:
    http://goldfemsoc.tumblr.com/post/134396957048/goldsmiths-feminist-society-stands-in-solidarity

    They totally got there using an alternative and completely independent argument … not.

    And about the label “Islamist”, an Islamist is not a fundamentalist. A moderate muslim could be a Islamist and a fundamentalist may not be an Islamist. An Islamist is someone who is trying to spread “political Islam”, e.g., by demanding that cartoons that are offensive to Muslims not be shown (a political activity).

  126. raaak says

    lotharloo,

    I saw the video of Namazie being heckled. Is this the best you can come up with? A few heckling students and a student union protesting Namazie’s presence on their campus?

    I don’t agree with what they did. But I don’t see how that justifies a broad, ideologically loaded label to describe not only young and misguided students but scientists, artists, and opinion makers of all sorts.

  127. lotharloo says

    @raaak:
    Great, so first it was a dismissive attitude and a loaded question of “Can you give an example of ‘regressive lefts’?” and now it is “Is it really the best you can come up with?” And by the way, no, this is what I could come up with in five seconds but either way it seems the issue is not coming up with more examples but rather convincing the supposedly “intersectionalist feminists” of actually giving a smallest shit about minorities within minorities; apparently, an ex-muslim criticizing Islam is like shouting “fire” at a theater. Who could have known?

  128. jack lecou says

    Having admittedly no familiarity with Namazie or the incident in question, I had to do some googling.

    That led me to — among other things* — this nice little Guardian opinion piece by David Shariatmadari, written on the occasion of what sounds like a very similar situation with Namazie at Warwick university a few years ago. I think dropping the entire column in here would be as good a reply to lotharloo as anything, but here are a key takeaways:

    For Namazie’s supporters two things were very clear: first, this was a direct attack on free speech; second, lefties were once again siding with religious conservatives because of a misguided belief that Muslims, as a minority group, should be protected at any cost.

    The latter is a familiar accusation. I’m suspicious of it because my own willingness to defend Muslims and Islam from certain kinds of attack isn’t motivated by the idea that they and their faith should be beyond criticism.

    ….

    What might lead people to decide they’d rather not give a platform to such rhetoric? Recognising the pressure British Muslims are under – surveilled by the state, victims of verbal abuse, vandalism and arson – could it be that some students felt welcoming a person who believes Islam is incompatible with modern life would be wrong?

    [D]efending someone from prejudice does not entail endorsing their every belief. Neither does it preclude opposing those at the extremist fringes. However, the fact remains: at this historical moment, in this country, Muslims are subject to greater demonisation than almost anyone else. Absolutists may not like it, but this power imbalance must enter into the calculation.

    But it’s time to skewer the idea that, in looking out for British Muslims, the left is abandoning its traditional values. In fact it’s doing what it’s always tried to do – extending a hand to the most beleaguered among us, identifying those society says it’s OK to injure and insult, and saying: this isn’t fair.

    —-
    * Some of the other things were various posts using oddly familiar sounding language, right down to “minority within the minority” and so forth. Which is a bizarre point. Apparently, if someone is both an (ex) Muslim and a woman, any criticism of their ideas is tantamount to oppression! Who knew?

    It strikes me that may be supposed to be some sort of judo gotcha move, based on the right wing caricature version of “identity politics” (oh ho, they say we’re not allowed to criticize minority viewpoints, but here’s a minority within a minority! take that!). It would work a lot better if the people trying to pull that off understood, well, anything…

  129. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Okay, now I’ve read the statement.

    The statement reads that one should not host “known Islamophobes”. Certainly some stupid person could define “Islamophobe” to include all ex-muslims, but that statement doesn’t do it.

    it reads to me that it is not at all about a general ban on ex-muslims speaking, but instead about one particular person.

    Now, it could easily be that the specific wording papers over some assumption or presumption on the part of the feminist society that all ex-muslims are “islamophobic” and in practice they might be advocating such a ban, but this statement on its own doesn’t show that.

    It does clearly show that they are “supporting” the Islamic students’ society, ISOC. But it also doesn’t show that ISOC is “islamist” even by your definition. Whatever your definition might be (and your definition differs substantially from what I would have expected) it is still clearly not the same as “all muslims”. How, then, are we to know that ISOC is an Islamist, not merely muslim, organization?

    These are basic elements of your argument that you’re leaving out here.

  130. raaak says

    Great, so first it was a dismissive attitude and a loaded question of “Can you give an example of ‘regressive lefts’?” and now it is “Is it really the best you can come up with?

    What are you implying by first? My comment for you was quite obviously not a follow-up for the other comments criticizing you.

    this is what I could come up with in five seconds…

    I don’t see how the time you spent finding an example has anything to do with this. My criticism of you is the example you have given is not significant enough to justify using such a broad label for such a broad group of people.

  131. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @lotharloo:

    apparently, an ex-muslim criticizing Islam is like shouting “fire” at a theater

    Okay, that’s just bullshit, lotharloo.

    You said she was “silenced”.

    I walked you through an argument that
    1. being denied the right to say a particular thing at a particular time isn’t being “silenced”
    2. being allowed to say a particular thing at a particular time, but then having people afterwords say that your speech was a bad idea is not being “silenced”
    3. even if a particular person is silenced, that does not automatically mean that an entire demographic is being silenced. If I stop a white guy from falsely yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater, it’s not an attack on all white guys. It’s an attack on all people who would falsely yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater regardless of demographics.
    thus,
    4. Let’s assume she was “silenced”. Was the process or reasoning/rule/policy by which she was silenced tainted by racism, sexism, or religious bigotry? Or would the vast majority of ex-muslims be allowed to speak just like the vast majority of muslims and never-muslims? This is actually a salient question.

    The point of the “Fire!” analogy was not that her speech was the same as falsely yelling, “Fire!” The point was that there exist entirely non-racist, non-sexist, non-bigoted, and even non-controversial reasons to stop someone from speaking. Since we can agree such reasons exist, then even if someone like me was stopped from speaking, I have to ask, “Why?” before I can conclude that bigotry against people like me was the reason.

    Now, ex-muslims may very well have already asked and answered that question in this particular case. I’m perfectly willing to read what they have to say. But I’m also perfectly justified in saying that I don’t know that religious bigotry was the problem until I have actual evidence that such bigotry was the problem.

    You’re a different person. You can conclude whatever you want on the basis of what you’ve seen and read. It’s been a long time since I read anything about that incident other than the short femsoc statement you linked. It is entirely appropriate for me not to believe your claim unless and until I’ve got some evidence for it.

    Also: I don’t care that much about this particular event. It’s long in the past and I don’t understand the local context. If reading about it can help inform my activism where I live and work and write (including on this corner of the internet), then great. But I don’t know that before I do the reading, and there’s an infinite number of things to read on the internet.

    I say this because you give every appearance of wanting to convince people here of your case. You really ought to remember that if your goal is persuading someone then it is to your advantage to get them interested and serve up the evidence without that person having to do their own research.

    If your goal is something else, then there may not be any particular reason to do others’ research for them. That’s fine too. But if you actually want to convince people, you might want to use the tactics that are more consistently effective in convincing people.

  132. lotharloo says

    @jack lecou:
    It is funny because …

    [D]efending someone from prejudice does not entail endorsing their every belief. Neither does it preclude opposing those at the extremist fringes. However, the fact remains: at this historical moment, in this country, Muslims are subject to greater demonisation than almost anyone else. Absolutists may not like it, but this power imbalance must enter into the calculation.

    is exactly what Maryam Namazie and many other ex-muslims say and quite often so too. Just a quick google found this interview on exactly this fucking topic: http://www.feministcurrent.com/2016/02/16/podcast-maryam-namazie/

  133. jack lecou says

    …is exactly what Maryam Namazie and many other ex-muslims say and quite often so too. Just a quick google found this interview on exactly this fucking topic:

    I heard a lot of strawmen in there, but very little actual support for her accusation that progressives and feminists side with islamists, or that ‘cultural relativism’ is used to assume non-Western cultures are just necessarily misogynist, etc. Near the end she says the left and feminists are “constantly excusing the murder of cartoonists” etc. That is, frankly, absurd, and not a little offensive.

    That aside, I think she means well, and in many ways, in isolation what she’s saying is perfectly correct and reasonable.

    But context, as always, matters, and it’s possible that you — and perhaps Namazie herself — do not necessarily see what context applies here.

    Consider a topic that came up in that very podcast: accusations of Muslim men raping German women.

    Now, from a very narrow factual perspective, it is (alas) probably true that some such assaults have occurred. The statement “Muslim men have raped German women” is, technically speaking, almost certainly true. The problem is, that statement means very different things to different people:

    I think Namazie might see the ‘Muslim’ adjective in that sentence as particularly salient. She’s a smart person, and she explicitly acknowledges that all religions are patriarchal and misogynistic in their way, but she is nevertheless quite focused in her own activism on the particular injuries caused by right-wing Islamist extremism, and to her, this worldview would be part and parcel with the state of mind of a Muslim rapist in Germany, in a way that sets it apart. Obviously she’d acknowledge that other men rape too, but these particular rapes committed by Muslims are an entirely relevant example of the evils of patriarchal Islamism, and it’s appropriate to highlight them as such.

    A German feminist might have a rather different reaction. He or she might observe that focusing on just Muslim men isn’t particularly helpful. Rapes are committed by all sorts of men, in all walks of life, with alarming regularity. Headlines sensationalizing a particular incident, or singling out Muslims in particular is simply cheap scapegoating, and a distraction from efforts which actually tackle the much broader problem.

    A liberal German immigrant rights activist might have rather similar concerns about scapegoating. And she’d probably point out the unfortunate resonance of this sort of accusation with the longstanding racist “brown men come to our shores and rape ‘our’ women trope. She’d rightly question the point of emphasizing a rapist’s religion or ethnic background, particularly if they are a member of a minority community in which innocent men might well get victimized in the scattershot backlash.

    And a member of, say, Germany’s right-wing, anti-immigrant AfD party will of course have their own take – one which might well match the worst fears of the rights activist.

    Who’s right here? Well, I don’t know about you, but I think I’d side with the feminists and the liberal activists. In the broader German/European context, it’s not helpful or relevant on any dimension to be focusing on a rapist’s ethnicity when they happen to be Muslim, or to add any fuel to a fire in which vulnerable and innocent immigrants and refugees are most likely to be burned.

    That is not, contra what I suspect Namazie might say, ‘siding with the Islamists’. There are not simply two sides, for one thing — it’s far more complicated than that.

  134. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Lotharloo:

    BTW: I find feministcurrent.com’s founder & editor to be pretty darn mean-spirited and nasty. That doesn’t mean that any particular thing she says is false, of course, but I thought you should know that about your source.

  135. Kreator says

    @Crip Dyke #142:
    Never mind the editor in particular, as a point of criticism I’d focus in how incredibly transphobic that site is.

  136. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Kreator:

    I’d say cis-supremacist instead, but yeah. It all flows from the editor’s point of view and she is pretty fucking anti-trans.

  137. says

    First of all, thank you Chigao, I had forgotten about this.

    @Crip dyke: You’re serious? When did I say that anti-slander arises only out of virtue ethics? That’s where I draw it from, not the only place to draw it from. Virtue ethics counsels us to develop ourselves morally, to develop virtue, with of course some disagreements over what constitutes a virtue. Slander, however, pretty obviously hinders our character development, and just about any virtue ethicist would agree.

    Rather than consult your blog (especially given that you’ve already revealed your bias), I will consult legitimate scientific sources, like the review I cited. Or like Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-intelligence-hereditary/

    And here are some quotes for everyone from that article, titled, Is Intelligence Hereditary?:

    Scientists have investigated this question for more than a century, and the answer is clear: the differences between people on intelligence tests are substantially the result of genetic differences.

    And of course the author admits that:

    Genes make a substantial difference, but they are not the whole story. They account for about half of all differences in intelligence among people, so half is not caused by genetic differences, which provides strong support for the importance of environmental factors. This estimate of 50 percent reflects the results of twin, adoption and DNA studies.

    Harris said 50-80 percent, which was inflated. But this article claims that it’s 50 percent, not zero. The article was written by Robert Plomin, who seems to be credible on the topic.

    Here is one scientist who is “closer to Murray” who apparently in part agrees with Harris’ summation of the data.
    To be clear, I have never argued to be an expert on this topic at the level of Nisbett or Plomin (though is anyone in this discussion an expert at that level?). Nisbett might be right. My point has always been that, as non-experts, we should appreciate the diversity of opinion on the matter without name-calling, rather than blindly following Nisbett’s clearly politically-driven view.

    @Khantron: Not all scientists are “ripping Murray to pieces,” as I just pointed out above. Additionally, Richard Haier recently wrote an analysis of the debate where he said he sided with Harris (and by association Murray): http://thefederalist.com/2018/04/10/sam-harris-ezra-klein-finally-discuss-human-intelligence-without-calling-names/

    You’re right: I should have said that the quote suggests that there is a range of legitimate science that is recognized as such by the scientific community.

    I’m saying both that he is a legitimate scientists AND that he didn’t do junk science, as the passages cited from Scientific American above make clear. This isn’t the same as the vitamin C example, or, again, as the Deepak Chopra example.

    @Raaak: I’m happy to see that you said this:

    Murray and his buddy ran a few regression analyses on some data-set which qualifies for academic work.

    This is the analysis I was referring to. So you do understand how statistics work then? The counterargument to the correlation is not causation claim IS the regression analysis. To charge that such an analysis fits the correlation is not causation fallacy will require you to be skeptical of a large amount of existing scientific data for the same reason.

    What other points? You mean when you said that Harris was a charlatan?

    @Brony:

    I don’t give a fuck what you think I should be able to see, I give a fuck about what you can or can’t show.

    Sounds pretty respectful to me! And yes I called you a douche afterwards. I said we should be respectful to those we disagree with; not to those who show us disrespect to begin with for no reason.

    The reason I didn’t address your “good faith independently of other dialogue” point is because Klein himself implies that Harris has similar “good faith” problems with others too. I admit that my point was slightly tangential, but not irrelevant, especially seeing as it was my first contribution to the discussion and I was touching on a few different points. But due to Klein’s insistence on refocusing the conversation on Harris’ supposed bias, I would argue that he was acting in bad faith in some ways. To be fair, though, I admit that Klein did make at least some arguments.

    It’s clear now, Brony, that however many times I explicitly point out a fallacy and explain why, you’re not going to accept that I have actually pointed one out. This is the main reason I have not communicated with you here, it’s even more useless than communicating with doubtthat.

    Regarding the SPLC, the Vox article is listed here on their website, targeting both Harris and Murray: https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/03/29/hatewatch-headlines-3292018

    But there is SOME use to communicating with doubtthat, because he occasionally concedes a point and replies logically (even if he doesn’t admit it).

    @doubtthat: Not everything was a response to you, doubtthat, regarding the communism point. The analogy is a perfect example of separating the facts about something from its social implications, hence it stands. But this is the sort of thing we are simply going to have to let go, since no matter how many times I explain its import, like Brony, you simply will not accept it.

    Murray is not a respected member of the scientific community.

    I already provided evidence against this view. The review shows that Murray’s work on intelligence is still being considered in the context of intelligence research, among other sources. This suggests his work has not been dismissed by the scientific community. (Conversely, you would likely not see Ayn Rand’s name in a summary of research in political philosophy, suggesting that she HAS been dismissed by that community.)

    Additionally, the review targets the very same issues under discussion in the bell curve regarding the relationship between intelligence, genetics, and environment. How is this not the claim under scrutiny?

    So you were only arguing that ideas in The Bell Curve were dismissed? Not his work as a whole? Now, though, you do seem to be implying that it’s ALL his work, based on the aforementioned quote I just cited from you.

    Lol again with the quote mining thing. I’m saying: “both interpretations are plausible.” You’re saying, “No, there is only my interpretation!” Even when I provide evidence from the dialogue with a reasonable interpretation of it, you won’t budge. We can’t go any further on this point. I’m not going to repeat the same rational points I made before.

    Murray is wrong on the science.

    The SciAm article, and Haier, suggest otherwise.

    The Bell Curve is a book that uses the IQ difference between black and white Americans to justify policy outcomes.

    It uses this data, and additional premises from libertarian philosophy—a point you have not addressed.
    I am not defending Murray’s views, just his right to express them at the edge of legitimate science, and that they still constitute legitimate science.

    Find me a published scientist in the field who believes the IQ gap between between black and white Americans is genetic and immutable.

    Again, see the source I cited above which argues that intelligence is 50% genetic, and that this is based on years of research.
    Yes, you can separate the science from the policy recommendations, as many have done. Again, we’ll have to agree to disagree here. You have still not explained how the scientific community can dismiss a social policy.

    This is just not true [that your conversation with a non-white person representing Harris’ views would be of similar length]. We would have almost the exact same things to argue about.

    Except that half of what Klein said to Harris would not apply, since D’Souza is not white.

    Murray and Harris are not discussing conceptual ideas, they are discussing analysis of empirical data.

    Empirical data is like a conceptual idea in that it can be discussed independently of the real world. The data can be said to be taken in the real world, but can still be discussed apart from it. Again, this is a fundamental disagreement.

    The problem, though, is that social effect of black people suffering through slavery, segregation, red lining, mass incarceration…etc. is baked into the results of that data.

    Maybe, maybe not. Your certainty here does not seem to be justified by the diversity of scientific opinion on the matter.
    Again, I have repeatedly pointed out that I think Harris was not as critical of Murray as he could have been. But the 50% part of this claim from Harris is supported by the SciAm article I cited above:

    It’s not that the environment doesn’t matter, but genes appear to be 50 to 80 percent of the story.

    So many of you keep giving me more Vox articles to read along with your shitty blogs. I’m referencing scientific journal articles and SciAm, and you’re referencing Vox and blogs.

  138. says

    Here’s another article from Plomin along with 5 other authors on genetics and intelligence: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797612457952

    An important quote from it:

    Although the consensus concerning heritability of cognitive abilities is not unanimous (Nisbett et al., 2012), twin and adoption studies have moved beyond asking whether and how much genes influence cognitive abilities to asking how they do so (Haworth & Plomin, 2010).

    And another one:

    Few discoveries would have greater impact than identifying some of the genes responsible for the heritability of cognitive abilities

    The implication of these authors is that most scientists in intelligence research have not only answered in the affirmative what Nisbett denies, but they have moved onto isolating specific genes.

  139. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I am not defending Murray’s views, just his right to express them at the edge of legitimate science,

    From whom? no one that I’ve noticed has suggested that he be arrested for expressing his views. Do you have any idea what the “right” to free expression includes? If a private party – say, your employer – fires you because you said something with which your employer disagrees, has your employer violated your “right to express” those views?

    Seriously. Other people critiquing your bad ideas is also part of free expression. So if you’re “defending” Murray from attacks against free expression, it might be nice if you actually cited someone attacking his freedom of expression.

    And oh, by the way, “He should shut up and never talk about this again,” is not an attack on his free speech rights. It’s advice on how he should make use of his rights.

    So… where’s the attack on free speech rights in this thread?
    ==============================================
    On another topic,

    Rather than consult your blog (especially given that you’ve already revealed your bias)

    What the Freud is my bias? The researchers in the field of intelligence disagree on a lot of things, so clearly one can come to differing conclusions without bias being responsible, else the whole field is responsible none of the science is reliable, and the only thing unfair about calling Murray pseudoscientific is that it makes him appear different from the rest of academic field.

    You wouldn’t defend Murray against a charge knowing that he’s guilty, would you? So then, you can’t use the mere fact that we have disagreements to charge me with bias.

    My bias has been “revealed”. So, clearly you know what it is. Why don’t you tell everyone?
    ===============================

    Lastly, no one here contests that something called intelligence exists, intelligence tests measure it to a certain extent (though there’s argument about the extent), and that genetics play a role.

    But you’re clearly too uneducated to recognize that given the current state of the science, just because we know that there’s a gap in interracial group mean IQ does not mean that there’s a gap in interracial group mean intelligence. And even if we knew that there was a gap in interracial group mean intelligence, that wouldn’t tell us for sure that there was an interracial group mean gap in the genetic potential for intelligence.

    Seriously, if you don’t understand that, you need to read the blog posts I linked earlier – and probably the papers cited as well, if you’ve got the background to understand them.

    Murray reaches his conclusions by assuming that 100% of the interracial group mean IQ gap = a full and precise measurement of the interracial group mean intelligence gap. This requires a number of assumptions, including that the test has the same validity and reliability between racial groups. In fact, it doesn’t just require assumptions, it requires ignoring some very real, very contradictory evidence. THEN he applies the 50%-80% figure to the gap assuming that the tests ability to measure genetic potential for intelligence does not vary between racial groups.

    But frankly, the first step is such a stumble, he’s already in the realm of pseudoscience after that one.

    No one here thinks there is no such thing as an IQ score. No one here thinks the group mean IQ scores of different racial groups are identical. No one here thinks IQ tests measure nothing whatsoever to do with intelligence. No one here thinks that genetics play no role in producing intelligence.

    Bringing up Scientific American or anyone else to make those points is redundant and boring, and makes you appear to be missing the point rather badly.

    If you don’t understand how an IQ test can measure intelligence to some extent and that intelligence can be genetic to some extent and that IQ score differences can represent something other than a true difference in intelligence (Spearman’s g or otherwise), then you really do actually need to read my blog posts on the subject to be competent in the basics of this conversation.

  140. doubtthat says

    The review shows that Murray’s work on intelligence is still being considered in the context of intelligence research, among other sources. This suggests his work has not been dismissed by the scientific community.

    To be clear, you have concluded this from a single citation – not to the Bell Curve – in a single article written by one person. You consider this sufficient evidence? Interesting.

    Additionally, the review targets the very same issues under discussion in the bell curve regarding the relationship between intelligence, genetics, and environment. How is this not the claim under scrutiny?

    I have, multiple times, explained to you the claim under scrutiny – that the IQ difference between black and white Americans is genetic and immutable. Please quote the portion of the article that establishes this.

    So you were only arguing that ideas in The Bell Curve were dismissed? Not his work as a whole? Now, though, you do seem to be implying that it’s ALL his work, based on the aforementioned quote I just cited from you.

    This is tedious. Again, as I have explained, Murray collected a lot of data. People sometimes cite that data. His analysis of that data and his policy prescriptions are what are controversial and being criticized. You cannot use citations of the non-controversial data collection to support his highly controversial data analysis.

    Even when I provide evidence from the dialogue with a reasonable interpretation of it, you won’t budge. We can’t go any further on this point. I’m not going to repeat the same rational points I made before.

    You did no such thing. Here is what Klein says:

    Then you asked me — and I think this is a good question, because I think this gets to the core of this and it gets to where I tried to open us up into — your view of this debate is that to say that you have a bias in it is to say, in your terms, that you’re like the grand dragon of the KKK. That the only version of a bias that can be influencing what you see here is a core form of racism. That’s actually not my view of you, but I do think you have a bias.

    I do not know how Klein could be more clear. He is saying that the form of bias, the tribal affiliation Harris suffers from, IS NOT a core form of racism.

    Your analysis is simply wrong. Klein is very clear and straightforward and your interpretation is astonishing nonsense.

    The SciAm article, and Haier, suggest otherwise.

    Please quote me the portions of those articles that support the idea that the gap in IQ between white and black Americans is genetic and immutable.

    Here’s what Haier says about race and IQ:

    The data on group differences, however, has not yet established a reliable weight-of-evidence.

    http://quillette.com/2017/06/21/vox-goes-junk-no-good-thats-bit-intelligent-progress/

    Haier does not support Murray’s conclusion that the difference in IQ scores between black and white Americans is genetic and immutable.

    It uses this data, and additional premises from libertarian philosophy—a point you have not addressed.

    I mean, I absolutely have addressed it. I linked you to an article that discusses Murray’s policy work in great detail and includes much discussion about his politics. Here it is again:
    https://www.vox.com/2018/4/10/17182692/bell-curve-charles-murray-policy-wrong

    The point of the Bell Curve is to provide an argument so cease social welfare policies so people with bad genes – black people, poor people, and immigrants – have fewer children. Attempting to separate the junk science that supports these claims from the claims leads to absolute nonsense.

    I am not defending Murray’s views, just his right to express them at the edge of legitimate science, and that they still constitute legitimate science.

    Again, Murray is a widely published and shared worker. He makes shittons of money at a Washington think tank. No one is stopping him from expressing his ideas. He is just being criticized.

    And again, his central theses are not legitimate science. You have yet to provide a source that indicates such.

    Again, see the source I cited above which argues that intelligence is 50% genetic, and that this is based on years of research.

    And what do those sources say about how those genetic differences apply to race? Haier says there isn’t enough evidence, your other article doesn’t mention it. Again, you have failed completely to make your case.

    Except that half of what Klein said to Harris would not apply, since D’Souza is not white.

    Everything Klein says would apply to a non-white person sharing Harris’ position since Klein is pointing out that Harri’s tribal affiliation – pundit saying controversial things – is not dependent on race. Your basic failure to read Klein’s clear words is the source of this entire tedious exchange. You also don’t really know what Murray has written about. It’s just you flailing around wildly.

    Empirical data is like a conceptual idea in that it can be discussed independently of the real world. The data can be said to be taken in the real world, but can still be discussed apart from it. Again, this is a fundamental disagreement.

    Man, this is just pathetic. Please explain to me how Murray separated cultural influences from the black people who took the IQ test. When a person sits down to take that test, their genes and environment are all present. Pretending like you understand the results without understanding the environment is just total stupidity.
    People studying the topic now take great pains to control for those factors, which is why you cannot find anyone who makes the same claims that Murray does.

    Maybe, maybe not. Your certainty here does not seem to be justified by the diversity of scientific opinion on the matter.

    There is no maybe. When a black person in the United States takes an IQ test, their abilities flow directly from both their genes and the environment they grew up in.

    The other scientific opinions, as I have shown, do not conclude what Murray has about race. This is because Murray’s work was utter nonsense.

    So many of you keep giving me more Vox articles to read along with your shitty blogs. I’m referencing scientific journal articles and SciAm, and you’re referencing Vox and blogs.

    Articles that contradict your point. The Vox article was a summary written by three published scientists on the topic.

    When all you can do is bitch about the source, you know you’re spent.

  141. doubtthat says

    @146

    You notice that nothing in that piece says anything about how those genetic traits differ across racial categories, yes?

    Your refusal or inability to understand what about Murray’s work people object to is causing you to just toss out completely spurious responses.

  142. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @doubtthat, #148:

    Exactly.

  143. doubtthat says

    @145

    Going to try and edit some of this back and forth down. Most of it is just a repetitive waste of time.

    Additionally, the review targets the very same issues under discussion in the bell curve regarding the relationship between intelligence, genetics, and environment. How is this not the claim under scrutiny?

    I have, multiple times, explained to you the claim under scrutiny – that the IQ difference between black and white Americans is genetic and immutable. Please quote the portion of the article that establishes this.

    So you were only arguing that ideas in The Bell Curve were dismissed? Not his work as a whole? Now, though, you do seem to be implying that it’s ALL his work, based on the aforementioned quote I just cited from you.

    This is tedious. Again, as I have explained, Murray collected a lot of data. People sometimes cite that data. His analysis of that data and his policy prescriptions are what are controversial and being criticized. You cannot use citations of the non-controversial data collection to support his highly controversial data analysis.

    Even when I provide evidence from the dialogue with a reasonable interpretation of it, you won’t budge. We can’t go any further on this point. I’m not going to repeat the same rational points I made before.

    You did no such thing. Here is what Klein says:

    Then you asked me — and I think this is a good question, because I think this gets to the core of this and it gets to where I tried to open us up into — your view of this debate is that to say that you have a bias in it is to say, in your terms, that you’re like the grand dragon of the KKK. That the only version of a bias that can be influencing what you see here is a core form of racism. That’s actually not my view of you, but I do think you have a bias.

    I do not know how Klein could be more clear. He is saying that the form of bias, the tribal affiliation Harris suffers from, IS NOT a core form of racism.

    The SciAm article, and Haier, suggest otherwise.

    Please quote me the portions of those articles that support the idea that the gap in IQ between white and black Americans is genetic and immutable.

    Here’s what Haier says about race and IQ:

    The data on group differences, however, has not yet established a reliable weight-of-evidence.

    http://quillette.com/2017/06/21/vox-goes-junk-no-good-thats-bit-intelligent-progress/

    Haier does not support Murray’s conclusion that the difference in IQ scores between black and white Americans is genetic and immutable.

    It uses this data, and additional premises from libertarian philosophy—a point you have not addressed.

    I mean, I absolutely have addressed it. I linked you to an article that discusses Murray’s policy work in great detail and includes much discussion about his politics. Here it is again:
    https://www.vox.com/2018/4/10/17182692/bell-curve-charles-murray-policy-wrong

    The point of the Bell Curve is to provide an argument so cease social welfare policies so people with bad genes – black people, poor people, and immigrants – have fewer children. Attempting to separate the junk science that supports these claims from the claims leads to absolute nonsense.

    Again, see the source I cited above which argues that intelligence is 50% genetic, and that this is based on years of research.

    And what do those sources say about how those genetic differences apply to race? Haier says there isn’t enough evidence, your other article doesn’t mention it. Again, you have failed completely to make your case.

    Except that half of what Klein said to Harris would not apply, since D’Souza is not white.

    Everything Klein says would apply to a non-white person sharing Harris’ position since Klein is pointing out that Harri’s tribal affiliation – pundit saying controversial things – is not dependent on race. Your basic failure to read Klein’s clear words is the source of this entire tedious exchange. You also don’t really know what Murray has written about. It’s just you flailing around wildly.

    Empirical data is like a conceptual idea in that it can be discussed independently of the real world. The data can be said to be taken in the real world, but can still be discussed apart from it. Again, this is a fundamental disagreement.

    Man, this is just pathetic. Please explain to me how Murray separated cultural influences from the black people who took the IQ test. When a person sits down to take that test, their genes and environment are all present. Pretending like you understand the results without understanding the environment is just total stupidity.

    People studying the topic now take great pains to control for those factors, which is why you cannot find anyone who makes the same claims that Murray does.

    Maybe, maybe not. Your certainty here does not seem to be justified by the diversity of scientific opinion on the matter.

    There is no maybe. When a black person in the United States takes an IQ test, their abilities flow directly from both their genes and the environment they grew up in.

    The other scientific opinions, as I have shown, do not conclude what Murray has about race. This is because Murray’s work was utter nonsense.

  144. John Morales says

    For Murray, it’s not just blacks & whites, it’s men & women:
    (ObWikipedia)

    Murray has attracted controversy for his views on differences between gender and racial groups. In a paper published in 2005 titled “Where Are the Female Einsteins?”, Murray stated, among other things, that “no woman has been a significant original thinker in any of the world’s great philosophical traditions. In the sciences, the most abstract field is mathematics, where the number of great female mathematicians is approximately two (Emmy Noether definitely, Sonya Kovalevskaya maybe). In the other hard sciences, the contributions of great women have usually been empirical rather than theoretical, with leading cases in point being Henrietta Leavitt, Dorothy Hodgkin, Lise Meitner, Irene Joliot-Curie and Marie Curie herself.”[54] Asked about this in 2014, he stated he could only recall one important female philosopher, “and she was not a significant thinker in the estimation of historians of philosophy,” adding “So, yeah, I still stick with that. Until somebody gives me evidence to the contrary, I’ll stick with that statement.”[55]

  145. raaak says

    @lcuddy 12.

    Going back to statistics discussion, I wrote about correlation-causation problems in Murray’s work only in general terms. The reason was- as it has been explained to you three or four times now- that we expect Mr.horseman of atheism to be more rigorous in examining claims that he admits he knows almost nothing about.

    In other words, It was NOT hard for Harris to challenge Murray even by consulting our common friend Mr.Google for a few minutes. My criticism of Harris was that he did not do even that.

    What other points? You mean when you said that Harris was a charlatan?

    I hope we agree that at least:

    Harris was defending something like, say, eugenics. He didn’t fall THAT far off the rational wagon. But h e definitely should have done more research prior to the debate.

    I mean, this is almost as strong a statement on Harris as I would like to make. I just made the point that he fell off that wagon because he didn’t do his homework!

    And to comfort your scientific mind about legitimate science being called quackery let me add that Murray’s quackery is not because of the weakness in his scientific analyses (though there is plenty to be said there, too.) At least I call him a quack because he went way way way further than the “science” can ever support. It is disingenuous for Harris to accept the science part wholesale but disagree with him on the policies. Because he claims those policies he wants enacted are SUPPORTED BY THE UNDERLYING SCIENCE!

  146. doubtthat says

    If you don’t understand how an IQ test can measure intelligence to some extent and that intelligence can be genetic to some extent and that IQ score differences can represent something other than a true difference in intelligence (Spearman’s g or otherwise), then you really do actually need to read my blog posts on the subject to be competent in the basics of this conversation.

    Yes.

    And all this nonsense to defend the honor of a motherfucker who thought he proved black artists were crappier than white artists because their entries in the Encyclopedia Britannica were shorter.

  147. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    But the articles were objectively shorter. Count the words! Count the letters! You get very numbery results! Then average them to make it even more numbery! When you do all the scientific work, there remains a stubborn gap in average length between racial groups for their respective entries.

    What could it mean? It’s obvious: objective measurements prove Black artists are less talented, duh!

    Also, they prove that you should increase the price of art supplies in Black neighborhoods and subsidize them in white neighborhoods so that no one grow up actually aspiring to a career whose requirements science says they just can’t meet.

    This is all non-controversial, right? Did I say at the beginning it’s non-controversial? Because it is. Just look at the Encyclopedia Brittanica and count the words yourself. I’m not just a crackpot going off willy-nilly on this stuff.

  148. raaak says

    @151,
    Another gem from Murray:

    “The significant question,” Kamin writes, “is, why don’t the children of laborers acquire the skills that are tapped by IQ tests?”

    My answer to his significant question is: “Often, they do acquire such skills,” which is what makes the data so interesting. In America, bright children of laborers tend to do quite well in life, despite their humble origins. Conversely, dull children from privileged homes tend to do poorly, despite all the help their parents lavish on them.

    Herrnstein and I contend that such patterns point to causation. This is indeed an inference—a sensible inference.

    In other words, if children of poor people have done badly, it must be because they are dull too! If they hadn’t been, they would have made it in America!

  149. doubtthat says

    Gotta separate the science – counting words – from the social commentary. Only honest thing a super-good scientist can do.

  150. says

    lcuddy12 .

    Giliell, can you provide another link to the article on affirmative action? I don’t have the Post and have used up my free readings for the month. Maybe you can point me to the underlying research, rather than to a Post article (since the post leans left)?

    Do you offer me the paid position of research assistant?
    If not, why should I stop whatever I’m doing to do some research to find something you want to read when you yourself can just as well google it?

    raak @155
    Didn’t you know, the American Dream is real! Everybody can make it.
    Though one must wonder: If the bright kids of poor workers are bright because of the bright genes they inherited from their poor working parents, why were the parents poor workers?

  151. raaak says

    @Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Simple, they should have been statistical outliers! For these people, there is no real escape from IQ and IQ is the just God that eventually determines everyone’s place in the society (on average! let’s not forget the face saving caveat!)

    Few cults believe in so many myths as the cult of IQ worshipers. They are on par with vaccines-cause-autism cult and the flat-earth society. They would have been another hilarious group of people who believe in weird things if they did not have so much influence on policy making,

  152. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    >There is no definitive answer as to why bell curves differ across racial-ethnic groups. The reasons for these IQ differences between groups may be markedly different from the reasons for why individuals differ among themselves within any particular group

    -Robert Plomin

    This is what the “closer to Charles Murray” scientist, Robert Plomin says, which contradicts Murray and makes the studyies about individual genetic differences in IQ scores irrelevant to Murray’s most eugenicsy claims. The reason Murray is a junk scientist is that even the most friendly scientists say Murray’s most controversial claims are bunk. You only need one junk science claim to be doing junk science.

  153. KG says

    That’s an interesting read and I’ll keep an open mind about it [article about Maajid Nawaz]. – lotharloo@123

    Evidently not open enough to actually read it. There is abundant evidence there that Nawaz’ autobiography is a tissue of self-dramatising falsehoods, and that his consistent motivation has been the prosperity and fame of Maajid Nawaz.

    An ex-muslim non-white woman dares to criticize Islam – lotharloo@127

    Evidently to you, all ex-Muslim non-white women are the same. But Maryam Namazie is a jubilant supporter of the Al-Sisi coup in Egypt, and a long-time member of the weird personality cult calling itself “The Worker-Communist Party of Iran”. There is a de facto alliance between Namazie and her party, and the Islamophobic far right.