Pharyngula

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Occasionally, John Derbyshire gets kudos from the pro-science side of the national snarl because he at least manages to recognize that Intelligent Design creationism is a load of lies and pseudoscience. I’ve been less than thrilled with the guy; he’s generally a creepy fellow who only advocates science as a prop to his bizarre ideological fantasies. The latest example: he opposes Obama because he will destroy the biological sciences. Why, you might ask? It’s a peculiar assertion, since virtually every biologist I know considers the Republican party to have been a disaster for American science, and like Obama’s positions on science policy. Just the fact that he’s willing to encourage stem cell research is a major step forward.

The reason Derbyshire predicts Obama will stop science cold is that the presidential candidate is a black man who dislikes the idea that modern genetics will demonstrate the inferiority of certain races.

To support his claim, he babbles approvingly about Herrnstein and Murray’s awful book, The Bell Curve, and cites a “genomics researcher” who must remain anonymous because the cultural Marxists who dominate the research industry will destroy him…unfortunately, he uses a pseudonym familiar to me — “Godless Capitalist” — and I know his internet ravings well. He’s a garden-variety racist who misuses genetics as window-dressing for his delusions. Just to give you an idea of how repugnant and stupid this guy is, here’s a little anecdote told by Derbyshire that tells you how clueless Derbyshire is, and how vilely misogynist and bigoted “Godless Capitalist” is:

When “Godless” was helping me get up to speed on this stuff, I asked him at one point: “What’s the difference between a geneticist and a genomicist?” He gave a very cute answer: “Geneticists are female, genomicists are male.” Asked to elaborate, he offered this: “Imagine you are walking down a corridor in a research institute, looking in through the glass panels in doors. In one lab you see a young woman of nontrivial attractiveness carefully adding drops to a Petri dish from a pipette. That’s a geneticist. A couple of doors along you look into another lab and there are two young guys arguing about some long string of numbers displayed on a computer screen. Those are genomicists …”

I guess this guy never heard of Pardis Sabeti or Anne Carpenter or Dannie Durand or any of a bunch of other female genomics researchers I can think of. Or the even larger number of male geneticists out there. And why does attractiveness even come into this?

That’s a rhetorical question. It’s because these happy chatting bigots are always judging ideas by superficial appearances, by sex or skin color or racial and sexual stereotypes.

Comments

  1. #1 Mark Mattern
    October 8, 2008

    What a shithead.

  2. #2 Mark Mattern
    October 8, 2008

    Oh, my first comment ever FTW.

  3. #3 Irradiatus
    October 8, 2008

    I had not read or even heard of Derbyshire prior to finding this article, so thanks for giving some context on him.

    Again, what a douchebag!

  4. #4 jck
    October 8, 2008

    Screeds like this tell much more about the writer than the subject. Sounds like this guy has a fetish for women in lab coats. I don’t even want to speculate on the pipette.

  5. #5 HumanisticJones
    October 8, 2008

    jck @ #4

    Screeds like this tell much more about the writer than the subject. Sounds like this guy has a fetish for women in lab coats.

    Don’t sully the fetish for women in lab coats by needlessly associating it with this man. It is a good and decent fetish to have, on par with librarians.

  6. #6 Jared
    October 8, 2008

    …wow…just wow. How many people actually believe this crap?

  7. #7 John Derbyshire
    October 8, 2008

    You out of the shower yet, P.Z.? Good. Just a couple:

    “The reason Derbyshire predicts Obama will stop science cold is that the presidential candidate is a black man who dislikes the idea that modern genetics will demonstrate the inferiority of certain races.”

    Where did I say that? Why are you putting words in my mouth? The reason Obama will do what he can to stop the human sciences cold is, I said, that he’s a cultural Marxist, a blank-slater. They come in all colors, P.Z., as you ought to know.

    Check out human history, which is just human nature at large. It’s not a pretty sight. Yet some humans, in some times and places, have built orderly, rational, consensual societies. So the human race isn’t hopeless. We do need a better understanding of human nature though, if we are to be spared future horrors; and that better understanding will only come through diligent scientific enquiry.

    Which will not go forward if we are fearful of what we might learn. As the cultural Marxists are. As you are.

    I guess you’ll have to take another shower now. Hope you have one of those energy-saver water heaters. Gotta live green!

  8. #8 Prof MTH
    October 8, 2008

    Since the 1920s biological factors have been cited as reasons to justify racial discrimination including forced sterilization programs that lasted until the 1980s. Now that the medical sciences are pursuing individualized medicine and race based medicine (see Bidil) we are seeing a resurgence of racial stereotyping, racial discrimination, and just outright racism on the basis of genetics.

    A colleague of PZ’s recently spoken on these issues as well as other issues such as African-American Liberation Atheism.

  9. #9 Eshto
    October 8, 2008

    Can someone explain to me what “nontrivial attractiveness” means? (As opposed to trivial attractiveness?)

  10. #10 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    October 8, 2008

    Posted by: John Derbyshire | October 8, 2008

    Where did I say that? Why are you putting words in my mouth? The reason Obama will do what he can to stop the human sciences cold is, I said, that he’s a cultural Marxist, a blank-slater. They come in all colors, P.Z., as you ought to know.

    Proof?

  11. #11 Utilitarian
    October 8, 2008

    Contrary anecdotes != refutation of a statistical generalization about the proportion of different genders in different fields.

    Randomly selected young veterinarians are more likely to be female than male, randomly selected young computer programmers are more likely to be male than female. Likewise, it *really is the case* that the male:female ratios differ between lab geneticists and genomics techies.

    You can object and say that in the future women will exactly match the occupational patterns of men and become techies at the same rate, although this would require DECREASES in female numbers in other skilled professions like medicine, but this business of misinterpreting any statistical generalization as an exceptionless categorical claim and then attacking the speaker is bogus.

    I’m Jewish, and we make jokes about our disproportionately high and low representations in various fields all the time (lots of doctors and lawyers, few soldiers and plumbers). It’s not anti-Semitic for a Gentile to notice and ask, “Hey, Utilitarian! I’m curious, do you know why it is that a quarter of American Nobel Laureates, or big-firm lawyers, or Hollywood executives, are Jewish?” A world where all sorts of obviously true facts are off-limits for humor or discussion is both less honest and less interesting.

  12. #12 Patricia
    October 8, 2008

    Fuck off John Derbyshire, said the white Bantu.

  13. #13 Irradiatus
    October 8, 2008

    Derbyshire also says, “The younger generation of human-sciences enthusiasts trend conservative/libertarian, and Obama has them worried.”

    I would love to see some data backing that one up.

    I think he’s confusing scientists who study genetic variation, who most certainly lean left/liberal, with his own euphemistic “human-scientists” (aka racists) who I’m sure do trend conservative.

  14. #14 Prof MTH
    October 8, 2008

    Check out human history, which is just human nature at large. It’s not a pretty sight.

    1. This is a common line of reasoning. It is put forth by Troy Duster, for example. It is a pure inductive argument. It is not clear that medical practitioners and scientists doing the research will engage in the specified behaviors.
    2. It is does not logically follow that the past is any indication that Obama specifically will engage in specified behaviors.
    3. What do you mean by “cultural marxism”? Do you simply mean “multiculturalism”? And furthermore what is your evidence that Obama is a “cultural marxist”?
    4. Read literally your claim is a redundant tautology.

  15. #15 raven
    October 8, 2008

    I’m getting tired of this Obama is a black man schtick. He is half white. Why are mixed race white-blacks called blacks? And hasn’t Derbyshire, the science fan, ever heard of “hybrid vigor”? Genetics says that inbred is bad and a large diverse gene pool is good. You’d think Derbyshire could get a few simple facts right before he goes all racist.

    Human genetics is a very small part of science and racial differences or lack thereof is very small part of human gentics.

    The Theothuglican catastrophe hasn’t been a total disaster for science but it has been close.
    1. Funding has been flat to slightly down while inflation roars along. All the stats such as publication rates and grant approval percentages say that US science is barely treading water and in danger of sinking.

    2. The antiscience promythology bias is more serious. Bushco censors anything that contradicts their ideological and religious biases. They’ve been beating up on the CDC lately. With present trends and left to their own devices, we would inevitably end up poorer, sicker, and falling further and further behind the rest of the world.

    Science is the basis of our civilization and American science is the key to US economic, political, and military power. Most in science have been keeping their heads down and fervently hoping that the next administration isn’t as stupid and hostile as the present one.

  16. #16 mad the swine
    October 8, 2008

    “3. What do you mean by “cultural marxism”? Do you simply mean “multiculturalism”? And furthermore what is your evidence that Obama is a “cultural marxist”?”

    “Cultural Marxists” deny the, er, fact, that some people, and some races, are superior to others. In other words, they hold the truth to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. Real Americans like John Derbyshire recognize that claim for the elitist Commie propaganda it is :P

  17. #17 BMS
    October 8, 2008

    Likewise, it *really is the case* that the male:female ratios differ between lab geneticists and genomics techies.

    (1) Proof?

    (2) WTF difference does male:female ratio make?

    (3) WTF does *nontrivial attractiveness* (or trivial attractiveness) have to do with the job an individual is performing?

    A world where all sorts of obviously true facts are off-limits for humor or discussion is both less honest and less interesting.

    In order for a statement or assertion to be humorous it has to be, you know, funny.

    Let’s try it:

    When “Godless” was helping me get up to speed on this stuff, I asked him at one point: “What’s the difference between a geneticist and a genomicist?” He gave a very cute answer: “Geneticists are Jewish, genomicists are Christian.” Asked to elaborate, he offered this: “Imagine you are walking down a corridor in a research institute, looking in through the glass panels in doors. In one lab you see a young Jew of nontrivial attractiveness carefully adding drops to a Petri dish from a pipette. That’s a geneticist. A couple of doors along you look into another lab and there are two young Christians arguing about some long string of numbers displayed on a computer screen. Those are genomicists …”

    Still not funny, and pretty much a total non-sequitur either way it’s sliced.

    And by the way, when one pokes fun at one’s own group, that’s called self-deprecating humor and in general is acceptable within one’s own group.

    The problem comes when people not of one’s own group make fun of you and your group – it’s no longer nearly as thigh-slappingly ROFLMAO funny. You and your group are being marginalized for characteristics outside your control and you’re being “othered.”

    There really is a difference.

  18. #18 dcb
    October 8, 2008

    OK, what’s a “cultural marxist”?

    Does this gibberish mean anything? Is it code for “liberal”?

  19. #19 dcb
    October 8, 2008

    OK, what’s a “cultural marxist”?

    Does this gibberish mean anything? Is it code for “liberal”?

  20. #20 Dveduu
    October 8, 2008

    I’m a male geneticist o.0

  21. #21 Jon W
    October 8, 2008

    “I am a homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though an even more mild and tolerant one, and those things are going to be illegal pretty soon, the way we are going.” –John Derbyshire

  22. #22 Blake Stacey
    October 8, 2008

    Prof MTH:

    3. What do you mean by “cultural marxism”? Do you simply mean “multiculturalism”?

    I think a “cultural Marxist” is like a “secular Jew”. You know: “Oh, I don’t believe in capital-D dialectical materialism, I just value the writings of Lukács for cultural reasons.”

  23. #23 CityzenJane
    October 8, 2008

    Dear Mr. Derbyshire,

    It is impossible to make stupid ‘illegal.’

    Thanks for playing.

  24. #24 bernard quatermass
    October 8, 2008

    Derbyshire is a conundrum. His book on the Riemann Zeta function is really very very good.

  25. #25 MarkusR
    October 8, 2008

    I’m trying to figure out what he means with “cultural Marxism”. As a left winger who pretty much agrees with the following proposition….
    “Marcuse, in his 1954 book Eros and Civilization, argued for a politics based on the strive towards pleasure. This striving for pleasure would unite individualism, hedonism and absolute egalitarianism, because each individual would equally be able to determine their own needs and desires; thus everyone would be able to satisfy their true desires. Marcuse argues that the moral and cultural relativism of contemporary Western society impedes this egalitarian politics, because it provides no way of distinguishing between an individual’s true needs, and false needs manufactured by capitalism.”
    …should “know” what “social marxism” is. Yet I fail to see in the preceding any connection to anti-science.

  26. #26 mad the swine
    October 8, 2008

    You know, I was halfway through a long, long post dissecting the Derb’s latest offering, and the very, very careful way he avoids specifying what inherent qualities ‘science’ has ‘proven’ various races to possess (while pointing out that the Democrats are ‘afraid’ of society finding out the ‘truth’ (and you know what minority the Democrats are associated with, wink wink, nudge nudge))… but forget it. Derbyshire is a racial realist, and his fear is, ultimately, that an Obama administration will prevent science from proving that the Confederacy was right about blacks all along. In other words, just take out the ‘black’ from PZ’s summary:

    “The reason Derbyshire predicts Obama will stop science cold is that the presidential candidate is a [snip] man who dislikes the idea that modern genetics will demonstrate the inferiority of certain races.”

    and you have Derbyshire’s philosophy in words even he would agree with – because, after all, it’s not racist if the inferiority of certain races is scientifically proven!

  27. #27 Phoenix Woman
    October 8, 2008

    A few quickies:

    – John Derbyshire is the guy who wrote this:

    Chelsea is a Clinton. She bears the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored. All the great despotisms of the past — I’m not arguing for despotism as a principle, but they sure knew how to deal with potential trouble — recognized that the families of objectionable citizens were a continuing threat. In Stalin’s penal code it was a crime to be the wife or child of an “enemy of the people”. The Nazis used the same principle, which they called Sippenhaft, “clan liability”. In Imperial China, enemies of the state were punished “to the ninth degree”: that is, everyone in the offender’s own generation would be killed, and everyone related via four generations up, to the great-great-grandparents, and four generations down, to the great-great-grandchildren, would also be killed. (This sounds complicated, but in practice what usually happened was that a battalion of soldiers was sent to the offender’s home town, where they killed everyone they could find, on the principle neca eos omnes, deus suos agnoscet — “let God sort ‘em out”.)

    .

    We don’t, of course, institutionalize such principles in our society, and a good thing too. Our humanity and forbearance, however, has a cost. The cost is, that the vile genetic inheritance of Bill and Hillary Clinton may live on to plague us in the future. It isn’t over, folks. Dr. Nancy Snyderman, a “friend of the family” (how much money did she give them?) is quoted as saying that Chelsea shows every sign of following her parents into politics. “She’s been bred for it,” avers Dr. Snyderman. Be afraid: be very afraid.

    As long as we’re throwing around Latin tags here: Res ipsa loquitor.

    – Remember how the Bushies and their religious-right friends claimed that adult stem cells could be used in place of embryonic ones for research purposes? Turns out that the key study cited to “prove” this was filled with faked-up data. See what happens when you let political considerations drive your research?

    – O/T, but this oughta bring back memories: Remember how Ben Stein et al were whining about the alleged conspiracy against their sucky film? Another wingnut (this one of the “9/11 scrambled my brains and morals” variety) is making similar arguments to explain the utter cratering of his film.

  28. #28 Corey
    October 8, 2008

    Derbyshire (if that is you) is this the article: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=Y2U5YTJiMzhjNDNhZTcwZGYyZjcyMzQyZWNmNjJjN2E=

    I’m proceeding as if it is.

    1) Sociobiology? Please. It in no way is an accepted explanation for human behavior. Here’s a nice summary of the controversies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_psychology_controversy

    2) You wrote: “Name any universal characteristic of human nature, including cognitive and personality characteristics. Of all the observed variation in that characteristic, about half is caused by genetic differences. You may say that is only a half victory; but it is a complete shattering of the nurturist absolutism that ruled in the human sciences 40 years ago, and that is still the approved dogma in polite society, including polite political society, today.”

    First, the “nuturist absolutism” was prevalent only with the radical neo-behaviorist (i.e., Skinner and his colleagues). And the phrase you’re looking for is tabula rasa.

    Secondly, you clearly don’t have any understanding of the state of modern social cognition or personality psychology. Look up mastery vs helplessness. These personality traits are based upon beliefs about the nature of intelligence. Look up E. Tory Higgin’s work relevant to personality. Here’s an appropriate citation: Higgins, E. T. (2000). Does Personality Provide Unique Explanations for Behaviour? Personality as Cross-Person Variability in General Principles. European Journal of Personality, 14, 391-406.

    3) Ulric Neisser (one of the founders of the cognitive psychology paradigm) also has a nice tear-down of The Bell Curve for the pap it is (hint: it has to do with geography).

    4) Cultural Marxism? Nice use of undefined terms. You want to spout buzzwords, fine. Define them then. Your use of it is so vague it’s idiotic.

    5) Moreover, as a psychologist and ethical scientist, it’s rather important to have frank and open discussions about ethics in human research, especially as we begin to unlock the very nature of humanity (i.e., our genetic structure: what is and isn’t ethical in that research?).

    In short: you have no idea what you are talking about.

  29. #29 Zeno
    October 8, 2008

    PZ must be honored by the manifestation of The Derb himself in this comment thread. Unfortunately, it’s the less savory aspect of Derbyshire that we see here — the name-calling purveyor of unsupported declarative sentences. Obama is a “Marxist”? We’re all “Marxists”? Let me run to my copy of Das Kapital to see how I should respond to that.

    As PZ noted, Derbyshire gets a significant amount of credit for taking science seriously most of the time. His books on math are mostly quite good and unfettered by political polemics (and I liked them). But spasms of irrationality still pop up in his political writing and makes it impossible to take him entirely seriously.

    When he went gunning for Berlinski after the latter portrayed a douchebag (i.e., played himself) in Expelled, I naturally cheered him on. But it’s rather like watching a Japanese monster movie. Do you want Gamera or Rodan or Mothra or Godzilla to win, or do you hope they all just destroy themselves?

    Here’s a link to my post on Derbyshire’s lovely takedown of Berlinski: [Contrapositing Berlinski]

  30. #30 CW
    October 8, 2008

    OK, what’s a “cultural marxist”?

    You can start with Wikipedia.

    Only in US politics could a right-wing conservative like Obama be branded a Marxist. You’re an bigoted idiot Derbyshire.

  31. #31 CW
    October 8, 2008

    a, an, meh… where’s that edit button?

  32. #32 trrll
    October 8, 2008

    The ironic thing is that attempts to suppress and censor science in the US have almost always come from the right rather than the left. However uncomfortable some people on the left are with the notion of human genetic diversity, I’ve seen little indication that such research is being suppressed, although it is unlikely to be a high funding priority (no matter who wins the election) except where it overlaps with human health–for example, with respect to vulnerability to disease or response to drugs.

    As a biologist, I have little doubt that some differences in intellectual performance are genetic (why should the brain be the only part of the body that is exempt from genetic variation?), and it seems very likely that there will be some racial differences. This is of potential interest to neuroscientists trying to understand how brain function relates to cognition, but aside from that it is difficult to understand why anybody but a racist would much care–differences in the means for just about any intellectual trait that you care to measure are so small relative to the standard deviation that it is clear that knowing somebody’s racial background (or sex) will never provide useful information regarding their intellectual capacity–you end up having to consider people as individuals, not as examples of particular ethnic groups or races. This is what the science tells us, and it is far more likely to be troubling to racists than to egalitarians.

  33. #33 MH
    October 8, 2008

    Raven #15 wrote “I’m getting tired of this Obama is a black man schtick. He is half white. Why are mixed race white-blacks called blacks?”

    It is odd, isn’t it, and shows how pointless the concept of race is.

  34. #34 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 8, 2008

    But it’s rather like watching a Japanese monster movie. Do you want Gamera or Rodan or Mothra or Godzilla to win, or do you hope they all just destroy themselves?

    LOL! Honestly. :-)

    a right-wing conservative like Obama

    That may sound silly to an American, but it’s true. Let this European assure you that Obama would fit nicely into any of Europe’s conservative parties. Incidentally, the same holds for Kerry and at least for Hillary Clinton, probably for Bill as well, I haven’t checked.

    As a biologist, I have little doubt that some differences in intellectual performance are genetic (why should the brain be the only part of the body that is exempt from genetic variation?), and it seems very likely that there will be some racial differences.

    Wait, wait. It seems very likely that there will be some geographic differences, or differences that originated in a particular region before they were imported to the USA or elsewhere. But there’s no reason whatsoever to assume that these differences will correlate to skin color. Why should they? Are all of the six genes for skin color even on the same chromosome as each other?

  35. #35 Michelle
    October 8, 2008

    Oh it’s ok. “Godless” just has a small dick.

  36. #36 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 8, 2008

    It is odd, isn’t it, and shows how pointless the concept of race is.

    It just happens to be a convention in the USA that people with any amount of externally visible African ancestry (within the last few hundred years) are called “black”.

    The same person can be “white” in Brazil, “coloured” in South Africa, and “black” in the USA.

  37. #37 Robin Zebrowski
    October 8, 2008

    I love when the people PZ exposes as swine come here and try to defend themselves. It’s a formula that can be followed to the smallest detail: Act condescending (a virtual pat on the head always helps), claim (“I never said that!”) in the face of the direct quote, and then, eventually, resort to (I assume) leaving your office and telling all your colleagues how you bested PZ on the internet.

    In this case, probably go pinch a few of those nice little girl “researchers” bums, too. Boy, if only we could go back to the 60s when women were there to be grabbed and black men were there to shine your shoes, right, John? The good ol’ days.

  38. #38 bernard quatermass
    October 8, 2008

    “His books on math are mostly quite good and unfettered by political polemics (and I liked them). But spasms of irrationality still pop up in his political writing and makes it impossible to take him entirely seriously.”

    It’s an interesting exercise in trying to divorce the person from the work. I have a similar experience when I watch films starring Emil Jannings. He was a transcendantly great actor (in _Der Blaue Engel_ in particular, I think) but it’s terribly difficult not to think of him as that awful guy who starred in Nazi propaganda films.

    Ah, life.

  39. #39 Matt Heath
    October 8, 2008

    I went and read Derbyshire’s piece; I can’t see that he did say “because Obama is black” anywhere, but even if I try to put the most charitable reading I can find on it, it is still such epic fail.

    “Cultural Marxism” seems to be wingnut for “the belief that cultural upbringing is wholly most responsible for differences in human behaviour (and congenital differences are negligible)”.

    Now Derbyshire says Obama was brought up with this viewpoint and supports this by linking to the Wikipedia entry of the senator’s late mother, Ann Dunham. The entry really doesn’t say anything about Ms. Dunham holding such views. That is all we have connected Obama to such a viewpoint: nothing. No quotes against sociobiology or even about biology, just nothing.

    We then jump to the assertion that Obama as a “culturally Marxist” president will hold up funding for research looking at sociobiology, particularly that looking at difference between ethnic groups. The support for this extremely serious allegation that Obama intends to meddle in funding decisions? Again, nothing, and this really matters; nearly anyone running for office will have some preconceived views that evidence may run up against uncomfortably so even if Obama were a committed “blank slater” it wouldn’t make him a particular threat to science unless you have reason to think he intends to interfere with funding decisions (as Bush has on stem cells).

    The executive summary is “Unsupported assertion that Obama has a particular view on human development plus unsupportable conclusion that he intends attack scientists that challenge this view”.

  40. #40 Victor
    October 8, 2008

    So, according to Mr Derbyshire we should vote for the McCain-Palin ticket in order to promote science. That’s right. I recall Ms Palin claiming that it doesn’t matter what causes global warming, what matters is what are we gonna do to adress this issue. As you all know that’s the typical way science works… Ms Palin, leave science to the scientists and for goodness sake, start reading (anything!). And Mr. Derbyshire, you are full of crap.

  41. #41 Eric
    October 8, 2008

    I think I’m dumber for reading that excerpt. Wait, does this mean my genetics professor is a women? Funny, he looks pretty damn male to me. Maybe I should inform his (her?) wife.

  42. #42 windy
    October 8, 2008

    Wait, wait. It seems very likely that there will be some geographic differences, or differences that originated in a particular region before they were imported to the USA or elsewhere. But there’s no reason whatsoever to assume that these differences will correlate to skin color. Why should they? Are all of the six genes for skin color even on the same chromosome as each other?

    Are you confusing ‘correlated’ with ‘linked’? Lactose tolerance is probably correlated with skin color, at least weakly on a global scale, although the two traits are not genetically linked. Some trait and skin color can be at linkage disequilibrium simply due to population history and substructure, without the trait having anything to do with skin color genetically.

  43. #43 Desert Son
    October 8, 2008

    bernard quartermass at #38 posted:

    It’s an interesting exercise in trying to divorce the person from the work.

    Ezra Pound: significant literary figure critical to the development of modern American poetry. Also, unrepentant fascist.

    No kings,

    Robert

  44. #44 Matt Heath
    October 8, 2008

    Obama would fit nicely into any of Europe’s conservative parties. Incidentally, the same holds for Kerry and at least for Hillary Clinton, probably for Bill as well, I haven’t checked.< \blockquote>
    Their policies (at least on economy, you must know as well I how reactionary European conservatives can be on social issues) would fit. I don’t think they (as people) would fit. I think their personalities would lead them to fit better with the centre-left parties, and they would adopt policies to match. It’s a mindset thing; centre-left/liberal people everywhere are generally more open (that Blog Around the Clock guy posts a lot about research on this); they just bang heads with the culture of conservative circles.

  45. #45 Scott
    October 8, 2008

    I’m getting tired of this Obama is a black man schtick. He is half white. Why are mixed race white-blacks called blacks?

    There may be no significant difference biologically — culturally, the differences are vast. Culturally, you’ve got people like Derbyshire who hate huge numbers of people for not having a pink enough skin color. You’ve got taxi drivers who won’t pick you up if you’re the wrong color, cops who are more likely to stop you if you’re the wrong skin color, organizations like the Klan that will try to kill you for having the wrong skin color. They don’t care about any percentage of “mixed parentage” — all they care about is that you’re not pink enough.

    It’s hard for people who come from the dominant cultural base to understand how things are for those who are not blessed with the “right” skin color. I have a coworker who tells me stories all the time about getting the N-word dropped on him at a grocery store I go to, about how one of the company administrators hates him because he’s black, getting asked to leave restaurants and stores because someone’s afraid of him, quite pointlessly.

    Obama — no matter how much “white blood” or “black blood” he has in him, biologically — is black, because American culture says that he’s black.

  46. #46 CJO
    October 8, 2008

    “cultural marxist” is being used here as a straw man attack on what I might call the central dogma of post-modern social studies (as Derbyshire says: “a blank-slater. They come in all colors, P.Z., as you ought to know.”) Roughly put, the positions he is objecting to is that identities are socially constructed and that “human nature” is infinitely (or at least, you know, rilly) maleable.

    Conservatives flatter themselves that they have a hard-nosed, no bullshit take on human nature (again, in JD’s words, “It’s not a pretty sight.”). It never seems to dawn on them that it’s awfully convenient that this supposed cold calculation just happens to be put to use mainly to justify authoritarian politics and oligarchical economic schemes.

    The truth is, though, as I said at the outset, it’s a straw man, and certainly it is as applied to presidential politics. Nobody outside of a few, actual “I claim to understand Lacan” po-mo self-identifying Marxist Comp Lit and Anthro (and etc.) professors denies that “nature” has some input into the “nature/nurture” tug o’ war. And nobody outside of a few mediocre pseudo-intellectual conservatives *cough* *Derbyshire* really believes their line either. Sensible people (of whom I believe Obama is one) recognize that the issue is complex and not settled in a scientific sense, and that, therefore, we should err on the side of privileging nurture in our policy deliberations, since, you know, that’s the one we can actually do something with. Once these scumbags have made a big impression with their supposed hard look at “the truth” about race, class, and gender, they’re surprisingly quiet about what use we can actually put these facts to, other than giving them more of the money that we might otherwise be tempted to waste on trying to better the lot of some (desevedly) wretched orphans or something.

    Apologia like this for the old order is reprehensible, moreso when it’s hypocritically wearing the mantle of objectivity and empiricism.

  47. #47 BdN
    October 8, 2008

    Sorry for my ignorance, but who is this “Godless Capitalist” ? The only one I could found is Razib Kahn at Gene Expression (gnxp.com).

  48. #48 BdN
    October 8, 2008

    Sorry for my ignorance, but who is this “Godless Capitalist” ? The only one I could found is Razib Kahn at Gene Expression (gnxp.com).

  49. #49 llewelly
    October 8, 2008

    Cultural Marxism: The philosophy of hating America(tm) and plotting to replace it with a pinko-commie regime.

  50. #50 Matt Heath
    October 8, 2008

    Me @44: balls!
    It’s a slash the OTHER way to close commands.

    “checked” is the last word of David’s; “Theirs” is the first word of mine

  51. #51 SeanH
    October 8, 2008

    probably for Bill as well, I haven’t checked.

    Drop Bill Clinton into any country’s political system and he’d likely come out as a “centrist” every time.

  52. #52 Matt Heath
    October 8, 2008

    @47: There are plenty of them. Randroids are all Godless capitalists

  53. #53 SeanH
    October 8, 2008

    probably for Bill as well, I haven’t checked.

    David, if we could magically insert Bill Clinton into any country’s political system and he’d likely be a “centrist” every single time.

  54. #54 BdN
    October 8, 2008

    @52

    I guess so but since PZ wrote “unfortunately, he uses a pseudonym familiar to me — “Godless Capitalist” — and I know his internet ravings well. He’s a garden-variety racist who misuses genetics as window-dressing for his delusions” it seemed to me that he was talking about a specific person.

  55. #55 secularguy
    October 8, 2008

    (#15) Posted by: raven | October 8, 2008 12:15 PM

    I’m getting tired of this Obama is a black man schtick. He is half white. Why are mixed race white-blacks called blacks?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-drop_rule

  56. #56 Matt Heath
    October 8, 2008

    @54 ah OK I misunderstood; I thought you were saying Razib was the only person you could think of fitting the nickname. I’m pretty sure it can’t be him. He blogs about genetic differences between ethnic groups but he does so fairly cautiously and with data (no deluded ravings that I’ve read) and does so under his own name. (Also he writes better than the guy quoted. (Although he is pretty far to the right and I seem to remember him interviewing Derbyshire)

  57. #57 John Derbyshire
    October 8, 2008

    ….”shithead” ….”douchebag” ….”fuck off” …. Just another day of thoughtful, collegial discourse in the academy. But hey, nobody’s used the c-word yet! Don’t I rate a c-word? C’mon, scholars, I’m feeling dissed.

    I’ve been tangling with Right creationists for years, as P.Z. was kind enough to notice, and I can report that they have MUCH better manners than you Left creationists.

    But then, what are manners? Just another control strategy of the white, male, patriarchal, neocolonial, heteronormative ruling class, right? Another lure into the “middleclassness” plantation.

    Can’t you get yourself a better class of readers, P.Z.? This lot make your Right-creationist correspondents look positively suave.

    All right, gotta leave the thread now before things get nasty. I’m already afraid to answer the doorbell in case I get a pitcher of ice water dumped on my head.

    All together now, pharyngulites, you know how it goes:

    “Racist Derbyshire you can’t hide!
    We charge you with genocide!”

  58. #58 BdN
    October 8, 2008

    @56

    No, I thought of him because I’ve seen some rightists call him like that over at Majority Rights (http://majorityrights.com/index.php/weblog/comments/evidence_that_godless_capitalist_is_lower_caste/) and since we were talking about genetics and genomics… But as you said, I was/would be surprised he was the one PZ was referring to.

  59. #59 MH
    October 8, 2008

    Thanks Secularguy #55. That was a very interesting read.

  60. #60 Dahan
    October 8, 2008

    Raven @ 15,

    I’m getting tired of this Obama is a black man schtick. He is half white.

    Right there with you. This comes from the racist, KKK sort of notion that “even one drop of blood” makes you black. Sad it still has such a hold on our society. To my knowledge, I’m 1/16th Native American. Is that enough for me to claim to be from a tribe? Am I still “white”?

    Fuck, race is a stupid concept.
    While I’m at it, fuck John Derbyshire too.

  61. #61 Corey
    October 8, 2008

    Derbyshire…nice dodge of the more substantive critiques. Care to answer to those? Like for instance: sociobiology as a collection of just-so stories.

    Also, I didn’t think it relevant earlier, but please define “the human sciences.” We have life sciences, biology, humanities, and social sciences.

  62. #62 Noadi
    October 8, 2008

    Manners are reserved for those who are respected.

  63. #63 Phoenix Woman
    October 8, 2008

    Shorter Derb @ 57: I don’t dare address any of the questions posed to me, so instead I’ll pretend to have an attack of the vapours over billingsgate and hope that serves to change the subject.

  64. #64 Nick Gotts
    October 8, 2008

    I’m already afraid to answer the doorbell in case I get a pitcher of ice water dumped on my head. – John Derbyshire

    John Derbyshire compares himself to E O Wilson. Bwah-ha-haw-haw-hawwwwww!

  65. #65 CJO
    October 8, 2008

    Care to answer to those?

    No, in this prick’s smug little head, the simple fact that anyone in a given venue has used invective or intemperate language means that he is absolved of any responsibility to defend his pernicious bile.

    Just another weak minded blowhard with a feigned case of the vapors, happily flaunting his inability to withstand or answer criticism.

  66. #66 Phoenix Woman
    October 8, 2008

    Other Shorter Derb @ 57: It’s all right to “jokingly” call for the murder of Chelsea Clinton, but calling somebody a douchebag is just bad form, old chap!

  67. #67 Phoenix Woman
    October 8, 2008

    Other Shorter Derb @ 57: It’s all right to “jokingly” call for the murder of Chelsea Clinton, but calling somebody a douchebag is just bad form, old chap!

  68. #68 Travis
    October 8, 2008

    @57;

    ‘Creationists’?

    I suspect a failure of reading comprehension there Mr. Derbyshire.

    “I am a homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though an even more mild and tolerant one, and those things are going to be illegal pretty soon, the way we are going.”

    Assuming that this is correctly attributed, and I have no reason to suspect otherwise, it’s pretty disingenuous of you to get upset over us calling you a racist.

    Have the courage of your repugnant convictions, imbecile.

    (See; I even used ‘academy’ language, just for your poor tender sensibilities. Now go away.)

  69. #69 Irradiat
    October 8, 2008

    I wonder how grateful he is to only have to worry about a pitcher of ice instead of, oh, I don’t know, a mob carrying a good length of rope?

    Obviously, any form of science-supported racism would result in kind and intelligent discourse over the proper policies to alleviate discrepancies in intelligence rather than incitements to hatred and violence.

    NOT!

  70. #70 Hap
    October 8, 2008

    JD-

    Why waste rational thought on those unable to understand it? Ridicule, on the other hand, is a mode of communication you might actually understand, and since you deserve it anyway, that’s what you get.

    If you wanted manners, you should have acted like you actually had them. I guess you considered not dropping the N bomb mannerly – thanks for playing.

  71. #71 Travis
    October 8, 2008

    @57;

    ‘Creationists’?

    I suspect a failure of reading comprehension there Mr. Derbyshire.

    “I am a homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though an even more mild and tolerant one, and those things are going to be illegal pretty soon, the way we are going.”

    Assuming that this is correctly attributed, and I have no reason to suspect otherwise, it’s pretty disingenuous of you to get upset over us calling you a racist.

    Have the courage of your repugnant convictions, imbecile.

    (See; I even used ‘academy’ language, just for your poor tender sensibilities. Now go away.)

  72. #72 James F
    October 8, 2008

    PZ vs. Derb on BloggingHeads!

    Let’s get ready to rrrrrrummmmmmble!!!!!

  73. #73 Jay
    October 8, 2008

    Derb needs to wake up to the reality of the situation before he continues to make an even bigger dope of himself than he already has.

    His position, as stated in his own writings, is that science has the potential to uncover uncomfortable truths of race that may lead to a radical future underfunding of said sciences.

    I think that is a fair summary, right? So what are the actual datapoints that lead Derb to come up with this theory, how has he tested his hypothesis?

    It turns out, he didn’t. He didn’t do any work at all, he relied on the work of others, and that work has been determined to have ethical problems, including racial biases, from the very beginning, making that research useless for real scientists to base any conclusions on. So why didn’t that stop Derbyshire?

    Might I calmly suggest that it is because he is searching for an answer to a question he never voiced and isn’t, in fact, looking for any sort of rational discussion of his original hypothesis?

    Yes, in short, Derbyshire has trolled the intertubes.

  74. #74 Zeno
    October 8, 2008

    Although my language tends to be as pure as that of any erudite right-winger’s (amazingly pure), I admit to having used the word “douchebag” in a previous comment. I was, however, referring in that instance to Berlinski, not Derbyshire. When he’s not talking about math, I find Derbyshire to be merely creepy.

    I hope that clears that up.

  75. #75 windy
    October 8, 2008

    BdN, they are not the same person, Godless Capitalist is a different blogger on that site.

    John Derbyshire wrote:

    All right, gotta leave the thread now before things get nasty. I’m already afraid to answer the doorbell in case I get a pitcher of ice water dumped on my head.

    I would love to stay and speak against any rash condemnations of human biodiversity research that may occur, but as a female geneticist I better concentrate on getting some drops pipetted on a petri dish. And then maybe I should go do my hair or something. Whee!

  76. #76 Mrs Tilton
    October 8, 2008

    Derbyshire @57,

    I’m already afraid to answer the doorbell in case I get a pitcher of ice water dumped on my head

    It was a cup, not a pitcher, as you’d know if you knew half as much as you like to think you do. (Even so, your presumption in imagining yourself in any way at all comparable to E.O. Wilson is, ehh, amusing.) No worries, though, you’re in little danger of having ice-water dumped on your head.

    Pity, really. A cold shower might keep your mind off those 15 year old girls.

  77. #77 Mrs Tilton
    October 8, 2008

    Derbyshire @57,

    I’m already afraid to answer the doorbell in case I get a pitcher of ice water dumped on my head

    It was a cup, not a pitcher, as you’d know if you knew half as much as you like to think you do. (Even so, your presumption in imagining yourself in any way at all comparable to E.O. Wilson is, ehh, amusing.) No worries, though, you’re in little danger of having ice-water dumped on your head.

    Pity, really. A cold shower might keep your mind off those 15 year old girls.

  78. #78 Nick Gotts
    October 8, 2008

    Obama is (correctly) described as “black” because “race” is a system of social categories, not biological ones. That doesn’t mean there are no racial differences – indeed there are, and they might include cognitive ones – but the “races” recognised in a given society are determined by social history. At least until recently, didn’t the American police divide people into “Caucasian”, “Negro”/”Black”/”African-American”, “Hispanic”, “Asian”…? “Caucasian” is a term from C19 physical anthropology, at best a proto-scientific body of work, heavily infected with assumptions about racial differences in intelligence. “Black”, as noted by others above, means anyone believed to have recent black African ancestry. (Amusingly, I’ve heard more than one American thoughtlessly refer to Europeans of recent black African ancestry as “African-Americans”.) “Hispanic” is a term borrowed from cultural anthropology, and means, roughly anyone believed to have recent ancestry from Latin America. This particular set of categories differs considerably from any set used in Europe (categories also differ across Europe).

    Modern physical anthropologists and experts in human population genetics are interested in the frequency of a range of genetic elements in different populations, and what this tells us about human migration and reproduction in history and prehistory: the socially defined “races” in a particular society are not irrelevant to that area of study, but they are only a starting point. Asking whether different socially-defined “races” differ in some form of innate talent isn’t likely to be scientifically useful: you have in fact minimised your chances of throwing light on how much of the cognitive variation in a population is accounted for by genetic differences, by choosing to compare groups whose typical members are known to be have been exposed to very different social environments.

    All this bilge from Derbyshire shows how desperate the Rethuglicans are getting. They are now facing the probability of a decisive loss in the elections, with Obama winning clearly, and clear Dem majorities in both Houses; and the possibility of a real landslide. American liberals should prepare to push a timid Dem administration and Congress to the left!

  79. #79 CW
    October 8, 2008

    Derbyshire:

    stuff

    That’s it? That’s all you’ve got? You smirk and strut comparing our manners to creationists? Hey, Mr. Intellectual, how about you at least attempt to engage the actual content of the discussion or, as previously suggested, fuck off.

  80. #80 gocart mozart
    October 8, 2008

    I wont respond to John Derbyshire’s not insignificant stupidity in his above posts but this comment I can’t pass up.

    “But hey, nobody’s used the c-word yet! Don’t I rate a “c-word? C’mon, scholars, I’m feeling dissed.”

    Fine DB, if it makes you happy. You sir are a CUNT! I don’t mean to compare you to a prepubescent one of which you are so fond of, but rather a large post-menopausal CUNT.

  81. #81 scooter
    October 8, 2008

    How intriguing, it’s Conrad Tiger with a sliderule.

    Can you imagine someone standing up in a roomful of far-left subversives and announcing that Obama is Marxist?

    Can we arrange that?

    I’ll bring the Machetes.
    Mmmmmmm Derbyshire filet, with ice water on the side

    I’m Hannibal Lecter and I approve this message.

  82. #82 gocart mozart
    October 8, 2008

    I wont respond to John Derbyshire’s not insignificant stupidity in his above posts but this comment I can’t pass up.

    “But hey, nobody’s used the c-word yet! Don’t I rate a “c-word? C’mon, scholars, I’m feeling dissed.”

    Fine DB, if it makes you happy. You sir are a CUNT! I don’t mean to compare you to a prepubescent one of which you are so fond of, but rather a shriveled up old and large post-menopausal CUNT.

  83. #83 gocart mozart
    October 8, 2008

    I wont respond to John Derbyshire’s not insignificant stupidity in his above posts but this comment I can’t pass up.

    “But hey, nobody’s used the c-word yet! Don’t I rate a “c-word? C’mon, scholars, I’m feeling dissed.”

    Fine DB, if it makes you happy. You sir are a CUNT! I don’t mean to compare you to a prepubescent one of which you are so fond of, but rather a shriveled up old and large post-menopausal CUNT.

  84. #84 AnonCoward23
    October 8, 2008

    With all these double- and triple-posts, the next comment milestone party will be next week, right?

  85. #85 Ryan F Stello
    October 8, 2008

    scooter (#82) salivated,

    Mmmmmmm Derbyshire filet

    I’d be scared of “Mad Cow” disease (he was a Brit until 2002).

    **Ducks for cover.**

  86. #86 scooter
    October 8, 2008

    I share Mr Derbyshire’s abhorrence for blank slaters, and I have read the literature, ad nauseum.

    I think it would be an interesting study to investigate the biographies of all proponents of tabla rasa throughout history.

    I’m guessing that they were mostly bachelors or absentee parents.

    I can’t IMAGINE anyone who has raised, or even been around children coming up with something that ridiculous.

    And BEHAVIORISM, aaaaaurghhhh, don’t get me started.

    Ive always wallowed in amusement that Noam Chomsky’s first publication on linguistics as a whippersnapper completely destroyed the life works of BF Skinner.

    Wait a minute…..

    Isn’t Chomsky a bit of a…..

    Marxist?

    Cultural even?

    and Utilitarian @ 11

    he’s a Jew.

    Somehow I can’t seem to make the pieces of the humanity puzzle fit!!!!

    Will somebody PLEEZE give me a unified field theory, MY BRANE HERTZ.

    How about Anthropomorphic String Theory?

    It would explain all the puppets hanging around everywhere

  87. #87 Eric Saveau
    October 8, 2008

    ….”shithead” ….”douchebag” ….”fuck off” …. Just another day of thoughtful, collegial discourse in the academy. But hey, nobody’s used the c-word yet! Don’t I rate a c-word? C’mon, scholars, I’m feeling dissed.

    Judging by anything and everything you’ve written those are accurate, if mild, labels with which to identify you. Butt we wouldn’t want you to feel dissed, so here’s your c-word, you calummnist. Or was it communist…?

    I’ve been tangling with Right creationists for years, as P.Z. was kind enough to notice, and I can report that they have MUCH better manners than you Left creationists.

    A quick perusal of the comments sections of this or any other ScienceBlog is all that is necessary to give lie to that assertion.

    But then, what are manners? Just another control strategy of the white, male, patriarchal, neocolonial, heteronormative ruling class, right? Another lure into the “middleclassness” plantation.

    But then, what is pretentious rhetoricism? Just another pitiful and ineffectual defense mechanism of elitist neocons with something to compensate for.

    Can’t you get yourself a better class of readers, P.Z.? This lot make your Right-creationist correspondents look positively suave.

    Again, quick perusal, and all that.

    All right, gotta leave the thread now before things get nasty. I’m already afraid to answer the doorbell in case I get a pitcher of ice water dumped on my head.

    Gosh, that would be ever so mean. It makes the death threats that have been thrown PZ Myers’ way seem kind and neighborly by comparison.

    So that was Derbyshire, eh? He’s even more of a twit in person, so to speak, that he is in those exercises in writing-his-name-in-the-snow that pass for essays…

  88. #88 wombat
    October 8, 2008

    Underneath the Derb’s usual less that diplomatic style, I think there’s a valid concern here, although I don’t know that I see the evidence that Obama would be the instigator. The very nature of genetics refutes the blank slater ideology and history has shown us that leftist ideologies are not immune to hindering scientific progress in the name of those ideologies. (For an example of this, I would refer to the abhorrent Lysenkoism of Stalinist Russia.) Today, I would worry about cultural relativism building similar walls although not in the brutally violent way found in the previous example.

    The concern is not wholly made up fiction, but the value of the article is marred by the silly anecdotes about geneticists and genomicists. It is further undermined by a lack of anything referential to demonstrate how the concern should be connected to Obama.

  89. #89 CW
    October 8, 2008

    Isn’t Chomsky a bit of a…..

    Marxist?

    Not really, no.

  90. #90 Blake Stacey
    October 8, 2008

    With his performance here, Derbyshire has officially entered the ranks of “people I don’t need to listen to because their heads are so far up their Sunless Passages that they qualify as cranio-rectal Möbius loops”.

  91. #91 tif
    October 8, 2008

    BTW anyone who is curious “Godless Capitalist” is someone who started http://www.gnxp.com with Razib. He posts there under the name “gc”. Here are a few of his ranting a raving jewels:

    ‘This is perhaps the point I disagree with most strongly. How can you possibly say that his epistemology is good? Obama will never accept h-bd factors in any policy decision. He will not accept, for example, that the mortgage crisis was the predictable result of threatening banks with lawsuits unless they made bad loans to minorities. He will not accept that income inequality is rising primarily because millions of illiterate Hispanics are streaming into the country. He will not accept that hospitals are going bankrupt all over California because of Hispanic immigration. He will not accept that the problem of crime in America is disproportionately a black and Hispanic problem.

    In short, Obama’s epistemology is irrevocably and fatally flawed. This is a left creationist, period point blank.

    Not only is he a true believer in a pack of lies, he is also an experienced rabble rouser. His whole shtick is rousing groups of blacks to angrily demand things from whites. That’s what community organizing is about. He’s now generalized those tactics to also pull in white progressives into his shock troops. I mean, this guy organizes DDOS attacks on people who disagree with him! Just you wait till he can assemble his team of Red Guards, his “Service Nation”. ‘

    …my fav…

    ‘Thus, as a group, NAMs can be ignored from a messaging perspective. The only people that need to be convinced are leftist whites. NAMs cannot be convinced, but this doesn’t matter. Their behavior is entirely a function of what whites sanction. In a strong white society which unapologetically enforces white mores, the illegitimacy and crime rates stay down.

    Alternatively, you have a society in which leftist whites allow the natural NAM phenotype to emerge — viz. rap at the top of the charts, NBA and NFL players on TV, lyrics with “fuck the police”, Soulja Girl and James Broadnax, and so on.

    Since NAMs will go with whatever the larger society tells them to go with, they are meaningless from an ideological standpoint. The leftist whites are their real power base, the NAMs are meaningless except as shock troops and guilt objects.’

    …and…

    ‘Of course this sounds terrible by modern standards, but it must be recognized that NAMs can only be made into sympathetic figures by leftist whites, working overtime to hide stuff like this from the national news. The reality of what NAMs bring is extremely ugly and barbaric. ‘

    You might have noticed he used “NAM” a lot. Well that’s his way of saying “Non-Asian Minorities”. It is to be used in a pejorative way. He is also big with the Steve Sailer crowd.

  92. #92 Hap
    October 8, 2008

    I think the correct term for Derbyshire’s personal topology is Klein bottle.

  93. #93 Eric Saveau
    October 8, 2008

    BTW – what the frack is “Left Creationist”, and how does it apply to us more-or-less rational types?

    Or does Doobyshire just make up nonsense terms that I shouldn’t care about…?

    Yeah, I’m guessing it’s the latter.

  94. #94 Nick Gotts
    October 8, 2008

    I’d be scared of “Mad Cow” disease (he was a Brit until 2002).
    **Ducks for cover.**
    – Ryan F Stello

    Oh, no offence taken. I’ve been very careful not to eat potentially infective parts of my compatriots in recent years. You can’t be too careful.

  95. #96 RickD
    October 8, 2008

    Wow, so Derbyshire shows up here, says Obama is anti-science and a “cultural Marxist” to boot, whatever the hell that’s supposed to be. This ticks off a lot of commenters who note (correctly, as I judge) that this is simply an argument Derbyshire has pulled out of his ass.

    So half respond with vitriol while the other half respond with intelligent criticisms asking for, you know, some kind of citations.

    Derbyshire ignores the second half, whimpers about the first half and signs off without having given any kind of coherent response.

    OK, so here’s a way to see this question differently. In what significant way does the political philosophy of Barack Obama differ from Bill Clinton?

    Please explain how these differences somehow separate Obama’s science policies from those of Clinton?

    Let’s keep in mind that funding to the NIH doubled during the Clinton years.

    I worked at the NIH for quite a while. I was employed at the tail end of Clinton’s administration and had to endure Bush’s first term in office. Let me tell you how Bush’s power grab affected the NIH:
    - a freeze in the NIH budget that led to a decline in inflation-adjusted dollars for scientific research
    - a freeze in hiring of hiring permanent staff (or at least, a drastic reduction)
    - giant gates and walls were put in place around the NIH campus, installed by Kellog, Brown and Root. Not to mention a few dozen giant boulders of dubious purpose.

    That’s off the top of the head.

    I know a lot of people at the NIH, and more generally in the biological sciences in general. I don’t think a single one agrees with Derbyshire’s wingnut assertion that Obama is a “cultural Marxist” and therefore science will suffer under an Obama administration. Indeed, I know a lot of people who cannot wait for the Luddite Bush to leave office. There will be a massive exhalation as people who have been holding their breath for 8 years finally get some hope that there is a pro-science adminstration in placee.

    And no, I don’t call an administration that sends a trillion dollars to Wall Street and Iraq each while freezing the NIH budget can in any real sense be called pro-science.

  96. #97 Eric Saveau
    October 8, 2008

    Oh. So, “Left Creationist” is simply a throwaway Reich-wing strawman. Unsurprising, but good to know.

  97. #98 Nerull
    October 8, 2008

    Is is obvious fact that the man, John Derbyshire, is genetically predisposed to be of very low intellect, with an unhealthy fondness for sheep.

    Only Derbyshire Marxists would attempt to refute this.

  98. #99 tif
    October 8, 2008

    In case you haven’t guessed it “Godless Capitalist” uses ‘NAM’ because he is Asian himself; so he wanted to use a term that would degrade only “Non-Asian Minorities”

  99. #100 wombat
    October 8, 2008

    I believe “Left Creationist” is intended to imply an individual that denies or suppresses scientific inquiry to advance a leftist (read: Communistic and/or Socialistic) ideology. It is supposed to mirror the biblical creationist from the “right”. It’s confusing because it’s a strained analogy.

  100. #101 scooter
    October 8, 2008

    tif @ 96
    interesting website.

    Freepers in tweed.

  101. #102 tif
    October 8, 2008

    …and even more quotes from Derbyshire’s adviser…

    ‘I think you misunderstand me. The natural instincts of all non-NAMs — left, right, elite or not — are indeed to socially separate from NAMs to reduce victimization and taxation. That’s what gated communities, private schools, and the state of Montana are all about.

    But I never said that *leftist* whites are revolting against, ignoring, or subjugating NAMs. Far from it! What I said is that a) NAMs are incapable of organizing themselves, b) it is useless to attempt to reason with them as they will go along with whatever standards white society sets, and c) the key to changing attitudes/policies is to go after leftist whites, who are the NAM enablers.’

  102. #103 Kel
    October 8, 2008

    That guy is serious? What a nutter!

  103. #104 Scott
    October 8, 2008

    Expecting honest debate from a Republican, especially from a Republican as loathsome and creepy as Derbyshire, is like expecting nice e-mails from Catholics.

    Bruce Lee didn’t kick yore ass near hard enough, Derb.

  104. #105 David W
    October 8, 2008

    Why is a geneticist playing around with a petri dish?

  105. #106 scooter
    October 8, 2008

    CW @ 90

    ah c’mon. Noam was raised in the Communist Party in NYC. Anarcho-syndicalism is a descendant of Marxist thought.

    Then again, Capitalism has adopted Marxist critique as an operating manual, glossary and all.

    I’m not big on Marxism, but I’d go along with anacho-syndicallism.

    Hard core Marxists despise anarcho-syndicalists. It’s very Life of Brian

  106. #107 Hap
    October 8, 2008

    Shorter gc: “Everyone but me sucks, and it’s not my fault. I hate white liberals the most, though.”

    Now there’s an original thinker. If he picks up the right code words, and is placed under the care of a doctor, he could go far in the Republican Party. If not, I’m sure Ann Coulter could use another galley slave.

  107. #108 Matt Heath
    October 8, 2008

    scooter @#107: A cousin perhaps, but hardly a descendent. Much of the Communist Manifesto was devoted to ripping into left-wing anarchists.

  108. #109 Timothy Wood
    October 8, 2008

    I know everyone’s probably ripped #7 to shreds… but what exactly is a consensual society? Is there a consensus on anything in our society? Does anyone ask your consent before you are born into our society? Although it might be nice.

  109. #110 Jerry
    October 8, 2008

    Shorter Derbyshire: I’m right because liberals are mean to me on the Internet!

  110. #111 Rey Fox
    October 8, 2008

    “cranio-rectal Möbius loops”

    Come back John, we can talk pretty now!

  111. #112 John Derbyshire
    October 8, 2008

    The great thing about having spent a few years arm-wrestling with Right creationists is that you can then use the same arguments with Left creationists.

    I answer Left Creationists just the way I answer Right creationists: It is you people who posit a miracle, a suspension of the ordinary laws of nature. It is therefore you who have to justify yourselves — show me why I should believe in your miracle.

    The miracle of the Right creationists is: God makes everything happen!

    The miracle of the Left creationists is: The laws of biology were suspended on Mankind’s behalf 50,000 or so years ago!

    The ordinary laws of biology say this: If a uniform population of some sexually-reproducing species is divided into subpopulations, each of which then breeds only within itself, and each of which is subject to different selection pressures, the subpopulations will diverge. Given enough time, they will diverge all the way to speciation. That is the origin of species. Even given very little time — a few tens of generations — small populations will diverge noticeably. Is this not so?

    The characteristic genomes of these subpopulations diverge, with corresponding divergence in characteristic phenotypes.

    Human cognition, human personality, human behavior are, to the best of my understanding, products of brain function.

    The brain is an organ like other organs, its ontogeny templated in the genome.

    Human cognition, human personality, human behavior are phenotypes. When subpopulations are isolated, we would expect these features to show the same divergence as other phenotypes.

    The big old inbred continental-scale populations of homo sap. — the major races — show divergence in all kinds of phenotypes. That’s a matter of common observation. (Anyone watch the Olympics?)

    Why would they not show divergence in cognitive abilities, socialization skills, characteristic behaviors? Why would they not? Isn’t this biology 101?

    The only answer you can give me is a miracle: The laws of biology ceased to apply to homo sap. soon after the species appeared.

    (Or a slightly more subtle miracle: The human brain, unlike any other organ of any creature known to science, is infinitely plastic. Any human brain can, by suitable manipulation of its environment, be made to exhibit the same range of phenotypes as any other. Forrest Gump and Albert Einstein are the results of different postnatal environments operating on precisely identical, infinitely plastic objects.)

    But why should I believe in your miracle? It seems just as implausible to me as the miracle of the Right creationists.

    Justify your miracle to me. Tell me why I should believe in a suspension of the laws of nature. Or explain to me how I have misunderstood those laws.

  112. #113 Kel
    October 8, 2008

    The miracle of the Left creationists is: The laws of biology were suspended on Mankind’s behalf 50,000 or so years ago!

    Find one person who actually thinks that… oh wait, it was just a strawman. Silly me, here I was thinking that you’d bring something intelligent to the table. Guess I shouldn’t have expected that from someone who isn’t asian. :P

  113. #114 CJO
    October 8, 2008

    Justify your miracle to me.

    The whole point is that the “miracle” is a straw man. Attacking what you wish someone had said rather than what they have actually said has, as they say, all the advantages of theft over honest toil. It is intellectually cowardly, which neatly explains the craven conservative’s facility with the tactic.

    Respond to Nick at #79, or to me at #46, or to some other actual argument that someone has made.

  114. #115 B.B.
    October 8, 2008

    Find one person who actually thinks that… oh wait, it was just a strawman. Silly me, here I was thinking that you’d bring something intelligent to the table. Guess I shouldn’t have expected that from someone who isn’t asian. :P

    Stephen J. Gould and almost everyone who has participated in this thread, including you. Sure, you don’t believe that the laws of biology completed suspended every aspect of the evolution of mankind, but you essentially do believe this is what has happened in regards to the evolution of the human brain.

  115. #116 truth machine
    October 8, 2008

    Why are you putting words in my mouth? The reason Obama will do what he can to stop the human sciences cold is, I said, that he’s a cultural Marxist, a blank-slater.

    You should be thankful, Derbyshire; the words PZ put in your mouth weren’t as dumb as your own. “blank-slater”? I thought that idiotic meme — from a comment Obama made about how people didn’t know him and so imposed their own preconceptions on him — died with the dishonest Clinton campaign.

    And since you’re blathering about science, how about providing some evidence from Obama’s career that he “will do what he can to stop the human sciences cold”. Oh, never mind; the statement is so patently absurd that it could only be made by a moron with his head shoved all the way up his ideological ass.

  116. #117 Kel
    October 8, 2008

    Sure, you don’t believe that the laws of biology completed suspended every aspect of the evolution of mankind, but you essentially do believe this is what has happened in regards to the evolution of the human brain.

    Who says any of us don’t believe that the brain hasn’t been subject to natural selection over the last 50,000 years? Oh, we didn’t come to the same conclusion as Mr Derbyshire.

  117. #118 truth machine
    October 8, 2008

    Why are you putting words in my mouth? The reason Obama will do what he can to stop the human sciences cold is, I said, that he’s a cultural Marxist, a blank-slater.

    You should be thankful, Derbyshire; the words PZ put in your mouth weren’t as dumb as your own. “blank-slater”? I thought that idiotic meme — from a comment Obama made about how people didn’t know him and so imposed their own preconceptions on him — died with the dishonest Clinton campaign.

    And since you’re blathering about science, how about providing some evidence from Obama’s career that he “will do what he can to stop the human sciences cold”. Oh, never mind; the statement is so patently absurd that it could only be made by a moron with his head shoved all the way up his ideological ass.

  118. #119 truth machine
    October 8, 2008

    Sure, you don’t believe that the laws of biology completed suspended every aspect of the evolution of mankind, but you essentially do believe this is what has happened in regards to the evolution of the human brain.

    Despite your own retardation, that is not what we believe.

  119. #120 thalarctos
    October 8, 2008

    Or explain to me how I have misunderstood those laws.

    There may well be such linkages as you describe, but the experiment of nature you base your post-hoc conclusions on is riddled with so many biological and social confounds that your (incomplete, if not outright cherry-picked) data is too suspect to invest with the degree of certainty you attribute to it.

    Pointing out that you can’t even begin to calculate a confidence interval for your results, much less show that it’s a reasonably narrow one, is not at all the same thing as arguing the tabula rasa POV, or being a “Left Creationist”, whatever that is. You simply fail to meet your burden of proof for the causality you assert, and you cover that failure up by projecting it onto others.

  120. #121 B.B.
    October 8, 2008

    Who says any of us don’t believe that the brain hasn’t been subject to natural selection over the last 50,000 years? Oh, we didn’t come to the same conclusion as Mr Derbyshire.

    That is the implicit assumption of the political left. That 50,000 years of separation and evolution in completely different environments amounts to trivial differences in the brains of a Sub-Saharan African and a Finn.

  121. #122 Mrs Tilton
    October 8, 2008

    B.B. @116,

    oh goody, Derbyshire has brought a playmate.

    Sure, you don’t believe that the laws of biology completed suspended every aspect of the evolution of mankind, but you essentially do believe this is what has happened in regards to the evolution of the human brain

    No, dolt. Almost nobody who posts here has ever argued anything remotely like that; unless, of course, by “believes evolution of the human brain has been suspended” you mean “laughs contemptuously at the wilfully ill-informed, pseudoscientific wankery peddled by minor film critic Steve Sailer and failed investment bank employee John Derbyshire”.

    BTW, if you hung around Pharyngula’s comments boxes for any length of time, you’d know that Steve Gould doesn’t get a whole lot of love here. That’s all relative, of course. He’s positively revered, compared with people like Derbyshire and Sailer (and, apparently, you), who’d be viewed more as something one wipes off one’s shoe.

  122. #123 truth machine, OM
    October 8, 2008

    Why would they not show divergence in cognitive abilities, socialization skills, characteristic behaviors? Why would they not? Isn’t this biology 101?

    Perhaps it is such divergence that made you so stupid and Obama so smart.

  123. #124 Kel
    October 8, 2008

    That is the implicit assumption of the political left. That 50,000 years of separation and evolution in completely different environments amounts to trivial differences in the brains of a Sub-Saharan African and a Finn.

    Oh shit, he’s unmasked the conspiracy. Quick, to the batcave!

  124. #125 Blake Stacey
    October 8, 2008

    Sure, you don’t believe that the laws of biology completed suspended every aspect of the evolution of mankind, but you essentially do believe this is what has happened in regards to the evolution of the human brain.

    If I may dare to speak for others in this thread:

    No. We’re saying that the actual genetic differences which exist among human beings do not grant weight or give succour to rabid mediaeval bigotry; nor do superficial characteristics of external appearance provide truly helpful or meaningful indicators of biochemistry.

  125. #126 John Derbyshire
    October 8, 2008

    “Men would rather believe than know.” — Nietzsche, probably.

    How true.

    (Hey, thanks, B.B. Get ready to be called a child molestor. That’s the standard of argument here.)

  126. #127 Kel
    October 8, 2008

    (Hey, thanks, B.B. Get ready to be called a child molestor. That’s the standard of argument here.)

    You can’t get any lower than calling someone a creationist here… Now go cry persecution that the big bad marxist conspiracy is ridiculing your absurd attempts to justify personal bigotry.

  127. #128 Blake Stacey
    October 8, 2008

    That is the implicit assumption of the political left. That 50,000 years of separation and evolution in completely different environments amounts to trivial differences in the brains of a Sub-Saharan African and a Finn.

    To nick a line from Tom Lehrer, “The outpatients are out in force tonight, I see.”

    First of all, where does that “completely different environments” bit come from? I just love how the worst breed of evo-psych enthusiasts can gloss over all the unknowns of humanity’s past with a graceful handwave — “Human beings always lived in groups, and women always gestated the babies, and that’s what matters” — and then, suddenly, when somebody has to prettify his deep-set racism, the differences among environments are everything! The suggestion that general features of “intelligence” might be beneficial in most or all of these environments is pinko propaganda, not to be entertained, as is the request for empirical evidence of any kind.

    Bah. Disentangling all the threads of wrong woven into Derbyshire’s thinking would require a lengthy discussion in which he is manifestly unwilling to participate. His intellectual movement needs a slogan of its own, I think, something like, “Naive genetic determinism: Anything to rationalize sleazy nymphet lust.”

  128. #129 Nerd of Redhead
    October 8, 2008

    What was that old internet adage, he who first mentions nazis or child molestation has already lost the argument?

  129. #130 Blake Stacey
    October 8, 2008

    And what in blazes do any of these dubiously scientific claims have to do with “the political left”? You could hold a view of human evolution completely at odds with Derbyshire’s — i.e., one in better accord with the data — and still think that The Free Market(TM) was the best way to solve the problems of the species thusly evolved.

  130. #131 Demonic Gophers
    October 8, 2008

    If you’re tired of being called a cowardly liar, Mr. Derbyshire, why don’t you drop the rather stupid lies, and show some slight sign of possessing the bravery and honesty to address some of the arguments that were made against you?

    I realize it’s easier to babble interminably about the people who called you mean names (*shudders*), but it doesn’t really do anything to support your position. As, I would assume, you understand.

  131. #132 River
    October 8, 2008

    The reason Derbyshire predicts Obama will stop science cold is that the presidential candidate is a black man who dislikes the idea that modern genetics will demonstrate the inferiority of certain races.

    Dear Mr. Stupid,
    Please read about genetics. Try not to explode.

  132. #133 truth machine, OM
    October 8, 2008

    How true.

    Of you, certainly.

    (Hey, thanks, B.B. Get ready to be called a child molestor. That’s the standard of argument here.)

    Uh no, that’s your standard (“cultural Marxist”, “blank-slater”, “taint”, “Left creationist”?), which you again demonstrate with that very charge.

    Here’s a clue: this is a biology blog; a lot of commenters are biologists. You aren’t. When you and the biologists disagree, the rational, objective working assumption is that the biologists are right and you are wrong. Jettison your beliefs for knowledge and you’ll be a better man for it (heck, it wouldn’t take much).

  133. #134 Eric Saveau
    October 8, 2008

    @Herr Dueberschorr
    “Men would rather believe than know.” — Nietzsche, probably.

    Spoiled arrogant children posing as men would rather have their pseudo-intellectual blatherings uncritically fawned over than be held to a standard of evidence and intellectual rigor.

    (Hey, thanks, B.B. Get ready to be called a child molestor. That’s the standard of argument here.)

    Herr Deuberschorr, I’d like you to meet my friend Irony. You are the same man who famously declared that a woman’s “salad days” are “between 15 to 20″ years of age and, when called on it, asserted that RAPE STATISTICS bore on a woman’s attractiveness. If the shoe fits, don’t complain that it’s not the glass slipper you fetishize.

  134. #135 tif
    October 8, 2008

    For these “race realists” (a self named group) everything on earth and science revolves around race/genetics.

    A large section of “realists” also divide the world up into two major groups. Those who support the idea of intellectually inferior races (the #1 key tenet of their core beliefs) and those who are leftest scum.

    And in case you didn’t know, the intellectually inferior race…. are the blacks.

  135. #136 windy
    October 8, 2008

    The ordinary laws of biology say this: If a uniform population of some sexually-reproducing species is divided into subpopulations, each of which then breeds only within itself, and each of which is subject to different selection pressures, the subpopulations will diverge.

    I have seen no model that suggests that major human groups have been completely isolated from each other for 50,000 years. Just to give one example, there is evidence for ancient back migrations to sub-Saharan Africa from Asia.

    Obviously there has been both local adaptation and neutral divergence in humans despite the gene flow. It’s more likely than not that there will be divergence between subpopulations at a given trait, but there’s nothing in the “laws of biology” that suggests that there must be. A beneficial allele might quickly spread to all populations despite little trace of migration at neutral loci.

    In fact, there was a certain group in the that prominently argued in the ’90s that psychological adaptations were likely to be universal (although some sex-specific), since these multigene traits were so complex that they weren’t likely to have changed much since the Pleistocene. These raging Marxists called themselves evolutionary psychologists. Now, I think recent results from genomics discredit the “not enough time” argument, but clearly there have been people other than “blank-slaters” arguing for human psychological unity.

    Some people have also argued that the ‘environment’ of the human brain consists mostly of other humans, and we might expect the human brain to be adapted more to this universal environment than to continental environmental conditions. Then again, there might have been adaptation to local societal conditions.

  136. #137 bob
    October 8, 2008

    Er … is this guy for real? There is more genetic variation within the quote-unquote “races” than there is between the quote-unquote “races.” This is partially because what we call “race” is based on a stupidly superficial marker (skin color). It’s also probably because humans didn’t spread out that long ago, they kept intermingling to a large extent, and no one experienced that different of selection pressures. Sure, it’s colder in the arctic, but that’s nothing intelligence and tools can’t fix.

    It sure seems like you’re the one starting with a belief (white supremacy) and mucking up your science. That’s to say nothing of your pathetic logic (straw men, ad hominems, appealing to conspiracies, etc etc etc).

  137. #138 Jay
    October 8, 2008

    Once again, Derb, your own quote about being a racist are enough to address any concerns you might have about how those on this blog (or countless others) address you. You have used a poorly researched text and dubious scientific data to pontificate about a political ideology of someone that you don’t have the faintest clue about, in order to send up a political trial smear balloon. Derb, you sir, are a troll and a tool. For you to actually be an embarrassment to the rest of the NRO (world’s shittiest website) crew is a testament, not to our intolerance, but your own overwhelming ego.

    Your arguments have been deflated, your poor methods of deduction have been humiliated and you continue to attack as if you have a position of strength instead of the position you have actually found yourself in, that of a loser with a losing argument.

    Go peddle your racism somewhere else. This is a rational blog, with typically rational commenters that deserve respect. The definitely don’t deserve your undeserved ego.

  138. #139 Kel
    October 8, 2008

    Sure, it’s colder in the arctic, but that’s nothing intelligence and tools can’t fix.

    That’s just it, the real difference between the cultures is the positive feedback loop that is technology. The memes are more important than the genes.

  139. #140 truth machine, OM
    October 8, 2008

    50,000 years of separation and evolution in completely different environments amounts to trivial differences

    He seems to think 50,000 years is a long time. As for “completely different environments”, it’s a brazen lie that indicates intellectual and ethical bankruptcy.

    And of course it’s a ridiculous strawman; no one has made the positive claim there aren’t non-trivial differences. Derbyshire has no grasp of the scientific method, which incorporates skepticism. He can hypothesize any evolutionary differences he wants, but hypothesis is just the first step.

  140. #141 scooter
    October 8, 2008

    Sarah Palin

  141. #142 Dale Husband
    October 8, 2008

    I just looked at Derbyshire’s website. What an amaturish dump! He must think that including pictures and references of his children and his dogs will make his bigotries easier to swallow. Nope!

    And even worse:
    http://www.johnderbyshire.com/Readings/page.html

    This “Readings” section of the website was originally intended to be a collection of some favorite poems, with sound clips of readings by me. Then I started adding other sound clips I like, and it got more general (and correspondingly less self-indulgent).

    It is still mainly clips of me reading poems, though. If I’m not going to recite poems here, I’ll be doing it in my car, and here is safer.

    Should you feel so moved by any of the readings as to want to pay me for my time and trouble, I have no problem with that whatsoever. If you have a PayPal account, you can send me twenty bucks via the button on my Fire from the Sun page. Or you can mail me a check in care of National Review (215 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016). I repeat: I have absolutely no problem with this.

    Now I need to take a shower!

  142. #143 scooter
    October 8, 2008

    Forget all about all of this racialism stuff.

    How come girl’s are so dumm, thats what I have always wondering about.

    So what if Obama is a African American black persen, at least he’s not a dumm girl

  143. #144 truth machine, OM
    October 8, 2008

    So half respond with vitriol while the other half respond with intelligent criticisms asking for, you know, some kind of citations.

    Derbyshire ignores the second half, whimpers about the first half and signs off without having given any kind of coherent response.

    Of course; he’s a typical right-wing coward.

  144. #145 RedSonja
    October 8, 2008

    I’m afraid I still don’t understand the difference between a geneticist and a genomicist. Other than apparently “Godless Capitalist” wanks to one and not the other, and that somehow this distinction makes sense to Derbyshire.

    I’m pretty sure I’m dumber for reading that.

  145. #146 Kel
    October 8, 2008

    What’s amazing is how quickly John Derbyshire turned up to respond to this. How did he know to look here?

  146. #147 Nerd of Redhead
    October 8, 2008

    Like all narcissists, he was probably Googling himself.

  147. #148 truth machine, OM
    October 8, 2008

    And BEHAVIORISM, aaaaaurghhhh, don’t get me started.

    Ive always wallowed in amusement that Noam Chomsky’s first publication on linguistics as a whippersnapper completely destroyed the life works of BF Skinner.

    Um, behaviorism and radical behaviorism aren’t the same thing. Skinner’s naive reductionism decreed “the mental” as an unscientific category. But to deny behaviorism per se — “the astonishing hypothesis” — is to embrace mysticism.

    Isn’t Chomsky a bit of a…..

    Marxist?

    No. From wikipedia:

    Chomsky has stated that his “personal visions are fairly traditional anarchist ones, with origins in The Enlightenment and classical liberalism”[38] and he has praised libertarian socialism.[39] He is a sympathizer of anarcho-syndicalism[40] and a member of the IWW union.[41] He has published a book on anarchism titled, “Chomsky on Anarchism”, which was published by the anarchist book collective, AK Press, in 2006.

    Cultural even?

    Only in Derbyshire’s sense that anyone who doesn’t think that science supports misogyny, racism, and homophobia is a cultural Marxist.

  148. #149 John Derbyshire
    October 8, 2008

    Well, #147 deserves an answer, which is more than can be said of most of the previous 146.

    Pharyngula is on my Google Reader list, as P.Z. sometimes says interesting things.

    I came late to biology and try to work hard at keeping up. That, to me, means touching all bases, Pharyngula as well as Gene Expression. That way I hope to get a good all-round view.

    “Good all-round view”? Oh, that means … aaah, never mind.

    Now then, P.Z.: so far, and not counting my quote at #57, and subsequent iterations of it, I tally 5 “fucks,” 6 “cunts,” 4 “shits,” and 2 “wanks.”

    As I said, perhaps you should try for a better class of reader.

  149. #150 Eric Saveau
    October 8, 2008

    What’s amazing is how quickly John Derbyshire turned up to respond to this. How did he know to look here?

    He’s one of those narcissists who constantly trolls the Internet looking for any mention of his name.

  150. #151 truth machine, OM
    October 8, 2008

    As I said, perhaps you should try for a better class of reader.

    He tries for a better class than you, and achieves it. Again:

    So half respond with vitriol while the other half respond with intelligent criticisms asking for, you know, some kind of citations.

    Derbyshire ignores the second half, whimpers about the first half and signs off without having given any kind of coherent response.

    You’re a sniveling coward who has nothing better to offer than a count of how many times someone said “doody”.

  151. #152 Kel
    October 8, 2008

    Well, #147 deserves an answer, which is more than can be said of most of the previous 146.

    You really should answer number #79, it seems you are only answering #147 because it’s an answer you don’t have to be scientific about… you racist cunt (don’t want the marxist conspiracy crowd to think I’m associating with you)

  152. #153 Praxiteles
    October 8, 2008

    Mr Derbyshire,

    I just did a quick check of your count of the ‘c’ word, and discovered that it was used by a single poster, twice in one post that he inadvertantly triple-posted.

    If we’re being honest, this is hardly representative, is it?

  153. #154 Praxiteles
    October 8, 2008

    Jeez, thanks Kel.

    Way to spoil my point, you sod!

  154. #155 windy
    October 8, 2008

    I came late to biology and try to work hard at keeping up.

    Now then, P.Z.: so far, and not counting my quote at #57, and subsequent iterations of it, I tally 5 “fucks,” 6 “cunts,” 4 “shits,” and 2 “wanks.”

    Great, now you’ve learned some basic words that have to do with biology. Once you overcome your excitement, maybe we can get back to genetics.

  155. #156 Ktesibios
    October 8, 2008

    Robert Benchley absolutely nailed Derbyshire and his ilk back in 1936, in “Isn’t It Remarkable?”:

    If we couldn’t find anything to hang our own superiority on we should be sunk. We should be just like the Egyptians, or the Eskimos, or Grandpa.

  156. #157 Kel
    October 8, 2008

    Jeez, thanks Kel.

    Way to spoil my point, you sod!

    sorry. Though Mr Derbyshire should have no complaints about profanity, he dropped the C-Bomb several times. Calling anyone who disagreed with him a creationist, now that’s low!

  157. #158 Eric Saveau
    October 8, 2008

    Now then, P.Z.: so far, and not counting my quote at #57, and subsequent iterations of it, I tally 5 “fucks,” 6 “cunts,” 4 “shits,” and 2 “wanks.”

    Here’s a self-evident truth for you, Herr Dueberschorr – the presence of profanity in a statement does not weaken any sound argument it advances, nor negate any facts therein. Similarly, the absence of obvious coarseness does nothing to strengthen a blatant exercise in self-aggrandizement, nor strengthen specious arguments or make falsehoods into facts. I realize this is an uncomfortable truth for a man who relies on florid and grandiloquent prose to disguise puerile thought, but you’ve fallen in among adults here and you’re just going to have to lump it. Or take your ball and go home.

  158. #159 Blake Stacey
    October 8, 2008

    I came late to biology and try to work hard at keeping up.

    Obviously not hard enough.

    (Following the best of mathematicians’ tradition, I leave the construction of a joke around “hard” and “came late” as an exercise for the interested reader.)

  159. #160 Hap
    October 8, 2008

    I guess I’ll go back to belaboring the point that JD and his choir don’t really have much to bring to the argument here. Curse counts, whining about insults, and complaining that the readership is classless are all good misdirects when 1) you don’t actually have a coherent argument and the facts to back it up and 2) your audience is really stupid. Well, one out two is…better than average for them I think.

    Another possibility is that JD’s hoping that showing that he can count will raise our esteem for him. I wish him luck with that.

  160. #161 Sam
    October 8, 2008

    @Derbyshire

    Well now, since some have used words you find offensive in their replies to you, clearly you no longer need to refute the actual arguments people are bringing up against you.

    There’s always going to be stupid or vulgar people posting on internet forums, but you deliberately ignore the posters who tear apart your claims to focus on those who call you a poopyhead.

  161. #162 windy
    October 8, 2008

    Well, #147 deserves an answer, which is more than can be said of most of the previous 146.

    Just out of curiosity, do you have a problem with #137?

  162. #163 bob
    October 8, 2008

    I noted this earlier but it must have gotten eaten by ScienceBlogs. Derbyshire is actually resorting to an ad hominem argument; that term gets thrown about a lot, but usually they’re just insults or maybe poisoning the well. But, this clown is literally saying “you’re all using naughty words so you’re wrong and I’m right.” Stunning. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised … the caliber of his argument matches the quality of the position he’s defending.

  163. #164 Sam
    October 8, 2008

    @Derbyshire

    Well now, since some have used words you find offensive in their replies to you, clearly you no longer need to refute the actual arguments people are bringing up against you.

    There’s always going to be stupid or vulgar people posting on internet forums, but you deliberately ignore the posters who tear apart your claims to focus on those who call you a poopyhead. What a surprise you use the same cherry-picking technique in your day to day life that you do in your “research”.

  164. #165 Praxiteles
    October 8, 2008

    Kel,
    sorry. Though Mr Derbyshire should have no complaints about profanity, he dropped the C-Bomb several times. Calling anyone who disagreed with him a creationist, now that’s low!

    Well, it’s certainly a well targetted insult here. In modern western societies there is no group that we hold in lower esteem than creationists. Mr Derbyshire has calculated that it would raise hackles, except the confusion it engendered diguised any umbrage that may have been taken.

    Personally I prefer arguments that include no profanities. Admittedly they neither add nor subtract anything from the substantiveness of an argument, but I think it speaks for itself that the very best put-downs in history have been done in very level-headed language.

    Any mouth-breather can swear.

  165. #166 Eric Saveau
    October 8, 2008

    Any mouth-breather can swear.

    Agreed; though I note that swearing alone is insufficient to identify one as a mouth-breather, and Herr Dueberschorr’s smug collapse onto the nearest fainting couch in the presence of such language! accomplishes nothing more than to mark him as someone who prefers to complain of style rather than to engage on a level of substance.

    Or, to put it more plainly, the neocon twit can go fuck himself.
    ;-)

  166. #167 Kel
    October 8, 2008

    Personally I prefer arguments that include no profanities. Admittedly they neither add nor subtract anything from the substantiveness of an argument, but I think it speaks for itself that the very best put-downs in history have been done in very level-headed language.

    Agreed. Though it is fun at times. Barring all profanity is like giving someone unlimited access to a bar then telling them not to drink the spirits. Sure you can drink fine wine & handcrafted beers savouring every bit of each drop. But there’s always value in doing a few (several) tequila shots.

    The occasional binge is very different from chronic dependance… [just seeing how far I can extend the alcohol analogy]

  167. #168 Dale Husband
    October 8, 2008

    Has anyone else noticed that PZ Myers himself has not seen fit to comment on this thread at all, let alone respond to Derbyshire’s rants here?

    That alone indicates how Derbyshire is regarded by Myers. After this comment, I will follow P Z’s example.

  168. #169 truth machine, OM
    October 8, 2008

    And BEHAVIORISM, aaaaaurghhhh, don’t get me started.

    Ive always wallowed in amusement that Noam Chomsky’s first publication on linguistics as a whippersnapper completely destroyed the life works of BF Skinner.

    Um, behaviorism and radical behaviorism aren’t the same thing. Skinner’s naive reductionism decreed “the mental” as an unscientific category. But to deny behaviorism per se — “the astonishing hypothesis” — is to embrace mysticism.

    Isn’t Chomsky a bit of a…..

    Marxist?

    No, he’s an anarchist.

    Cultural even?

    Only in Derbyshire’s sense that anyone who doesn’t think that science supports misogyny, racism, and homophobia is a cultural Marxist.

  169. #170 scooter
    October 8, 2008

    Truth Machine @ 149 — to deny behaviorism per se — “the astonishing hypothesis” — is to embrace mysticism.

    I have a different take on it, which is just my opinion. Behaviorism from Miller->Watson->Skinner got the fatal blow from Chomsky’s hard wired linguistic theory, but it was already fading.

    From that point on Behaviorism was dead, good riddance, it was ridiculous woo masquerading as science IMHO, but not an unexpected reaction to all the Freudian silliness that preceded it.

    Behaviorists were emphatic that their bullshit was a unified field theory that explained everything, and they got a lot of traction out of that for awhile.

    FAIL

    What survives from Behaviorism is experimental psychology and sociology which are great tools. Behaviorism is dead, but that’s just my take. I haven’t heard the term used outside an historical context but I’m not a big reader of psychology anymore.

    When I hear a term like blank-slater, it reminds me of behavioristic theory.

  170. #171 truth machine, OM
    October 8, 2008

    Any mouth-breather can swear.

    Fallacy of affirmation of the consequent. From “if one is a mouth breather, one can swear”, no inference of the form “if one swears, …” is obtainable. And that’s really the argument that Derbyshire is making and that you’re reinforcing. And once again, he has received strong rebuttals in “level-headed language” (a rather loaded characterization) that he has simply ignored.

  171. #172 truth machine, OM
    October 8, 2008

    I have a different take on it, which is just my opinion.

    Just your mistaken, ill informed opinion. For chrissakes look up “behaviorism” and inform yourself.

  172. #173 Ichthyic
    October 8, 2008

    if it hasn’t been noted yet, I would think anybody considering striking a conversation with Derby-too-tight might consider the following from his very first response in this thread:

    The reason Obama will do what he can to stop the human sciences cold is, I said, that he’s a cultural Marxist, a blank-slater. They come in all colors, P.Z., as you ought to know.

    so Obama is a Marxist, and Marxists hate science?

    oh, but it got better. a couple of paragraphs later he said:

    if we are to be spared future horrors; and that better understanding will only come through diligent scientific enquiry.

    Which will not go forward if we are fearful of what we might learn. As the cultural Marxists are. As you are.

    so, PZ is a “Marxist” too. and of course, PZ has done sooo much to halt the advance of scientific enquiry.

    sorry, John, but you’re simply fubar.

    not even worth trying to address.

    what’s sad is that time has been wasted even TRYING to parse what the hell you are talking about.

  173. #174 truth machine, OM
    October 8, 2008

    P.S. To help you out, scooter, I offer Daniel Dennett’s

    http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/msgisno.htm

    But when he goes on to proclaim a sharp distinction between “behaviorism, functionalism, eliminativism, and instrumentalism as competing answers,” he sees differences that don’t hold up, in my opinion. My answer, in any event, mixes elements from all of these, and denies that there is any good reason to cleave to a less eclectic answer. Matching the brevity of Jackson’s thumbnail account of the differentia is my thumbnail account of how to merge all four:

    Some traditionally well-regarded mental states should be eliminated; in other words, only a reformed folk psychology stands in need of materialistic reduction. Now we must deal with the leftovers: what makes it true that people have the real mental states is facts about their behavioral dispositions and capacities, but these facts can be perspicuously and efficiently expressed only from the intentional stance, an instrument of prediction (and explanation). As for functionalism, in its defensible version, it is not really an alternative to behaviorism, but simply a reflection of the tight constraint behavioral capacities (as described from the intentional stance) place on internal states. So let me confirm Jackson’s surmise that I am his behaviorist; I unhesitatingly endorse the claim that “necessarily, if two organisms are behaviorally exactly alike, they are psychologically exactly alike.”

  174. #175 John Derbyshire
    October 8, 2008

    All right, I’ll respond to #79 – in spite of my better instincts, which tell me I should just ignore people who adress me in terms like
    “bilge” and “Rethuglicans.”

    Obama is (correctly) described as “black” because “race” is a system of social categories, not biological ones.

    No, “race” means “common deep ancestry.” That is biological. It concerns (to borrow a phrase from the subtitle of
    some book or
    other
    ) “race and inheritance.” What’s more biological than that?

    I don’t deny that there is an element of choice in assigning race categories to mixed-rate persons. The offspring of a black father and a white
    mother might equally well (it seems to me) be designated as “black” or “white.” It’s an untidy world, and categories get fuzzy round
    the edges. Very few of us, though, are neatly half and half. Most of us have most of our deep ancestry in one of the old paleolithic population
    groups. That’s our race. It’s biological.

    That doesn’t mean there are no racial differences – indeed there are, and they might include cognitive
    ones …

    Say what? What are you trying to do – set yourself up as Emmanual Goldstein for next week’s Two Minutes Hate session? Better
    be careful, bubba.

    …  but the “races” recognised in a given society are determined by social history.

    That is partially true – see above. A half white, half black person might equally
    well be white or black. It’s determined by social history. A person of entirely East Asian ancestry, though, is East Asian; a person of entirely
    West African ancestry is West African
    (and black, unless he’s an albino); a person of European ancestry is European (and white, absent some skin condition I have never heard of). These
    are handy markers for deep ancestry. Not infallible, but handy – e.g. for police work (see below).

    Look: If the Emperor of Japan shows up at your house, you will be entertaining an East Asian. There’s nothing “socially constructed” about that.
    It’s what he is. He has a family tree going back a hundred generations to prove it. It’s ancestry. It’s biological. What’s to be
    scared of? He’s not scared of it. He’s proud of it! – of his … how does it go? … Oh yes: “race and
    inheritance.”

    At least until recently, didn’t the American police divide people into “Caucasian”, “Negro”/”Black”/”African-American”, “Hispanic”,
    “Asian”…?

    I believe they did. Why wouldn’t they? these are handy rough markers for identification. If we have a witness report that some crime was
    committed by an Asian guy, why go looking for white perps, or black ones? Don’t you want to catch the guy?

    “Caucasian” is a term from C19 physical anthropology, at best a proto-scientific body of work, heavily infected with assumptions about racial
    differences in intelligence.

    Uh-huh. Evelyn Waugh made a good joke about this in his novel The Loved One. It’s a pretty silly term. In Russia today, I am reliably
    told, “Caucasian” is a term of abuse for dark-looking persons with criminal tendencies.

    “Black”, as noted by others above, means anyone believed to have recent black African ancestry.

    You don’t say!

    (Amusingly, I’ve heard more than one American thoughtlessly refer to Europeans of recent black African ancestry as
    “African-Americans”.)

    Oh, things are way worse than that in Politicalcorrectnessworld. At the 2002 Winter Olympics, some event or other was won by some black
    team from
    a Caribbean country. The American news announcer, unable to get her mind around this, told us that it was the first time that event had ever been
    won “by an African-American team from any country.”

    “Hispanic” is a term borrowed from
    cultural anthropology, and means, roughly anyone believed to have recent ancestry from Latin America.

    In the present-day U.S.A. it designates a population with a large compnent of mestizos, and a largish compnent of pure-blood mesoamericans. (The
    proportions in Mexico are 10 percent all-European ancestry, 30 percent all-mesoamerican, 60 percent mestizo. I don’t know the proportions for U.S.
    Hispanics, who include Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, etc.)

    This particular set of categories differs
    considerably from any set used in Europe (categories also differ across Europe).

    Yep. Not many mesoamericans in Europe.

    Modern physical anthropologists and experts in human population genetics are interested in the frequency of a range of genetic elements in different
    populations, and what this tells us about human migration and reproduction in history and prehistory: the socially defined “races” in a particular
    society are not irrelevant to that area of study, but they are only a starting point.

    Can’t see anything to disagree with there. So?

    Asking whether different socially-defined “races” differ in some form of innate talent isn’t likely to be scientifically
    useful …

    “Scientifically useful”? What does that mean? How are P.Z.’s researches into marine creatures “scientifically useful”? Science is an
    exploration into the nature of things. If some particular exploration turns out to be useful, we got lucky. And what’s that qualifier
    “socially-defined” doing there? Races may be “socially-defined” around the edges, but an East Asian is an East Asian, an Australian Aborigine is an
    Australian Aborigine. Nothing “socially defined” about that. It’s a matter of deep ancestry. Which is biological.

    you have in fact
    minimised your chances of throwing light on how much of the cognitive variation in a population is accounted for by genetic differences, by choosing
    to compare groups whose typical members are known to be have been exposed to very different social environments.

    There are long-established methodologies for “throwing light on how much of the cognitive variation in a population is accounted for by genetic
    differences,” e.g twin studies. We know the answer, very roughly. It’s around 40-80 percent.

    All this bilge from Derbyshire shows how desperate the Rethuglicans are getting.

    Ah, now with the “bilge” and the “Rethuglicans.” For the record, I recently called John McCain a “crazy old fool”
    (here … and, for good measure in that
    same piece, a “gibbering numbskull”). That may be a tad thuggish, but it’s not very Rethuglican, is it?

    They are now facing the probability of a decisive loss in
    the elections, with Obama winning clearly, and clear Dem majorities in both Houses; and the possibility of a real landslide. American liberals should
    prepare to push a timid Dem administration and Congress to the left!

    Gosh, you’re a leftist? I never would have known!

  175. #176 Ichthyic
    October 8, 2008

    Derbyshire ignores the second half, whimpers about the first half and signs off without having given any kind of coherent response.

    what kind of coherent response could he have possibly given after his initial rant?

    I’m actually curious as to how one might proceed from #7 without entirely scrapping it and starting over with something more coherent to begin with.

  176. #177 Ichthyic
    October 8, 2008

    “Scientifically useful”? What does that mean?

    “cultural marxist”? what does THAT mean?

  177. #178 Ichthyic
    October 8, 2008

    How are P.Z.’s researches into marine creatures “scientifically useful”?

    assuming you actually meant his researches into the developmental biology of Danio spp. (not marine), you don’t consider data from studying developmental biology of vertebrates useful?

    wait…

    who’s the one that’s the “science stopper” again?

    why, that would be YOU, fool.

  178. #179 Ichthyic
    October 8, 2008

    I should just ignore people who adress me in terms like “bilge”

    go farther, John.

    Ignore EVERYTHING.

    the world would be a better place for it.

  179. #180 Brian X
    October 9, 2008

    A thought for J. Derbyshire and friends:

    I can’t help but notice that people pushing an agenda of hate or intolerance love to shove down other peoples’ throats how polite they are in comparison to the riff-raff they’re so righteously opposing. It is my well-considered opinion that these spurious appeals to artificial decorum are nothing more than an attempt to fuck up peoples’ shit by changing the fucking subject like the pissant uppity little bitch dirtbags that day-old pantloads like John Fucking Derbyshire really are.

  180. #181 Praxiteles
    October 9, 2008

    TruthMachine @ 172

    Fallacy of affirmation of the consequent. From “if one is a mouth breather, one can swear”, no inference of the form “if one swears, …” is obtainable. And that’s really the argument that Derbyshire is making and that you’re reinforcing. And once again, he has received strong rebuttals in “level-headed language” (a rather loaded characterization) that he has simply ignored.

    I don’t wish to get involved in a drawn out discussion here, but I did feel the need to clarify my point. At no stage have I asserted “If A then B” with regard to mouthbreathing and swearing, nor am I siding with Mr Derbyshire in his claim that “leftists” (whatever they may be) are more sweary and therefore have less substance in their arguments.

    My point was merely that it’s not necessary. Yes, we all like to let off steam with a few well chosen clunkies, but it doesn’t help, and it may even disguise a well constructed point.

    Personally, I agree that Mr Derbyshires tirade against the potty-mouths is a diversionary tactic to avoid having to address the meat of the subject.

  181. #182 Desert Son
    October 9, 2008

    Quick post to recommend Steven Selden’s Inheriting Shame: The Story of Eugenics and Racism in America.

    “The history of American Eugenics has more often than not been a history of the categorization of individuals and groups for the purpose of legitimating a set of existing social, institutional, and political relations” (Selden, 1999, p. 85)

    Quoted from Selden, S. (1999). Inheriting shame: The story of eugenics and racism in America. New York: Teachers College Press.

    No kings,

    Robert

  182. #183 bob
    October 9, 2008

    “There are long-established methodologies for “throwing light on how much of the cognitive variation in a population is accounted for by genetic differences,” e.g twin studies. We know the answer, very roughly. It’s around 40-80 percent.”

    Even if that is true (I don’t know the numbers for certain), I’ll ask again, how does the variation within one of your “races” compare to the variation between “races”? Some of the links provided in posts above cover this topic, in case you are ignorant of it (which I suspect).

    Other links cover various problems with your arbitrary partitioning off of “the old paleolithic population groups,” a topic you are clearly ignorant about. You make it sound as if the “races” are different species. Though it probably bothers you to think about it, people who have different skin colors can breed!

    Again, it is abundantly clear to me that you are a racist trying to rationalize his preconceived notions with science. And you call us pseudoscientists … what projection! You define the term, pal.

  183. #184 Desert Son
    October 9, 2008

    Totally missed a period at the end of the quote. It’s late, and I have a stats exam tomorrow. Off to bed, and dreams of Tukey post-hoc tests and increasing power. Power, I say! MORE POWER! (increase sample size, increase effect size, increase homogeneity of variance, use a one-tailed test, use a more complex factor design . . . )

    Ok, really need sleep.

    No kings,

    Robert

  184. #185 Ichthyic
    October 9, 2008

    …spurious appeals to artificial decorum are nothing more than an attempt to fuck up peoples’ shit by changing the fucking subject like the pissant uppity little bitch dirtbags that day-old pantloads like John Fucking Derbyshire really are.

    LOL

    well said.

  185. #186 truth machine, OM
    October 9, 2008

    At no stage have I asserted “If A then B” with regard to mouthbreathing and swearing

    Uh, yes, you did; “any mouth breather can swear” is equivalent to “if one is a mouth breather, one can swear”. Did you even read or attempt to comprehend what I wrote?

    My point was merely that it’s not necessary.

    a) So what? Most behaviors aren’t necessary. b) How does “any mouth breather can swear” make that point? On the contrary, it makes the point that swearing isn’t sufficient — and the confusion between necessary and sufficient is equivalent to the fallacy of affirmation of the consequent.

    but it doesn’t help

    Overgeneralization. There are good reasons for swearing; thus, it helps further certain aims.

    and it may even disguise a well constructed point

    Just about anything may do anything. The word “may” is a poor substitute for substantiation.

    Personally, I agree that Mr Derbyshires tirade against the potty-mouths is a diversionary tactic to avoid having to address the meat of the subject.

    Which is what matters, and your contribution aided him — or at least, shucks, it may have.

  186. #187 Ichthyic
    October 9, 2008

    Power, I say! MORE POWER!

    “Well, I tried shovin’ a wiener in the warp drive, but it dinna do a bit of good. By the by, would ya have a wee bit of mustard up on the bridge?”

  187. #188 Praxiteles
    October 9, 2008

    Truth Machine,

    Uh, whatever.

    I’m on your side, you know. Don’t waste your time arguing with me.

  188. #189 Ramiro Quai
    October 9, 2008

    It is very interesting how everything Derbyshire has said in the comments is perfectly reasonable, based on good science, en clearly and eloquently written, and no one has tried to respond in kind.

    Now,how Derbyshire goes what he has written here to “Don’t vote for Obama, he will kill science research!” or the rest of his weird ideology is even more interesting.

  189. #190 Ichthyic
    October 9, 2008

    It is very interesting how everything Derbyshire has said in the comments is perfectly reasonable

    wrong

    , based on good science,

    wrong

    clearly and eloquently written

    wrong

    , and no one has tried to respond in kind.

    …and that completes your epic fail.

  190. #191 Blake Stacey
    October 9, 2008

    It is very interesting how everything Derbyshire has said in the comments is perfectly reasonable, based on good science, en clearly and eloquently written, and no one has tried to respond in kind.

    Fuck the heck?!

    Wow, we have proof not only of parallel universes, but also that blog comments can pass from one to the other. If the Nobel Prize in Physics hadn’t just been announced, I’d be chalk-dusting my tweed jacket for my Stockholm trip right now. Next year, in Scandinavia. . . .

  191. #192 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    October 9, 2008

    Don’t get me wrong
    He’s a nice guy
    I like him just fine
    But he’s a mouth breather

  192. #193 Tapetum
    October 9, 2008

    JD – as far as I’m aware, BB has never expressed an opinion on the over-the-hill aspects of any girl over 20, nor written anything particularly creepy about Lolita – so no, he’s not likely to be called a pedophile. I’m pretty sure any insults flying his way will have to do with his race/genetics opinions.

    Would it really be too much trouble to ask you to learn some population genetics before blathering on about them?

    Though I suppose you rarely do about other things, so why make an exception here, eh?

  193. #194 windy
    October 9, 2008

    No, “race” means “common deep ancestry.” That is biological. It concerns (to borrow a phrase from the subtitle of some book or other) “race and inheritance.” What’s more biological than that?

    Biologists tend to use “subspecies” for that (phylogenetically distinct groupings below the species level). There is no one commonly accepted definition (well, there isn’t for species either, but the disagreement over subspecies is greater.) Then there are something called “ecotypes” or ecological races, which emphasizes local adaptation. These don’t need to be phylogenetically distinct. Massimo Pigliucci has argued that this is a more useful way to group humans.

    I’ve never heard biologists talk much about “common deep ancestry” or “deep common ancestry” in nonhuman species. Much too vague. I tried to use “deep ancestry” in an article I submitted once, but the reviewers objected to the phrase. I doubt that it was lefty PC police at work since this was about invertebrates.

    A person of entirely East Asian ancestry, though, is East Asian; a person of entirely West African ancestry is West African (and black, unless he’s an albino); a person of European ancestry is European (and white, absent some skin condition I have never heard of). These are handy markers for deep ancestry.

    I don’t know why you go on about DEEP ancestry, since the depth of the ancestry is almost irrelevant to the case you are trying to make. The Identical ancestors point of humans (where all the modern humans had the same set of ancestors) has been estimated to be around the Neolithic. Of course modern humans don’t have uniform contributions of genes from this set of ancestors. But many of the differences now seen as characteristic of racial groups are more recent. Pale skin in Europeans may be only 6-12 thousand years old.

    If you are going to style yourself the defender of modern genomics from scary leftists, why not take sometime to find out what the field actually says about recent positive selection in humans – there’s no need to bring up outdated theories about human races evolving in full isolation for 50,000 years.

  194. #195 Blake Stacey
    October 9, 2008

    Pale skin in Europeans may be only 6-12 thousand years old.

    Holy Toledo! That’s could be six thousand years older than the motherfucking universe!

  195. #196 Eric Saveau
    October 9, 2008

    Notice that this economic crisis, and most of the rest since the 30s, have met with rate cuts, not hikes. Why? because using historical knowledge you can predict that when rates are hiked in these situations, the economic goes down like the women in the Palin family.

    Actually, since the 20s, economic crises like this have been preceded by rate cuts for the wealthy, along with massive deregulation.

  196. #197 Kel
    October 9, 2008

    Did you post that in the wrong thread Eric? :P http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/10/wreckers.php

  197. #198 windy
    October 9, 2008

    Holy Toledo! That’s could be six thousand years older than the motherfucking universe!

    Well, if Jesus was white, and existed before the universe… ;)

    (then again black skin is 1.2 million years old)

  198. #199 Eric Saveau
    October 9, 2008

    WHOOPS! Wrong thread; sorry!

  199. #200 truth machine, OM
    October 9, 2008

    I’m on your side, you know.

    My side is the truth, which doesn’t allow for such absurd ad hominems as “I’m on your side”.

    Don’t waste your time arguing with me.

    Yes, I suppose it is a waste of time to correct the errors of someone so intellectually bankrupt as to dismiss them with “whatever” and “I’m on your side”.

  200. #201 scottynx
    October 9, 2008

    “Even if that is true (I don’t know the numbers for certain), I’ll ask again, how does the variation within one of your “races” compare to the variation between “races”? Some of the links provided in posts above cover this topic, in case you are ignorant of it (which I suspect).”

    That is lewontin’s fallacy (it appears you aren’t aware that it’s a fallacy). *If* you only look at one loci, then yes, individuals are almost as likely to be different from an individual from their own race as they are likely to be different from an individual from a different race. But that doesn’t prove that race is of little or no genetic consequence. That is because if you examine larger numbers of loci, the odds of someone being genetically closer to someone of a different race than someone of their own race quickly converges to zero.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewontin's_Fallacy

  201. #202 bob
    October 9, 2008

    Well, scottynx, a couple points. (1) It appears *you* aren’t aware that it is not a generally accepted “fallacy,” as your own link points out. (2) Even if it is, Derbyshire is focusing on a single locus (or perhaps a small handful of them), cognitive ability, making this possible fallacy irrelevant to his point. Thanks for trying to help the white supremacist, though!

  202. #203 scottynx
    October 9, 2008

    “Derbyshire is focusing on a single locus (or perhaps a small handful of them), cognitive ability, making this possible fallacy irrelevant to his point.”

    You don’t really believe that something as complex as cognitive ability is “on a single locus (or perhaps a small handful of them)”, do you? If that was the case, then we would have probably already found them and we could largely determine IQ with a blood sample already.

    Far more likely is that a large percentage of the entire human genome influences cognitive ability. The idea that only a few loci do is frankly ludicrous.

  203. #204 pcarini
    October 9, 2008

    Ichthyic @ 188: “Well, I tried shovin’ a wiener in the warp drive, but it dinna do a bit of good. By the by, would ya have a wee bit of mustard up on the bridge?”

    If that doesn’t call for a Rocket Limerick, nothing else ever will. Ahem:

    There was a young fellow named Hector,
    Who was fond of the launcher-erector.
    But the squishes and pops
    Of acute pressure drops
    Wrecked Hector’s hydraulic connector.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

  204. #205 Colugo
    October 9, 2008

    windy: “If you are going to style yourself the defender of modern genomics from scary leftists, why not take sometime to find out what the field actually says about recent positive selection in humans”

    Are you referring to (among other things) the Cochran-Harpending-Hawks (and a couple of other authors I forget) on accelerated natural selection in humans? Did you know that Cochran and Harpending are “race realists”? (Do they care to disagree with that label being applied to them?)

    Despite being friends with the Gene Expression crew, Derbyshire is apparently far from the vanguard of modern race realists, or else he’d be emphasizing the power of historically recent selection like Cochran does instead of the more old-fashioned notion of deep ancestry from the Flintstones days.

    Some are conflating sociobiology and race realism. Race realists especially like to do that. And to be fair WD Hamilton was both.

    There does appear to be a resurgence of race realism buoyed by particular interpretations of research on human genetic variation. However, they took a big hit when Bruce Lahn’s ‘microcephalin and civilization’ theory went splat. And eventually they’ll fail scientifically. But make no mistake, there is a rising tide. To quote myself from a Savage Minds thread:

    “Bruce Lahn’s (debunked) theory. The “smart Jews” thesis. Some of the discussion surrounding the “accelerated human evolution” paper. Gregory Clark’s A Farewell To Alms. The statements of LSE’s Satoshi Kanazawa.”

    Just to name a few.

    By the way, did you know that one of the new euphemisms for “race realism” – itself a euphemism for scientific racism – is “human biodiversity”? Clever. (No, I’m not saying that human biodiversity is properly understood as race realism. I’m saying that’s what some race realists are calling it.)

    Derbyshire is an interesting figure, one of the missing links between bizarro paleocon (such as the goofballs at VDARE like Kevin MacDonald, a scientific racist too rabid – and theoretically ass-backwards – for even some race realists) and more mainstream conservativism.

    Well, at least the fellow made sense on the Schiavo case, unlike the fundies and even Ralph Nader.

  205. #206 bob
    October 9, 2008

    You think it’s ludicrous? Good for you, I happen to think you’re being ludicrous. Luckily for me and my free time, you’re the one hypothesizing subspecies of homo sapiens. Feel free to enlighten us and the rest of the scientific community with your findings. I would start with rebutting the three articles cited in the bottom of your own link, since they seem to conclude exactly what I said. And, hey, they’re well-known enough to make it into a wikipedia article … might get some attention for yourself and your theories if you show those are bogus.

  206. #207 scottynx
    October 9, 2008

    Did you know that Cochran and Harpending are “race realists”?

    What do you base this on? Anyone who simply says that race exists and is a useful and real scientific category is not a “race-realist” as is commonly known. If that were the case there’d be a whole lot of so-called race-realists, including a lot of scientists (I am not going to go out on a limb and say the majority) who probably wouldn’t want the negative baggage associated with the word. On the other hand, the ashkenazic IQ paper does hypothesize a genetic based difference in average IQ between jews and others, so I suppose that that would be grounds for calling the authors “race-realists” of some sort. But it should go on the record that none of the authors have taken a position on the genetic causes (or lack-of) underlying the black-white IQ gap. I think that that is what defines someone as a race-realist or not to many people.

    So, IMHO, it isn’t fair to call Cochran and Harpending race-realists since they haven’t stated that the Black-White IQ gap is probably genetic. If you start calling them race-realists, many less informed observers will inevitably and unfairly assume otherwise. The term race-realist just has that baggage (for good reason, as that is a position that virtually all people who call themselves race-realists take).

  207. #208 Colguo
    October 9, 2008

    Well, scottynx, perhaps Cochran and Harpending themselves would like to chime in. I recall Harpending writing in 1996 that JP Rushton’s Race Evolution and Behavior was the best game in town (or something like that). And I have seen Cochran speak, and although he was subtle (so much so that it flew over the heads of most of the audience), the implications were clear. And he is sometimes less subtle in writing.

  208. #209 Colugo
    October 9, 2008

    Aw geez, I screwed up my own name. That’ll teach me to multitask.

    My point was that although the accelerated evolution paper has been cited – more than once – as somehow being contradictory to racism, evolutionary psychology (by Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon) etc. – but at least two of its authors are race realists.

  209. #210 scottynx
    October 9, 2008

    Bob says: “I would start with rebutting the three articles cited in the bottom of your own link, since they seem to conclude exactly what I said.”

    Bob, the Witherspoon paper (citation number 6 in wikipedia) debunks it’s own self as a refutation of Lewontin’s fallacy:

    “Thus the answer to the question “How often is a pair of individuals from one population genetically more dissimilar than two individuals chosen from two different populations?” depends on the number of polymorphisms used to define that dissimilarity and the populations being compared. The answer, equation M44 can be read from Figure 2. Given 10 loci, three distinct populations, and the full spectrum of polymorphisms (Figure 2E), the answer is equation M45 [congruent with] 0.3, or nearly one-third of the time. With 100 loci, the answer is ?20% of the time and even using 1000 loci, equation M46 [congruent with] 10%. However, if genetic similarity is measured over many thousands of loci, the answer becomes “never” when individuals are sampled from geographically separated populations.”
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1196372

    I really don’t know why wikipedia used that article as a counterpoint to “Lewontin’s fallacy”. They put in the excerpt that “even when the most distinct populations are considered and hundreds of loci are used, individuals are frequently more similar to members of other populations than to members of their own population”, but left out the excerpt above where it states that once you use many thousands of loci, the possibility of being more similar to someone of another race than someone of your own race drops to zero. Obviously, if you could somehow take into account the millions of loci in the human genome, that result would be zero as well.

    Citation 5 in wikipedia doesn’t need refuting from me. They just restated the whole controversery: Yes, if you use one loci and only care about one loci, it isn’t a fallacy. But if you are using it to draw the conclusion that you can *ever* be more genetically similar to someone of another race than to someone of your own race (you won’t be. ever.) then it’s a fallacy.

    Citation 4 just restates the last sentence of the excerpt I posted above.

  210. #211 Elmo
    October 9, 2008

    Phoenix Woman | October 8, 2008 12:51 PM “– Remember how the Bushies and their religious-right friends claimed that adult stem cells could be used in place of embryonic ones for research purposes? Turns out that the key study cited to “prove” this was filled with faked-up data. See what happens when you let political considerations drive your research?”

    The Minnesota people must suffer the shame of their dishonesty (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14886-stemcell-researcher-guilty-of-falsifying-data.html?DCMP=ILC-hmts&nsref=news8_head_dn14886), but it is of little consequence to the rest of us. Shinya Yamanaka’s work, earlier and better, still stands.

  211. #212 Elmo
    October 9, 2008

    Whoops. Sorry. Scratch the “earlier” and leave the “better” in my previous post.

  212. #213 greg
    October 9, 2008

    mr. derbyshire,

    i hesitate to comment here because it will probably fall on deaf ears, but perhaps there are a few points you have not considered that i would like to offer.

    it seems that you may be making a fundamental mistake in your understanding of biology because you had a preconceived idea of racial superiority before you started to investigate the science and then you found justifications in the science to support this (perhaps glossing over or not looking for contrary knowledge).

    one thing you may have missed; you state that 50,000 years of human evolution should have caused differences in intelligence in the races. maybe this is so, but what is intelligence on a genetic level and how can we make conclusions about the respective intelligence of races if the genetic basis of intelligence is not known? so far, science is not close to answering this question, but some recent work shows that it may be a confluence of hundreds of genes and there may be multiple sets of these hundreds of genes that produce the same intelligence outcomes.

    also, even if there is a racial difference in intelligence, scientists are not afraid of finding this. at least, no more than we were afraid of unleashing the power of the atom. the misuse of the knowledge should be frightening to scientists (as citizens), though. simply because one race may have a genetic predisposition toward any outcome does not imply that we should make political or health policy based on race. democratic societies strive to achieve equality of opportunity not equality of outcome.

    and your conclusion that an obama presidency would bad for science only on this very narrow issue in science is baffling. even if obama would do as you say (in my opinion unlikely), what about all of the science-unfriendly policies of the present administration and why would a mccain-palin administration be any different?

  213. #214 Jay
    October 9, 2008

    Derb actually has no clue when he comes to the conclusion that Obama would be bad for science, if elected. Since most of the race baiters of Republican ilk believe that Obama will be looking for any reason to forward the “black cause” and will quickly be adding “bling” to Air Force One, we might actually be led to the conclusion that he will be for more funding for race based scientific research. After all, if he can prove that his “deep race” is hampered by their natural genetics, then he can just go out and throw a lot more money at them, justifiably through social programs.

    Or maybe he’s smart enough to just realize that John Derbyshire is a racist pussy that gets beaten by K-Lo too much.

  214. #215 tiff
    October 9, 2008

    Derbyshire, is just a single voice in the “Blacks iz dumb” movement. PZ has had many run in’s with these people before.

    If you want to see some hard core believers just visit Steve Sailor or Razib at his website Gene Expression.

    You’ll be sure to find an interesting mix of genetics, Science, politics, and hard core racial stereotyping/bigotry (mostly against “NAMs”). Enjoy.

  215. #216 Corey
    October 9, 2008

    Derbyshire: you still haven’t addressed the vagueness of “cultural Marxism.” I’m assuming then you can’t and therefore you are admitting it doesn’t exist.

    In conjunction, I want to bring up the following statement you made:

    [quote]Human cognition, human personality, human behavior are, to the best of my understanding, products of brain function.

    The brain is an organ like other organs, its ontogeny templated in the genome.

    Human cognition, human personality, human behavior are phenotypes. When subpopulations are isolated, we would expect these features to show the same divergence as other phenotypes.[/quote]

    The first is trivial statement. Obviously that’s so. However, your second statement is true or false depending on your meaning. To be clear, there are no genes that specify structures like Wernicke’s or Broca’s or even the lobes. In that sense, you statement is false. However, there are genes that define biochemical production, cell birth, cell migration, and cell death (the same applies to bone structure as well). In that sense there are genes for neurological formation. However it seems to be that you are arguing the former rather than the latter. In that case, you are dreadfully mistaken.

    The first two paragraphs almost seem to be premises to the conclusion at the third paragraph. However, the conclusion is false…completely and utterly false. You assume no outside forces exist, but they do–namely learning. Personality (first of all) is the person in the situation. What that means is the psychic tools a person possesses (psychic in the sense that they are mental) and well as the motivation state of that person create the appearance of personality. Tools moreover are malleable constructs, subject to change and addition over time. These are not phenotypes by any stretch of the imagination.

    In short, you still have no idea what you are talking about.

  216. #217 Joe
    October 9, 2008

    So this guy is an admitted racist, what gives? Trying to tell this guy he is wrong becuase of what he believes to be is right is like trying to argue with a creationist. It just doesn’t work.
    He’s a tard, let em’ be one if that’s what he wants. Just point and snicker behind his back.

  217. #218 thalarctos
    October 9, 2008

    Trying to tell this guy he is wrong becuase of what he believes to be is right is like trying to argue with a creationist. It just doesn’t work.

    You’re probably right, but if he’s going to couch his “arguments” in the language of science, it’s worth pointing out how badly his “science” goes off the rails.

    Even if he can’t or won’t get it, others lurking will, and it’s more for their benefit anyway–Derbyshire’s all but declared he intends to remain impervious to evidence or criticism of his “methods”.

    He’s a tard, let em’ be one if that’s what he wants. Just point and snicker behind his back.

    Consider it done :).

  218. #219 windy
    October 9, 2008

    Are you referring to (among other things) the Cochran-Harpending-Hawks (and a couple of other authors I forget) on accelerated natural selection in humans? Did you know that Cochran and Harpending are “race realists”? (Do they care to disagree with that label being applied to them?)

    I don’t know what they would call themselves but I am aware of some of their opinions from gnxp. They are hardly the only ones coming up with these kinds of results. Even if some of the authors have unfortunate political agendas, I’m not sure what you are implying here. Do you think the results themselves are questionable?

    Despite being friends with the Gene Expression crew, Derbyshire is apparently far from the vanguard of modern race realists, or else he’d be emphasizing the power of historically recent selection like Cochran does instead of the more old-fashioned notion of deep ancestry from the Flintstones days.

    Yes, I noticed while googling that Derbyshire had discussed Lahn when his results were in the news, he must have forgotten about this angle since then…

    There does appear to be a resurgence of race realism buoyed by particular interpretations of research on human genetic variation. However, they took a big hit when Bruce Lahn’s ‘microcephalin and civilization’ theory went splat.

    Yes it did – but still, they most likely detected selection for something, not necessarily in the brain. (Their methodology for detecting selection has been criticized, but this criticism applies to the whole field.) I don’t see this problem (being too eager to classify something as brain and intelligence-related) just as coming from racialism, this also comes up in human-primate comparisons.

  219. #220 Marc
    October 9, 2008

    You don’t really believe that something as complex as cognitive ability is “on a single locus (or perhaps a small handful of them)”, do you? If that was the case, then we would have probably already found them and we could largely determine IQ with a blood sample already.

    I think this is a key point that needs to be reiterated. All the evidence suggests that cognitive ability is a highly heritable trait. From Burdick et al., (2006):

    “Data from more than 8000 parent – offspring pairs, 25,000 sibling pairs, 10,000 twin pairs and adoption studies provide evidence that genetic factors play a substantial role in the variation of G, with heritability estimates ranging from 40 to 80%.”

    Evidence also suggests it is a trait involving a great many genes. From Comings et al., (2003):

    “By regression analysis the CHRM2 gene accounted for approximately 1% of the variance of the IQ scores and years of education. While the percent of the variance of IQ attributable to the CHRM2 gene may seem small, it is very likely that IQ is a true polygenic trait due to the additive effect of many genes, each with a small effect…”

    Finally, evidence shows that when you look at SNP loci, people really do cluster together genetically along traditional racial – and even ethnic – lines. See here, for one, but there’s way more out there if anyone wants to quickly google it:

    http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2008/02/huge-paper-on-human-genetic.html

    So if cognitive ability is something that is determined by hundreds of genes, as seems likely by the very small effects found so far among candidate genes, and if people tend to fall into clusters approximating traditional racial and ethnic categories once you start looking at a certain number of genes, then doesn’t it stand to reason that 1) if you were to identify all the genes that affect cognitive performance and test different racial and ethnic groups on that subset of genes alone, you would find the same clustering as you do when looking at other large subsets of genes, and 2) that this clustering might lead to phenotypic variation in cognitive abilities among different racial and ethnic groups?

  220. #221 Marc
    October 9, 2008

    So this guy is an admitted racist, what gives?

    I think if you read his “confession” in context it becomes clear that he is racist in the sense that many people are racist, meaning he is generally more comfortable around people of his own race, all other things being equal (which of course they seldom are). Alot of people feel this way; it’s just human nature. FWIW, I’m heterophobic because I’m a gay man who prefers to work out a gay gym. I don’t think straight people should get offended by my preferences here, and I don’t think any reasonable people should be offended over Derb’s statement (unless I’m missing something).

    I also don’t think he’s racist in the sense that he has any hatred for non-whites. His wife is Chinese, and his kids are half-Chinese, for Christ’s sake.

  221. #222 windy
    October 9, 2008

    Even if he can’t or won’t get it, others lurking will, and it’s more for their benefit anyway

    OK, let me give it one more shot. (Without naughty words, although he seems to notice those better.)

    —————————-
    John Derbyshire wrote:

    Most of us have most of our deep ancestry in one of the old paleolithic population groups. That’s our race. It’s biological.

    Well, as I said, the “deep” ancestry (usually when people say this, they are really talking about neutral differences in mtDNA and Y-chromosomes) may be of little biological significance compared with neolithic selection. There’s one point I forgot to make about deep ancestry- if it means anything in biology, it means diverged early. Humans share deep ancestry with lobe-finned fishes. African mitochondrial lineages show deep ancestry. Some group that has “deep ancestry” has had time to accumulate a lot of differences – it doesn’t say anything about similarity.

    Human cognition, human personality, human behavior are phenotypes. When subpopulations are isolated, we would expect these features to show the same divergence as other phenotypes.

    No, we would expect them to show different amounts of divergence according to (among other things) the strength of directional selection. You can’t conclude from strong positive selection on one trait that another trait will show the same amount of divergence. Another trait may show balancing selection or no selection.

    Justify your miracle to me. Tell me why I should believe in a suspension of the laws of nature. Or explain to me how I have misunderstood those laws.

    Let’s take an example from another relatively young species: there are several subspecies* of moose with some physical divergence between them. Now, you are saying that in order not to be a “left creationist”, I MUST commit myself to believing that there is an equal amount of divergence in the cognitive faculties of moose subspecies. Clearly it’s foolish to declare beforehand that there can’t be any difference, but it seems equally foolish to say that there must be. Plausible hypotheses may be constructed either way.

    So in conclusion, while it’s commendable that you defend evolutionary theory, I find your understanding of it to be rather simplistic. Biologists don’t recognize “laws” of evolution in the way you seem to think, and you can’t draw a priori conclusions about divergence based on these “laws”.

    (*this may bring to mind the question whether it is justifiable to divide moose into subspecies but not humans, or vice versa, or neither, but let’s not go into that for now)

  222. #223 Corey
    October 9, 2008

    @Marc

    You point to a couple things, but I think you’re making the same elementary mistake people make regarding gender research. That is, the variance between men and women is less than the variance within each group. It would most likely be the case as I cannot conceive of a situation where there would be selective pressure against genes I described in my last post (in our current milieu, obviously it happened in the past). Granted, there may be selective pressures on adjacent genes, but not on the development genes directly.

    But as a psychologist, I’ve always been troubled that there is no one consistent measure of variance accounted for in genetic studies of intelligence. To me, it states that there is a lot more going on than genetics.

  223. #224 Marc
    October 9, 2008

    Now, you are saying that in order not to be a “left creationist”, I MUST commit myself to believing that there is an equal amount of divergence in the cognitive faculties of moose subspecies. Clearly it’s foolish to declare beforehand that there can’t be any difference, but it seems equally foolish to say that there must be. Plausible hypotheses may be constructed either way.

    This may be an effective rebuttal to what Derb said depending on what he means by a “left creationist.” But what interests me is that you say “plausible hypotheses may be constructed either way.” This isn’t what you usually hear. You usually hear “People who think that it’s possible that there is a significant amount of divergence between human population groups in regard to their cognitive abilities are terrible racists who must be expunged from society.”

    No, it’s usually not worded like this, but that’s the definite message. Look at the hatred that Charles Murray encountered when the Bell Curve came out, in which he specifically stated he did not know to what degree differences in mean performance on IQ tests between whites and blacks in the US was the result of genes or environment. Every right thinking person shouted him down as a racist, when, again, all he did was report data and say that there was no way to know whether these differences were the result of genes or environment! All he did was say a variation of what you said right here!

    The feeding frenzy that people encounter when they broach the subject of race and IQ in any way that is not very carefully tailored to attribute any and all differences to enviroment is very disturbing to me. It certainly doesn’t advance our knowledge or understanding of any scientific issue. I can only understand it as a type of mob mentality.

  224. #225 Marc
    October 9, 2008

    You point to a couple things, but I think you’re making the same elementary mistake people make regarding gender research. That is, the variance between men and women is less than the variance within each group.

    What variance are you referring to? Are you referring to variance in intelligence or variance in genetics? Sorry if I’m not clear.

    It would most likely be the case as I cannot conceive of a situation where there would be selective pressure against genes I described in my last post (in our current milieu, obviously it happened in the past).

    You don’t need to “conceive of a situation where there would be selective pressure against” genes leading to higher intelligence: you’re living in it. Right now, in the West and other parts of the developed world, it is well established that highly intelligent people have fewer children, on average, than less intelligent people. Thus, our current social milieu is pretty clearly selecting against genes for high intelligence, over the course of generations. I can certainly imagine social and physical environments in the past where the opposite might have been true.

  225. #226 Natalie
    October 9, 2008

    I think if you read his “confession” in context it becomes clear that he is racist in the sense that many people are racist, meaning he is generally more comfortable around people of his own race, all other things being equal (which of course they seldom are). Alot of people feel this way; it’s just human nature.

    And do you have any evidence that this behavior is just “human nature”?

    I also don’t think he’s racist in the sense that he has any hatred for non-whites. His wife is Chinese, and his kids are half-Chinese, for Christ’s sake.

    First of all, one does not have to be biased against all other races to be a racist. If I hate black people for no reason other than they are black people, but am fine with all other racial groups, I would still be a racist. Secondly, quite a few white racists make an exception for East Asian groups for some reason. For example, someone above quotes “Godless Capitalist” from the OP railing against what he calls NAMs – Non Asian Minorities. I’m really not sure why this is, but his marriage is not at all inconsistent with his being a racist.

  226. #227 Corey
    October 9, 2008

    @Marc,

    Ulric Neisser et al showed the environment played a powerful role and that the methods behind “The Bell Curve” are fundamentally flawed. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bell_Curve#American_Psychological_Association_task_force_report

    Also, it was a book, not peer-reviewed or based on peer-reviewed research.

  227. #228 CJO
    October 9, 2008

    I also don’t think he’s racist in the sense that he has any hatred for non-whites.

    East Asians are honorary white people to these scumbags. He hates black and brown people. If he doesn’t “hate” them for your particular connotations with the word, he certainly believes that persons of European descent, along with their East Asian sidekicks, are inherently superior and more valuable than persons of other ancestry. Either way, he’s a racist.

    So’s Murray.
    Every right thinking person shouted him down as a racist, when, again, all he did was report data and say that there was no way to know whether these differences were the result of genes or environment! All he did was say a variation of what you said right here!

    Except the “variant” went on to draw conclusions and make policy recommendations staggeringly unsupported by this thin veil of “Maybe it is. Just sayin.” You know, that’s how political smear campaigns and sleazy tabloid journalism are conducted. Throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks is the tactic of agenda-pushing scumbags, not sober questioners of orthodoxy. Don’t be fooled as to which category Murray fell into with The Bell Curve.

  228. #229 truth machine, OM
    October 9, 2008

    You usually hear “People who think that it’s possible that there is a significant amount of divergence between human population groups in regard to their cognitive abilities are terrible racists who must be expunged from society.”

    Hyperbole is just a kind of lie.

  229. #230 Marc
    October 9, 2008

    And do you have any evidence that this behavior is just “human nature”?

    The fact that, given the choice, people always seem to prefer to associate with people with whom they have things in common. Race is one such variable, which is not to say that it is the only variable or a universally important variable. But, again, it *is* human nature to be more comfortable around people with whom you have things in common, and I’m certainly not going to condemn people for something that is just part of human nature.

  230. #231 Corey
    October 9, 2008

    @Marc,

    The variance I refer to is in the statistical sense. Yes, we may find discover genes that cluster within “races” but what I think is that the variance associated with that clustering will be as high or higher within groups than between groups (in other words, a small effect size).

    Then you state: “Thus, our current social milieu is pretty clearly selecting against genes for high intelligence, over the course of generations. I can certainly imagine social and physical environments in the past where the opposite might have been true.”

    Except there is one slight problem: the Flynn Effect. Average IQ has been rising 3 points per decade since the 50s. Neisser has an entire book on it (read it in grad school). It’s an awesome read. I seriously doubt evolution is acting that fast (upwards or downwards on g…of course I feel dumber after listening to Palin, but that’s another story).

  231. #232 Marc
    October 9, 2008

    Natalie,

    First of all, one does not have to be biased against all other races to be a racist. If I hate black people for no reason other than they are black people, but am fine with all other racial groups, I would still be a racist.

    Yes obviously, which is why I said if you read his confession in context it becomes pretty clear that Derb does not hate black people or any other group of people.

    Secondly, quite a few white racists make an exception for East Asian groups for some reason. For example, someone above quotes “Godless Capitalist” from the OP railing against what he calls NAMs – Non Asian Minorities. I’m really not sure why this is, but his marriage is not at all inconsistent with his being a racist.

    Godless Capitalist is not white. I know, I’ve been reading Gene Expression (where he used to blog) for years. He is either South Asian or East Asian, can’t remember which.

    Corey,

    You are changing the subject. I brought up the Bell Curve to illustrate a broader point, which is that people who take an open-minded or agnostic stance on the issue of race and intelligence – i.e., those who say “we don’t know why the races have different average scores on IQ tests, it could be genes, environment, or a mix of both,” are demonized. It isn’t that people simply disagree with them; people hate them for the simple reason that they are violating a social taboo. They are calling into question the prevailing orthodoxy, which is that there are NO such differences and people who think there are are bad people. And for this, they become targets of the mob.

    I will say flat out that I think that there is a realistic chance that we will eventually find out that the black-white IQ gap is partially or largely genetic in origin. I do not like this. I would much prefer it be environmental in origin, so that we could identify what environmental factors are behind the gap and address them. But my understanding of the research – and I have read quite a bit of it – suggests that a *purely* environmental origin is probably not likely. (Note I said “purely environmental;” I would never deny that environment plays no role in complex traits such as cognitive ability)

    Does this make me a hateful person? Does this make me deserving of the abuse that people like Charles Murray and others have been subjected to?

  232. #233 Marc
    October 9, 2008

    The variance I refer to is in the statistical sense. Yes, we may find discover genes that cluster within “races” but what I think is that the variance associated with that clustering will be as high or higher within groups than between groups (in other words, a small effect size).

    No, you’re wrong. I’m not talking about a few genes that “cluster” within races. I’m talking about *population clusters* that consistently emerge when, say 250,000 random loci are studied, and which conform very well to traditional notions of race and ethnicity.

    Regarding the Flynn Effect, I am aware of it. I do not understand it; no one does, not even Flynn himself. It doesn’t change what I have said. Namely, the current consensus is that 1) IQ is highly heritable, 2) high-IQ people have fewer kids than low-IQ people, so therefore 3) high-IQ genes are currently being selected against.

    Perhaps environmental improvements are swamping these effects and leaving us with a net gain over the course of generations. This doesn’t change what I said, or the point that I was originally making, which is that there’s no reason to think that alleles affecting IQ have not been under selectin one way or the other in recent or relatively recent human history.

    Sadly, I can’t continue this conversation, as I am one half hour late leaving work and I gotta hit that gay gym I’m so fond of.

  233. #234 Corey
    October 9, 2008

    @Marc,

    I don’t think I’m changing the subject. However to address your point, Murray made some fairly egregious errors in his methods. Moreover, the work wasn’t peer-reviewed? Why? It smells dishonest.

    Much of the criticism Murray received was polemic in nature, yes, and likely undeserved, but even so, the analysis and method of publication leave the authors as open as a Napoleonic-era soldier on a modern battlefield to these charges.

    Only Murray knows the truth behind his actions.

  234. #235 thalarctos
    October 9, 2008

    Does this make me a hateful person? Does this make me deserving of the abuse that people like Charles Murray and others have been subjected to?

    Based on what you said about what you think the evidence may or may not lead to, I don’t see anything that makes you sound like a hateful person. But then, I don’t hear you advocating pulling money out of educating Africans, like that LSOE guy does; I might change my opinion if you start advocating hateful policy ahead of any evidence in the way he does (got to run to a meeting now, of I’d look him up…)

    They are calling into question the prevailing orthodoxy, which is that there are NO such differences and people who think there are are bad people. And for this, they become targets of the mob.

    No, the prevailing orthodoxy is that the differences aren’t well-defined or described. What we have is a long way from mechanisms or clearly connecting the dots. Parenthetically, it’s really funny that Derbyshire would pick apart Dembski’s plaint that he doesn’t have to go into “pathetic detail” about mechanisms when it comes to evolution, but then he turns around and does the same thing about race.

    To be so married to a particular point of view that he advocates making policy decisions to the systematic detriment of one group, and then to claim that he’s being all “sciency” about it, when he’s way out ahead of anything we can be sure about in the evidence–and then to call people “Left creationists” when they point out–that’s what people object to. He’s taking the outcome he hopes will emerge from the evidence on faith, and calling it settled on science. To do that is advocacy, not science, and it’s quite correct to call him out on it.

  235. #236 Corey
    October 9, 2008

    @Marc,

    Yeah…it’s only 10 after for me…but I want to get home to my son. Anyhoo…I’d like a reference to what you’re talking about with population clusters and loci. I think I’m following but not quite. We may be speaking at cross-purposes. First question: do those loci you mentioned govern each govern an orthogonal phenotype (i.e., does each only work on one thing that none of the others work on?). If yes, then we’ve an apples and oranges issues with respect to genetic origins of intelligence, where multiple genes most likely interact.

    I think what you’re saying about high IQ and breeding is trivial statement (as in…well yeah). However, don’t forget there are upwards pressures on IQ in the form of rapidly increasing complexity in the environment. Creater success in navigating those complexities means greater likelihood that not only will you have offspring but those offspring will prosper (and that’s what drives selection).

  236. #237 CJO
    October 9, 2008

    people hate them for the simple reason that they are violating a social taboo.

    You’d like to think so, since evidently you flatter yourself a coldly calculating realist on the matter, too. But no, they are rightfully reviled for constructing an apologia for the shameful history of racism and oppression.

    I would much prefer it be environmental in origin, so that we could identify what environmental factors are behind the gap and address them.

    What a disingenuous load of crap. We’re having trouble identifying the factors, and that’s why they have been insufficiently addressed? Ahistorical garbage.

  237. #238 Vonagan Cheeseman
    October 9, 2008

    Corey said:
    “Much of the criticism Murray received was polemic in nature, yes, and likely undeserved, but even so, the analysis and method of publication leave the authors as open as a Napoleonic-era soldier on a modern battlefield to these charges.
    Only Murray knows the truth behind his actions.”

    Good Lord it is the twenty-first century. One can download the whole NLSY dataset in a few minutes over a fast connection, then replicate what is in that book yourself. We had to do that as homework.

    The supposed refutations of the Bell Curve in the literature are frankly pathetic.
    Von

  238. #239 CJO
    October 9, 2008

    The supposed refutations of the Bell Curve in the literature are frankly pathetic.

    Why don’t you point to some specifics, and we’ll take a look? Or do you just make assertions and expect that others will take your word?

  239. #240 Mrs Tilton
    October 9, 2008

    Marc @233,

    Does this make me a hateful person? Does this make me deserving of the abuse that people like Charles Murray and others have been subjected to?

    Yes.

    THBAEOSATSQ.

  240. #241 Kel
    October 9, 2008

    There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics. The third type is being used by the racists to justify their racism. We don’t even know how intelligence is controlled yet by our genes, how can we be coming to conclusions that an entire population based on their location and skin colour is lacking in them?

    http://www.wanderings.net/notebook/Main/WhatIsIntelligenceAnywayByIsaacAsimov

  241. #242 CJO
    October 9, 2008

    Regarding the Flynn Effect, I am aware of it. I do not understand it; no one does, not even Flynn himself. It doesn’t change what I have said.

    At the very least, it suggests to me that the whole idea that IQ tests measure with any particular accuracy anything other than facility at performing certain kinds of tasks in certain social settings has been more taken on faith than honestly investigated. This is a crucial element in the discussion that relistically racists tend to hurry past on the tour, hoping we don’t look behind the curtain. If the tests and the manner of their administration partly serve to assess “whiteness” (which I am using as shorthand for ‘enculturation in normative Western professional-class expectations and values’) then the so-called IQ gap is a rigged game from the start.

  242. #243 thalarctos
    October 9, 2008

    But then, I don’t hear you advocating pulling money out of educating Africans, like that LSOE guy does; I might change my opinion if you start advocating hateful policy ahead of any evidence in the way he does (got to run to a meeting now, of I’d look him up…)

    back from meeting now–Satoshi Kanazawa, of the London School of Economics. He claims that

    ‘Poverty, lack of sanitation, clean water, education and healthcare do not increase health and longevity**, and nor does economic development.’

    ** clean water does not increase longevity? So only dumb people die of cholera, and only stupid infants die of water-borne diarrhea? He’s one-quarter step away from being an infectious-disease denialist with that crap.

    but like Derbyshire, he makes sweeping statements yet fails to connect the dots to show the exact mechanisms, how he normalizes metrics and instruments across cultures, how he refutes elementary knowledge of brain anatomy, development, and physiology in the presence or absence of nutrition, and how decades of public health research must have gotten it wrong all these years on demographic markers.

    If you just say you expect when the evidence is in, it will show one way or another, I don’t see what’s hateful about that, even if I think you’re giving too much weight to one factor and not enough to another. Eventually, the evidence will emerge to clarify the question, although it will always be full of confounds and incomplete data.

    But it’s not there or anywhere yet, so to advocate institution of policies in the present that systematically discriminate, not only ahead of the anatomic evidence but refuted by the public health evidence, all in the name of an outcome you *hope* will be borne out–that’s not science, and it is hateful.

    Hope that helps.

  243. #244 Vonagan Cheeseman
    October 9, 2008

    CJO said “Why don’t you point to some specifics, and we’ll take a look?”

    That’s a joke, right? I would rather speak about atheism to Sarah Pallin’s Assemblies of God church–the discussion would be more rational and polite.

    Von

  244. #245 Kel
    October 9, 2008

    That’s a joke, right? I would rather speak about atheism to Sarah Pallin’s Assemblies of God church–the discussion would be more rational and polite.

    Evidence? I don’t need no skinkin’ evidence. You’re all biased against me so there’s no point in showing you all why you’re wrong.

  245. #246 scottynx
    October 9, 2008

    Corey: “Hyperbole is just a kind of lie.”

    Hey Corey, looks like Mrs Tilton just contradicted you. She is not hyperbole, she is real. Really, I know it would be pleasant to think that everyone on the left are as rational and against mob-like “heretic burning” as you are on this issue, but sadly there are a lot more people like Mrs Tilton.

  246. #247 Mikael Bergkvist
    October 9, 2008

    “Why would they not show divergence in cognitive abilities, socialization skills, characteristic behaviors? Why would they not? Isn’t this biology 101?”

    You have wolves all over the planet, and they all behave the same.
    Think about that for a moment, and you’ll see that it’s not the location that matters, but what the conditions are at that location.

    Now, humans live under very similar circumstances all over the planet today, thanks to modern technology.
    I’m eating a banana in cold sweden, for example, and the temperature to which I am exposed during winter is seldom less than 20 celsius degrees, which is kinda warm.
    You got the theory right, you just dont have a clue on how to apply it.
    The laws of evolution still apply to humans, only you forgot to specify what the parameters where supposed to be – as it turns out – we suspended the ‘normal laws’ – and very recently too, because of the above similarities today, but there still wasn’t much going on before that, besides some arty cosmetical stuff due to the sun and nature, since we humans always depend on intelligence to survive, regardless where we appear on the face of the earth.

    In that regard, we are like wolves!

  247. #248 Colugo
    October 9, 2008

    Sorry, I thought that the thread had died.

    windy: “Do you think the results themselves are questionable?”

    I think some of the interpretations are. Including some aspects of the premise of accelerated adaptive evolution itself. I have some doubts about the intensity of selection, possible artifacts etc. But I don’t have anything hard. Admittedly, although I have a ‘Pound head down!’* in biological anthropology, my molecular background is not strong. Genes aside, there are even claims that skull morphological evolution has accelerated, which is really hard to swallow. Contemporary humans are more unlike early modern humans than early mh is to neandertal? Gimme a break.

    *From The Simpsons, ‘That 90s Show’

    You have obvious freaks like Kevin MacDonald, people whose names are radioactive like Rushton and Murray, dilettantes like Derbyshire using obsolete rhetoric, and then there are those who are really mainstreaming this stuff, above all, Harpending and Cochran. They’re the cutting edge. Harpending is well respected and both of them are kind of under the radar in the larger academy and popular culture so he is making some real headway.

    Honestly, I think accelerated evolution – at least as interpreted by some – is effectively a Trojan horse for this race realist stuff.

  248. #249 windy
    October 9, 2008

    So if cognitive ability is something that is determined by hundreds of genes, as seems likely by the very small effects found so far among candidate genes, and if people tend to fall into clusters approximating traditional racial and ethnic categories once you start looking at a certain number of genes, then doesn’t it stand to reason that 1) if you were to identify all the genes that affect cognitive performance and test different racial and ethnic groups on that subset of genes alone, you would find the same clustering as you do when looking at other large subsets of genes, and 2) that this clustering might lead to phenotypic variation in cognitive abilities among different racial and ethnic groups?

    Yes, it’s possible. In the study you linked to via Dienekes, about 9% of the variance in the SNPs was between “continental groups”.

    I assume that you are aware that a trait can be both highly heritable and variable between populations, and still open to a large environmental influence, like height.

    No, it’s usually not worded like this, but that’s the definite message. Look at the hatred that Charles Murray encountered when the Bell Curve came out, in which he specifically stated he did not know to what degree differences in mean performance on IQ tests between whites and blacks in the US was the result of genes or environment. Every right thinking person shouted him down as a racist, when, again, all he did was report data and say that there was no way to know whether these differences were the result of genes or environment! All he did was say a variation of what you said right here!

    The Bell Curve controversy was before my time, so I can’t comment on that too much. But like thalarctos said, once you start recommending policy decisions, things can get very ugly fast. It’s interesting that Murray prefers environmental explanations when it comes to John McCain, though.

    I agree with you that the response to people who ask these questions can be disproportionate and unhelpful. But take the more recent case of James Watson, the problem was that he combined some sensible remarks with kooky things about people who “have to deal with black employees”. So I think that both sides have problems discussing this question neutrally.

    But my understanding of the research – and I have read quite a bit of it – suggests that a *purely* environmental origin is probably not likely. (Note I said “purely environmental;” I would never deny that environment plays no role in complex traits such as cognitive ability)

    Have you read Richard Dawkins’ Extended Phenotype? I think that the discussion of genetic “determinism” in that book is useful.

  249. #250 CJO
    October 9, 2008

    That’s a joke, right?

    Jeez. Tough room. To me, a challenge to support bald assertion with data and arguments is freaking hilarious. I guess I shoulda used one a them smileys.

  250. #251 Vonagan Cheeseman
    October 9, 2008

    Colugo said “Contemporary humans are more unlike early modern humans than early mh is to neandertal? Gimme a break.”

    But you are just looking at morphology. Morphology tells us very clearly that the gorilla is the chimp’s closest relative, but it ain’t so. Inference right from the genome supports Hawks’ suggestion about degrees of difference.

    Von

  251. #252 Mrs Tilton
    October 9, 2008

    Scottynx @247,

    Oh, I’m not contradicting Corey; s/he is simply a bit naive, and too quick to give the benefit of the doubt.

    I don’t burn heretics; you’re free to believe and espouse whatever you like. I can’t stop you from doing so, and wouldn’t if I could. I’m simply stating that anybody who pretends there’s anything beyond rank racism to The Bell Curve etc. is, quite objectively, a scumbag. Nobody believes that nonsense who doesn’t find it gratifying to do so. If you think that hanging around with the Murrays and Derbyshires and Sailers and Rushtons of the world makes you “brave”, well, I wish you joy of your new friends. I won’t burn you at the stake, I assure you. But I will dismiss with the same contempt I’d dismiss a klansman; because there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two of you.

    BTW, nobody on the left would think me on the left. I’m simply not a nazi; so YMMV, of course.

  252. #253 windy
    October 9, 2008

    You have obvious freaks like Kevin MacDonald, people whose names are radioactive like Rushton and Murray, dilettantes like Derbyshire using obsolete rhetoric, and then there are those who are really mainstreaming this stuff, above all, Harpending and Cochran. They’re the cutting edge. Harpending is well respected and both of them are kind of under the radar in the larger academy and popular culture so he is making some real headway.

    Ehh… sounds conspiracy-theorey to me. I wouldn’t know whether the skull thing is plausible, but presumably John Hawks does, or is he one of the pod people too?

    There are some uncertainties with current methods of inferring accelerated selection and the extent of selection, but I don’t think we can deny that there has been recent positive selection in humans without adopting some sort of unrealistic agnosticism about natural selection in general.

  253. #254 Colugo
    October 9, 2008

    “Ehh… sounds conspiracy-theory”

    No conspiracy theory. Just people who are thinking along similar lines and some who are well positioned by circumstance to influence the larger field. I agree with your last sentence.

  254. #255 Rog
    October 10, 2008

    For a different take on evolution and racism, just read this excellent Blog entry from Hank Fox:

    http://hankfox.com/?p=288

    One of the best blog entries I’ve read in some time !!

    Rog

  255. #256 Corey
    October 10, 2008

    @scottynx & Mrs. Tilton…

    Um…how did I get drawn into that conversation? I was giving my opinion as a researcher about what the evidence shows.

  256. #257 scottynx
    October 10, 2008

    Corey, my mistake. My comment should have been directed to truth machine who is the one who said “hyperbole is a kind of lie”.

  257. #258 Dan Lowe
    October 11, 2008

    I’ve spent an hour and a half reading 217 comments, along with the material they link to, and I’m exhausted (which is unfortunate because it looks like the real meat of proper discussion has only come towards the latter end of the comments). I’ll paraphrase what I was going to say when my eyes weren’t throbbing:

    To Derbs: As windy said (#195), there are more appropriate models with which to categorize members of the human species than Race, because Race is a false categorization. When posed in light of any other field of knowledge — science or humanity — Race is rendered fallacious, primitive to the point of decay (which is probably why everyone seems to operate within the racial paradigm so much, because it’s so frigging easy to understand). I don’t mean simply a narrow interpretation of Race (apparent skin color, most often), but of the concept of Race in general. We immediately find that not only are interpretations of Race so relative that their application is immobilized, but that its deconstructed bases are themselves historically constructed.

    The problem, therefore, with criticizing someone on the [suggested] potential they might have to disapprove of scientific research because [you suggest that they would suggest] it doesn’t properly account for social construction (which would have to be the only credible reason to even associate Obama with ‘Cultural Marxism’ in this instance) is that the research bases itself on a core premise (Race) that is itself entirely constructed.

    I agree (if this is even what you’re proposing to agree with) that Constructionism has become overly prevalent, and that perhaps we too often shy away from explanations that are altogether based in biology in favor of a brand of political correctness drafted from this prejudice. But (as some posters seem to understand; A+ |- A+ for you) we cannot use valid premises — good science — to justify invalid ones. Whatever prudence there is in seeking an essential understanding of human life beneath the anthropomorphic shell we’ve casted, it is irresponsible and dangerous to direct the kind of scientific inquiry that would influence medical development and social policy on the basis of false assumptions. Scientists and politicians alike should understand this. Grasping the truth of the human genome — regardless of however it might lead to contradictions in our superficial social beliefs — and therefore coming to a better understanding of what it is to be a particular member of the human species is different than picking and choosing auxiliary assumptions attempting to justify extremist ideology.

    Racists are constructionists, therefore, apparently, ‘Cultural Marxists’. Suck on that.

    To everyone: I thought the treatment of the the word ‘cunt’ here warranted a divergent comment — and critique — if only briefly. Particularly, that the basis for what is notably an extremely derogatory term is, basically, an association with the female genitalia, or a characterization of femininity. So, as long as any of us are exercising use of the word in this manner, it’s a tad hypocritical to criticize Derbyshire’s sexism as disapprovingly anomalous.

    That was my paraphrase. Ha.

  258. #259 abe
    October 12, 2008

    I realized that Derbyshire was an idiot when I read him declare in the preface to his book “Prime Obsession” that if you can’t understand HIS explanation of the Riemann zeta function, you will NEVER understand what the zeta function is!

    He is deeply invested in the idea of blacks (and other dark people) being genetically handicapped in intelligence and other characteristics and is never as passionate discussing anything else. He recently suggested rather hypocritically that all this talk of race during this election was causing him to suffer from “race fatigue,” as if he hasn’t always been eager to discuss race.

    The man is your garden variety white nationalist who hopes that certain developments in biology will vindicate his racist views. His antipathy to blacks is startling. He even loathes Bill Cosby!

    I haven’t read a single writer who posts at The Corner comment on his views, except perhaps John Podhoretz, who once sarcastically asked him “how is Jared?” in reference to White Nationalist Jared Taylor.

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