Thursday, February 08, 2018

Evo-psycho bros and wingnut welfare

Not the logo for the racist Pioneer Fund -
this is an expired trademark from a mutual fund
but I thought the evocation of the trans-Atlantic
slave trade made it appropriate. As far as
I can tell the Pioneer Fund responsible
for supporting so much of the racist science that
ended up in The Bell Curve doesn't have a logo
The evo-psycho bros are seemingly baffled by the fact that their ill-supported claims and their professional connections to white supremacists could lead anybody to accuse them of racism.

In A social science without sacred values the Winegard brothers write:
(Charles) Murray is still hounded by accusations that he is a racist and an anti-poor elitist. In fact, Murray’s reputation was so thoroughly besmirched by the “bell curve wars” that those who cite his works today are also vulnerable to accusations of racism. 
In 2014, Paul Ryan, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin, was blasted simply for quoting a Charles Murray book (in this case, Losing Ground, not The Bell Curve). For example, Josh Marshall (2014) wrote that, “When you start off by basing your arguments around the work of Charles Murray you just lose your credibility from the start.” 
Marshall then lists a few reasons one loses credibly for quoting Charles Murray, including that Murray “is best known for attempting to marshal social science evidence to argue that black people are genetically not as smart as white people.”
As I have shown over the past month in this evo-psycho bros series: "black people are not as smart as white people" is exactly what Charles Murray, Linda Gottfredson, Arthur Jensen, J. Phillipe Rushton, John Paul Wright, Richard Lynn, Steve Sailer, Razib Khan, Kevin M. Beaver, Stefan Molyneux and Bo and Ben Winegard believe.

Murray got much of his information from studies made by people supported directly by the Pioneer Fund, including Gottfredson, Lynn, Rushton and Jensen.

For the record Murray seems to be making a very nice living as an author. In spite of the evo-psycho bros constant whining about their opponents' machinations against them, their leading lights, including Steven Pinker have all gone onto pretty sweet careers, by most people's standards. The Winegards also whine about poor Larry Summers in this paper. A few years after the NBER controversy Summers went to work in the Obama administration.

Phillipe Rushton did just fine too. According to Barry Mehler in 1997:
Despite Rushton's controversial race theories, he has been embraced by the scientific mainstream, having been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American, British, and Canadian Psychological Associations. He has published six books and nearly 150 articles, one of which appeared in the October 1986 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, under the sponsorship of Academy member E. O. Wilson.
And then Rushton went on to become the president of the Pioneer Fund, which also funded the organization responsible for American Renaissance.

Thanks to publications like American Renaissance, those pushing scientific racism, but without science credentials like Steve Sailer can make a living writing racist bullshit. And of course Steven Pinker gave Sailer scientific legitimacy by including a piece of barely scientific writing by Sailer in a collection of the "best" science writing.

And if nothing else evo-psycho bros can fall back on the Right's sugar daddies like the Koch brothers. The Kochs have deep pockets to hire lots of hacks, just ask Christina Hoff Sommers.

Economist Paul Krugman has a term for it - wingnut welfare:
Wingnut welfare is an important, underrated feature of the modern U.S. political scene. I don’t know who came up with the term, but anyone who follows right-wing careers knows whereof I speak: the lavishly-funded ecosystem of billionaire-financed think tanks, media outlets, and so on provides a comfortable cushion for politicians and pundits who tell such people what they want to hear. Lose an election, make economic forecasts that turn out laughably wrong, whatever — no matter, there’s always a fallback job available. 
Obviously this reality has important incentive effects. It encourages conservatives to espouse ever-cruder positions, because they don’t need to be taken seriously outside their closed universe. But it also, I’ve been noticing, makes them remarkably lazy.
We can see wingnut welfare happening in real time.

Claire Lehmann's Quillette is a place for racialist science and all other alt-right predilections to find a home, as I have discussed in this evo-psycho bros series. Lehmann's priorities are clear when she bashes Justin Trudeau, a good man, politican and leader, while promoting a laughable whack-job like Jordan Peterson. As always the right-wing mind confuses shit for Shinola and vice-versa.

So of course Lehmann publishes a hack like Bo Winegard. It's clear he took the main idea from his paper A social science without sacred values and repurposed it for Quillette while making sure to promote his other work with links in his Equalitarianism” and Progressive Bias. And that's how wingnut welfare works.

One of the Winegards shared this evolutionary psychology "study"with a sample size of 20 on Twitter. One commenter speaks for many others, I suspect.

Although really the sample size hardly matters. They could do it with a sample size of two or twenty or twenty thousand and the result would be exactly the same because it's a foregone conclusion. The behaviors in question were determined in advance to be indicative of evolutionary adaptation. So whenever evo-psychos write one of these papers, all they are doing is cataloging their victories.

And while the world is full of the gullible and the ignorant and therefore people who are impressed by their work, including people in the press, the evo-psycho bros are nevertheless beleaguered by meanies who won't just STFU and accept that whites are smarter than blacks genetically, and that blacks are more criminal than whites genetically.

So how will the evo-psycho bros neutralize these charges of racism?

The Winegards have a plan. I will talk about that next.