Sunday, January 21, 2018

Thanks for the shout-out, PZ Myers

Thank you PZ Myers for giving me a shout-out on your blog: Dig into the racist circle jerk which is such a great title. Thank you for recommending my "ugly knitting" LOL.

For your reading convenience, the threads of this ugly racist sweater are connected by the tag "evo-psycho bros."

And also thanks PZ for elaborating on the racist angle concerning quarterbacks. I confess I didn't actually investigate the content of Sailer's discussion of quarterbacking, as I don't feel I am well-informed enough about football to fully understand the issues involved.

I should say to visitors that I am not a journalist nor a scientist, but a playwright with a day job as a web developer/technical writer. But I have an interest in anthropology and have been following the career of Razib Khan for over twelve years on this blog.

Thanks to my interest in anthropology - specifically the work of Marvin Harris and his book Cultural Materialism The Struggle for a Science of Culture - I became acquainted not only with Harris's "research strategy" of cultural materialism but also alternative research strategies including sociobiology - the former name for "evolutionary psychology." I first heard of Steven Pinker thanks to paying attention to the promotion of evolutionary psychology from the late 1990s to now. 

And by the way, if you haven't read this excellent review in The New Yorker of Pinker's Blank Slate, What Comes Naturally, I recommend you do. In my experience only the New Yorker (Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer) out of all mainstream media outlets is not too baffled by Pinker's bullshit to clearly analyze Pinker's claims. 

I highly recommend all of Marvin Harris's work, and you can get an excellent comparison of three research strategies including cultural materialism and sociobiology online for free: R. Brian Ferguson was a student of Marvin Harris and wrote this excellent Materialist, cultural and biological theories on why Yanomami make war. His discussion of the work of Napoleon Chagnon is especially interesting. 

I still find it shocking that Steven Pinker has gotten away with promoting the career of straight-up racists including a prominent member of the alt-right, Steve Sailer all these years. Although you can see how he has gotten away with it when you read the white-washing Pinker's own statements were given by New York Magazine's Jesse Singal, particularly the part were Pinker blames universities and the media for radicalizing the alt-right, and which PZ rightly harshly criticized.

Journalists have dropped the ball on this issue. And so have scientists. 

PZ Myers is one of the few scientists who regularly criticizes evolutionary psychology and its proponents. 

The real issue of radicalizing the alt-right is not that the "truth" of female and black intellectual inferiority is being suppressed as Pinker claims, it's that there is a whole sociobiology cottage industry providing specious theories on the genetic intellectual inferiority of women and especially of African-Americans. Many scientists, it seems, consider the whole "human biodiversity" thing to be so ridiculous that they don't even take the time to criticize it. And so "scientific" racism is promoted, not only by obvious racist media like American Renaissance and VDARE, but by outlets like Quillette, respectable enough to publish Justin Trudeau's ghostwriter Jonathan Kay. Quillette may not come out and say, like Steve Sailer did, that blacks are intellectually inferior to all other "races" (although he'll give them basketball and jazz and rap) but they use the exact same fundamental sources: J. Phillippe Rushton and Arthur Jensen. And Steven Pinker has consistently promoted not only Quillette but the work of Rushton and Jensen. 

Pinker's buddy Razib Khan was denied a post at the New York Times when Jamelle Bouie publicized the work of myself and others tracking his racialist career. But as Khan pointed out in this Undark piece:
Other scientists, he insisted, believe the same things. They just won’t admit it. “I’m sick of being the only fucking person that says anything,” said Khan. “I know I make people uncomfortable, but a lot of times I say what they’re thinking.”

There needs to be much more attention paid to the premises underlying evolutionary psychology, by journalists and scientists. Ignoring the evolutionary psychology industry is not going to make it go away. As we've seen with the election of Donald Trump, there's nothing so ridiculous and obviously false that some people won't believe it. Especially when their racist inclinations make them want to believe it.