First real post, thought I’d make it a good one. The Prussian isn’t bad. I wouldn’t call him the finest rhetorician that Nietzsche could want to defend him, but his style is at least consistent and has the sort of casual superiority and self-confidence that I think most people who don’t consider him an enemy find appealingly arrogant. That being said as both a student of differential psychology, and politically opinionated ass, I can’t give him a pass on either his anti-racialist FAQ, or his recent Mano e Mano with The Right Stuff. Certainly neither post leaves me frothing at the mouth and baying for blood the way so much political discourse around race, individual differences, and it’s associated fields does, but a mixture of overconfidence and flawed reasoning (especially with regards to individual differences) leaves a bad taste in my mouth. This particular rebuttal is limited to the Mano e Mano post, but after my finals week is over I think I’ll tackle some of the problematic parts of the anti-racialist FAQ as well.
I suppose I should preface this with a general disclaimer that I am not in fact a: White Nationalist, Neoreactionary, Fascist, Racist, etc. etc. Not of course that it will do much good in the long run, talking frankly about race tends to bring out the worst elements of humanity on both sides, but what can I say I’m an outrage junkie. Let’s dive in!
Introduction. Yes, yes we get it already they’re Terrible People (TM), hell I might actually agree with you (they do often seem like total asshats) but everyone this side of the internet divide probably already knows that, and at least they had the balls to throw a challenge your way (plus Alexander McNabb is funny in a way I don’t think he ever intended to be).
Politics and Science. The whole Randian, Nietzschean thing about the individual being all you should care about is great… If you happen to live in fantasy-land where all individuals are considered by the state as being precisely blank gray slates with no history, no identifying physical or genetic characteristics except for their tattooed on serial number which links to their test-scores on a variety of aptitude, personality, and intelligence tests as well as their skill-licenses. If however you happen to not live in that (Colorblind utopia /creepy dystopian future), you might be interested in racial/gender/other physical identifiers and their relationship to individual differences because there are plenty of ways that the state makes and implements policy based upon assumptions about racial characteristics or lack thereof, both implicitly and explicitly. So yeah sure it’s a completely shit-move to undervalue someone of known quality because of irrelevant physical characteristics. I’ll give that to you 100%, if you’re black/Muslim/female and you wreck shit intellectually, you wreck shit intellectually, and anyone who tries to tear you down for your race/gender/religion should be an object of ridicule and shame. If however you are interested in policy-making say affirmative action, or inferring racial discrimination in American society based on the racial makeup of high status institutions with high entry barriers, then whether or not American blacks (speaking broadly, take a sample of people from Africa, set some arbitrary degree of similarity, and use multi-locus genetic testing to group people from America in to sliding degrees of “blackness” call it a “ROAO” recency of African Origin measure) have an IQ distribution centered 10-15 points lower (yes I know it’s a book review, but it’s a lot more compact that citing the papers from the bottom of the page individually), is of a great deal of importance.
Black individuals of great character, intellect, and courage are neither unheard of, nor exceedingly rare for those who bother to look. However their rarity relative to other populations might very well be greater, and I repeat from a governmental/policy-making view this is incredibly important. It is the difference between forcing a society to operate with poorly qualified people in positions of power and import because you are unwilling to admit that there might be average racial differences in intelligence and personality, and allowing society to push towards a more qualification and skill based meritocratic approach. If you are unwilling to consider, and if you have sufficient evidence to accept it as true, the existence of a genetic racial intelligence gap, then your only explanation is “environmental factors”. Assuming that you can change these factors then the change should close the gap. Hence affirmative action. Take the moderately high-performing black kid out of the ghetto and into the university, out of the culture that treats any intellectual achievement as “acting white”, and not only will he perform well, he will perform as well or better than a white kid who grew up in an affluent neighborhood. To the first part, the culture part, all I can say is HELL YES. In both public and private school as a kid probably the most destructive, disturbing thing I noticed about my black classmates was the tendency to pull each other down, to as a group pull away from being overachievers and punish those who were. The second part though, that the increase in performance based upon changing his culture will massively overshadow any possible racial effects is a little more iffy.
Let’s say for the sake of kindness that when we adjust as well as we can for the remaining cultural and environmental (seriously folks lead poisoning is a serious detriment to IQ and it’s disproportionately centered in poor urban areas, so the persistent gap probably has some environmental factors, and could still probably account for at least 2-3 points of the remaining 10-15) problems with Blacks in the united states, the IQ distribution is still downshifted 7.5 IQ points or 0.5 SDs. On a day to day basis this means pretty much nothing for social interactions between whites and blacks (disregarding the huge geographical and cultural divides). However this means that for every individual white person with an IQ of 130 (2 SDs) we would expect to see about a fourth as many blacks (the odds specifically would be 1 in 22, and 1 in 81). This is not a trivial difference. Indeed if it were true it would mean that the difference in white and black enrollment rates is not in fact a sign of perfidious “institutional racism” but rather a natural extension of an existing IQ gap. Should we attempt to close it? Certainly. The question is how you intend to close it, and this question cannot be answered if you do not look long and hard at the facts while jettisoning as many of your preconceptions and as much of your politics as you possibly can. Indeed the Prussian rather enjoys bringing up how genetic engineering will quickly solve any possible IQ gap, as we all ascend to a transhuman or posthuman utopia. Which is great, but in the mean time we still have hard policy decisions to make. Honestly I kind of assumed that given the Prussians commendable stance of Islam, he would be able to make the same strong distinction between the individual as showing lower intellectual/moral/social/etc. qualities and the group doing so with respect to race.
Racial Determinism and the SSSSM
I mean really did anyone ever teach you about the false dichotomy? Because you seem real fond of it… The truth as far as I or anyone can tell is that neither culture no race is sufficient to explain how a society thrives or falls. Indeed both of them together still FAILS to account for who rises and who falls. Much as I loathe the man (more for being an arrogant prig far too attached to his one pet idea than for any particular sins), Nicholas Nassim Taleb’s concept of the Black Swan is probably indispensable here. What determines a cultures fall (and to some degree it’s ascendancy) is widely variable, and usually unpredictable. Rome had a few hundred more years in it, until Atila, and Genseric, and Totila (The 400 and 500s were not kind to Rome), happened in a relatively short time period. The Native Americans were probably a fair bit more advanced than what anyone taught you in high school, until some grimy, heretical, genocidal bastards brought over smallpox, and then spread it intentionally (I don’t know off the top of my head a more sickening act of cowardice). Of course they also lacked quite a few of the AHA! moments that propelled European, East Asian, and Middle Eastern civilizations into their respective golden ages of technology. Indeed the mechanics of power, advancement, and achievement and their failures are absurdly difficult to grasp, and the idea that race (whose description and mechanisms are quite coherently understood) or culture (whose mechanisms of formation and function are just as poorly understood) is enough to determine those structures is the height of idiocy.
I will however grant that IQ differences in no way justify slavery, human rights abuses, or the generally fucked up and terrible actions of one group of humans towards another. To Re-emphasize though, the fact that any individual has reached a high level achievement is not sufficient to conclude that we shouldn’t care about potential differences in average racial IQ.
Rising IQ Scores & The Same Potential
Just… Just… NO! The Flynn effect has not been adequately explained by ANYONE. Even what we’re seeing is actually a real gain in human intelligence (and it seems unlikely that that is the entire story, as noted it seems unlikely that a 1900’s Dutchman was so mentally retarded as to be unable to understand soccer), these rises imply NOTHING about overall potential. Saying that equal gains implies equal “base” intelligence or equal maximum potential is just wrong. It’s not a little wrong, or sort of wrong, it is WRONG, indeed it borders on either being a blatant lie or the greatest piece of stupidity I’ve seen (short of about half of Radish’s articles, but those at least are supposed to be stupid, I hope). What you’ve done here is basically get really, really confused about how genetics works. Your implication is that the persistent gap across generations is because previous disadvantage meant that whatever gains black people made are made equally by whites so the gap never disappears. This hypothesis would require a MASSIVE amount of evidence and you’ve provided NONE. To analogize this is like saying that the height difference between a Sub-Saharan African and a Japanese person is entirely because of a seriously traumatic event in Japan’s past that has prevented Japanese people from achieving the same height as say a Nilotic person. Why is this analagous? Because if you both of their children on an American Diet they’ll be on average three inches taller. Does this imply that Japanese people and Kenyan have the same “base” height and that the traumatic events in Japan’s past have retarded their growth, but hey give it a few generations and gap will disappear once they hit the “base” height’s maximum limit? Nope. Indeed variations in environmental factors are just as likely to cause the across the board increases seen (improvements in nutrition and the overall reduction of lead in the environment specifically) in both blacks and whites, without having ANY bearing on whether or not there is a genetic IQ gap. Oh also the Eyferth study you so triumphantly cite has some problems in terms of selection bias (Military individuals have a skewed distribution of scores because of screening tests), that make it’s validity as a population measure questionable at best.
On the subject of epigenetics, yes they probably do have an effect, no they probably don’t completely explain the IQ gap, even when combined with other potential factors (looking at you lead exposure).
Okay seriously, go read the GNXP article and then read through the cited papers… So now you’ve read some things in RESPECTABLE, PEER-REVIEWED, SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS, suggesting that the B/W IQ gap might be genetic. Jesus it’s like you don’t even bother trying to find strong counter-arguments to your position. Oh wait you’re human, right…. And don’t bother giving me shit about Richard Lynn, the man’s done more and better research in this area than just about anyone else (and Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin, were both pathetic political activism junkies who couldn’t separate politics from science if you put a gun to their heads).
A Better Definition of Race
Well this is going to be blatantly cribbed from JayMan. Actually just go read JayMan, he’s a much better writer and much clearer thinker than I’ll ever be. Basically Race can be as precise as you want it to be, and runs along a sliding spectrum. This does not invalidate the concept of a race, any more than the fact that light is a sliding spectrum of frequencies invalidates the concept of green.
Inherited Superiority and Individual Accomplishment
Seriously… We get it, you don’t understand the difference between an individual and a group. Plus you really enjoy impugning motives and asserting that your opponents are the “Last Men”…
Violence, Nordicism, etc.
I got nothing here, as far as I can tell yeah Violence is much more strongly culturally influenced than genetically influenced (although the DC thing was misleading, you should also include what percentage of homicide is black perpetrated vs white perpetrated) and Nordicism is pretty much bullshit. So hey at least you got some things right, now try to work on your science.
Look I appreciate that you’re dealing with people who are of a sort with the same people who committed horrifying atrocities and want to tear down any chance we have at a half decent liberal society, but please stop using bad science to justify good ends. Culture and civilization don’t trump race, they interact with it, often in ways that are very difficult to untangle, but very easy to dismiss out of hand. I’ll be taking a hard look at some of your ethical and political assertions in the Anti-Racialist Q&A at a later date.