Hugo Your Way, I’ll Go My Way

April 25, 2014 - 5:57 pm
Irradiated by LabRat
56 Comments

So I’ve mostly driven quickly past the various kerfluffles and infighting in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy community because a) I don’t have a dog in the fight, I haven’t read most of the work of the authors involved and those that I AM fans of are often on opposite sides, and b) The idea that I should give a shit about the politics of authors whose writing I like both makes me deeply exhausted and deeply paranoid that I will quickly have nothing left to read that I like. I have John Scalzi and Larry Correia both linked in my blogroll because I really like both of their writing to the point I’ll buy almost anything either writes, and I often enjoy their pontifications, not because I’m particularly on board with either of their politics. (Although depending on the subject du jour, I often am with one, the other, or in twisted ways both at the same time.)

But sometimes it bleeds into my virtual life from all directions, and thus I became unwillingly aware of this post from Larry when it was linked from two separate places I read avidly at the same time.

Let me make one thing crystal clear: I like Larry, though I’ve never met him, and I really, REALLY like Larry’s books. The only things of his I haven’t read are the Dead Six novels, because it’s really not my genre, and the stuff set in the Warmachine universe, because my time to read these days is far more limited than I’d like and trimming out stuff set in universes I’m not remotely familiar with that aren’t original to the author is one way to keep it manageable. (You should see my backlog anyway.) If he wins a Hugo I’ll think he deserved it. I bounce on my toes in anticipation whenever something new in the Monster Hunter or Grimnoir series comes out. Suffice to say I’m a fan, which I can’t say for most of the authors he’s in a furball with.

Larry’s pissed of a lot of the right people, who have mostly reacted to him for the wrong reasons with completely unjustified venom. I often agree with some of the favored causes of the Social Justice folks, but I disagree heavily with what often seem to be their tactics of exaggeration and vilification. I think the best way to handle speech I think is wrongheaded is civil discussion, based at least at first on the premise that the other person has their own premises that might be as well-thought-through as mine are. (Often this proves not to be true, but still, it satisfies my own moral standards to start from that assumption.) Tarring people with shit they did not say and positions they do not hold is wrong. This, notably, does NOT mean I am always willing to give a fair hearing to everyone with every single opinion- when those premises are clearly spelled out as not just wrongheaded but morally repugnant, I’m willing to write that person off as an irredeemable fuckhead without a second thought.

Vox Day is, in my opinion, one such fuckhead, and it must be here that Larry and I part company. Larry:

The reason Vox is so hated is that he is the only person ever kicked out of SFWA. He makes me look cuddly and diplomatic. He was expelled from SFWA because the powers that be decided he was a racist, in fact, it was so obvious that he was racist that it only took a thirty page thesis explaining how stuff he said was actually racist, including the leadership of SFWA searching through the vile cesspool that is Stormfront until they found some nazi skin head who used similar words, and then holding him accountable for things that posters said in his blog comments (us right wing bloggers don’t believe in censorship so we don’t “manage” or “massage” our comments like they do) then they kicked him out for misusing their Twitter account.

Basically, he called Nora Jesmin an “ignorant half-savage” and that pissed everybody off. See, Nora, is a beloved libprog activist and Social Justice Warrior, and all the reports of her victimization at the hands of the villainous Vox usually leave out the parts where she’d been hurling personal insults at him for years. Myself? I thought that comment might be a bit over the line, but then again, Google search my name and see what the SJW’s have been calling me for the last few days. It is way worse that ignorant or savage, and I think I’m darker skinned than K. Tempest Bradford. I’ve yet to see any SJWs condemning those comments about me. Tolerance is a one way street with them.

“Ignorant half-savage” is not quite what he said. Granted it took some digging to extract the actual original quote and context, because people mostly did not link to it. I’m only half doing so myself, not because I want to spare people from his badthink, but because I want to deal with his horde of Morlocks about as much as I want to deal with a termite infestation. So here it is: A Black Female Fantasist Calls For Reconciliation. A much lengthier quote of what he said BEFORE and immediately after “ignorant half-savage”, because I do believe in linking to the source and providing context:

I therefore suggest that their assertions should be taken with at least a small grain of salt rather than credited to me. And it should be obvious that, being a libertarian, I am not actively attempting to take away anyone’s “most basic rights”. Jemisin has it wrong; it is not that I, and others, do not view her as human, (although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens sapiens), it is that we simply do not view her as being fully civilized for the obvious historical reason that she is not.

She is lying about the laws in Texas and Florida too. The laws are not there to let whites ” just shoot people like me, without consequence, as long as they feel threatened by my presence”, those self-defense laws have been put in place to let whites defend their lives and their property from people, like her, who are half-savages engaged in attacking them.

Jemisin’s disregard for the truth is no different than the average Chicago gangbanger’s disregard for the traditional Western code of civilized conduct. She could, if she wished, claim that privileged white males are responsible for the decline of Detroit, for the declining sales of science fiction, even for the economic and cultural decline of the United States, but that would not make it true. It would not even make it credible. Anyone who is paying sufficient attention will understand who is genuinely responsible for these problems.

Unlike the white males she excoriates, there is no evidence to be found anywhere on the planet that a society of NK Jemisins is capable of building an advanced civilization, or even successfully maintaining one without significant external support from those white males. If one considers that it took my English and German ancestors more than one thousand years to become fully civilized after their first contact with advanced Greco-Roman civilization, it should be patently obvious that it is illogical to imagine, let alone insist, that Africans have somehow managed to do the same in less than half the time at a greater geographic distance. These things take time.

Being an educated, but ignorant half-savage, with little more understanding of what it took to build a new literature by “a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys” than an illiterate Igbotu tribesman has of how to build a jet engine, Jemisin clearly does not understand that her dishonest call for “reconciliation” and even more diversity within SF/F is tantamount to a call for its decline into irrelevance. Nor do the back-patting Samuel Johnsons wiping their eyes and congratulating her for her ever-so-touching speech understand that.

If Vox is a misunderstood opinionated religious right-winger who uses some salty old-fashioned language rather than a real racist, I am Princess Anastasia. I realize there is a school of thought that he is actually a very elaborate troll who enjoys riling leftists and doesn’t really think any of this, but I think this is wishful thinking and even if it’s not he’s still SAID all of it, publically stood behind it, and used the SFWA’s bullhorn to do it. He richly deserved his expulsion, as well as most if not all (I would be willing to go with all) of the contempt for him. I could go on for quite a long time providing the original context for the library of stuff he’s said that additionally convinced me of that “irredeemable fuckhead” status, but given this particular incident that got him booted from SFWA is the subject that Larry mentioned, I’ll stick with it for now. If being kicked out of that organization for your politics is a crying injustice and an example of bias against anyone to the left of Dennis Kucinich, absolutely no one is to blame for it more than Vox himself.

The other thing that bothers me is that tit-for-tat isn’t actually a moral stance, which makes the “they didn’t mention the shit she said about him!” a nonargument. I don’t care if she’s the Wicked Witch of Africa, nothing she could have said would have justified what I just quoted in any way. “She was mean to me!” is a playground argument. (So is the Roman Polanski thing, which while a very good burn is also pretty inaccurate- I keep an eyeball on the SJWs as much as I do the Dark Enlightenment people, and I didn’t see a single one defend Polanski rather than calling for his liver to be served with a nice chianti.)

Larry is a good guy I sometimes- not even that often- disagree with. He doesn’t deserve to be associated with Vox, at all. Which is why I’m so disappointed he’s volunteered for it himself.

ETA postscript: Can’t believe I forgot to include this point before I hit post: None of this means that Vox shouldn’t win a Hugo for his novelette. I regard the idea that the Hugo has recently or ever been primarily a meritocracy instead of a back-scratching popularity contest reflecting current politics hilariously naive, but being a raging asshole doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t win an award for your work unrelated to your asshole-related agendas. However, by exactly the same token he doesn’t deserve to be on anyone’s slate because he makes the right people angry.

56 Responses to “Hugo Your Way, I’ll Go My Way”

  1. Tam Says:

    …being a raging asshole doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t win an award for your work unrelated to your asshole-related agendas.

    Heck, Ty Cobb’s in the Hall of Fame, and he was called “The Meanest Man In Baseball” only because calling him the “Biggest Douchebag In Baseball” would have been anachronistic.

    ‘Course, if you’re gonna be that big of a douchebag, you need to have the chops to carry it off. The world (and, consequently, the internet) is full of mediocre douchebags.

  2. Erik Says:

    ‘The other thing that bothers me is that tit-for-tat isn’t actually a moral stance, which makes the “they didn’t mention the shit she said about him!” a nonargument. I don’t care if she’s the Wicked Witch of Africa, nothing she could have said would have justified what I just quoted in any way. “She was mean to me!” is a playground argument.’

    I have a bit of an objection here – the problem with playground arguments is that they’re taking place on a playground which usually has a superior authority telling people not to make those arguments. In the absence of such an authority, tit-for-tat becomes a somewhat more compelling stance, and a different view on the situation might be “Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it”, much the same way that certain treaties are only binding on signatory parties and assume reciprocity. If country A and country B have an agreement not to shoot each other’s soldiers, and country C starts shooting country B’s soldiers, it’s hardly a playground argument for country B to say “They started it!” and start shooting country C’s soldiers.

    (also, preview error. did I get something wrong in my comment?)

  3. R. Says:

    The issue with Vox Day isn’t that he is a racist. Every intellectually honest person* has to be a racist, in the sense of acknowledging that there indeed are quite stark disparities between the various races of man. In fact, racism not being true would be the best proof of intelligent design ever. Evolution implies racism, because the environment isn’t the same everywhere.

    The issue is that Vox Day behaves like a jerk. Compare that to say, Steve Sailer, who is equally racist but in a gentle, polite manner.

    *who has ever given the issue any thought

  4. UncommonMurre Says:

    I’ve missed this kind of post. LabRat is one of the few people who doesn’t seem to say anything unless she’s thought it through.

  5. Echo Says:

    Oh god, thanks for that quote. It doesn’t really matter whether he or Fred Phelps actually believed what they were saying: master-level trolling is an open division for irony/sincerity.

    Re. Polanski, you have to credit SJWs with standing on their principles and not putting up with cognitive dissonance. When they hate something, they hate it universally and with all the fury they can muster.
    Of course, they tend to forget all about it the minute another shiny object comes along to get outraged about in their tumblr feeds…

  6. LabRat Says:

    Erik: Thing is, he din’t just make a personal attack on her. He called everyone of even partial African descent stupid, violent savages who ought to be grateful to white men and deserve to be treated like a pestilence. There is no level of personal attack that makes that justifiable. I agree there’s no obligation to be nice to someone that’s under no such compunction with you, and also agree with your soldier example, but that’s… not even remotely what happened here.

    R: Do you realize the argument you’re making is completely circular? “Everyone has to be a racist because that’s the only smart thing to think, and if you think you’re smart and don’t have racist beliefs, you clearly just haven’t thought it through. So we all have to be nice about being racist.”

    a) There is no such thing as clearly defined “races of man”. There are some (very!) broad phenotypic differences between populations, but they in no way match up to the actual genetic diversities or homogenies present between populations. There’s more genetic diversity within the continent of Africa than there is within every other population on earth, who are damn near identical to each other genetically in comparison- and that includes American blacks, who’ve absorbed massive amounts of those other populations into their gene pool and are just as mutt-y as other Americans, with some extra African diversities for flavor. Acknowledging evolution in no way means the traditional categories of race have fuckall to do with the biology involved.

    b) Even if you somehow managed to define races out of those- which believe you me has been tried and failed for some massive flaw in the reasoning each time- that wouldn’t mean that those races would necessarily match up to traditional ideas of the characteristics of each “race”, beyond those gross phenotypic differences I mentioned. They’d also involve lengthy descriptions of each African population and Australian aboriginies, with maybe a cursory comment on the post-bottleneck “races” that left Africa so much later they’ve become minimally distinct from one another.

    c) Invoking evolutionary explanations for historical and cultural outcomes while brushing off historical, cultural, and biological realities is just-so storytelling of the worst kind, not remotely scientifically justified.

  7. LabRat Says:

    Murre: I like you.

  8. Will Brown Says:

    A not-all-that-minor quibble if you please; Ted Beale/Vox Day did not “… used the SFWA’s bullhorn to do it.” He said what he did on his own website(s), which he created to do that sort of thing and for which he pays. Kinda like you and Stingray do here.

    That certain of the SFWA elect chose to pursue retribution for VD’s personal observations made on his own site through their shared professional organization membership is a more honest reading of the events, I think.

    As to his “racism”, VD is careful to link his pontifications to published research not unique to him. His conclusions may be considered reprehensible, and his extrapolations are in this particular instance intended to be abusive, but he is also careful not to blatantly contradict the original findings he is applying elsewhere in such often disturbing fashion. Does a demonstrated skill in rhetorical technique rise to the level of racist? To each his/her own judgement, I suppose, but render it from an honest reading of the circumstances, please.

    My own reading of this example of much ado is that all parties are about equally guilty of deliberately mis-stating the contextually accurate position of their opponent(s) and that waaay too many others have shown really remarkable willingness to roll around in the feces in public with them.

    We take our entertainment where we find it, I suppose.

  9. LabRat Says:

    Sorry Will, he did. He automatically linked that particular excretion to SFWA’s twitter feed, which is intended to promote relevant material by member authors. Just because he actually published it on his own site does not redeem him for that action- he used their platform, for which THEY pay and represents THEM, to promote it.

    How is my reading him saying exactly what he actually said, which is that Africans and people of partial African descent are violent savages white people need stand-your-ground laws to defend themselves from, can’t comprehend literature built by white men, and can’t build or maintain a civilization without white help, my being remotely dishonest in describing him as racist? You don’t get a free pass on saying shit like that because it’s a “rhetorical flourish”, and if there’s “demonstrated scientific evidence” of any of that, he certainly didn’t cite it. This isn’t a case of “reading for context”- I provided the context and made it easy for anyone to find the original, as-published post.

    Him throwing a temper tantrum at another author who’d been all mean to him has ZERO bearing on justifying what he actually said, in context, nor does him having derived his rather blatant racism from “scientific evidence” from which he’s drawn “different conclusions” that he used to “abusive rhetorical effect”.

    It’s not ME being dishonest here. In this case, sadly, it would seem to be you.

  10. Jennifer Says:

    I was not previously familiar with the rantings of Vox. I trust that Labrat is not cherry picking here and is providing appropriate context. I don’t much care how he was previously attacked, what he said here is nothing other than ignorant racist rantings. Even if he’d been similarly attacked, he sunk to that level.
    I have to agree that irredeemable fuckhead is the appropriate classification.

  11. R. Says:

    @LabRat

    I didn’t say it’s smart, it’s honest. Certainly, it’s the kind of thing one doesn’t admit to in public.

    a) well, the differences tend to cluster quite neatly. If examining enough markers, it’s almost impossible to be unable to place someone..
    http://infoproc.blogspot.cz/2008/11/human-genetic-variation-fst-and.html

    Furthermore, in the US, the discrepancy between self-identified race and ancestry as determined by genomics is slight.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1196372/

    Different genes confer advantages in different environments. Hunter gatherers differ from farmers in certain genes influencing intelligence, except for arctic hunter-gatherers..

    Archaic human admixture ditto – in case you aren’t up to speed on that, most human populations with neanderthal ancestors tend to have IQ’s around 100, except for Australasians, who have something like 10% admixture of Denisovans. About whom nothing is known, except that they were outcompeted quite thoroughly..

    Coincidentally, brain volumes happen to correlate with said IQ data. So does the prevalence of a recent gene variant involved in brain size.

    The vaunted genetic diversity you speak of is actually of quite little use. Genotypically smartest population on Earth is mostly descended from cca just ~400 individuals living in the 15th century..

    ____________________

    All I’m trying to say is, that it’s implausible to believe humans are substantially the same, when it’s known from the genetics record that the populations diverged tens of thousands of years ago and that the speed of evolution has only increased with agriculture and civilization. Genes for say, consumption of milk or alcohol tolerance are all very recent.


    Invoking evolutionary explanations for historical and cultural outcomes while brushing off historical, cultural, and biological realities is just-so storytelling of the worst kind, not remotely scientifically justified.

    Actually, it’s the people who say that races don’t exist who are brushing off biological, historical or cultural realities…

    I’ll quote from a recent book on human evolution..


    New analyses of the human genome have established that human evolution has been recent, copious, and regional.

  12. Indy Says:

    No, no, no, no, no, no, with a side of “hell fucking no.” I’m going to say this clearly and concisely: biological race does not exist. Biological race does not exist. No, really, biological race does not exist.

    I’m really sorry, R., but I’ve got a master’s degree in evolutionary anthropology that is just *not how this works*. I am an evolutionary geneticist. (Note: I do not play this card often. But I’m playing it now because it needs playing.)

    1. Human variation can be thought of a little like russian nesting dolls. Africa has the most variation. The Middle East next. Europe after. Asia after. The Americas after. Each set of genes is a subset of the genes of the larger parental population – every gene we find in Native Americans, we find in Africans. We are, at heart (or at gene, so to speak), all Africans. The differences we find are in allele frequencies due to bottlenecks; that is, a smaller population splitting off from a larger population will not have the same allele frequencies as the larger population, just like when you grab a handful of marbles out of a bag of many colored marbles, the proportions are unlikely to be the same as the bigger bag; you’re likely to miss “rare” marble colors, or “rare” alleles. Yes, we can classify people, but it’s a statistics game, not a biological difference one. Any anthropologist or human geneticist worth his or her salt (and I am both) will tell you that race does not – DOES NOT – exist. It doesn’t. There is more variation *within* a “race” of people than there is between two groups. Study after study has shown this. Allelic variation does not a race make. Lewontin’s argument is widely accepted and not considered a fallacy; I have literally never even heard of this in all my years of graduate study. That paper (about said “fallacy”) has 149 citations; Lewontin’s “The Apportionment of Human Diversity” has nearly 1800. The original article is widely available. Please read it.

    2. That secondary paper has a major, major flaw and it’s one that’s being worked on right now by folks in my program; “Hispanic” is an ethnic group, not a genetic one. It encompasses both people from Mexico and South America (with a very high degree of Native American ancestry) and people from Spain (with a very high degree of European ancestry). Rookie mistake that invalidates that paper and any arguments it might make. Also, general evidence suggest that ethnic identity and genetic identity (to the extent that we can discern “ethnicity” from a genetic perspective) often do NOT always match – particularly in the cases of African Americans and Hispanics. The discrepancy between self-identified ancestry and genetic ancestry can be huge.

    3. Unless you’re still in agreement with Milford Wolpoff – and basically no one is – the general consensus is that the vast, vast majority of human evolution has happened in Africa. Evolution outside of Africa happened within the last 40-20,000 years, which, from an evolutionary standpoint, is *nothing*. Almost all of our genes, all of our mutations, are from before we were Homo sapiens sapiens. Yes, we admixed with Neandertals and Denisovans, but the extent to which is still wildly unclear (estimates range from 2% to 20%) and so far as I know no reputable science has been done with IQ and “Neandertal genes” because this admixture was discovered in less than the last decade (probably more like the last five years if we’re talking the Reich Denisovan papers). Also, most physical anthropologists consider IQ to be a nearly immeasurable concept. …and just for the record, if you’re arguing what I think you’re arguing, which is that archaic admixture makes you less intelligent, then by your argument, Africans should be smartest. (In fact, we see no marked IQ differences across populations once you control for socioeconomic status. This has been one of the biggest fallacies in anthropology and it’s been proven time and time and time again to *not* be true.)

    4. Populations diverged (maybe, if we’re generous) 30K years ago, but you have to understand that that’s *almost nothing* from an evolutionary standpoint, from a mutational standpoint. The only reason we can tell the difference between populations, genetically, is because of bottlenecks, NOT because of evolution in the recent past, because there has been almost none. Yes, we evolved lactose tolerance – repeatedly, throughout many regions. Yes, we evolved high altitude adaptations – but they’re different in every high altitude group. Look up convergent evolution to understand why. But the vast, vast, vast, vast, VAST majority of our genetic material *is the same*, the only differences are in the frequencies of alleles in certain populations versus others. This is NOT due to evolution, it is due to bottlenecks. Alcohol intolerance in Asians (from the ALDH2 gene, more specifically) is essentially the ONLY example we have of a gene that appears in one population that does not appear in African populations. It’s the only one scientists have found. Out of millions of genes.

    5. I do this for a living. BIOLOGICAL RACE DOES NOT EXIST. It is the first tenet of biological anthropology. If you had taken an introduction to anthropology course at any time in the last decade, it would be one of the main topics covered. It just doesn’t. Culturally, there are differences between groups of people. Biologically, *we are the same*. I am not brushing off biological, historical, or cultural realities – cultural and historical evidence suggests that ethnicities have different lived experiences, absolutely. Biological evidence suggests that there is no concept of biological race.

    Also, for the love of god, if you’re going to go making racist arguments in people’s blog posts, at least cite real scientific papers instead of a) blog posts with no citations and b) books that aren’t actually even out yet by authors who are unknown in the field. Read the real stuff, then come back to the table. You can find anything to support any argument on the web, and you can almost always make those things look real, but you’re propping up a straw man with some very flammable cardboard.

  13. LabRat Says:

    Yes, I whistled Indy in, because she knows MUCH more than me about this subject. Yes, I know her credentials. Yes, this is completely hilarious. I may have to make popcorn.

  14. UncommonMurre Says:

    Maybe Larry Corriea has been hit so many times by fake racism charges by wannabe censors that he has trouble recognizing that it might sometimes not be fake. I’ve always thought providing cover for actual racists was an inevitable result of the way many people use “racist” for “a person whose opinions I disagree with”.

  15. LabRat Says:

    Fully agreed, if only because I have every reason to continue believing Larry’s a good guy.

  16. R. Says:


    Lewontin’s argument is widely accepted and not considered a fallacy; I have literally never even heard of this in all my years of graduate study.

    Unless you graduated before 2005 or so .. Perhaps you should ask for your tuition back? [link]

    It appears that not only it’s very easy to distinguish populations on a broad level, but also that if you look at enough loci, it’s possible to tell apart people from different settlements in the same country .. (in the link)

    2. they took varying amount of white ancestry into account.

    3. There is this book, called the 10,000 year explosion. It cites a number of studies and concludes evolution has actually sped up as we near to the present.. [link]


    if you’re arguing what I think you’re arguing, which is that archaic admixture makes you less intelligent,

    Didn’t say that. Depends on what admixture, obviously. Neanderthals have the biggest recorded brain size of all hominids though and they evolved in a quite unforgiving environment. In Africans, there is also evidence of admixture with a now extinct African hominid..[link]


    Also, most physical anthropologists consider IQ to be a nearly immeasurable concept.

    Bullshit. How come then, if it’s ‘immeasuarable’ that it correlates so well with problem-solving abilities, life-outcomes and all that?
    How come that disadvantaged people with high IQs do so well


    In fact, we see no marked IQ differences across populations once you control for socioeconomic status.


    Then tell me why kids from the poorest white families in the US outperform wealthiest black kids on SAT tests?


    Populations diverged (maybe, if we’re generous) 30K years ago, but you have to understand that that’s *almost nothing* from an evolutionary standpoint

    According to mtDNA, it’s estimated to be at least 99,000 years ago. And then we are only talking our species. (Wait until october/november 2014 ;-)

    5.


    Biologically, *we are the same*.

    Then explain why do certain cardiac drugs only show benefits in black people.. or why there are marked differences in athletic performance in various racial groups. You did know that one Ethiopian family has produced more world-class runners than all of China? Or why the best sprinters are almost all West African?

    If we were all the ‘same’, as you say, there would be not such big and stable differences at the highest levels of performance..

    Also, telling people apart based on their skeletal remains would be impossible. It’s not.

    Anyway, thinking that race is only a social construct is so 1990’s.[link] Seeing that the categories are a little fuzzy around the edges (the doesn’t mean that the categories itself don’t exist, or are not useful.

    It’s the same problem as with species.


    Also, for the love of god, if you’re going to go making racist arguments in people’s blog posts, at least cite real scientific papers instead of a) blog posts with no citations

    The blog post had citations. There were at the bottom, there was even a link to the fulltext.

  17. Chas Says:

    Anastasia was a grand duchess, actually. ;)

  18. Indy Says:

    Look, here’s what I’m going to go with.

    I have a graduate degree (as of December 2013, so no, it’s not outdated) from one of the best programs in the field (LabRat can back me up here) working with some of the best people in the field. I do this for a living. I know how to tell real science from bullshit science.

    I’m pretty clearly not going to convince you that races don’t exist. For other commenters, if you’re genuinely interested in learning why this is the case, LR can get you my contact info and I will happily give you my full credentials and answer any questions you have.

    Just to clarify on a few points here because I can’t leave them standing uncontested because, well, *they are racist*:

    Cochran [the author of said book] is heavily, heavily looked down upon by most biological anthropologists, particularly evolutionary geneticists. He’s respected because of his long tenure in the field, but his opinions are considered bullshit. No one agrees with him. We’ve read his papers in our (academic) journal club as examples of what the fuck not to do as a scientist. I’ve watched people get into arguments so heated coffee cups started flying – not over whether or not he was right, but over who could make the better argument of just how very wrong he was. He is a scientist, but his opinion is not consensus opinion in the field. (And in science? Consensus opinion within a field is what matters. You can always find fringe articles and books to back up some obscure argument, but they’re not consensus opinion.)

    I’m not arguing – remotely – that you can’t distinguish individuals across populations based on genes. You can. I’ve done it. I did it for my thesis. I’ve seen these databases first hand. But – and here’s the crucial bit – you can do that because of a concept called genetic distance, which shows how allele frequencies differ across populations. It’s a product of bottlenecks, not mutation. It doesn’t mean races (in the conventional way that humans use them: black, white, asian, native american) exist, and in fact, it means quite the opposite – if you wish to classify people into races based on a biological definition of race, you *could* have, say, a “San” race based on the alleles present in the San, a hunter-gatherer group with the greatest allelic diversity of any population. But when you look at a phylogeny of populations, you can’t start making races like “European” or “Asian” or “Native American” because they include only tiny pieces of that tree and don’t include groups deeper in the phylogeny and their alleles are found in those groups, too. Europeans have alleles found in Africans. Asians have alleles found in Europeans and Africans. Nesting dolls. We all share the same alleles. It’s not biologically plausible or acceptable. [This is a phylogenetics argument, and not one that's easy to understand, but it's the clearest counter to why your "we can classify people by population and so races exist" that I know of. Sorry for the scientific jargon, other commenters.]

    Brain size is not correlated with intelligence. Unless you’d like to argue that I’m more intelligent than LabRat because I’m four inches taller than her and have a larger skull capacity, or that Stingray is more intelligent than either of us because he’s male and men on average have larger brain capacities. [Side note: if you so much as think about implying that men are more intelligent than women based on this argument, I am just going to beat you heavily with my frying pan while wearing a kitchen apron, barefoot, leave you to LabRat. There may be some small pieces left for the dogs.]

    Bring me a real piece of scientific literature – which I’m frankly starting to think you don’t know the meaning of, because it is not “a random blog post” or “an article from a magazine” or “an article that looks scientific but has not been cited by a single other paper,” I want peer-fucking-reviewed science. Then I’ll have a conversation with you about IQ. The conversation will involve hundreds of peer-fucking-reviewed journal articles demonstrating no marked difference across “races.” Here’s an example using the less contentious topic of birth weight: African Americans have lower birth weight babies than White Americans. But? First generation African immigrants who were not coming from a country of oppression based on race have babies with *the same birth weights* as white americans. Why does the discrepancy exist? It has nothing to do with African Americans somehow being genetically inferior and everything to do with centuries of oppression based on a pre-defined phenotypic concept of race that did not actually exist.
    [Actual real citations: http://books.google.com/books?id=84J0o4sBFTUC&pg=PA191&lpg=PA191&dq=birth+weight+first+generation+african+immigrants&source=bl&ots=Tfu17xoAeS&sig=JaekUIr9rnWUGF2c5SvBdzb6Ox4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=oYJdU6LXD5auyATQuYCwBA&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=birth%20weight%20first%20generation%20african%20immigrants&f=false for a nice, neat, handy graph that allows you to examine things, http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/155/3/210.long for the peer-fucking-reviewed data leading to said graph).

    The oldest specimens of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapeisn) in Europe were about 40K years ago, also about 40K years ago in Australia. [Europe: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v479/n7374/full/nature10617.html, Australia: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v421/n6925/full/nature01383.html 40-20 Ka is the agreed upon number based on autosomal DNA, which, PS, if you’re a geneticist (and oh, hey, magically, I am), is much *better* than mtDNA for nearly every type of genetics work. It’s the gold standard. Those estimates have been revised because mtDNA just flatly could not provide enough evidence because of its different mutation rate and the tiny size of the mtDNA genome. 40K years ago (approximately) is the generally agreed upon timeline for the second wave of migration out of Africa that replaced the Neandertals and Denisovans and all the other prior archaic species.

    You can tell people apart based on their skeletal remains for the same reason you can tell people apart based on their genes, but the thing is, having skeletal feature X means that you are 60% likely to be from Population A and 40% likely to be from population B. It doesn’t mean that no one in Population B has skeletal feature X. It’s only by putting together many of these features (and I’ve done it, using FORDISC) that we can make an educated guess as to what “racial grouping” someone falls into. And let me tell you: there’s a huge percentage of the time where the remains don’t look a damn thing like the “racial grouping” the person would have self-identified as. Forensic anthropologists are wrong quite a bit of the time or refuse to make an identification quite a bit of the time because you just can’t tell. (Speaking as someone who has a degree from a program with one of the most extensive skeletal collections in the US and who has taken classes from forensic archaeologists and skeletal biologists – it’s incredibly difficult to classify someone based solely on skeletal remains.) And just for the record, whether or not “race” should even be included in the biological profile for forensic cases is hugely contentious in the field of forensic anthropology.

    Also, here’s a free hint as to why there are very few African swimmers and quite a few African runners: think about the equipment needed for these activities. What do you need to learn to swim competitively? A swimming pool. Lessons. Guidance. Coaching. What do you need to learn to run competitively? Legs and a stretch of open road. There are huge differences across sports because of financial access. You can become a great runner in a poor African country or in the Carribean. You probably can’t become a great lap time pool swimmer, because you don’t have access to a swimming pool. (Also, as to whether or not African Americans are better at basketball than whites, basketball is a huge part of intercity African American culture and one of the few mobility paths out of poverty for black youth. More black youth play basketball starting from younger ages than white youth, and they do so competitively, with one another, because they’re competing to be good enough to get high schools and colleges and the NBA to notice them.)

    In science, a citation index is used to gauge the quality of an article. It’s not a perfect measure – some bad articles are cited thousands of times, some very good ones are cited in the 50s or 60s – but it’s a rough gauge of how accepted the ideas of a paper are by the scientific community it’s being published in. All journals are also not created equal; “big” journals publish big news (Nature, Science), and each field typically has a “strong” journal that good studies are published in. In physical anthropology, that would be The American Journal of Physical Anthropology (AJPA), in genetics it’s (amazingly) Genetics or Human Genetics. There are smaller journals and some of them are valuable for more specific topics, but generally speaking, the more obscure a journal is, the more likely it was that the authors could not get that paper into a better journal because the better journal would not accept it.

    The cited study has not been cited by a single other paper, at least according to Google scholar. In academia, this is a really, really bad thing; it suggests no one else in your field finds your conclusions valid. It’s also in a journal I’ve never heard of, and I’m an anthropologist. So that’s not a great sign either. It’s not being cited by other papers. And I’d give it the benefit of the doubt and note its relatively recent publication date, but a) it was published in July of 2013, so people have had a good amount of time to use it to support their own research, and b) it has literally no citations, and c) it’s in an incredibly obscure journal. So in conclusion: most likely some really bad science.

    In further conclusion: please stop bringing racist, outdated arguments to the table and supporting them with… well, bad science at best and nothing at worst. I can find websites that tell me Elvis Presley is still alive and that we didn’t actually land on the moon, but it doesn’t make either of those things true. This makes those of us who do this for a living want to beat our heads on our desks in despair because this sort of vile slime is *why racism exists*. So unless you really know what you’re talking about and you’re not just playing amateur hobby hour with nothing to back yourself up? Please don’t go making these arguments in blog comments. You’re spreading ignorant untruths that have (and have had) massive repercussions for real people.

  19. UncommonMurre Says:

    R. said, >> Then tell me why kids from the poorest white families in the US outperform wealthiest black kids on SAT tests? <<

    Why could the old West Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) make BMWs, Volkswagens, Mercedes-Benzes and Audis while East Germany (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) was making Trabants? Why can South Korea have spectacular heavy industrial production while North Korea can't keep the lights on? Why do English chavs seem to have all the problems of American blacks despite being as white as can be? Hint: East and West Germans, North and South Koreans, chavs and Sir Issac Newton are not different races even if you accept race as a real thing.

    If a white person in a typical American environment works his ass off for the SAT, no one will tell him he's a sellout, that he's acting as other than his race or his culture, that he's betraying the crab pot. If he succeeds he's got a better chance to make money; no one will think affirmative action got him there.

    There has never been a place on the Earth where a black person was as free to excel as a white American of a century ago, and no one on Earth has so much freedom now. There's a million forms and licenses and permits and taxes to protect us from a man who might bake cookies in an unclean kitchen or mistreat an employee or on and on. They're supposed to protect the people at the bottom, but they all "protect" us from free enterprise that starts from the bottom. If you were at the bottom when they were passed, it's a whole lot harder to climb now.

    All this illustrates why libertarians and conservatives aren't typically racist and the more powerful liberals kind of have to be. A liberal has to wonder, with all the help we've given blacks over the decades, why aren't they better off? A libertarian or conservative says, because what you were doing has always been the opposite of helping.

  20. Joe E. Says:

    I have always thought that LabRat on a roll was an epic sight to see. Add Indy to that list. Bring on the popcorn, indeed.

  21. Kristophr Says:

    The HBD crowd has collided with Labrat.

    This should prove amusing.

  22. Tam Says:

    Have they come up with a sexy new scientific-sounding TLA for phrenology, too?

  23. R. Says:


    He’s respected because of his long tenure in the field, but his opinions are considered bullshit. No one agrees with him.

    Then why were academic reviews of his book largely positive and did not dispute the observations regarding evidence of recent evolution. I’ve gone through about five, and while there’s criticism of some of the wilder, less founded speculation in the latter parts of the book, not one reviewer disputed the evidence for recent evolutionary speed up.

    As you recall, people like Gould did claim that no evolution took place in the last 50,000 years. Numerous scientists proved that wrong. Cochran wrote a book on it. You consider it bullshit.

    Which is now known to be incorrect, for were it true no one would have say, green eyes or fair skin, alcohol tolerance or lactase persistance.

    Why don’t you explain what they say is wrong, instead of futilely arguing from authority that Cochran & Harpending are ‘wrong’?


    Europeans have alleles found in Africans. Asians have alleles found in Europeans and Africans. Nesting dolls. We all share the same alleles. It’s not biologically plausible or acceptable.

    No we don’t. We share all the core stuff, but the rest has diverged somewhat. Whether it was due to founder effects or mutations is immaterial.


    Brain size is not correlated with intelligence.

    One would have thought someone with your impressive credentials would have known about the encephalization quotient. But you’re all tell, no show, seems to me.

    Anyway, here’s this peer reviewed paper stating that..
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3207484/


    The relationship between brain size and intelligence has been sustained and documented since the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries ..

    .. and then elaborating on that for quite some time. But that paper has only been cited 4 times.

    Here’s one with 233 citations, titled Big-brained people are smarter: A meta-analysis of the relationship between in vivo brain volume and intelligence

    So, your assertion that brain size is not correlated with intelligence is apparently wrong. Tell me again about your impressive credentials? Or maybe perhaps write a scathing review of that metastudy, which must obviously be wrong, and send it to all of the 233 fools who cited it..


    Side note: if you so much as think about implying that men are more intelligent than women.

    It’s been observed that the average intelligence is the same, but that there is more variation in male intelligence, so that there are more male than female morons and more male geniuses than female ones.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7604277 (published in Science)


    It has nothing to do with African Americans somehow being genetically inferior and everything to do with centuries of oppression based on a pre-defined phenotypic concept of race that did not actually exist.

    Well, perhaps then, if the United States are such an awful, oppressive environment, you should ban all further migration of African-origin peoples – if said migration leads to them starting to suffer from centuries of oppression. Or perhaps practice stricter segregation. If black people could live by themselves in fairly homogenous communities, like say, Detroit, or Atlanta, who’d oppress them?


    The oldest specimens of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapeisn) in Europe were about 40K years ago

    That doesn’t mean the ancestral populations could not have diverged tens of thousands of years ago in Africa. The migration out of Africa was way earlier – there were anatomically modern humans in India 70,000 years ago.

    In fact, modern humans admixed with neanderthals in the near East 80,000 -50,000 years ago. So the point of divergence of Eurasian populations vs African ones has to lie at least that way back.

    The only people who don’t have neanderthal admixture are sub-Saharan Africans and perhaps Bigfoot(there is some peculiar DNA and skeletal evidence from Abkhazia, suggesting recent(1880’s) interbreeding with a hairy(all over), hominid of unusual size(6.6′ tall female). Sykes’s book[link] and papers are due to be published in september, then we’ll know more.

    STINGRAY EDIT: NOTE THIS, PEOPLE. I KNOW IT’S A HUGE DENSE WALL OF CRAZY AND STUPID, BUT HE REALLY DID JUST CLAIM WE BRED WITH SASQUATCHES. NO, SERIOUSLY. HE DID. SOMEONE CALL THE HISTORY CHANNEL, ONE OF THEIR IDIOTS IS LOOSE ON THE INTERNET.


    It doesn’t mean that no one in Population B has skeletal feature X. It’s only by putting together many of these features (and I’ve done it, using FORDISC) that we can make an educated guess as to what “racial grouping” someone falls into. And let me tell you: there’s a huge percentage of the time where the remains don’t look a damn thing like the “racial grouping” the person would have self-identified as.

    So? Didn’t I point out the same thing applies in genes – it’s hard to distinguish between races on the basis of a single trait, but if you look at dozens of them, the categories establish themselves fairly well.

    Also, according to this article by a forensic anthropologist[link], it’s possible to identify race based on the skull alone in 80-90% of the cases.

    And just for the record, whether or not “race” should even be included in the biological profile for forensic cases is hugely contentious in the field of forensic anthropology.

    The mind boggles. Are you really saying that if say, DNA of an unknown suspect turns out to indicate sub-saharan African ancestry, the report should not state that they should be looking for a black male?


    Also, here’s a free hint as to why there are very few African swimmers and quite a few African runners: think about the equipment needed for these activities. What do you need to learn to swim competitively? A swimming pool.

    Also, why then should Africans have such a great advantage in runners? They are vastly overrepresented among top runners, yet comprise only what, 1/8 of world population. Everyone, everywhere can run – so why are almost all the best sprinters of West African origin?


    Are you suggesting it has nothing, nothing to do with their specific ratios of muscle fiber types? [link]

    I don’t dispute your assertion though that economic factors play a role in them not swimming so much. There is some evidence that Africans are less buoyant and thus might have a harder time swimming, but I can’t find any paper on that.


    In further conclusion: please stop bringing racist, outdated arguments to the table and supporting them with… well, bad science at best and nothing at worst.

    Ok, so that one study about hunter gatherers you don’t like.

    What about all the rest? The different EQ, the disparities in ability in spite of identical SES status?

    @UncommonMurre

    Why could the old West Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) make BMWs, Volkswagens, Mercedes-Benzes and Audis while East Germany (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) was making Trabants?

    Are you seriously comparing the life-situation of wealthy US black people to those living under communist regimes? And are you seriously suggesting that wealthy blacks who can afford test preparation, private schools are as disadvantaged as poor rural whites? Because they score about the same in SAT tests.


    If a white person in a typical American environment works his ass off for the SAT, no one will tell him he’s a sellout, that he’s acting as other than his race or his culture, that he’s betraying the crab pot. If he succeeds he’s got a better chance to make money; no one will think affirmative action got him there.

    The black-white IQ gap was also found to persist in a transracial adoption study, which also studied black children who were adopted and raised by advantaged white parents in predominantly white communities. The differences in IQ between them and the general black population were lower, but not eliminated. Which again suggests the differences in achievement are not all due to racism and systematic oppression but also due to genetics.

    Fortunately, there is no need to agonize over this about this. Thanks to Crispr and recent research efforts into genetics of intelligence , it’s going to be possible to modify genetically disadvantaged people so they would have smarter children.


    Why do English chavs seem to have all the problems of American blacks despite being as white as can be?

    A gross exaggeration. Chavs don’t have a fraction of black American murder rate or propensity for gang or violent crime. They do share the same appalling fashion sense though.

    The common element might perhaps be lack of parental guidance and reliance on welfare though.

    @Tam

    One would have thought someone as fiercely independent would be immune to the tired Gouldian bullshit. HBD is not phrenology, it’s merely about dispensing with soggy leftist thinking.

  24. Chas Says:

    Although Labrat and Indy are right on the genetics, based on today’s science, it is nevertheless true that in the social arena, scientific data does not trump your basic naked-ape tribalism and game-playing.

    Witness this item that Glenn Reynolds linked to today, more fallout on the issue of affirmative action/quotas in California universities.

    “Race” may not be a biologically defensible category, but it still has social reality, and saying that “It’s just a social construct and not scientific” does not make racial issues go away.

    Unfortunately.

  25. Kristophr Says:

    Tam: Corrective Phrenology actually works.

    You can use a baseball bat to flatten ‘tard bumps.

  26. Indy Says:

    I’m really fucking done here. Sorry, but you just keep bringing the same arguments to the table, none of them are correct, and I don’t really have the time to continue explaining the counter to every single racist argument you bring to the table. I’ve done it twice and to be honest, there are an *infinite* number of these arguments and we could keep running around in circles forever.

    I have a degree in this field and I study it for a living. I think LR and other folks who know me well can attest to *just* how rarely I am ever willing to play this card or claim superiority, but: I spent the past 2.5 to 6.5 years (depending on where we start counting from, but let’s go with 2.5) studying this stuff every single day. I’m sorry, but you’re just wrong. If anyone has real questions about this stuff and isn’t going to keep repeating back racist arguments at me, I am more than happy to field them, as mentioned before.

    Additionally: I think you just suggested that it would fix racism and a profound history of racism and colonialism if we segregated blacks to Atlanta and Detroit. Possibly we might want to consult some jewish individuals or people of japanese heritage to find out how that went for them during WWII.

    Further additionally: I’m also pretty sure you just suggested that racism isn’t a problem because in the future we’ll be able to genetically modify all our kids to be smart. Um. I can’t even. Most geneticists feel roughly about this idea the way most normal people feel about eugenics, because that’s basically what it is.

    I’m now officially bowing out in favor of someone else.

  27. Indy Says:

    And Chas: in complete agreement. Race doesn’t exist as a biological concept. That doesn’t mean race doesn’t exist as a social construct. To think so (or say so) would be denying centuries of history and a hell of a lot of really bad actions justified almost exclusively by the way people look.

  28. Stingray Says:

    R, you’re a racist fuck, and worse, a very bad scientist. I do not use the latter insult lightly. Go the fuck away. Try stormfront or something.

  29. LabRat Says:

    I’m in agreement with Indy that point-by-point has, well, become utterly pointless in this case. Argument to exhaustion is not actually persuasion, and when we’re dealing with “the overwhelming bulk of the actual experts think X, Y, and Z” “but this one guy Q who’s an expert if you squint right says this thing W that if you turn it sideways and hum supports my argument!”, we’re… not dealing with an overflow of intellectual rigor, or honesty. Real changes in scientific thinking involve decades of study, data, genteel debate, and slow-motion intellectual combat between people who’ve devoted their entire lives to the subject; Dudes In Comments Sections who’ve convinced themselves they understand the science better than those people do, not so much. This isn’t as much an appeal to authority as it sounds- foremost experts have been wrong for centuries- but people who by comparison have no idea what they’re talking about are as good at digging these cases out and proving them as moles are at flying jet fighters. I’m including myself in that basket, by the way, which is why I went and asked someone who’s put in the work I haven’t and knows the literature far, FAR better than I do. “One rarely-cited paper whose conclusions I’ve barely understood outweighs the entire bulk of literature in the field, turns it all over!!”… ah, no. Real papers that actually do that wind up big, big news, cited hundreds of times in a very short period- including ones that seem to involve news people don’t want to hear.

    The other thing that’s lowering my confidence in this argument is the conspirational thinking that’s coming in. Stephen Jay Gould as a boogeyman (he was a compelling science writer and contributed great things to his field in his career, but him being well known does not equate to him having particularly weighty opinions on current human genetics)… again this says you’re familiar with arguing on the internet but not so much the actual field. As does the fact that you seem profoundly convinced that the speed and continuation of recent evolution actually supports your argument in any way- the traits that ARE still evolving so quickly are involved with recent strong selective pressure on genes that confer (however half-assed, as they often are) some resistance against local epidemic disease, or being able to utilize food sources in problematic environments… which is why we see lactase persistence cropping up multiple times in completely different populations that sequence out as completely different genes. This does not support your argument- that there are biologically distinct “races” of modern human that map to the ones we know as ethnicity- it actively undermines it. The bit where you seem to have no clue that it does underscores my impression that you are illiterate for the purposes of this conversation.

    Speaking of conspiracy thinking, I am also not impressed by your swipe at Tam that if she were an “independent thinker” she’d agree with you and credibility-free HDB crowd because her opinion could only be contaminated with “soft-headed leftist thinking”. “My reasoning is bulletproof and my science is compelling… BUT THE MAN IS KEEPING US DOWN AND HIDING THE TRUTH” has been one of the most reliable markers of pseudoscience since the persistence of geocentrism.

    At this point we have descended to ever more trivial arguments on ever more picayune points while the major problem here- that the genetic science not only suggests but outright states, from many, many angles and a tremendous amount of data, that there are no genetically distinct “races” as can be understood biologically- languishes in the corner. I am not interested in entertaining indefinite amounts of “but if I can win this tiny sub-argument clearly I’ve discredited that!”.

    Although just because I’m not immune to plinking either: good lord, just because we have a lot of sequenced genome data doesn’t mean genetically engineering smarter babies is just around the corner. We can’t even nail down what intelligence even IS as a quantitative concept, let alone identify genes associated in more than extraordinarily vague way. This is like arguing that the existence of hybrid fuel cells proves that warp drive is right around the corner.

    And “Africans are less bouyant”? REALLY? Thanks for today’s belly laugh, I suppose.

  30. LabRat Says:

    Ah, my better half. <3

  31. Indy Says:

    “I can’t find a paper on it” … would be because it’s effectively a racist urban legend. We’ve descended from pseudoscience to Snopes.com!

  32. LabRat Says:

    Oh wow… I completely missed that in the wall of bullshit. Folks, scroll up to R’s latest comment and check Stingray’s annotation. I pretty well could have replaced my entire response with “Argumentum ad Bigfoot. Your argument is invalid.”

  33. R. Says:

    I am too fucking stupid to take “Fuck off to stormfront” as a subtle hint, so Stingray had to make new words for me. Life is too short to read such banal stupidity, so he replaced my incredibly bad science with a joke to make this all better: A Roman walks into a bar, holds up two fingers, and says “Five beers, please.”

  34. R. Says:

    Bad science still makes Stingray have a sad so he has to make more new words of good! The Roman finishes his beers and says to the bartender “I want a martinus.” The bartender looks confused and asks “Don’t you mean a martini?” The Roman says “If I wanted two I would have asked for them.”

  35. R. Says:

    @Stingray

    Real classy.

    Also, Stormfront’s not for me, as I don’t like antisemites or white power advocates much. I just sound and act exactly like them on the internet.

    About bigfoot – heh, just wait and see.

    Poe’s Law Challenge: Stingray added one sentence to this post, not counting this challenge bit. See if you can spot it!

  36. LabRat Says:

    Since you seem to be slow on taking the hint, let me spell it out for you:

    Your arguments are either not honest or you are incredibly obtuse, I honestly cannot tell which. At this point I no longer feel it’s needed to continue refuting you point by point, seeing as, uh, mineralized sinking Africans and freaking Bigfoot as well as what I pointed out in much lengthier format.

    My blog is not a free venue for you; I am free to disinvite you from my living room at any time I want, and although I’m not asking you never to come back at all (that honor has been earned by maybe three people in the history of this blog, and one of them was advocating for legal sex with children as young as ten), I am saying this conversation is done. I am not especially worried with losing credibility as a debater in the eyes of the HBD crowd, given that it is not actually my purpose to do so, and also the bit where if you and Vox are representative then I regard that group as a whole as not credible in any event. I do feel that your unaltered words here more than mine are going to make the counter-argument for the audience at home in any event.

    As for Stingray, this is his patch as much as mine, and just because I’m happy to let him wield the Claymore of Corrective Editing by himself doesn’t mean I at all disagree with him or its use.

  37. Jennifer Says:

    Holy freaking hell! I spend exactly zero time researching and reading scientific articles and can still tell R’s ‘science’ is bullshit.

    Indy and Labrat,
    You patience is admirable. Thank you for all of this

    Stingray,
    Bravo sir! *applause* (And I’m pretty sure I know which line you added and it’s not the one about bigfoot)

  38. Indy Says:

    I find Stingray’s versions of the comments much classier than the originals, actually.

    Although a sick part of me wishes they’d been left intact because the part where he claimed that America was going to fall behind as a country because *American* geneticists were against eugenics was great. I don’t know about the rest of my field, but I sit around and think about things like Tuskegee and Henrietta Lacks and I just feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Man, those were the days when you could practice *real* science without The Man getting in your fucking way. (I say The Man because The Man was obviously in charge of everything given that The Woman has on average smaller brain size capacity and therefore is less intelligent and couldn’t find her way out the damn kitchen.)

    Because, you know, firstly, intelligence is not at all a polygenic trait controlled by thousands and thousands upon genes, and secondly, China’s reproductive policies have not, say, had severe and problematic consequences over the last few decades. Noooooooope. Not even one bit. They’re rocking it over there with their operational sex ratio of like 1.13 men to every woman.

    Also the part where he argued that Jewish ghettos, concentration camps, and Japanese internment camps were just fine and dandy because Jews live in Israel and “the Japanese” are “xenophobic.” I’m glad R. now has the ability to speak for an entire nation of people.

    To continue Stingray’s theme, an appropriate joke that R. is unlikely to get: so, how many cockroaches does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Impossible to say, because when you turn on the lights, they all scatter!

  39. R. Says:

    I’m still too fucking dense to take the goddamn hint, and holy shit my ethics are shady as fuck.

    A panda walks into a bar and says to the bartender “I’ll have a Scotch and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Coke thank you”.
    “Sure thing” the bartender replies and asks “but what’s with the big pause?”
    The panda holds up his hands and says “I was born with them”

  40. UncommonMurre Says:

    Oops looks like the angle brackets I was using to delimit quotes got interpreted as HTML. If Stingray or Labrat felt like deleting my mangled comment above, I’d appreciate it. (No problem. Done and done. -S)

    R. — Are you seriously comparing the life-situation of wealthy US black people to those living under communist regimes?

    The communist examples are to demonstrate that that culture and environment are far more important than “race” even if you believe in “race”.

    R. — And are you seriously suggesting that wealthy blacks who can afford test preparation, private schools are as disadvantaged as poor rural whites? Because they score about the same in SAT tests. —

    Yep, I am saying that. I don’t believe test preparation classes are as important a factor as the crab pot culture.

    R. — The black-white IQ gap was also found to persist in a transracial adoption study, which also studied black children who were adopted and raised by advantaged white parents in predominantly white communities. The differences in IQ between them and the general black population were lower, but not eliminated. Which again suggests the differences in achievement are not all due to racism and systematic oppression but also due to genetics.

    This suggests you are assuming I’m coming from a completely different angle than I am. I don’t think American blacks are being held back by systematic oppression by white racists in the old way; I don’t think there’s enough of you left to constitute a nationwide system. I think there is still very systematic racism of a different kind, especially from the liberal, anti-colorblind segments of society. The kind of rich white liberals lampooned in “Stuff White People Like” tend to see (for example) a white engineer as an engineer, and a black engineer as a black who’s acting white. They’d respect him more were he rapping against the cracker illuminati, which they don’t associate with themselves. American blacks are being held back by a culture that tells them doing useful work and making useful products is demeaning and means you’re a sellout. Being a black child adopted by whites will hardly free one from accusations of being a sellout or race traitor.

    To avoid being disingenuous, I should point out that I have no interest in the genetic arguments you are making and am not bothering to read them. It is immediately obvious to the casual observer that many blacks are smarter than many whites. Therefore, as a libertarian who favors treating individuals as individuals, even if the bell curve were skewed it would be irrelevant to me.

    I care that a smart motivated black is able to contribute all his smarts and motivation in the free market and be rewarded with income according to how much people wish to pay for his product or service, exactly like a smart motivated white. If he is not (and I can plainly see he is on average significantly hindered compared to a white), it impoverishes the free market. I don’t believe in the kind of “race” you do, but if I did, I wouldn’t care. It would only be important if I believed in top-down planning, economic protectionism and “social justice”. And the record of those varies from poor to nightmarish.

  41. dagamore Says:

    Why do i feel that all of Indy’s post should end with a mike drop?

  42. Joe E. Says:

    Murre’s last 2 paragraphs provide a good summation, I think.

  43. Indy Says:

    I really can’t take much credit here. It’s the whole “I have a master’s degree in this field” thing. If R. wanted to argue about special right triangles (appropriate, because he’s a special person who is always right!) or astrophysics, I’d be fucked.

  44. Kristophr Says:

    Be proud of your Yeti heritage, Labrat!

  45. tweell Says:

    I never thought I’d see a True Believer expounding, but R. is one. Folks, we have a real SubGenius!

    http://subgenius.com/

  46. BMH Says:

    “All this illustrates why libertarians and
    conservatives aren’t typically racist and the more
    powerful liberals kind of have to be. A liberal has
    to wonder, with all the help we’ve given blacks
    over the decades, why aren’t they better off? A
    libertarian or conservative says, because what
    you were doing has always been the opposite of
    helping.”

    As a fairly lefty person, I have to take issue with this. (Though not american, so I don’t know all the subtleties of US culture and economics and politics or even if ‘lefty’ really means the same in the US). People on ‘the left’ for the most part believe that what help that’s been given is woefully, pitifully, inadequate compared to the vast unfairness that still exists in society, and/or that attempts to either make up for, or better, directly change the unfair structures have been continually sabotaged and blocked by conservatives :).

    I.e., people can be all over the political and economic spectrum without being racist. We mostly all just have different opinions on what works and what makes things worse.

  47. BMH Says:

    E.g., a typical ‘lefty’ view would be that conservative polical policies make a child’s development and opportunities strongly dependent on their parents’ own resources, thus directly causing a strong correlation between a person’s economic class and education level, and that of their parents.

    You may not agree, but that doesn’t make either you or I racist.

  48. LabRat Says:

    I tend to think the forms “help” and “racism” both take the shape of their respective vessels- like, say, left or right outlooks, because I have seen some screamin’ racists on both sides as well as some people who seemed to have a very grounded and realistic view of racism and its effects on both sides- but Murre made that statement so I’ll let Murre defend it.

    Wonder if my popcorn is all stale now. :)

  49. Kristophr Says:

    Here ya go.

  50. RhythmDoc Says:

    I’m pretty disappointed in Larry on this one, too. I *think* I see where he’s coming from – it’s a combination of the emotional response to himself having been frequently and unfairly accused of racism (sexism, homophobia, etc.) and being a free speech absolutist. And for about five seconds I did wonder whether the aforementioned racist sphincter in humanoid form was *really* so different than people like Ken MacLeod, Steven Brust, China Mieville, or Iain M. Banks, all of whom are writers I love whose politics I find repugnant…

    …and then I spent a while perusing VD’s blog. Yes, my brain needs a shower now. The pain. The pain. How Larry can interact with him and then write a sentence containing the phrase “I honestly don’t think he’s a racist,” I have no idea.

    This is why *not* to be a free speech absolutist – because you find yourself in the same rhetorical foxhole as this guy. And yes, I get the fairly strong sense that he’s doing it deliberately, maybe more so even than you do, but all that really means is that in the clinical description of him as a racist asshole, the accent should be on ‘asshole’ rather than ‘racist’.

    Great description of why race is a biologically meaningless concept above, there – and I love the argumentum ad Bigfoot!

  51. Tam Says:

    all that really means is that in the clinical description of him as a racist asshole, the accent should be on ‘asshole’ rather than ‘racist’.

    fistbump

  52. UncommonMurre Says:

    LabRat, you may need to make some fresh popcorn, because this is long.

    BMH –

    I should have ramped up my emphasis on “more powerful kind of liberal”, but being a libertarian myself I was focusing on distancing R. from everything I care about. I do not believe the typical everyday liberal is a racist. Here’s my basic take on the liberals, libertarians, and conservatives I know here in America: A liberal looks at the conditions suffered by blacks in America’s inner cities and says, “We have to help them!” A libertarian or conservative looks at those situations and says, “We’ve got to stop what’s being done to them!” A libertarian then points to the breakdown of the free market, a conservative to the breakdown of the family. None of these three are usually racist. However, the libertarian and conservative views assume that blacks will do just fine if given the same circumstances whites have. The liberal view does not assume that; neither does it exclude it. To a libertarian or conservative, the nature of the “help” offered in the US seems to assume that blacks are naturally inferior; it assumes that blacks will not do as well as whites under the same circumstances.

    Left-liberalism and right-conservativism seem to be quite different in practice outside the US, because conservatism looks back to a country’s idealized, mythological history. In the US conservatives look back to a nation concieved in liberty, with every man equal under the law and ignore the compromises with slave ownership and the fact that “man” didn’t include “woman”.

    The difference is best illustrated by the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. It is possible to make a real argument in European terms that it was a conservative rather than liberal movement, but not in American terms. It was closer to the liberal segregationist American Democrats than conservative American Republicans on economics, religion, race, and gun control, and only closer to the Republicans on trade unions as far as I know (and then because Nazis imagined the trade unions were controlled by Jews in Moscow). I do not know if the Nazis would have called themselves left or right, but they certainly called themselves scientific progressives. The idealized mythological history of most of the Old World countries tends based on the virtues of their particular race, like Golden Dawn in Greece for example, so racism is conservative there.

    Racism is always mixed with top-down economic planning by nature, which in America is a liberal feature. The KKK was always in support of Democrat populism, and earlier slaveowners argued that blacks needed whites to make decisions for them. As I pointed out to R., racism is irrelevant to the individual perspective that is the American conservative one. Looking at the other way around, believing in the virtues of top down planning by the correct people is not always mixed with racism. Outside the US there’s less of a fight over individualism vs. top-down economics and more of a fight over who gets the bigger slice of the pie.

    For powerful, influential liberals in the US, I maintain that racism is more or less required; they simply have changed from the segregationist Democrat urge to claim more pie for whites to the rich Democrat urge to give pie crumbs to “poor benighted blacks”. In the US we’ve been pouring money and programs into the inner cities for decades. If those things were going to help, things would be getting better, especially with the decline of open, institutional racism.

    An ordinary liberal can very easily look at the inner cities and say “we have to help!” He votes to “help” then goes on with his business. But one can’t know the history, believe in those programs, and believe that the “beneficiaries” are doing as well as could be expected unless you expect less from the “beneficiaries.”

    BHM said, — E.g., a typical ‘lefty’ view would be that conservative polical policies make a child’s development and opportunities strongly dependent on their parents’ own resources, thus directly causing a strong correlation between a person’s economic class and education level, and that of their parents. —

    That’s certainly plausible thinking for a typical ‘lefty’ who wants to do well by everyone and is not spending a career in trying to implement it, and that’s how the lefties I know think. It’s not plausible thinking for powerful American liberals because of two factors: America’s history of poor uneducated immigrants, and America’s existing leftist efforts on education. All four of my grandparents, for example, were poor uneducated European immigrants; my grandfather’s famous quote was “English I speak goodly!” My parents are wealthy and well-educated. Living in the suburbs and working in the tech field, I see educated but poor immigrants from all over the world including blacks from Africa coming here and doing very well. But I see about as many African-born blacks in my field as American-born blacks. We’ve got lots of programs, scholarships, and admissions quotas for for blacks.

    When you look at American liberal policies closely, as a powerful liberal who makes a living implementing them must do, the policies contain no hint of the idea that blacks could ever do what our white grandparents did. Questionably-sourced liberal quotes like these are so plausible to the American right because they are the policy we see from the left leadership all the time, stated clearly without pretense.

  53. UncommonMurre Says:

    Hmm, I’m going to get in trouble for “idealized mythological American history”. What I mean by that is that American conservatives want the ideals of American history rather than all the actualities. Conservatives (and libertarians) want the Declaration of Independence:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    Not the failings of slavery, three-fifths compromise, and women who couldn’t vote.

  54. Glen Weaver Says:

    Race is a meaningless term. The most common use of the term seems to mean “Skin Color”. There is no doubt that who your grandparents were has a tremendous influence on your abilities. Your skin color does not.

  55. RhythmDoc Says:

    A small point, but one that always bugs me. I can tell you exactly what the Nazis would have said about left versus right. National Socialism was a particular brand of *socialism* that was equally anticapitalist and anticommunist; they thought of themselves as scientific progressives inspired by an ideal of the Aryan Nation, a ‘third way’ between capitalism and communism. They were politically supported by the traditionalist German right wing, largely because they seemed the lesser of two evils when compared to the communists, but recall that ‘right wing’ in Weimar Germany has literally nothing to do with the modern American Right. Read Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism. Seriously, read it. He goes off the rails a little when he gets closer to modern times, but he’s spot on for the pre WWII era.

  56. UncommonMurre Says:

    RhythmDoc,
    I’ve never heard a serious argument that National Socialism was/is not left-wing by American standards; the only argument I’ve ever heard amounts to “they were racist like you horrible right-wingers.” However, the European idea of the right wing seems to allow for all sorts of fascist “third way” economic meddling.

    Honestly, left-right is often not really a useful distinction. It most often seems to amount to containers for “people we like” and “people we don’t like”. I’ve heard leftists claim Stalin was right-wing.