Saturday, March 17, 2018


The Biosocial criminologists responded to Burt and Simmons' Pulling Back the Curtain on Heritability Studies in the Post-Genomic Era, of course, and Burt and Simmons wrote in response HERITABILITY STUDIES IN THE POSTGENOMIC ERA: THE FATAL FLAW IS CONCEPTUAL∗ - both the abstract and full PDF can be found here.

I had to laugh when I read the paper's description of the response - it sounds exactly like what you would expect from the biosocial gang (I added paragraph breaks for clarity):
...Barnes et al. (2014) wrote a response to our article. In their response (and now re- joinder in this issue, Wright et al., 2015), they adopted a strategy common to behavioral geneticists, which Panofsky (2014: 141) called, “hitting them over the head style.” This approach involves dodging criticisms by misrepresenting arguments and insinuating that critics are politically motivated and reject scientific truths as well as focusing on a few “‘tractable’ empirical objections” while “ignoring the deeper theoretical objections”...
...Consistent with Panofsky’s characterization of earlier behavioral geneticists, Barnes et al. and now Wright et al. (2015) question our scientific objectivity, distort our arguments and their implications, and attempt to bury the reader under mounds of data and mathematical simulations, which are all grounded on the flawed biological model at the core of our critique. 
Unfortunately, we do not have the space to address all of Barnes et al.’s (2014) and Wright et al.’s (2015) distortions of our arguments or the facts. 
Moreover, we do not wish to question their credentials or motives. Instead, we focus on the science. 
Specifically, our aim in this brief rejoinder is to correct Barnes et al.’s portrayal of our case against heritability studies—namely, their misguided assertion that the crux of our case against heritability studies rests on the empirical validity of a few select methodological assumptions—and, in so doing, refocus attention on our central claim: Recent advances in the life sciences demonstrate that the foundational biological model undergirding heritability studies is invalid, and heritability studies attempt the impossible.
It's no surprise that the biosocial criminologists suggest that Burt and Simmons were politically motivated in their first paper. It's so typical of the shameless, blatant hypocrisy of the whole evolutionary psychology brotherhood. They publish commentary in alt-right Quillette, white supremacist American Renaissance, Unz Review, VDare, Taki's Magazine - John Paul Wright even has a blog called Conservative Criminology - and appear on alt-right racist Stefan Molyneux's web channel, and then turn around and claim that it is their critics who are tainted by political views. I've documented the shamelessness in my chart Steven Pinker's right-wing, alt-right & hereditarian connections

Speaking of whom, the paper cites Pinker:
Although ours was not a politically motivated critique, we are cognizant of the political sensitivities surrounding this line of research. The possibility that unpleasant facts may result from a line of inquiry does not mean that it should be ignored or findings censored. Political or social sensitivities should not disrupt scientific progress. However, as Pinker noted (2011: 614): “The fact that a hypothesis is politically uncomfortable does not mean that it is false, but it does mean that we should consider the evidence very carefully before concluding that it is true.” History is replete with examples of enormous human abuses justified in part by (later determined) flawed scientific research linking biology to crime or other deviant behaviors (Rafter, 2008). There is nothing unscientific about acknowledging this potential danger and proceeding carefully (Orr, 2014). At times, however, many biosocial criminologists seem to take the opposite approach while intimating that they alone are scientific enough to face politically sensitive scientific questions. For example, in a recent chapter by Wright and Morgan (2014) arguing for the biological basis of race and challenging the “egalitarian fiction” (specifically implying that Blacks, as a biological [racial] category, have higher rates of offending in part due to genetic differences; p. 58), they stated: 
[B]iosocial criminologists are a unique breed—no pun intended. As a group they are contrarian to the core. By this we mean that they question every theory, every postulate, and every finding. . . . Simply put, biosocial criminologists are skeptical of entire bodies of research in part because they believe much of it to be misspecified, or worse yet, infused with disciplinary or political bias. (p. 55)
Organized skepticism is a core value in science. Scientists should question results until they are convinced that they have rooted out error and bias, and in our view, heritability study scholars have not applied this organized skepticism to their own models. This may be an acceptable way of conducting science in a different world, one without a history of eugenics and pervasive racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other ’isms. To be sure, our attention to the methodological and conceptual flaws in heritability studies may seem relatively uncommon, hence, the conclusion by Barnes et al. (2014) that our critique was politically motivated. We believe, however, that in this politically sensitive realm such organized skepticism is certainly justified. 
I had to laugh again at the citation of John Paul Wright saying "biosocial criminologists are a unique breed... as a group they are contrarian to the core."

This demonstrates what I've said before about the evo-psycho bros, a group in which I include Wright: they like to imagine themselves as bad-asses.

I think that John Paul Wright and the Hells Angels of Criminology are mentally incapable of comprehending any and all good-faith critiques of their flawed methodology because they are so blinded by their paranoia. 

Which makes them utterly useless as scientists - but of course very useful to racists like American Renaissance and Stefan Molyneux. And Wright and the others are happy to oblige. And completely and utterly shameless about it.