Nathan Cofnas wrote a paper [ Science is not always “Self-Correcting” ] on how various scientists and philosophers choose or reject scientific theories about human intelligence. Not just quietly avoiding truths they don’t like, but explicitly saying that everyone should do so. Reminds me of a New Mexico politician [ Patricia Madrid] that filed charges against guys that had bribed two state treasurers, but had been given immunity in return for their testimony by the Feds. Not a proven thief, last I checked – but a principled proponent of theft. Probably a paid spokesman for the Thieves’ Guild. I voted for her, by the way, when she ran for this Congressional seat.
Let us name some names. Jared Diamond, Howard Gardner, Philip Kitcher, Ned Block and Gerald Dworkin, Noam Chomsky, Robert Sternberg, Eric Turkheimer, Richard Lewontin. And not forgetting to speak ill of the dead, Steven J. Gould and Leon Kamin.
A number of these guys clearly believe that there are racial differences in average intelligence that need to be hidden. For example, Howard Gardner (2001) writes that he does “not condone investigations of racial differences in intelligence, because [he] think[s] that the results of these studies are likely to be incendiary.” Well, if it was shown that no such differences existed, that would hardly be incendiary. Surprising, maybe, but not obviously incendiary. Or if we found that people in New Guinea mentally towered over everyone else [The Masters of the Future], that would apparently be just fine. Clearly, Gardner believe that such differences likely exist, differences large enough to matter, and that their pattern is not one that people at Harvard would be happy to see. So why haven’t they fired him? There are those that suspect his work in general is probably not correct – in fact, Gardner himself seems to suspect this. ” [E]ven if at the end of the day, the bad guys [such as Jensen, who emphasize the importance of g,] turn out to be more correct scientifically than I am, life is short, and we have to make choices about how we spend our time. And that’s where I think the multiple intelligences way of thinking about things will continue to be useful even if the scientific evidence doesn’t support it.”
Eric Turkheimer seems to think that the possibility of racial IQ differences is refuted by an “ethical principle that individual and cultural accomplishment is not tied to the
genes in the same way as the appearance of our hair”. That’s an odd argument. Does it work with Downs and Fragile X? I doubt if he has ever used it for any other issue. Should I use it to deny the possibility of a nuclear chain reaction, or smallpox epidemics, or asteroid strikes? If he thought that there just weren’t any such differences, he wouldn’t need special new ‘logical’ principles to prevent them from existing – would he?
Philip Kitcher advocates raising the bar for evidence supporting theories he doesn’t like. I’ve talked about this [The Veeck effect]. Why do you think he makes this argument? If populations really were effectively the same in IQ, there would be lots of easily observable evidence for it. No way to prove exact equality, but it wouldn’t be hard to show that group A and B were close. But nobody does, because nobody can. If this were true, it would show up in a genetic admixture study: so nobody will do one.
You would not see anything like the patterns we actually experience – you wouldn’t see a single family ( like the Bernoullis or Braggs or Bohrs) be competitive with a whole race at at the highest intellectual level. You do see that in running – girls from a single town in Ethiopia can beat every female in China – but that’s not equality.
Only a few of these people are old-fashioned, deep-fried Marxists – Gould was and Lewontin is. Of course Marxists lie: they believe in it. And they have to, because reality hasn’t been all that favorable to their cause. The future of Marxism is in VR.
So what must be done? If a researcher is a liar and isn’t particularly interesting, sure, fire him. That probably applies to nearly everyone on this list. But sometimes the liar is also a genius: what then? What about Haldane?