Intelligent design, which is damned by critics as a front for biblical Creationism, argues that life on Earth is too complex to have evolved purely through Darwin's theory of natural selection. Dr Nelson said yesterday he had met Campus Crusade for Christ, the Australian advocates of intelligent design, or ID, and watched their DVD presentation, called Unlocking the Mystery of Life.
He told the National Press Club in Canberra yesterday that he would oppose replacing evolution with ID in Australia's science classes but said parents should be able to choose that their children learn about it.
"Do I think it should be a replacement for teaching the origins of mankind in a scientific sense? I most certainly don't think that it should be at all. In fact, I'd be quite concerned if it were to replace it," said Dr Nelson, who is a medical doctor and a Christian.
"Do I think that parents and schools should have the opportunity — if they wish to — for students also to be exposed to this and to be taught about it? Yes I think that's fine," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, students can be taught and should be taught the basic science in terms of the evolution of man, but if schools also want to present students with intelligent design, I don't have any difficulty with that. It's about choice, reasonable choice."
US President George Bush made global headlines last week when he endorsed ID. He said both ID and evolution should be taught "so people can understand what the debate is about". The ID debate has raged in the US for more than a decade. One critic has derided ID as "creationism in a cheap tuxedo".
Bill Hodgson, head of Campus Crusade for Christ Australia, welcomed Dr Nelson's remarks as "fantastic", adding: "I think any reasonable and balanced approach to education has to take that view.
"This is not advocating the teaching of religion."
He said his group had never advocated the removal of the theory of evolution from school curriculums and said intelligent design was hard science, not creationism. "There is evidence of intelligent design. All we're saying is that the cutting edge of science is adhering increasingly to intelligent design."
The Age reported on Saturday that Mr Hodgson's group was seeking support from educationists, churches, politicians and scientists to distribute its DVD to every Australian high school for inclusion in the curriculum.
Hint to "Campus Crusade for Christ": If you are trying to pretend that you are pushing "intelligent design" for scientific reasons you might consider creating a fake front group with a sciencey sounding name. I humbly offer this suggestion: "The Scientific Foundation for the Scientific Improvement of Science Education".
To find out what the next things we are likely to import from the US I suggest you check out Chris Mooney's new book, "The Republican War on Science".
Nice post Tim. I wasn't aware who the ID group but yes. They should have thought of a more appropriate name for a group not advocating religion.
The Australian left has been importing its ideas from America for at least 40 years.
That's nice, CL. Do you have anything relevant to say?
The irrational Right's war on science is clearly motivated by ideological, rather than empirico-logical, concerns. It is good to see Tim L. doing a public service by blowing the whistle on this scandal.
However I would be a little more inclined to sympathise with rational non-Rightist (like Tim L.) complaints on this issue if the they were a little bit more awake up to the irrational Left's war on science. This war has now reached a fever pitch where any empirical generalisation - whether fearful or favourable - about minority groups is greeted with a storm of protest and orchestrated campaigns of vilification. The examples of reputable academics such as Charles Murray and Larry Summers spring to mind.
In general, the Left are happy to criticise anti-Darwinians for their belief in the supernatural origins of the special, sexual and racial groups - the so-called Ghost in the Machine. But the Left are rather unhappy about having to deal with the natural "inclinations" of the special, sexual and racial groups. The Left are still committed to Blank Slate, or even the discredited Noble Savage, rather than the more realistic Old Adam.
Darwinism is not a tram that one can jump on and off at ones pleasure. The Left cannot have it both ways, accepting Darwinian naturalism about human universality but rejecting Darwinian selectionism about human diversity.
So lets see the irrational Left put under the microscope, please.
According to J.S. and C.L., because we're angry at the unscientific gibberish of creationists we have to accept as scientific statements like:
the natural "inclinations" of the special, sexual and racial groups. The Left are still committed to Blank Slate, or even the discredited Noble Savage, rather than the more realistic Old Adam
Righto then. What is this thing called "The Left" and what's it got to do with science anyway?
This 'Left' obviously doesn't include Noam Chomsky.
Fair enough, Rex. Do you accept that a child in utero is a living being with a right to life? Or do you subscribe to the "unscientific gibberish" of the partial-birth abortion apologists? Answer that.
And Tim, your post consisted of an enormous blockquote and an outro that made mention of ideas Australians are prone to "import from the US." Importing such ideas began in earnest with the young culture warriors on the left. The old Australian right was Anglophile and, for a while, was disinclined to follow suit.
What started with moratorium marches and Roe vs. Wade nuttiness has lead - as a matter of historico-geneological fact - to the acceptance here, by some, of intelligent design.
And I'm an evolutionist, Rex. [Text deleted because of violation of my comment policy TL].
What partial birth abortion has to do with this I don't know. Your argument is a canard.
Is a foetus alive? Yes certainly.
Does it possess a scientific right to life? Certainly not! If it does you ought be telling that to untold billions of lab rats, monkeys, and onco-mice<TM>.
A right to anything is something endowed on beings by and from the field of human social, political, and ethical actions and judgements. It is not science, even if it is supported, or not as the particular case may be, by a scientific argument.
So to bring this up is either a clumsy rhetorical tactic designed to divert debate from the actual subject at hand or a complete ignorance of what differentiates science from other spheres of human endeavor. Which is exactly what you and your fellow travellers have been doing over on the thread at L.P.
Jack, Charles Murray is, like John Lott, an AEI fellow rather than a reputable academic. And before you start talking about the Bell Curve you might want to read Thomas Sowell's review. Do you think Sowell is some politically correct leftie?
CL, whether a fetus is alive is a scientfic question. (It is, duh.) Whether it has a right to life is not a scientific question. And Roe vs Wade caused the ID movement??? What?
Rex compares human beings to lab rats. This is why scientists should just do as they're told, ethically speaking. They are simply not sufficiently literate in a range of humane traditions of thought to be given moral authority.
[Flamebait deleted. TL]
Very American Evangelical.
C.L., if human beings weren't in some ways comparable to lab rats there wouldn't be lab rats, now would there?
Tim Lambert Says: August 11th, 2005 at 10:04 pm
Jack, Charles Murray is, like John Lott, an AEI fellow rather than a reputable academic.
Tim L. is ducking my point about the anti-Darwinian (ie irrational) Left's ignorance or censoriousness of Darwinian explanations of human nature and behaviour. His rather lame attempt to convict Murray through guilt by association with Lott is, I feel, not worthy of the better angels of his nature.
The academic lynching of Lawrence Summers is only one of a number of unpleasant that uneasy Leftists prefer not to face. Similar treatment has been meted out to Eysenck, EO Wilson and others. But the non-Right is silent on this. One hopes that Tim L. has not fallen victim to the old saw "Il n'ya pas d'ennemies a Gauche!".
I note that Chris Mooney, who Tim L. links to with approval, concedes that "cultural constructivist" Leftists are also guilty of suppressing science when it does not suit their politics.
It must also be acknowledged that much of science emerges from the liberal-leaning academic world. In an interview, Harvard's celebrated cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, explained to me how this political reality tends to wall off certain areas of inquiry that might be seen as supporting conservative viewpoints: "When it's academics who wield the power, the political bias will be on the Left."
All I am asking for is some balance. It is way past time to put a stop to the anti-Darwinian Left's ideological and anti-intellectual rot.
The anti-Darwinian Left believe in the Blank Slate "cultural constructivist" ideology. This is inconsistent with the growing body of evidence which supports evolutionary biology's hereditarian explanation of human physiological and pyschological diversity. Fortunately Peter Singer, a Darwinian Leftist, had made a start in restoring sanity to the Left.
I do not intend to spend too much energy carrying water for Murray. However I think that Tim L.'s summary of Murray's work is a travesty.
I am not particularly knowledgeable about the pyschometrics and genomics of intelligence. FWIW, I think that Murray's approach does not properly capture the effects that sociological environment and physiological embodiment can have in conjunction with geneological endowment. He underestimates the class effect on minorities and the Flynn effect on the majority.
I would point out that the American Psychological Association more or less agrees with Murray's hereditarian explanation for the durability and disparity on IQ scores. A large panel of reputable scholars went to the unprecedented step of putting out a considered verdict on the Bell Curve and did not find cause to call Murray "disreputable". This is not an action that reputable experts would take towards a lightweight, crank or fraud like Lott. Does Tim L. know something about Murray's work that the world's best authorties in the field dont?
Sowell is not a politically correct Lefty, but that is beside my point. He treated Murray's position as intellectually respectable and did not participate in the campaign of vilification against Murray. Gould was a pee-cee Lefty and his various political attacks on Murray and socio-biologists were a scandal that blemished an otherwise distinguished career.
If Tim L. is interested he will find that Heckmans critique is more informative than Sowell on deficiencies in M & H's statistical techniques. Heckman is a Nobel prizewinner and certainly did not dismiss Murray's work out of hand.
Tim L. is right to say that the AEI has certainly gone downhill in the past decade or so. The debacle over the neo-cons role in misguiding the planning, and bungling the execution, of the Gulf War shows this clearly.
But Murray is not a neo-con foreign policy wonk or a gun nut. He has done most of his important work independent of the AEI, including spending years in the field as a member of the Peace Corps - a sacrifice for the underdog that some of his Leftist critics are not noticeably keen on making.
Murray deserves peer recognition for tackling big, difficult and controversial topics. Over the past three decades he has attacked, and made significant dents in, the progressive conventional wisdom on social policy for the underclass, the socio-biology of cognitive elites and the historiography of human intellectual accomplishment. What he began as contrarianism is now conventional wisdom, as the example of welfare reform show.
One can disagree with this or that of his scientific conclusion and policy prescription. But it is churlish to push all that work under the carpet because of "guilt by association" with the AEI.
Jack Strocchi wrote, A large panel of reputable scholars went to the unprecedented step of putting out a considered verdict on the Bell Curve and did not find cause to call Murray "disreputable".
Hardly. That's a link to a Wall Street Journal piece. One of the signers was J. Philippe Rushton.
Does Tim L. know something about Murray's work that the world's best authorties in the field dont?
Well, in his critique of The Bell Curve, Gould wrote, "But, in violation of all statistical norms that I've ever learned, they [Murry and Herrnstein] plot only the regression curve and do not show the scatter of variation around the curve..." [emphasis in original]
Jack Strocchi wrote, This is inconsistent with the growing body of evidence which supports evolutionary biology's hereditarian explanation of human physiological and pyschological diversity.
Huh? Evolutionary psychology, to which you allude, more likely emphasizes commonalities, not differences, except those which are related to sexual dimorphism. (Why: truly advantageous traits will spread throughout a population.) Furthermore, many of the e.p. writings I've seen view human intelligence as multifaceted and modular, which is inconsistent with (IIRC) Murray's belief in g (general intelligence).
As an American, I feel it's my duty to bash Australians generally for the remarks of their "Education" minister.
When Bush promotes Intelligent Design, he speaks from a deep wellspring of American culture. For over a century in our country, pseudo-religious right-wing wack jobs in positions of high political authority have used their power to promote ridiculous statements that would embarass a seventh-grader. What Bush said was traditional, dammit.
So Australians, what's your excuse? Think you can match that history? I doubt it. You might be trying to play catch-up now, but it's going to be quite a while before I'll be impressed.
Murray, like Lott, cooked his statistics. This is something that is easy to do when you build multivariate models and to detect it requires other researchers to do their own analysis of the data. That's been done for both Lott and Murray and they both seem to have carefully searched for a model that gave the results that they wanted.
And um, who are the anti-Darwinian Left?
Whatever crimes may have been committed by left-wing academics, such as stubborn adherence to the blank slate model (which is not necessarily anti-Darwinian), they pale in comparison to what the cre/IDists are doing. It's like comparing a bowling ball to a planet.
And as for the Aussies having to deal with the onslaught of creationism, I say this is what you get for sending us Ken Ham. Maybe now some of our nutcases will emigrate to your country.
Ken Ham's hit single.
"To form a fossil is a unique event because when animals today die, if you just leave them, what happens to them? They rot. I like to do this experiment with homeschoolers. If you go home and find out that your pet cat just died (the reason I use cats is because I can't stand cats), you can say, "We are going to do an experiment here. We do not want to lose our cat." You can take him out to the front yard and put him on the grass with a sign that says, "Scientific experiment in progress. Dead cat fossilizing. Do not touch."
Like good homeschoolers, you take notes. Day 1: Dead cat on grass. Day 7: Smelly dead cat on grass. Day 14: Very smelly dead cat on grass. Day 20: Part of cat missing. Day 30: Cat is gone. It rotted."
liberal Says: August 12th, 2005 at 2:19 am
Hardly. That's a link to a Wall Street Journal piece. One of the signers was J. Philippe Rushton.
Ahh, the Curse of Rushton. Almost as bad as John Lott. Well that settles it!
I hate being drawn into the maze of the Bell Curve debate which since, as I have said, I have reservations about Murray's conclusions. But
"liberal"'s comments smell of ideological invigilation rather than rational investigation and deserve refutation. Again this proves my point about the non-rational methods used by pee-cee Left against socio-biologists.
For those still interested in the scientific, rather than polemic, route to knowledge the APA report came down on the side more or less on the side of a soft-core version of the Bell Curve. The public signatories to the media version of this report are all "experts in the field" and included:
Richard D. Arvey, University of Minnesota
Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr., University of Minnesota
John B. Carroll, Un. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Raymond B. Cattell, University of Hawaii
David B. Cohen, University of Texas at Austin
Rene V. Dawis, University of Minnesota
Douglas K. Detterman, Case Western Reserve Un.
Marvin Dunnette, University of Minnesota
Hans Eysenck, University of London
Jack Feldman, Georgia Institute of Technology
Edwin A. Fleishman, George Mason University
Grover C. Gilmore, Case Western Reserve University
Robert A. Gordon, Johns Hopkins University
Linda S. Gottfredson, University of Delaware
Robert L. Greene, Case Western Reserve University
Richard J.Haier, University of Callifornia at Irvine
Garrett Hardin, University of California at Berkeley
Robert Hogan, University of Tulsa
Joseph M. Horn, University of Texas at Austin
Lloyd G. Humphreys, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
John E. Hunter, Michigan State University
Seymour W. Itzkoff, Smith College
Douglas N. Jackson, Un. of Western Ontario
James J. Jenkins, University of South Florida
Arthur R. Jensen, University of California at Berkeley
Alan S. Kaufman, University of Alabama
Nadeen L. Kaufman, California School of Professional Psychology at San Diego
Timothy Z. Keith, Alfred University
Nadine Lambert, University of California at Berkeley
John C. Loehlin, University of Texas at Austin
David Lubinski, Iowa State University
David T. Lykken, University of Minnesota
Richard Lynn, University of Ulster at Coleraine
Paul E. Meehl, University of Minnesota
R. Travis Osborne, University of Georgia
Robert Perloff, University of Pittsburgh
Robert Plomin, Institute of Psychiatry, London
Cecil R. Reynolds, Texas A & M University
David C. Rowe, University of Arizona
J. Philippe Rushton, Un. of Western Ontario
Vincent Sarich, University of California at Berkeley
Sandra Scarr, University of Virginia
Frank L. Schmidt, University of Iowa
Lyle F. Schoenfeldt, Texas A & M University
James C. Sharf, George Washington University
Herman Spitz, former director E.R. Johnstone Training and Research Center, Bordentown, N.J.
Julian C. Stanley, Johns Hopkins University
Del Thiessen, University of Texas at Austin
Lee A. Thompson, Case Western Reserve University
Robert M. Thorndike, Western Washington Un.
Philip Anthony Vernon, Un. of Western Ontario
Lee Willerman, University of Texas at Austin
Pretty impressive, no?
These scientists took Murray's work seriously and did not state that he was a disreputable scholar. Although they cautioned disputants to reign in their intemperate politics ie they were even-handed - Tim L. take note. By the ideo-logic of "liberal" and Tim L. these scientists are transacting amicably with a "disreputable" scholar. This puts them closer to Murray than John Lott. Of course once one sets out down the path of assesing intellectual value by using a "guilt by association" epistemology it does not take long before the exercise degenerates into uncontrollable farce.
Well, in his critique of The Bell Curve, Gould wrote....
Gould's record in dealing with socio-biologists in general, and Murray in particular, is not something that fans of Gould (including myself) would take great pride in. Gould roused a protest against EO Wilson which led to the eminent zoologist being doused with water. Gould expressed contrition but it was not a good leading indice for civilized intellectual debate.
I am not an expert on statistical analysis. But, from what I can gather, M&H's statistical sins in relation to regression techniques were not hanging offences:
Unfortunately, Gould echoed M&H's ignorance of R^2 as it applies to logistic regression except that M&H correctly dismissed it as not useful and Gould assumed they were hiding something.
Gould...excoriated M&H for not including scatter plots in their longitudinal study. Scatter plots of a binary variable are of little use since the dots cluster and blend on 2 lines providing little insight. It would have been more informative if standard error bars had been included in their (M&H's) graphs. Let's just say I was disappointed with Gould's math knowledge and his attack, in ignorance of logistic regression, on another's professionalism.
I hate to sound like a squishy liberal but this sounds like reasonable men of good will can agree to disagree on issues like this. However I do not see much evidence of this attitude from the anti-Darwinian Left.
Of course, for Ken Ham's experiment to replicate reality one really needs to use a minimum of several hundred dead animals.
The temptation to conduct the experiment in Mr. Ham's backyard is, of course, one we should all resist.
liberal Says: August 12th, 2005 at 2:24 am
Huh? Evolutionary psychology, to which you allude, more likely emphasizes commonalities, not differences, except those which are related to sexual dimorphism.
That is correct. Socio-biology emphasises differentials rather than universals. It is superior to evo-psycho as an evolutionary theory of human systems because evolution works on selected and adapted differentials in survival-production and sexual-reproduction rates. Evo-psycho focuses on commonalities for reasons of ideological self-protection. Cosmides et al dont want to get burned by the same pee-cee fire that Gould et al started under Wilson. Are you getting the picture?
truly advantageous traits will spread throughout a population.
Sexual selection, rather than natural selection, works to accelerate the spread of advantageous traits throughout a population. The exaggeration of sexual differences is functional to this mechanism. It is called fashion.
Furthermore, many of the e.p. writings I've seen view human intelligence as multifaceted and modular, which is inconsistent with (IIRC) Murray's belief in g (general intelligence).
Talents and skills are obviously multi-faceted. Intelligence appears to be a more fundamental attribute, since intelligent people often excel at a wide variety of activities.
As noted above, evo-psycho treads very carefully in this area - for ideological rather than empirico-logical, reasons. Evo-pscyhos attempt to develop a theory of the nature of homo sapien special universals. Socio-bios attempt to refine this theory to explain sub-special classifications eg sexual and racial groups. This is obviously a more ideologically explosive subject matter and hence subject to pee-cee inquisition. Again we see the impact of Leftist ideology constraining Darwinian science.
Anyone who still holds onto The Bell Cruve at this date marks himself as such a rascist that actual discussion is beyond the scope.
"Anyone who still holds onto The Bell Cruve at this date marks himself as such a rascist that actual discussion is beyond the scope."
Well, that sure settles that! Now let's get back to condemning all those science-haters who hate discussion of science.
Ironically, while the religious right engages in futile attacks on Darwin's theory of what animals evolved from, the left and center clamps down upon Darwin's theory of what humans evolved to.
See "Darwin's Enemies on the Left: Equality vs. Truth" from the National Post of Toronto: http://www.isteve.com/Darwin-EnemiesonLeft.htm
One of the least known but most decisive facts in the pseudo-controversy over the validity of IQ tests is that the U.S. military, after 88 years of intensively studied experience with giving IQ tests to tens of millions of potential recruits, remains utterly committed to using them.
Indeed, since 1992, when the end of the Cold War and the destruction of Iraq reduced the need for a giant standing army, only about one percent of all new enlisted personnel have gotten in with cognitive scores under the 30th percentile nationally on the military's entrance test.
The U.S. military currently gives potential recruits to the enlisted ranks a 10-part test called the ASVAB. Four of the current sub-tests made up the old AFQT IQ test, while the other six are more subject-specific, such as a test on automobile engine repair.
The AFQT was the basis for The Bell Curve -- the military paid for their entrance test to be given to the nationally representative sample of 13,000 young people recruited for the National Longitudinal Study of Youth. They've since followed up to see what was happening to these young people as they matured. Herrnstein and Murray's dozens of charts on the correlation between IQ and success in life stem from this military project.
Last year I talked to the longtime head psychometrician for one of the US military's main branches about the military's use of IQ testing. They are intense believers in the value of g, the general factor. This military psychometrician provided the AFQT data to Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray that provide the heart of The Bell Curve. He thinks the attacks on the book are absurd and tendentious.
In all the discussions you've read about how the military might solve the problem of meeting its recruiting goals, you've probably never seen reference to the simplest: just lower the minimum IQ from the 30th percentile to the Congressionally-mandated minimum 10th percentile. This would immediately increase the fraction of eligible young people by 29 percent. Indeed, since people with IQs in the 80s don't have many good opportunities in the private sector, many would flock to the military.
The reason you haven't heard about this (besides the usual stifling of IQ discussions in the media) is because military hates the idea of lowering IQ standards. It has done an enormous amount of research on trainability by IQ, accidents by IQ, and the like and it knows low IQ soldiers aren't worth the expense and risk in a high tech military.
By the way, IQ testing also explains why non-Hispanics white soldiers are being killed in Iraq at a rate higher than their proportion of the 18 to 30 year old segment of the population. A majority of blacks are ineligible to enlist due to low test scores, and roughly half of Hispanics can't enlist. On the other hand, at least three quarters of non-Hispanic whites score above the 30th percentile nationally.
Also, the much vaunted racial equality within the U.S. Army stems directly from the use of cognitive tests.
Professors Moskos and Sibley found in their 1994 book All That We Can Be:
"83 percent of white recruits scored in the upper half of the mental aptitude test (compared with 61 percent of white youths in the national population), while 59 percent of black recruits scored in the upper half (compared with 14 percent of the black youths nationwide)."
In other words, the Army's black enlisted personnel score just as well on the general aptitude test as the average white American. (African-American officers average even better, of course.)
There are still differences, so whites tend to predominate in the most intellectually-challenging military jobs. Still, by drawing just from blacks with relatively high IQs, the Army has managed to sidestep a huge number of problems.
So the magic race relations bullet that the military has found turns out to be - IQ tests.
I think you miss the point. Sure, it is true that IQ tests measure something that is useful (although certainly not the completely determinant) in helping to predict how people will perform in the real world. However, the weaker link is in establishing how IQ relates to any innate...and particularly, genetically inherited...abililities.
Here is what the APA task force report that Jack Strocchi linked to has to say about the differential between Black and White IQ scores:
"The differential between the mean intelligence test scores of Blacks and Whites does not result from any obvious biases in test construction and administration, nor does it simply reflect differences in socio-economic status. Explanations based on factors of caste and culture may be appropriate, but so far there is little direct empirical support for them. There is certainly no such support for a genetic interpretation. At this time, no one knows what is responsible for the differential."
This basically tells a story whereby we see a difference but we have no idea what causes it. Note in particular the statement that "there is certainly no such support for a genetic interpretation".
And, the history of the use of this sort of stuff should give us caution. It was not too long ago, for example, that innate sex differences were used to explain why so few women were in the legal and medical professions. Now, I believe that law schools have more entering women than men (or at least about equal). It is this tendency to fall back to excuses based on differences in innate ability that have since proven wrong that makes people jump down the throat of Summers when he uses this suggestion as an excuse not to try to do all that can be done to encourage (and make sure one doesn't indirectly discourage) women from going into fields where they are still underrepresented.
I believe it was Jefferson, considered one of the more enlightened folks at the time, who said that there was no Black who would be able to understand the reasonings of Euclid. If I were a Black mathematician, I would post that on my office wall as a reminder of where the assumption that any perceived differences in intelligence must be due to genetic, rather than environmental, factors has led us in the past.
Well, if one truly believes that there is a strong relationship between IQ and race, please give me your thoughts on this gedanken experiment:
Strom Thurmond is white. (for the Aussies et al, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strom_Thurmond)
His daughter is classified as black. In the absence of direct data, we must base any estimate of her IQ on whatever model we believe in. Murray's model shows a coefficient of -14 points if the person is classified as black. On the other hand, if we assume that IQ is in fact highly heritable, then we can also assume that her IQ will be largely similar to Thurmond's. Therefore, our best estimate of her IQ would be that it is 14 points less than Thurmond's; and that, in keeping with Murray's thesis, this deficit will of course be inherited by all her descendants.
I find it hard to swallow.
I didn't argue Roe vs. Wade caused the ID movement, Tim - as you know. Duh. I was testing your capacity, and Rex's, of making morally advanced distinctions and judgements. I discern no such capacity.
And I take it my point about the Australian left's historical culpability for slavishly apeing American trends is accepted by all commenters. It hasn't been rebutted and cannot be. That's why you grouchily tried to ignore it - even though it was in direct response to an observation made in your own post. You would have your readers believe that importing American ideas is a rightist phenomenon and it isn't. Aren't you embarrassed by such a suggestion?
Anyway, the left has again reaped its own intellectual whirlwind. If I wasn't an evolutionist myself, I'd have to conclude their march backwards evidences a contrary theory of development!
Jack, I can find you plenty of scholars who have endorsed Lott's work. The Bias Against Guns has endorsements from three Nobel winners. And some of the attacks on Lott have been wrong or unfair. This doesn't make him reputable scholar and Murray isn't one either.
I've read Murray's book and the critiques of it and I think I understand enough statistics to see what he did. And what he did was carefully construct a model to get the result he wanted. He cooked his statistics.
Secondly, your characterisation of his critics as anti-Darwinian is just bizarre. Murray's thesis is not the theory of evolution. This just seems to me to be a crude attempt to smear his critics.
CL. you have yet to post anything relevant to my post. My first point was that ID is not science and you seem to agree with that. My second point is that the Australian right is likely to import more of the anti-science agenda of the American right. My feeling, based on what you wrote about the Lancet study, is that you will be cheering them on.
Mr Sailer, what difference would it make to life, the universe and everything if "blacks" were found to indubitably be inferior to "Whites"?
Jack Strocchi wrote, But "liberal"'s comments smell of ideological invigilation rather than rational investigation and deserve refutation. Again this proves my point about the non-rational methods used by pee-cee Left against socio-biologists.
Hardly. You didn't really show anything, but rather argued by "appeal to authority." I pointed out that at least one of the signers, Rushton, is a complete clown. I subsequently looked up as many names as I could find in the index to a book I own, The Bell Curve Debate, and found more clowns.
By the way, I'm hardly against sociobiology, at least in its latest incarnation of evolutionary psychology, which I'm very fond of. Furthermore, AFAICT, the people on that list in the Wall Street Journal piece seem to me to be more psychmetricians than sociobiologists.
The public signatories to the media version of this report are all "experts in the field" and included: ... Pretty impressive, no?
First, to answer your question, "no."
Rushton, for example, apparently once said, "People are always saying, 'Oh you say whites are superior to blacks.' Even if you take something like atheletic ability or sexuality - not to reinforce stereotypes or some such thing - but, you know, it's a trade off: more brain or more penis. You can't have everything." (My point being that I know of no biological constraint on being very smart and very well hung at the same time.)
The book I mentioned above cites Cattell making racist remarks and incorrectly predicting that IQs would decline over time (instead, they've increased dramatically over time, the so-called Flynn Effect).
Eysenck was cited as making claims about Irish IQs being low due to out-migration, and gives evidence that his methodology was poor.
Hardin is a known eugenicist.
(I'd continue, but won't for reasons because my time is limited.)
Second, you're arguing by appeal to authority, a well-known logical fallacy.
These scientists took Murray's work seriously and did not state that he was a disreputable scholar.
Appeal to authority.
Although they cautioned disputants to reign in their intemperate politics ie they were even-handed - Tim L. take note.
For those scholars, I'd say it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
By the ideo-logic of "liberal" and Tim L. these scientists are transacting amicably with a "disreputable" scholar.
No, I've thought about Murray's ideas and found them wanting, without having to make the ad hominem argument you're suggesting I made.
I am not an expert on statistical analysis. But, from what I can gather...
But your own reference admits that they didn't provide anything that would allow the reader to see the variation in the data (viz, no scatter plots, no error bars).
Jack Strocchi wrote, Socio-biology emphasises differentials rather than universals. It is superior to evo-psycho as an evolutionary theory of human systems because evolution works on selected and adapted differentials in survival-production and sexual-reproduction rates. Evo-psycho focuses on commonalities for reasons of ideological self-protection. Cosmides et al dont want to get burned by the same pee-cee fire that Gould et al started under Wilson. Are you getting the picture?
No, because the "picture" involves serious misunderstandings science.
(1) Human nature is very complicated; we have a poor, shallow understanding of its biological basis.
(2) Evolutionary psychology is an attempt to study human psychology as the product of Darwinistic evolution.
(3) Humans, as species go, have very little genetic diversity.
(4) Fundamental human nature appears to be uniform across races and ethnic groups.
(5) In conclusion, looking for evolutionary explanations of common human nature are far more scientifically interesting than positing and investigating 5th order differences between racial and ethnic groupings.
Sexual selection, rather than natural selection, works to accelerate the spread of advantageous traits throughout a population.
False, at least insofar as biologists mean the term "advantageous traits."
Talents and skills are obviously multi-faceted. Intelligence appears to be a more fundamental attribute, since intelligent people often excel at a wide variety of activities.
Only if you deliberately define intelligence narrowly.
As noted above, evo-psycho treads very carefully in this area - for ideological rather than empirico-logical, reasons.
False, as I demonstrated above.
Steve Sailer wrote, So the magic race relations bullet that the military has found turns out to be - IQ tests.
And nothing in your post remotely approaches evidence that between-group differences in genetics are responsible for between-group differences in IQ.
I wouldn't put much stock in anything psychometricians say. Haven't their models of intelligence traditionally been simple additive models (genes plus environment), with no interaction terms? As science goes, that's extremely simplistic. And the only model I've ever heard of with a reasonable interaction term appeared only a few years ago.
Tim Lambert Says: August 12th, 2005 at 3:15 am
Murray, like Lott, cooked his statistics. This is something that is easy to do when you build multivariate models and to detect it requires other researchers to do their own analysis of the data.
We are already veering wildly off-thread. I am arguing that secular scientists (eg Tim L.) have shown a double standard in the criticism of (anti-Darwinian) politicisiation of science: on the one hand (correctly) condemning Right-wing pro-spiritualist "theological creationism". But on the other hand (incorrectly) giving a free pass to Left-wing anti-naturalist "sociological constructionism". In some cases the Left, whether Darwinian or not, have gone out of their way to demonise and ostracise non-pee cee Darwinian social scientists.
My point is not to defend Murray chapter and verse but to point the spotlight on the double standards shown by the non-Right in evaluating the various forms of anti-Darwinian politicisation of science. I am dismayed to see Tim L. drop the atom bomb of academic smears ("cooking the data") onto Murray, without proper substantiation. This is an existence proof of my point about the Left's censorious attitude to non pee cee science. Meanwhile Tim L., unlike his source Chris Mooney, continues to remain curiously silent about well-known intellectual deformations on the Left whilst sounding the alarm about the same kind of fishy business on the Right.
I don't want to get involved in a methodological dispute about the merits of Murray's Bell Curve work since I would be way out of my depth. In any case, as I have said, I do not wholly agree with Murray's hard-core hereditarian intellectual, and libertarian political, position.
Murray's work is not specifically socio-biological since there is not much in the way of geneology or anthropology in its body. But hereditarianism, which is central to Murray's work, is a fundamental axiom of Darwinism. So it is not surprising that critics of Murray tend to hail from the anti-Darwinian Left.
It is wrong of Tim L. to place Murray on a par with Lott. Murray has not been credibly accused of tampering with raw data, as has Lott. Whether Murray has massaged (ie tweaked parameters) his data to generate a robust model that is more in tune with his ideology is a moot point. All classifications and models, as Tim L.'s comment on multivariate analysis indicates, are constructed with a significant degree of arbitrariness. A legitimate dispute over methods is not sufficient grounds for trashing a scholars reputation.
And um, who are the anti-Darwinian Left?
Tim L. performs a faux ignorance play for the gratification of the Left wing grandstand. He has got to be kidding. I am not inclined to indulge him.
The anti-Darwinian* Left has a long pedigree in social sciences and is still pretty much in the saddle in social policy. Its Standard Social Science Model identifies nurture as the key to human nature, whilst tacitly assuming some combination of Rousseau's Noble Savage and Durkheim's Blank Slate. This model under girds much Left wing activism "on behalf" of minorities. In their hard-core form these theories are inconsistent with a Darwinian science of human society.
The permanent and contemporary examples of anti-Darwinian Leftism are legion. Margaret Mead's discredited work was a classic example of the combination of the theory of innate goodness of man and social construction of society. Many feminists displayed unbelieving and hostile reaction to Larry Summers perfectly reasonable comments on hereditary disparities in the gender-specific distribution of scientific ability. "Science for the People" was a group of leftwing intellectuals (Lewontin, Gould) who formed to hound sociobiology thinkers like Wilson and Dawkins off the campus and syllabus. Black Studies academics have sought to deny the utility of racial classifications in genomics, even to the peril of black peoples health. Cultural anthropology has become hopelessly politicized, as shown by the outrageous treatment of the socio-biologist Chagnon. Only the Queer studies movement has shown sympathy to Darwinian socio-biology, odd because the existence of a "gay gene" is implausible on Darwinian grounds.
This will just not do. Darwinian selectionism may not be sufficient to explain of the origin and development of human life. But it is a necessary part of any such explanation and one cannot be picked up and dropped off by this theoretical vehicle, as if it were just a tram ride.
Hard core cultural constructivism, and its philosophical soul sister post-modernism, is heading for the Dustbin of History. There is a tsunami of empirical data building up in the human genomic sciences which only makes sense when applied using Darwinian theoretical tools.
We are not going to make any progress in the scientific analysis of social stratification, or the social empowerment of minorities, by brushing unpalatable research under the carpet or shooting the messengers. The Darwinian Left (people like Tim L. and Pr Q.) need to take off the kid gloves when dealing with their anti-Darwinian confreres ie choose between intellectual veracity or ideological solidarity.
*Darwinian socio-biological science is here defined as the application of basic evolutionary theory (environmental ecological selectivity, "embodimental" physiological adaptatability, "endowmental" geneological hereditability) to the explanation of human diverse social stratification. Human sociological structures, at least in sexual relations, are understood as ecological sub-niches in that they have a selection function.
Jack Strocchi wrote, "Science for the People" was a group of leftwing intellectuals (Lewontin, Gould) who formed to hound sociobiology thinkers like Wilson and Dawkins off the campus and syllabus.
I don't think it's that simple, given that Dawkins wrote a very warm piece about Steve Gould after the latter died. Of course, Gould and Dawkins had their intellectual disagreements about the finer points of evolution.
So it is not surprising that critics of Murray tend to hail from the anti-Darwinian Left.
Sorry to break your classification scheme, but I think Murry's work is pathetic, and yet I hail from the Darwinian Left.
The Darwinian Left (people like Tim L. and Pr Q.) need to take off the kid gloves when dealing with their anti-Darwinian confreres ie choose between intellectual veracity or ideological solidarity.
So Tim has to labor 24 hours a day to make known his precise ideological viewpoint on every issue that comes to your mind?
While I am not going to claim the Left has never been hostile to accepted science that they don't like, you have done nothing to demonstrate that. The sort of extreme genetic determinism that you seem to endorse is simply NOT the mainstream scientific accepted view as near as I can tell. (And, you have done nothing to show that it is. In fact, you seem to either link to known conservative sources like the National Review...or you link to an American Psychological Association study that admits that the disparity in IQ scores between Blacks and Whites remains a mystery and that there is no evidence it is genetic.)
The analogy between the Right denying evolutionary theory and the Left denying some extreme form of genetic determinism is equating things that are simply not analogous.
As for Summers, I noted this before and I will note it again, but the reason he was jumped on for what he said was not that he was a serious social scientist in this area doing groundbreaking research but because he was a college President making excuses for Harvard's poor representation on its faculty of women (even relative to peer schools, I believe). And, I am sure that women who have heard the same excuses used to explain why they will never make major inroads into, say, the medical or legal professions (until they did) are kind of sick and tired of people who are so quick to jump on the bandwagon of innate differences in order to avoid actually dealing with the other issues that seem to really be factors in keeping them out.
Tim Lambert Says: August 13th, 2005 at 4:06 am
Murray isn't [a reputable scholar] either. I've read Murray's book and the critiques of it and I think I understand enough statistics to see what he did. And what he did was carefully construct a model to get the result he wanted. He cooked his statistics.
Who died and elected Tim L. Pope? If he wants to set himself up as an editor of the Politically Correct index on reputable scholarship he is free to do so. But I think that we should take some of his efforts in this area with a grain of salt, given his evident ideological assymetry.
Scholarly reputability, unlike scientfic validity, is a matter of professional consensus. Unfortunately, political contratemps tend to overshadow this in the public realm. Which was my original point.
The professional consensus is that Murray's work passes scientific muster ie is not fraudulent or plagiarised, is based on a rational theory of real data, is transparent, repeatable etc. Most of the pros come down on the side of a soft-core conditional form of pscyhological hereditarianism, which is not light years away from Murray. And I am saying that this is sufficient to rule Murray as a reputable scholar.
Instead Murray is ostracised mainly because he is non pee cee. He receives the same treatment that was meted out to many of the early (also non pee cee) Darwinian sociobiologists by other Leftist ideologues.
your characterisation of his critics as anti-Darwinian is just bizarre. Murray's thesis is not the theory of evolution. This just seems to me to be a crude attempt to smear his critics.
No. Tim L. has clearly misread. He should go back to my original comment and read it properly.
Jack Strocchi Says: August 11th, 2005 at 6:20 pm
I would be a little more inclined to sympathise with rational non-Rightist (like Tim L.) complaints on [the issue of the politicisation of science] if the they were a little bit more awake up to the irrational Left's war on science. This war has now reached a fever pitch where any empirical generalisation - whether fearful or favourable - about minority groups is greeted with a storm of protest and orchestrated campaigns of vilification. The examples of reputable academics such as Charles Murray and Larry Summers spring to mind.
I did not characterise all "Murray's critics as anti-Darwinian". I clearly characterised them as part of "the irrational Left's war on science", to the extent they used ideological, rather than empirico-logical, methods of assessing his work.
The Left's policiticisation of science is proved by the fact that many well known Leftist's have heaped vitriol onto Murray and Summers, without sufficient scientific cause. The intelligent crticism of Murray, by Sowell and Heckman, is usually done without rancour.
I did not characterise Murray, or Summers, as a Darwinian evlutionists per se. (Although their work might be integrated into some grand Darwinian sociobiological sythesis one day.) It is not bizarre to read this into my words, since both Murray and Summers are hereditarians. I did imply that they were non pee cee social scientists who suffered unfair vilification by "irrational Leftist" pee cee inquisitors and censors.
Nor I did not argue that Murray's work was scientificly validated, merely that he was a reputable scholar. And I cited some a long list of reputable scholars who concurred with this judgement. Are they all disreputable scholars or fools?
There is a Left wing anti-Darwinian force in being, as I have shown elsewhere. But that unit is situated in another part of the "politicised science" front. And many Left wing critics of Murray and Summers are also anti-Darwinian, but that is another story.
To put the matter in frigid logical form: not all non-pee cee social scientists, such as Murray, are necessarily pro-Darwinian. And not all pee cee Leftists, such as Tim L.? are necessarily anti-Darwinian. Is that clear enough?
Jack, you say that you don't want to get into Murray's methodology but you also complain that I haven't substantiated my criticism of him. How do you expect me to substantiate my criticism if you won't get into his methodology?
You claim that Mead is discredited but isn't she a reputable scholar? Does the "reputable scholar" argument only work for Murray?
I am sorry that you feel that I was faking ignorance when I asked you who the "anti-Darwinian Left" were. I think it would have been better to just answer my question instead of claiming that I was being disingenuous.
Going through your links, you first point to the "Standard Social Science Model". While I don't think that the SSSM is correct, calling it something of the "anti-Darwinian left" doesn't make sense. SSSM isn't denying that the mind is the product of evolution, it's saying that it evolved to be a "blank slate". And isn't Chomsky one of the foremost critics of the SSSM?
Next you have a link "anti-Darwinian Leftism" . I clicked, hoping for enlightenment. Unfortunately the only reference to evolution was Shallit's observation that Derrida's nonsense is not as bad as creationism since he isn't trying to have it taught at schools alongside real science. Nor, I will add is Derrida's claptrap as bad as Gross and Levitt's claptrap about ozone depletion -- ignoring ozone depletion has real consequences while Derrida's stuff isn't being used to affect public policy.
I conclude that your use of the phrase "anti-Darwinian left" is tendentious nonsense.
One problem with intelligence/IQ as a construct, is that eventually your construct has to have a viable model. You could measure some kind of athletic quotient, and probably model it on things like aerobic capacity, lean muscle mass, etc., for instance. Where are the physical correlates for IQ? AFAIK, IQ tests are still validated against existing IQ tests, back to the dawn of time when they were correlated with academic success in French schools. If you want to call it a school success quotient, that's kind of a different thing than "intelligence". (I should mention that in a previous life I was a somewhat liberal behaviorist, and as such I have little patience with hollow concepts. For instance, I would rather see measures of frequency of feeding behavior and/or blood sugar levels and percentage of stomach filling, than some estimate of a "hunger quotient").
From my interview with Steven Pinker:
Sailer: Aren't we all better off if people believe that we are not constrained by our biology and so can achieve any future we choose?
Pinker: People are surely better off with the truth. Oddly enough, everyone agrees with this when it comes to the arts. Sophisticated people sneer at feel-good comedies and saccharine romances in which everyone lives happily ever after. But when it comes to science, these same people say, "Give us schmaltz!" They expect the science of human beings to be a source of emotional uplift and inspirational sermonizing.
Personally, after spending the past six months observing the Evolution/ ID debate in the USA via the internet, I think that the people calling others "Anti-darwinian leftists" are making unscientific fools of themselves. If they actually knew that much biology, they would be saying "Anti-evolutionary biology leftists."
A part of the ID/ biology debate is simply getting the creationists to stop calling evolutionary biology "Darwinism", since Darwisn work was but the foundations, and the whole area of study has undergone at least 2 or 3 revisions since Darwin. Calling it "Darwinism" makes it sound like Darwin started a religion back in the 19th century and nothing has changed since then, whereas the field of evolutionary biology has been in almost continual ferment for decades, especially with all this new genetic stuff coming along.
guthrie: also there seems to be little or no credit given to some of Darwin's inspirations from Lamarck, et al...
Well, I dont know about Lamarck and Darwin- I seem to recall seeing some people talking about it once. But modern evolutionary biology has shown Darwin to be wrong on some points and correct on others. With hindsight, its amazing that evolution caught on so quickly and well; there just wasnt the depth of evidence that there is nowadays with regards to common descent, speciation etc etc.
guthrie wrote, With hindsight, its amazing that evolution caught on so quickly and well; there just wasnt the depth of evidence that there is nowadays with regards to common descent, speciation etc etc.
Certainly there wasn't as much evidence.
But my impression is that Darwin backed up his theories with many, many empirical observations. He was a naturalist, after all, not just a theorist.
guthrie: I was generally agreeing with your 2nd paragraph in #42 that although Darwin is certainly a central figure, he seems to be the only one the 'anti-evolutionists' target; using terms like "Darwinism", etc...
I only mentioned Lamarck and others as there were more who played roles in the beginning.
I googled Lamarck, first site seems to be a pretty good bio if you're interested:
This link should surely bring up more info should you still be interested:
Thomas Huxley had a great deal to do with the acceptance of Darwin's ideas. Huxley's debate with Bishop Wilberforce was a key moment http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/philosophy/huxley_darwins_bulldog.html
"During the debate, Archbishop Wilberforce ridiculed evolution and asked Huxley whether he was descended from an ape on his grandmother's side or his grandfather's. Whilst accounts vary as to exactly what happened next it seems that after giving a brilliant intellectual defence of Darwin's theory, Huxley pointedly commented, "I would rather be the offspring of two apes than be a man and afraid to face the truth."
Hard to top that.
Importing things into Australia that could be problematic reminds me of a great book I read: A Plague of Rats and Rubber Vines- The Growing Threat of Species Invasions by Yvonne Baskin. It detailed Australia's rigorous system controlling the importation of plants and animals that could be invasive. Maybe Australia could start a system that controls the importation of other potentially damaging things, like ID. If ID and other religion-motivated attacks on science became established in Australia it could be worse for Australia than cane toads.
I also remembered when I read On the Origins of Species. Darwin presented an enormous mass of evidence supporting his theory and acknowledged the aspects he did not know. Even with the things he could not explain Darwin presented an airtight case for the facts of evolution using biogeography, morphology, developmental biology and paleontology. All the people who doubt or don't understand evolution should be required to read On the Origins of Species.
Why is a racist like Steve Sailer posting here?