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Racists in the Sunday Times


by Sunny on 2nd April, 2006 at 11:25 pm    

The Sunday Times published a letter today, signed by various academics in support of the Leeds uni professor Dr Frank Ellis. I knew that arguing for his freedom of speech would put me on the side of racists, but it doesn’t matter.

However, it is interesting to note who is defending Ellis this time. As they say, Google is a blogger’s best friend.

First up is Professor Richard Lynn who, according to Wikipedia, had his work cited in the Bell Curve (and Ellis based his ideas on).

One review of Lynn’s work, by the American psychologist Leon Kamin previously said:

I will not mince words. Lynn’s distortions and misrepresentations of the data constitute a truly venomous racism, combined with scandalous disregard for scientific objectivity. But to anybody familiar with Lynn’s work and background this comes as no surprise… [from here]

The second name is that of Professor Philippe J. Rushton. This is where it gets more interesting. Richard Lynn serves on the board of directors of the Pioneer Fund and since 2002, Philippe Rushton has been its president.

What is the Pioneer Fund? According to Wikipedia: “

The Pioneer Fund was incorporated in 1937 by two American scientists: Harry Laughlin, who received an honorary doctorate from Heidelberg University in 1936 in recognition of his contribution to Nazi eugenics, and Frederick Osborn, who Barry Mehler claims wrote in 1937 that the Nazi sterilization law was “the most exciting experiment that had ever been tried”.

Unsurprisingly, most of Pioneer Fund’s money goes to scientific research to prove links between race and genetics. A smaller amount also to political or legal organisations that support immigration reform/reduction. No agenda here, clearly.

PF also publishes the journal Mankind Quarterly, currently headed by Rushton. Just to demonstrate its strength of calibre, one of its former editors was Roger Pearson, known for establishing the neo-Nazi Northern League in 1958 according to Wikipedia. Richard Lynn serves on its editorial board.

Rushton also makes an appearance on the white supremacist website VDare.com here, seemingly praising the website for helping him in the past.

Anyway, I think it paints a pretty picture, don’t you?

Stupidity
One may say that despite these connections, our friendly racists may still be right about what they say. Too bad recent evidence does not support them.

Chris Dillow has some links on this post citing studies that refute the claims by Ellis.

I also posted this graph a few days ago on PP, which shows the fallacy of Ellis’ claims. Any explanation why black girls do better than white boys at school? Why do Indian girls do the best when Richard Lynn claims that Indians are less intelligent than Europeans?

Immigration debate
There are of course ulterior motives to all this. If Lynn et al were just scientists dedicated to ‘the truth’, I could be less contemptuous towards them. But they’re not. From Wikipedia:

Lynn has spoken against immigration in Britain at a 2000 American Renaissance magazine sponsored conference, citing problems of unemployment, crime, illegitimacy, and low IQ, considering African and African-Caribbean immigants to perform worse in these measures than Indian and Chinese immigrants. Lynn spoke on his book IQ and the Wealth of Nations at a 2002 American Renaissance conference.

Rushton has also commented on immigration issues in the past.

Lynn has also claimed in the past that men are more intelligent than women, which resulted in a furious attack by the journal Nature.

So, as you can see, clearly credible professors hoping to advance the cause of science. Or not. Meanwhile Sunday Times readers will largely remain unaware of the drivel that is printed in their paper.



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27 Comments   |  


  1. razib — on 2nd April, 2006 at 11:38 pm  

    Why do Indian girls do the best when Richard Lynn claims that Indians are less intelligent than Europeans?

    i think lynn would say that south asians have lower average IQs than northern europeans, but, do note that lynn has attributed the lower performance of south asians in the UK to lack of english language fluency and assimilation in the past. when correcting for assimilative factors lynn suggested that the south asian IQ in the UK might be about the same as white.

  2. Sunny — on 2nd April, 2006 at 11:41 pm  

    Given that the first generation never really studied in this country, how can you even include them in any meaningful comparison of IQ or intelligence. It makes the stats even more worthless, does it not?

  3. Jay Singh — on 2nd April, 2006 at 11:45 pm  

    Oooh where is seantT when you need him?

  4. Sunny — on 2nd April, 2006 at 11:48 pm  

    OT, but I just realised you’re the same Razib who posts on Sepia right?
    Btw, I fully agree with your points made in ‘would you kill a child‘?

  5. Don — on 2nd April, 2006 at 11:49 pm  

    Lynn is, of course, notorious. But Christopher Brand is a revelation.

    http://www.crispian.demon.co.uk/

    What a bunch of clowns.

  6. razib — on 2nd April, 2006 at 11:55 pm  

    Given that the first generation never really studied in this country, how can you even include them in any meaningful comparison of IQ or intelligence. It

    the numbers are never going to be perfect. stuff like this is never going to be able to defend itself from super-higher barriers proof or extraction of conflating factors. lynn admits many of the numbers are bad, but he offers that someone needs to collate what we have.

    you can make the argument that semi-bad/good numbers are worse than no numbers at all. my only point is that this issue is more complicated that racists vs. non-racists. some of the principals are racists by any definition, some of them probably are not. for many of them it depends on your definition.

    many of the vocal psychometricians who promote intergroup IQ differences are nutty, but that is partly a function of the fact that to moot such a taboo topic you also have to be the type of person who is OK with being a total nut (chris brand also writes screeds against ‘paedohysteria’ and promotes older male + young female relationships).

    yes, i am the razib from SM.

  7. Sunny — on 3rd April, 2006 at 12:06 am  

    you can make the argument that semi-bad/good numbers are worse than no numbers at all.

    well, it depends. If you’re going to try and produce some numbers to show that one race is superior to another, and thus we should stop immigration because they’re going to come in and spread disease (and all sorts of other rubbish) - then you damn well have good numbers to support your cause.

    Modern educational attainment stats clearly fly in the face of all the rubbish these guys come up with.

    Cheers for the link Don - I didn’t even bother going past the first two supporters because they were funny enough. Bland’s website is quite a revelation in itself.

  8. Vikrant — on 3rd April, 2006 at 12:10 am  

    When will these rent-a-scientist clows realise its NOT the race but the culture that matters. Given that even race is a pseudo-science and aprat from physical appearance no remarkable difference exists between various so-called races.

    BTW good research Sunster, are you gonna do an editorial on this is in one of the newspapers?

  9. razib — on 3rd April, 2006 at 12:15 am  

    Modern educational attainment stats clearly fly in the face of all the rubbish these guys come up with.

    you might think it a dodge, but they would almost certainly rebut with the explanatory factor of selection biasing. african immigrants to the USA for example are among the most educated groups in this nation, the reason being that most people who emigrate from african nations are from the elites. similarly, ismaili muslims from uganda might have little in common socioeconomically with muslims from mirpur.

    but yes, the numbers in britain do need to be explained, and i suspect that they would point to issues of g loading.

    in any case, i’m not here to defend the details of all claims. just to point out that there is variation within the set, from nuts like like brand on toward controversial but respected figures like the late hans eysenck.

  10. Sunny — on 3rd April, 2006 at 1:19 am  

    african immigrants to the USA for example are among the most educated groups in this nation, the reason being that most people who emigrate from african nations are from the elites

    Indeed. Which makes this a very class thing as I argued in my last post on the issue, rather than a genetic issue.

    The fact that girls outperform boys throughout education alone refutes Lynn’s rubbish. And anyone with half a brain can see that from government stats.

    just to point out that there is variation within the set, from nuts like like brand on toward

    point taken, I didn’t brand all of them rabid Nazis :)

    Vikrant - are you gonna do an editorial on this is in one of the newspapers?

    Nah, this fisking was a PP exclusive. I’m beginning to think Comment is Free prefers comment pieces than fisking or links to blogs etc, like traditional blogs.

  11. Lady Madonna — on 3rd April, 2006 at 11:07 am  

    Lots of ‘from wikipedia’ as source.

    The free encyclopedia that ‘anyone can edit’. You might as well say ‘The majority of my mates told me…’

    So let’s see some better research.

  12. Roger — on 3rd April, 2006 at 11:21 am  

    The important question is not whether Ellis is right in what he says about a subject he isn’t employed to know about but whether his opinions disqualify him as a tecturer in Russian and east European studies. No one has found any bias in the way he treats his students. Perhaps if he had been asked to keep quiet, not as a matter of principle, but just out of consideration for his students and the future of the department he might have done so. when people do things on principle every other consideration- such as sanity, perspective and courtesy- is discarded. It’s curious that Ellis works in eastern European studies: the main targets of eugenics in the 1920s and 1930s were east and southern Europeans, especially jews [No-one paid any attention to blacks and Asians- everyone knew they were intellectually inferior, ‘though good mimics in some cases, like the Japanese]. US immigration laws were amended in the 1920s to keep out these inferior specimens.

  13. Don — on 3rd April, 2006 at 11:36 am  

    My understanding is that he has been asked to refrain from further ‘public comments suggesting one racial group is inherently inferior (or superior) to another ‘ unless he makes it very clear that he is speaking as a private individual and that the university is in no way associated with his remarks.

    I believe he has also been asked to apologise to those who may have been offended by his remarks, some of which were couched in far from academic language.

  14. seanT — on 3rd April, 2006 at 1:32 pm  

    SeanT is in Cornwall, on a glamorous assignment to write about west country branch railways.

    I will refrain from wading into this debate too heavily, yet again, mainly cause I am starting to bore myself. But here’s two brief points:

    The letter was signed by the usual suspects - this is true. And maybe half of them are nutters. Also true. But the reason this area of psychometrics seems domnated by loons is precisely because of what’s happening to Ellis. Only an idiot, a masochistic self publicist, or a Nazi would choose this field of research, or this area of debate, given the dangerous and explosive incompatabilty of the IQ data with the shibboleths of our age. Put it another way, on the subject of possible racial differences in IQ society has stuck its fingers in its ears and is going ‘Na na na na na can’t hear you’, so those who want to be heard have to shout very loudly. And no one likes shouters. Especially on this subject.

    The GCSE results are meaningless - at least if you wish to oppose them to IQ. Modern British exams are half course work for a start - they test things like diligence, application, attendance, having smart parents able to help you, and whether you can get away with cheating via the Internet. Also girls do better at GCSEs (and most exams) than boys cause the exams have been deliberately changed to help girls - today’s modular education methods fit the thorough hardworking diligent nature of girls as compared to the risk-taking, lazy, anti-diligent ethos of boys, who in the past were able to do fuck all through the year, and gamble on doing well in one burst at exams.

    That’s certainly how it worked for me, anyway!

    And nowI I’m off to look at rolling stock in Lostwithiel.

  15. j0nz — on 3rd April, 2006 at 1:35 pm  

    Interestingly, on the subject of The Bell Curve, Thomas Sowell described the book as “a very sober, very thorough, and very honest book.”

  16. Reformist Muslim — on 3rd April, 2006 at 8:09 pm  

    Similarly Steven Pinker in his book ‘The Blank Slate’ also argued against the fierce reaction which that The Bell Curve recieved.

    Pinker is one of the most respected and influential thinkers in and outside academia, and I thought that his book was one of the truly educational and paradigm shifting books which I’ve read.

    To get an overview of his ideas you can see/listen to a lecture he gave at MIT a while back here,
    http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/23/

    With regards to gender, he engaged in a fascinating debate with Elizabeth Spelke which can be viewed here.http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/debate05/debate05_index.html

  17. Sid D H Arthur — on 3rd April, 2006 at 8:56 pm  

    “Its only a housing scheme that divides.”

    Culture - Two Sevens Clash (1975)

  18. j0nz — on 4th April, 2006 at 12:10 am  

    Thanks RM, I think I will order that

  19. Sunny — on 4th April, 2006 at 12:28 am  

    But the reason this area of psychometrics seems domnated by loons is precisely because of what’s happening to Ellis. Only an idiot, a masochistic self publicist, or a Nazi would choose this field of research

    Thank you for making my point SeanT!

    The GCSE results are meaningless - at least if you wish to oppose them to IQ.

    I’m merely using data that Ellis et al also cite when making their case. I think trying to use GCSEs or IQ tests as a measure of intelligence is inherently stupid… but what do I know??

  20. Usman — on 5th April, 2006 at 2:06 am  

    The problem with that table is that the majority Pakistani population is not represented. The vast majority of Pakistanis used in that research are from the mirpur area of Pakistani Kashmir. An area in which education is not very highly valued, but things are changing within the Pakistani mirpuri community.

    Allot of the Indians in the study achieving good results are kenyan asians originally from the Gujrat region. It doesn’t really matter if your Indian or Pakistani, gujratis tend to do well because people from this area and south Indians in general tend to value education highly. For those of you who didn’t know karachi, and the Sindh region of Pakistan is made up of South Indians. If you were to analyse results from Pakistani Punjabis and Indian Punjabis I doubt if the results would show much difference.

    India and Pakistan are countries with artificial borders so it doesn’t really matter if your Indian or Pakistani, but rather which region of the Indian subcontinent your from. This doesn’t mean that Gujratis are more intelligent than Punjabis or Punjabis more than Kashmiris it just means that in some regions education is more highly valued so children are encouraged more by there parents.

    What you have in this study is a large sample of Gujrati and Punjabi Indians, alongside a large sample of Pakistanis from rural areas of Kashmir. The Pakistani population in the study is not really representative of Pakistanis as a whole. So I would dismiss the data on that basis.

  21. Vikrant — on 5th April, 2006 at 9:28 am  

    Sindhis are south indians? dunno mate. As for indians i can tell almost all indians value education. That is why inspite of population India’s literacy rate is 67% much higher than pakistan’s i say.

  22. squared — on 5th April, 2006 at 10:53 am  

    I think trying to use GCSEs or IQ tests as a measure of intelligence is inherently stupid…

    I agree. GCSEs are a joke, and IQ tests are just there to inflate egos.

    Meet Marilyn vos Savant, a true “idiot savant”. She has an IQ of over 200 and still manages to write absolute tripe.

    A high IQ does not imply high intelligence. They’re easily miscalculated and depend heavily on the average intelligence of a population. Nothing more than a few standard deviations from a mean.

    Furthermore, because of the way it’s all calculated, someone with an IQ of 90 could in theory be more intelligent than someone with an IQ of 100. Measuring individual IQ’s is SILLY.

    As for GCSEs… I have 10 and I still write tripe. :)

  23. squared — on 5th April, 2006 at 10:58 am  

    P.S. This whole who’s cleverer debate means sod all if all these wonderful people with high IQ’s do sod all.

    Marilyn vos Savant makes about as much use of her “intelligence” as men do of my vagina. She could have at least cured cancer or something…

  24. Jay Singh — on 5th April, 2006 at 11:24 am  

    Marilyn vos Savant makes about as much use of her “intelligence” as men do of my vagina

    Maybe you should get in touch with Rana Dasgupta?

  25. Roger — on 5th April, 2006 at 1:15 pm  

    When the psychologist Liam Hudson went to Cambridge he- like the other students- did an IQ test. Years later he compared those tests and the later careers of the students concerned. He found only one thing that positively correlated with doing well in IQ tests- belief that IQ tests are a reliable measure of intelligence.

  26. squared — on 6th April, 2006 at 7:48 pm  

    ^ Did you mean believing in IQ tests -> doing well in them?

    You can learn how to do well in an IQ test, just like exam orientated study can make you do well in a GCSE. Self assurance helps…

    Maybe you should get in touch with Rana Dasgupta?

    *Blush*

  27. PakiTV » Racists in the Sunday Times — on 13th April, 2006 at 11:16 am  

    […] Racists in the Sunday Times […]

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