Kerry Emanuel, a climate scientist at MIT and former member of NAS, says he was initially drawn to the organization because he was worried about what he saw as a growing relativism in the academy, evident in the work of deconstructionist philosophers like Jacques Derrida. NAS seemed to be taking a stand against those intellectual currents, Emanuel said — though he adds that he eventually became concerned about the organization’s stances on climate change, especially during a much-publicized incident in which hackers stole thousands of emails from a group of climate scientists and accused them of misusing data.
In a 2010 article published on the NAS website, Emanuel described the event as “a scandal” — but he didn’t see it as a challenge to the scientific consensus on climate change. The National Association of Scholars, on the other hand, sought to extrapolate the Climategate incident “into a universal condemnation of the field,” Emanuel told me. “It was just patently disingenuous.”
He left the organization soon afterward.
“It sort of revealed them not to be what they claimed to be — people who stood for scientific truth and scientific integrity. It was just another organization that used that as a front,” Emanuel said. “They’re basically a political organization posing as an organization dedicated to free inquiry,” he added.
> " Mr. Wood is president of the National Association of Scholars. "
Of course the person being "cancelled" would write an opinion piece on "cancel culture".
One person criticised his event on twitter and he wrote an opinion piece on WSJ about how he's being persecuted. This seems incredibly childish to me. Especially considering the original tweet* got under 100 retweets and about 130 likes.
Honestly, I feel like this is more likely to be advertising for the conference than an actual complaint about "cancel culture". Nothing here is noteworthy in any way.
The paper, along with some really basic googling, raises a big red flag over NAS's impartiality. Namely that:
* NAS was founded by a conservative
* Its president is conservative
* Its funders are conservative
* Its board is full of conservatives
* It frequently uses conservative (arguably far-right) catchphrases like "defending western civilization"
* Often pushes conservative viewpoints such as climate scepticism
* Other conservative organisations call NAS conservative
Yet despite all that NAS, or at least Peter W Wood, consistently claim they are not a conservative organisation.
This is completely absurd. Definitely an advert and no sane person should trust anything that Wood is saying here.
And most of the people complaining about it don't care about the specifics but want a chance to vent about the fact that their preferred version of phrenology isn't taken seriously anymore.
The results are less effective social and economic policy, and poorer research in general, as incentives are no longer aligned with classical goals of objective knowledge discovery.
Perhaps, but all the spoken taboos—that is, the concrete examples of things which are cited as being supposedly taboo to address in research—are, it turns out, actually quite well covered in the literature (sometimes, they are things one side would like to be true that are consistently refuted by empirical research, sometimes, as is the case with race/IQ correlation, they are facts both opposing sides acknowledge but each side prefers a different explanation for, and where one side, rather than acknowledging the dispute over the explanation, prefers to pretend the other side denies the phenomenon, and sometimes there is some other dynamic at work, but its pretty much never that the research either isn't done or is suppressed.)
The problem is you don't know how much research into taboo topics would exist in an academic environment where freedom of speech was actually respected. It could be double, triple or 10x what we see today. Or it could be equal.
However, it would be strange to assume it's equal given the very public mob mentality and academic "executions" for conservative thought, the many testimonies from academics saying they're afraid to even voice conservative ideas in academia let alone apply for grant funding for them, and the work of people like Jonathan Haight who showed fields like psychology are dominated by one political ideology.
To me it's obvious there are areas that are under-researched by academia. To name just two:
1. Climate change skepticism. All the research I've seen here is done by academic outsiders. They find real problems, publish papers and get real retractions or changes made in the field, but none of it is done by academia itself. When you read the various emails showing how academics try to block people who disagree with them from getting published, it's obvious what's going on.
2. Men's rights. Academia churns out vast amounts of "research" into various feminist and intersectionalist topics. I've seen very few papers on anything approximating the male opposite. The small amount that does exist tends to come out of psychological research into education in the context of why boys are falling behind at school (they find some worrying things about teacher bias). But it's an occasional dot compared to the torrent of government-funded feminist thought.
The problem with areas of inquiry like these is that leftists attack them as not only illegitimate to study at all, but to even talk about. This is despite the fact that they're both completely mainstream sets of views.
Why would anyone research "climate change skepticism" and not just "climate"? The very idea of a discipline with "skepticism" in it's name suggests that there is an existing answer that someone is looking for, whereas the whole point of science is to keep an open mind. Nobody researches "physics skepticism", they research physics.
If you presuppose an outcome, you're not really doing science.
The HN comments are quite amazing in retrospect too. Lots of comments proclaiming our doom, with tthe topmost one starting "yet more bad news on the climate change front", one not-particularly-insightful downvoted comment at the bottom suggesting that a 60% change in an important measurement shouldn't inspire confidence in climate science's accuracy.
That isn't enough. Mainstream physics research lacks skepticism about the laws of thermodynamics. Mainstream biology lacks skepticism about cell division.
When evidence for a proposition is strong, skepticism is weak.
If you want to argue for climate change skepticism, you have to provide evidence for to raise that skepticism. Yet every time someone does so, it gets shot down.
What I mean is that academia finds it structurally impossible to do research that ends with the conclusion that maybe there's enough research done into something for now, that perhaps there's no problem that requires this sort of academic attention, or perhaps we lack the tools to make useful predictions in a field at the moment. There are no feedback loops.
Imagine you go into a very small, very closed field like climatology or economics, do some research, and your conclusion is this: "climate is too complex for us to model with any certainty, our data sets are corrupted and low quality, we really have no idea what's going on and can't fix this any time soon". Or even "the climate is changing but not in any actually problematic way, there's nothing to do here".
This may well be a legitimate or correct conclusion (for any field of science), but it's also a career-terminating one. Research into the question of how effective research can be just doesn't get done by academia because there's no ground truth end goal - research isn't a means to an end, as in the private sector. In academia research is itself the end.
This is what I'm trying to get at. To leave climatology for a moment, look at how long it took for replication studies in psychology to start at any scale, and how much science - for decades - has been found to be completely bogus. It's a staggering amount. Every time I read something about the replication crisis I'm stunned by the enormous scale, and how much more there seems to be to uncover. Academia has simply not been funding "psychology skepticism" and to a large extent still isn't. The production of large amounts of nonsensical research is guaranteed by the incentive structure of academia, in which research is entirely self-justifying and in which it doesn't pay to shoot down colleagues in your own field.
Have you looked? Because there's at least two competing fields devoted directly to the topic (“men’s studies” and “male studies”.)
Conservatives love raising freedom of speech issues, if it aligns with their viewpoint. Where were the conservatives when extreme leftists were getting jailed for burning the american flag? Where were they when in the middle of the century when a bunch of music was considered being banned?
Conservatives don't care about free speech, they care about their own speech.
The point GP seems to be making is that it is only conservative thought that is assailed as illegitimate to study or even discuss. As a conservative-turned-libertarian, I was frightened to even speak my conservative thoughts in college 15 years ago lest my grade be impacted. I can’t imagine what modern conservatives must endure in college.
Many reasonable people don’t want any particular side to have the upper hand. That applies to all of my conservative and libertarian friends. My leftist friends seem to have a self-righteousness about them that I can only conclude they gain from their empowerment on a campus lacking intellectual diversity.
Conservatives are plenty self-righteous, you only hear ad-hominems like "anti-American", "hates freedom", and "naive" from the right.
Can you point to specific examples of this where the science is actually robust and well documented but has somehow been blocked from being published or otherwise stopped due to this pervasive bias?
The premier example of robust, well documented science with vociferous opposition has to be intelligence. Besides scholars with a fiercer attachment to their politics than the truth like Gould you also have introductory psychology textbooks that go out of their way to muddy the waters by giving space to alternative theories of intelligence to g with fuck all empirical backing like Gardner’s or Sternberg’s. If they had similar standards in other areas of psychology everything would be as bad as social.
For suppression there was an article in Third World Quarterly withdrawn due to credible threats of violence because a mob didn’t like the topic. Note it wasn’t retracted and it passed peer review. David Graeber recently led a campaign to have Noah Carl’s offer of a postdoc withdrawn at Cambridge, successfully. And there was a campaign at Hypatia, a feminist philosophy journal to have an article withdrawn for discussing trans racialism in the context of transsexuality.
Frankly, this seems like a measured response to a fairly standard complaint. Perhaps the only part of it that grates me is the public and "outraged" nature of the complaint. Without knowing much more about Carl's actual work, I suppose the outstanding question is, if the reasons above are true then how did he get the offer in the first place?
His research gate profile.
> Since I was fired, over 600 academics have signed a petition supporting me , and several leading newspapers have published articles criticising the college’s decision. The support I’ve received so far has been incredible! But petitions and newspaper articles aren’t enough. If we want to safeguard academic freedom, and freedom of speech more generally, we need to start imposing real, material costs on the institutions that buckle under activists’ pressure.
That's sometimes true, but I'd need more than that to suspect it in this case. The committee was chaired by a senior, tenured life fellow, and perhaps I'm biased as it's my alma mater, but Cambridge tends to be pretty insulated from cultural whims.
As the other reply pointed out it's not really reasonable to expect someone to become proficient in a body of scientific work in order to make an opinion, moreoever the great majority of his research gate articles require the text to be requested.
Unless something further comes to light I'm not yet persuaded that this is a miscarriage of justice or scientific suppression.
He initially got fired because (almost) 600 academics signed an open letter casting doubt on his work, on top of 800 students .
Also, I don't really think that "read his work for yourself" is a valid argument. For one, you're talking hours, if not days or weeks of research, which isn't reasonable. And secondly, unless the person you're responding to knows sociology well, they're probably not going to be a good judge of his work.
Edit: sorry, I misread a headline about him losing the prize, it read stripped of "honors". Point still stands.
Dr. Collins said he was unaware of any credible research on which Dr. Watson’s “profoundly unfortunate" statement would be based.' 
I think this video , does a good job of attacking a lot of race science and intelligence, though at 2.5 hours long it may be a bit too thorough.
edited for formatting
"In the current study, EQCA experts wereasked what percentage of the US Black-White differences in IQ is, in their view, due to environment or genes. In general, EQCA experts gave a 50–50 (50% genes, 50% environment) response with a slight tilt to the environmental position (51% vs. 49%; Table 3). When EQCA experts were classified into discrete categories (genetic, environmental, or 50–50), 40% favored an environmental position, 43% a genetic position, and 17% assumed 50–50." - https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2019.101406
> I think this video , does a good job of attacking a lot of race science and intelligence
'Attacking' is a good description, as the author of that video went to great lengths to mislead. For example, he says the author of The Bell Curve doesn't understand what 'hereditary' means. But the definition the video author gives for 'hereditary', and the definition given in the book he's reviewing, match almost perfectly. So how did he come to that conclusion? He went out of his way to find a live interview where the book author fumbled his answer, instead of giving the definition from the book he's reviewing, or as you more accurately put it, attacking.
"There was little to no support for separate subgroup norms for different racial, ethnic, or social groups or for people with different nationalities (natives vs. immigrants), with the percentage of experts favoring separate norms below 25%.
There was no clear position among experts regarding environmental and genetic factors in the US Black-White difference in intelligence."
Maybe Dr. Collins rubs shoulders with experts other than those surveyed here, who knows.
Looking at the SD in the survey responses suggests that the position of the researchers polled in this survey wasn't accurately represented by the quote you posted.
The example you use to critique the video I posted is also not very generous, and is a pretty lame rebuttal to what was a very extensive attack on the ideas presented in "The Bell Curve". Do you have any critiques on the more relevant points that the video actually makes? E.g. what is intelligence anyway and how can it be measured, if at all? Or, presuming that IQ is an accurate measure of intelligence, then how to square the supposition the Bell Curve makes about an idiocracy-style drop in IQ points with the Flynn effect?
Another relevant question is what exactly is the scientific support for "race" as anything other than a meaningless label? For example, in the interview of Charles Murray conducted by Sam Harris for his podcast, Murray used Barack Obama as an example of a typical black man, saying that, and I'm paraphrasing, even supposing that there is a difference in IQ between the races, it wouldn't justify denying a job to someone like Barack Obama if he came in applying for one. But, like, why is Obama black and not white? Have you seen a picture of Obama's mom? She's the whitest white lady from Kansas. I was recently working on some cancer project and I had a spreadsheet of the subjects' self-reported race, as well as genetic ancestry results showing the percentage of African ancestry and European ancestry. Some of the respondents who self-reported as African American had 97% European ancestry.
There's one or two charts in the article, showing how many experts believe the IQ gap is 0% genetic, how many believe it's 10%, and so on, up to 100%. There's a large spike at 0%, then a noisy, mostly equal distribution up to 100%, where it drops back down to near zero - i.e. almost no hereditarian believes environment plays no role. So yes, there's no consensus, but the view that IQ is hereditary is well represented among experts - moreso than the opposite.
The Flynn effect disproves nothing, much like the increasing average height doesn't imply height isn't heritable. As I don't believe IQ is 100% determined by genes, there's any number of explanations that are consistent with heritable intelligence - changes in culture, environment, upbringing, nutrition, air quality, levels of athleticism, etc. For example:
"Similarly, researchers have shown that differences in the ways boys and girls spend their time (e.g., playing with Legos) (Bornstein et al., 1999), toy selection (Goldstein, 1994), and computer videogame experience (Quaiser-Pohl et al., 2006) are responsible for differences in their spatial abilities, also loaded on g."
> The example you use to critique the video I posted is also not very generous
The example was to show the video author was being deliberately misleading, going out of his way to hide data that opposes his conclusion. Meaning everything else in the video is probably similarly cherry-picked.
> what is intelligence anyway and how can it be measured, if at all?
I don't see how minor fuzzyness in the definition of intelligence casts any doubt on clearly defined IQ scores, especially when IQ has been shown to be such a useful and important measure - IQ is very predictive for success at other tasks also considered to require intelligence, such as academic achievement - this is referred to as being g-loaded. Moreover, the more g-loaded a test is, the more heritable performance on it is .
> Another relevant question is what exactly is the scientific support for "race" as anything other than a meaningless label?
Race is simply how closely related people are, at a very coarse level, where clusters correspond to races. See this post: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22052174
The HN post you referred to supporting the idea of "race" included a link to a paper  where these are the final 2 lines of the abstract: "Respondents educated in Western Europe, physical anthropologists, and middle-aged persons reject race more frequently than respondents educated in Eastern Europe, people in other branches of science, and those from both younger and older generations. The survey shows that the views of anthropologists on race are sociopolitically (ideologically) influenced and highly dependent on education."
I wouldn't call that scientific support for the notion of race as a meaningful category.
Ever since the idea of "white" people was invented, groups which have at one time or another been considered non-white include the Germans, Greeks, white Hispanics, Arabs, Iranians, Afghans, Irish, Italians, Jews, Slavs and Spaniards. 
I agree with you about the video I linked to cherry picking that quote from Murray about heritability. That section was taken from a critique  of The Bell Curve, and the paragraph it was pulled from ends with this: "The Bell Curve itself does not make these embarrassing mistakes. Herrnstein, the late co-author, was a professional on these topics. But the upshot of part of this essay is that the book's main argument depends for some of its persuasive force on a more subtle conflation of heritability and genetic determination. And Murray's confusion serves to underscore just how difficult these concepts can be, even for someone so numerate as Murray."
It doesn't seem like we will be convincing each other of anything here. For me, it's just about impossible to be schooled on the history of America and the incredible multifaceted assault on people that aren't white, which is still very much ongoing, and then argue that there's any way to say that there isn't an overwhelming environmental cause for disparities in socioeconomic status/IQ/incarcaration rates/etc between blacks and whites. Just falling back on ockham's razor, which seems more likely:
A - After humans migrated out of Africa and spread out over the globe, there was selection for genes that generated differing amounts of melanin in reaction to different amounts of sunlight at different latitudes. For some reason, genes linked with intelligence shifted as well so that there is now a strong correlation between skin pigmentation levels and intelligence despite a lack of any obvious reason for these things to be linked.
B - Africans, being better adept at surviving the malarial load of the new world due to a genetic predisposition  were recruited en masse for the trans-atlantic slave trade. The people running this slave trade, having at least a modicum of morality and most likely Christian, invented a theory of race that placed Africans below Europeans so that it became less morally repugnant to maintain the chattel slavery system. This theory of race pitted all of the poor people against each other, allowing people in power to maintain their positions. This theory of race also allowed for a prolonged (and ongoing) withholding of resources from an entire population of people (defined by having dark skin), and this deprivation is having a direct effect on the success of dark-skinned people in many different measurements.
For me, it's B all the way.
No no no - the spike is not at "very low", but at zero. While the people that believe there's some genetic influence, are about evenly distributed between thinking that influence is anywhere from 10% to 90%. In total, more believe there's some influence than zero influence.
> I wouldn't call that scientific support for the notion of race as a meaningful category.
Neither is it a consensus debunking it. And what the idea used to be is irrelevant to the current understanding.
> argue that there's any way to say that there isn't an overwhelming environmental cause for disparities in socioeconomic status/IQ/incarcaration rates/etc between blacks and whites.
But I never argued that. A and B aren't mutually exclusive.
As for Occam's razor, well, claiming that of all the genetic distance caused by geographical separation for tens of millenia, none of it affects intelligence or personality - that just doesn't seem very likely to me. It's not the case for dogs , why should it be for humans?
Watson wasn't crucified, or anything remotely analogous to it, his comments weren't particularly reasonable, and even his own near immediate apology explicitly noted that there was no scientific basis for them. (Though he has since returned to repeating them; the whole thing is weird since at the time he first made them, there was a very recent piece of work which could have been cited as support for the geography/IQ link he suggested, but in between then and the time he went back to issuing them that work had been torn apart for gross methodological errors, including deliberately excluding data to fit the intended conclusion.)
> Stripped of a Nobel prize for suggesting that two and two may equal four.
He wasn't stripped of a Nobel prize, and he absolutely wasn't suggesting two plus two may equal four; he made an at best thinly supported claim about geography and IQ combined with a completely unsubstantiated claim about the premises of development policy toward Africa, and drew a dire conclusion from that combination.
 - https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/11261872/James-Wats...
This isn’t true. Ashkenazi Jews and East Asians have higher IQ scores than whites. Male and female scores on IQ tests are identical by construction. They have different scores on the component sub tests.
Mainstream Science on Intelligence: An Editorial With 52 Signatories, History, and Bibliography
Since the publication of “The Bell Curve,” many commentators have offered opinions about human intelligence that misstate cur- rent scientific evidence. Some conclusions dismissed in the media as discredited are ac- tually firmly supported.
This statement outlines conclusions re- garded as mainstream among researchers on intelligence, in particular, on the nature, ori- gins, and practical consequences of individu- al and group differences in intelligence. Its aim is to promote more reasoned discussion of the vexing phenomenon that the research has revealed in recent decades. The follow- ing conclusions are fully described in the major textbooks, professional journals and encyclopedias in intelligence.
Also, The original claim was:
> Every result ever has pointed that all races and genders are..
If you muddy the water wrt race, it invalidates the above claim also.
But it's become an unfortunate pattern that when people bring up the difference in scores, other people (like you) presume that mentioning the correlation data itself is akin to arguing that they are caused by genetic factors, and then attack them for not mentioning the environmental factors.
You are too predictable. You just did exactly the behavior I criticized, in response to my critique!
Really? The strongest rebuttals I ever saw boiled down to "it has not yet been conclusively proven impossible that all races are equally intelligent". Large meta-analyses certainly always find correlation, this one goes a long way towards showing there is causation as well: https://doi.org/10.1111%2Fj.1467-9280.2006.01803.x
No legitimate study has actually shown that such correlations are caused by genetic factors. However, numerous studies have shown that social factors (i.e. not having access to good schools, not having access to decent healthcare, etc, which statistically and historically correspond with racial divisions) play a major role.
No matter what the data is, you can always construct some convoluted theory by which ancestry doesn't play a role, just like you can keep adding spheres to make a geocentric solar system work.
For example, if you are, say, a Christian and some other guy is a Muslim and your offended by that belief, well, that's on you. It shouldn't discredit a scientific theory. Evidence is supposed to do that.
And worse, they're thinking they're not racist because they think they have scientific backing for their beliefs..
If you disagree, show your reasoning, or your credentials.
You know what, who cares if Watson was a flaming racist? He has done more than almost any other person to save the lives of millions of Africans but he makes one opinion about intelligence and hes slagged off and completely discredited?
Cancel culture has been in science a lot longer than people know.
Everyone is aware of Watson's contributions (though there is of course ample evidence that he stole a lot of the work from Rosalind Franklin and gave her no credit for it, then said things like "of course Franklin couldn't envision the structure of DNA because jewish women can't see in 3D - he said this in front of a preeminent female jewish structural biologist too). The discredit isn't against his scientific achievements, it's against his racist-ass opinions. That's why people don't invite him to talks much anymore, because he just goes and says made up racist shit.
On the contrary, when some facts put a positive light on certain groups (for instance the better maximal physical performance) there is magically no taboo about it at all, and no pressure groups asking for "affirmation action".
Either way, as far as I know, biologist haven't really considered human races to be biologically meaningful category for quite some time now opting clines which are not discrete, but gradual genetic variations over geographic areas, nor does it follow the traditionally defined racial lines. This is why I'm quite suspicious of people pushing so called “race science” as AFAIK it simply doesn't seem to have evidence behind it, rather, it seems to have specific political viewpoints behind it generally.
Developing a set of ancestry-sensitive DNA markers reflecting continental origins of humans
By means of our pairwise population FST ranking approach we identified a set of 47 SNPs that could serve as a panel of ASMs at a continental level.
Implications of biogeography of human populations for ‘race’ and medicine
In this review, we focus on the biogeographical distribution of genetic variation and address whether or not populations cluster according to the popular concept of ‘race’. We show that racial classifications are inadequate descriptors of the distribution of genetic variation in our species. Although populations do cluster by broad geographic regions, which generally correspond to socially recognized races, the distribution of genetic variation is quasicontinuous in clinal patterns related to geography. The broad global pattern reflects the accumulation of genetic drift associated with a recent African origin of modern humans, followed by expansion out of Africa and across the rest of the globe. Because disease genes may be geographically restricted due to mutation, genetic drift, migration and natural selection, knowledge of individual ancestry will be important for biomedical studies. Identifiers based on race will often be insufficient.
Actually, it's often worse than nothing. Even assuming that "race" is entirely genetic and not a social construct, fitness in society changes so rapidly, that no genetics can properly account for it.
A day laborer born in the 1950s U.S. a genetically perfect fit for mining coal, might have had a great deal of success for the first 20 years of their career, and then a poor outcome for the last 10 years. Nothing changed with their genetics, they just became less desirable within society based on social trends.
Genetic changes take generations, often dozens of generations, to realize any noticeable difference. Social changes often occur in years and sometimes months, far faster.
Therefore, any conclusions based on genetics that fail to consider how the genetics fall within society are missing most of the point.
You're right, it rigorously shows how well you will do on IQ tests. That's a real useful metric, now isn't it?
> This is often disputed by impulsively triggered non-experts browsing chat forums, but not by serious academics.
This is often upheld by people with latent fascist sentimentalities that there is some genetical component that makes one group superior to the other.
Surely IQ is measuring something useful if it correlates so well with things like job performance, school performance, income, and crime?
It might be just correlating to zip code. We know poorer neighborhoods in the US have vastly higher rates of lead which has negative effects against IQ and violence. I've seen far more evidence against the concept of a general intelligence than for.
YOU tell me how any of these bold and outlandish claims are actually based on sound research and logic.
Your claim is simply a just-so statement. You're the one making an unjustified assumption. Why should I assume you're correct by default? Until you actually provide any plausible reason why I should take it seriously, your claim is invalid.
The impetus is on _you_.
Also, from the contents of these very same wikipedia articles:
> Several negative reviews of the book have been published in the scholarly literature. Susan Barnett and Wendy Williams wrote that "we see an edifice built on layer upon layer of arbitrary assumptions and selective data manipulation. The data on which the entire book is based are of questionable validity and are used in ways that cannot be justified." They also wrote that cross country comparisons are "virtually meaningless."
> Richardson (2004) argued, citing the Flynn effect as the best evidence, that Lynn has the causal connection backwards and suggested that "the average IQ of a population is simply an index of the size of its middle class, both of which are results of industrial development". The review concludes that "This is not so much science, then, as a social crusade."
> In a book review for the Journal of Economic Literature, Thomas Nechyba wrote that "such sweeping conclusions based on relatively weak statistical evidence and dubious presumptions seem misguided at best and quite dangerous if taken seriously. It is therefore difficult to find much to recommend in this book."
> The methods of the study were criticized by Richard E. Nisbett for relying on small and haphazard samples and for ignoring data that did not support the conclusions.
> University of Reading geographer Stephen Morse also criticized the book (as well as IQ and the Wealth of Nations), arguing that the authors' hypothesis rests on "serious flaws". Morse also argued: "The central dilemma of the Lynn and Vanhanen case rests with their assumption that national IQ data are primarily (not wholly) a function of innate ability, which in turn is at least partly generated by genes. There are many assumptions of cause–effect in here, and some of them involve substantial leaps of faith."
> Evolutionary biologist Satoshi Kanazawa claimed in 2008 to have found support for Lynn's theories. Kanazawa's study has been criticized for using the Pythagorean theorem to estimate geographic distance, despite the fact that this theorem only applies to flat surfaces and the Earth's surface is roughly spherical. Other problems identified in this study include that Kanazawa incorrectly assumed that individuals migrated from Africa to other continents migrated as the crow flies, and ignored that geographic distance and evolutionary novelty do not always correspond to each other.
> Earl Hunt cited Lynn and Vanhanen's work as an example of scientists going far beyond the empirical support to make controversial policy recommendations, and as such as examples of irresponsible uses of science. Hunt argues that in their argumentation they both made the basic mistake of assigning causality to a correlation without evidence, and that they made "staggeringly low" estimates of Sub-Saharan African IQs based on highly problematic data. He considers that by their negligence of observing good scientific practice Lynn and Vanhanen are not living up to the basic responsibility of scientists to make sure that their results can function as reasonable empirical support for policy decisions.
> There's a lot of emotional hysterical screeching accusations of "racism" but those aren't valid arguments.
This is simply not true. I'm arguing that your claim is not based on solid rational foundations. You are the one throwing around irrational accusations, not me.
And nobody denies it.
Yet plenty would ask to what extent and how has nutrition, education (notably during development), and other environmental factors have been factored in trying to draw conclusions from that.
India for example tends to score lower and that despite no lack of genetic intermingling with surrounding areas yet should anyone trying to find a cause not consider for example iodine deficiency which is more common there?
”Superior IQs associated with mental and physical disorders, research suggests”
That rings true with observations I've made of high-IQ types, myself possibly included - I've generally done well on intelligence tests and with some types of intellectual endeavours, but that hasn't translated to life success, and I've suffered a lot of physiological (including neurological) illness. I've observed this pattern in plenty of others.
Indeed. This study is complete bullshit: https://www.gwern.net/SMPY#fn1
It contradicts every (non-self-selected) longitudinal or cross-sectional study, including far more elite samples (which if their theory was correct would show vastly more dysfunctionality, except of course it isn't and those samples don't), and every genetic study as well, and the reported (self-diagnosis) rates are often orders of magnitude larger than any risk factor ever confirmed and literally unbelievable.
Incidentally, Hambrick's writeup here is also quite bad. Aside from failing to mention all of those reasons why it's BS, he doesn't describe accurately the research he does mention. Consider this paragraph from the end:
> All the same, Karpinski and her colleagues’ findings set the stage for research that promises to shed new light on the link between intelligence and health. One possibility is that associations between intelligence and health outcomes reflect pleiotropy, which occurs when a gene influences seemingly unrelated traits. There is already some evidence to suggest that this is the case. In a 2015 study, Rosalind Arden and her colleagues concluded that the association between IQ and longevity is mostly explained by genetic factors.
How did he miss the fact that the Arden study in question shows, as all such studies show, that intelligence correlates with greater lifespan/longevity when he's written an entire credulous column about how intelligence is bad for you and makes people crazy and increases the rate of mental disorders (some of which, like schizophrenia, reduce your life expectancy by decades)? It's right there in the abstract, it's not hidden away. One would think that would at least merit a brief pause to puzzle over the discrepancy...
Also, Gwern's refutation doesn't cite a conclusive study that either links IQ/intelligence to genetic coding, or positively correlates IQ/intelligence with physiological health.
Another Scientific American article references several different studies that link brain/body impairments with enhanced cognition .
And we can easily see that several people generally accepted as being among the most intelligent in history – e.g., Hawking, Einstein, Tesla and Nietzsche – experienced debilitating physiological illness for much of their lives.
I'm well aware that none of this is conclusive; it's a hugely complex topic, with a lot of different evidence pointing in different directions, and the evidence one will embrace will likely be influenced more by their pre-established position than anything cited in this discussion.
For what it's worth, I had previously accepted the genetic-deterministic view of intelligence and general life outcomes, but can no longer do so after researching the topic deeply over many years. I do accept heritability has a strong influence, but I don't accept that it's limited to genetics, or that the effects are immutable.
The asthma one may be correct (and probably due to the hygiene hypothesis, and for the same reason as myopia). SMPY and others have reported that one. It has nothing, however, to do with their theories about hyperactive brains or intelligence being a bad thing. And are also quite minor and tradeoffs we willingly make.
> Also, Gwern's refutation doesn't cite a conclusive study that either links IQ/intelligence to genetic coding, or positively correlates IQ/intelligence with physiological health.
Because there is zero need to do so, as even Karpinski et al admit that there is overwhelming evidence associating intelligence with health in the normal range (you say you researched this topic deeply...?); that's why they need to postulate a U-curve which tucks away all of the negative effects in the top percentile which stuff like population registry studies can't look at in order to save the appearances.
> Another Scientific American article references several different studies that link brain/body impairments with enhanced cognition .
No. They link artistic obsession and savant syndromes. These are not exactly what people think of as 'enhanced cognition'. No one is being whacked on the head and waking up able to do quantum mechanics, compose a symphony, run a marathon etc. They are changed in narrow specific ways, often at the cost of other things.
I may not have read all the same papers as you (just as you haven't read everything I've read), but I have read a wide range of material, and have been undertaking a several-years-long self-experiment on the links between physiology, cognition, and other factors including nutrition, toxicity and trauma. I am interested in the role of genetics too, and I'm open-minded about all of it.
In no sense do I claim my knowledge to be exhaustive, but I don't think I can be accused of approaching the topic without sincerity or dedication.
> The asthma one may be correct (and probably due to the hygiene hypothesis, and for the same reason as myopia)
Can you provide links elaborating on that topic so I can learn more about the basis of those assumptions?
> They are changed in narrow specific ways, often at the cost of other things.
I'm not sure how that contradicts anything I've said. The notion that such trade-offs exist is fairly central to my understanding of these things.
To be clear, the claim I'm questioning is that IQ-measured intelligence is genetically determined and immutable (and correlated with race), and I'm pointing out one example of evidence that factors other than genetics also seem relevant, sometimes in surprising ways.
There are of course plenty of other factors, including but not limited to nutrition, toxicity and trauma.
If you don't have any significant disagreement with the last two paragraphs then we don't have any quarrel.
If you do, I'd welcome links providing opposing evidence.
Look: all of these things, like high IQ correlating positively (and not negatively) with health are well established in the field, starting over a century ago with Terman. If you really had investigated these things as extensively and diligently as you claim, you would not need to ask me for links, and you would not respond to my mention of specific very well-known paradigms by asking for links. You need links on the hygiene hypothesis or on the standard light-based theories of myopia...? Assuming you had somehow never heard of these, you are unable to search for it yourself? Really?
No, I'm not going to waste my time digging up 101-level references for you; if you want to debate on these topics, get yourself up to speed so you understand the basics like why Karspinski et al do not dare to attempt to claim ill-health in the normal range and claim it's only at the extremes, and you know all the things that they leave out but everyone in the field knows perfectly well which is why they regard Karpinksi as steaming bullshit.
> To be clear, the claim I'm questioning is that IQ-measured intelligence is genetically determined and immutable (and correlated with race), and I'm pointing out one example of evidence that factors other than genetics also seem relevant, sometimes in surprising ways.
If savantism does not boost intelligence as opposed to narrow skills, then it does not serve as a counterexample and is simply a non sequitur. Obviously.
It's fundamentally unknowable how much science is being denied the imprimatur of good science for ideological reasons while "actually" being good science. The best you can hope for is examples that meet a lower, more reasonable bar that point to problems in the culture of academia, from which you can extrapolate chilling effects.
There are examples of things like this, as in Case & Deaton's description of the reaction to their study on declining mortality amongst US whites:
> Deaton: Anne presented the first paper once and was told, in no uncertain terms: How dare you work on whites.
Case: I was really beaten up.
Deaton: And these were really senior people.
Case: Very senior people.
This example is just off the top of my head, and it's a blatant example of a study that _isn't even saying anything that taboo_, except among those whose brains have been thoroughly liquefied by politics. If examples as dramatic as this exist, at well-known, highly-regarded institutions, for a paper _published by a Nobel Laureate_, it's not unreasonable to conclude that there's some degree of unobservable cases that were actually successfully blocked, along with chilling effects changing the direction of research in the first place.
If nothing else I expect someone to be making that argument on at least one paper somewhere. Though how much merit that’s worth depends on the paper.
(Note that I'm referring to the opinions of "academia" fairly carelessly here for conciseness, when I mean things like "the dominant opinion among the individuals making up the departments that affect an academic's career")
 Note that I'm not making any statement about academia being left or right specifically. Ie, I think the OP comment of the thread may be right about these forces being sometimes lefty
That said I've read a whole bunch of essays by scientists whose research couldn't be published for explicitly stated ideological reasons over time, like this one:
The second thing is most people interpret mean (average) wrongly. It does not mean that every individual of group X is less intelligent than group Y. If all those activists had a better mathematical education they could probably deal better with the facts instead of harassing people who state them.
The controversial (and incorrect) claims are (a) that there is a scientific notion of 'race' and (b) that genetic differences between these 'races' are responsible for certain observed differences between certain populations.
Well then, you should probably throw out psychology, sociology, climate science, economics, and geology, among other fields, if you want to be consistent.
Perhaps you've stumbled upon the distinction between hard and soft science.
Sociology is harder to run experiments, because it deals with interactions among groups of people, rather than individuals. Nonetheless it benefits from natural experiments taking place all around us all the time. This opens it to a different set of confounds, because you cannot precisely design experiments to control them, but you can still do science. You cannot falsify arbitrary theories, but you can falsify many theories.
Ditto climate science; we can formulate numerical models, and refute them by comparing to the ongoing ground truth around us. We can use those numerical models to examine what would happen with perturbed environmental conditions. This a sound computational science for small perturbations. For larger perturbations or very long timescales, you will not have the necessary stability guarantees, but that doesn't mean that you can't do science.
Much of economics is secretly math. You have theorems and proofs rather than experiments. You're correct that this isn't science, but it's not trying to be, and that's OK. The remaining body of economics includes behavioral economics, which--much like psychology--is absolutely science, and can be done extremely rigorously, and macroeconomics, which is largely in the same boat as sociology; they have to take advantage of retrospective studies, but in a sufficiently diverse set of regional economies, you can do some science--you just can't always control for every confound via experimental design.
By contrast, most of evolutionary psychology is hardly testable since it tries to extrapolate what constitutes human essence at this point primarily from observable human behaviors, which is might be more a function of our current environment rather than genetics. It can also be used politically to justify anything, from neo-Nazism to anarcho-communism.
That's not required to do science. The notion one must be able to go back in time to prove evolution is absurd. Evolution happens, that's a fact. No system in the body, including the brain, is untouched by its processes and consequences.
Is it really insane to believe the Sentinelese have a difference in genetic ability to engage in abstract thinking compared ashkenazi jews?
That's....not exactly the same as being globally suppressed. Stephen Pinker seems to have not only survived but done quite well.
There are people looking for genes influencing intelligence, which is a more practical thing to look for.
I am pretty sure the British royal family has distinctive combinations of genes which are of course strongly correlated with a college education!
Comparing genetic ancestry and self-reported race/ethnicity in a multiethnic population in New York City
Self-reported race/ethnicity is frequently used in epidemiological studies to assess an individual’s background origin. How- ever, in admixed populations such as Hispanic, self-reported race/ethnicity may not accurately represent them genetically because they are admixed with European, African and Native American ancestry. We estimated the proportions of genetic admixture in an ethnically diverse population of 396 mothers and 188 of their children with 35 ancestry informative mark- ers (AIMs) using the STRUCTURE version 2.2 program. The majority of the markers showed significant deviation from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium in our study population. In mothers self-identified as Black and White, the imputed ancestry proportions were 77.6% African and 75.1% European respectively, while the racial composition among self-identified His- panics was 29.2% European, 26.0% African, and 44.8% Native American. We also investigated the utility of AIMs by showing the improved fitness of models in paraoxanase-1 genotype–phenotype associations after incorporating AIMs; however, the im- provement was moderate at best. In summary, a minimal set of 35 AIMs is sufficient to detect population stratification and estimate the proportion of individual genetic admixture; however, the utility of these markers remains questionable.
It absolutely does, which is why medical practitioners ask for race. Different races have different susceptibility to various medical conditions, for genetic reasons (even if we don’t understand the causal mechanisms yet).
So when you say "you are living in the past century", that could be a compliment -- it could say that the author is not being censored or brainwashed by a political orthodoxy.
If you actually want to improve his understanding of Race, I'd suggest providing him with some data that contradicts his statements, rather than just dismissing him as old-fashioned. Because on the other side of that, it implies that you could just be getting lost in a fashion.
Uh, this has been and continues to be extensively studied (along with other correlates of each, causal mechanisms, etc.), so the “no one will touch it” claim is rather firmly empirically refuted.
Not to mention, what's the point of IQ anyway?
Maybe no one is picking up the subject because it would be a waste of time?
I'd personally consider those other studies to be more important than race and IQ, and certainly more palatable. I think it's possible that the race/IQ factor has made that whole field untenable though.
I very much doubt it's because it's a waste of time, figuring out what interventions allow people to be smarter, to flourish, is pretty important. I'm pretty glad we got rid of lead paint, and leaded gasoline. That's a very visible and important intervention of the type that IQ research would help with.
A lot of related research goes on, but it seems like it very rarely touches directly on the subject of IQ. That being said it's understandable when any IQ researcher's research would be immediately weaponized by racists, no matter how useful it could be. Most of the examples you cite (race, education, economic background) would not be useful in-and-of them-self (at least in a just world) but would be useful to help control for those factors in other research.
The point of IQ research is that it effects real life outcomes that we care about, like health, education, social status, criminal behavior, STI status, having children outside marriage, many others.
If two groups are assumed to be identical but they have different outcomes one possible reason is discrimination. If they are not actually identical the difference can be real and not due to discrimination. East Africans are crushingly dominant in marathon running. This is not due to discrimination against non East Africans. If similar differences exist between different ancestry groups in intelligence you’ll see dramatic differences in outcomes. If they’re due to discrimination we can fix that. If not pretending they’re due to discrimination will just lead to a great deal of wasted effort.
Discrimination is not some leftist fantasy. Black Americans have been systematically deprived of quality environments for over 400 years. I am talking about truly horrific intellectual deprivation from making it illegal to read during slavery to living in highly polluted sections of segregated cities today.
When we talk about intellectual disparities history needs to be part of the conversation.
They have similar skin color, but that doesn't mean they're particularly closely related.
Black Africans have the by far biggest genetic diversity of any population. This is because our species evolved there, and has had the longest to develop variations. By contrast, the rest of humanity comes from relatively small populations of Africa emigrants.
As it happens the best long distance runners come from an region in East Africa, while the best sprinters come from a region in West Africa. This includes US sprinters.
It can be. Among Africans Igbo show much higher levels of educational attainment than others. I’m sure there are other groups this is true of.
> Discrimination is not some leftist fantasy. Black Americans have been systematically deprived of quality environments for over 400 years. I am talking about truly horrific intellectual deprivation from making it illegal to read during slavery to living in highly polluted sections of segregated cities today.
When we talk about intellectual disparities history needs to be part of the conversation.
I agree. For example Irish IQ scores were historically lower than English and this is no longer true.
Right, so all those olympic athletes from the rest of the world are merely under-achievers in their own societies?
Long distance running is a good candidate for second least culture bound sport, after sprinting.
East African also overstates the relevant population group. Among East Africans the Kalenjin, an ethnolinguistic group are themselves dominant.
The dominance of Kenyans in distance running
Kenyan runners, and especially those originating from the Kalenjin tribe, have dominated international middle- and long-distance running for over 40 years, prompting significant interest in the factors contributing to their success. Proposed explanations have included environmental factors, psychological advantage and favourable physiological characteristics, which may be genetically conferred or environmentally determined. Running is inherent within local Kenyan tradition and culture, and the Kenyan way of life, which involves many outdoor activities and pastimes in addition to mostly unfavourable living conditions, is conducive to enhanced distance running performance. Despite economic deprivation, Kenya has produced world and international running cham- pions repeatedly over the past few decades; these champions have become role models for the younger gener- ations, who take up running in the hope of a better future for themselves. Favourable environmental conditions such as altitude, diet and anthropometry, in addition to the motivational and socio-economic factors mentioned above, have all been proposed as possible reasons for the unsurpassed achievements of Kenyan dis- tance runners. However, the fact that the majority of internationally successful runners originate from a small tribe that accounts for approximately 3% of the total Kenyan population also points to a possible genetic component. Whether this is subject to influence from other co-factors, such as altitude or training effects acquired during childhood, remains as yet unresolved.
Understanding correlation is the first step to understanding causation, and a statistically significant correlation, by definition, implies that it is unlikely that there is not a causal relationship, though the cause may not be directly between the two studied variables.
> You could also have a study on correlation between IQ and poverty, IQ and access to education...
You could and you do. Or (to pick a real example that came up near the top, by recency, of a Google Scholar search for race and IQ) of the correlations between IQ, sex, and maternal obesity, controlling for (among other factors), race differences in IQ, which requires first having studied the correlation between race and IQ.
> Maybe no one is picking up the subject because it would be a waste of time?
Maybe the story that no one is picking up the subject is just a lie easily refuted by searching Google Scholar.
It's academics. Whether or not there is a use isn't really an important factor. It is enough to be agglomerating facts.
It certainly is to many funding sources, and academic research isn't free.
Yet you look at "race" (a social construct that itself correlates at best with about 50% actual genetics) and see a much larger effect. That by itself should immediately put this "black people are dumb" notion to bed (i.e. even if it's measuring something, it's clearly not measuring heritable diferences!). But instead everyone just doubles down on the nonsense, because the science is "polluted by cancel culture" or whatever.
And that's what this opinion piece is. It's an attempt by the political right (the Journal's editorial page is increasingly skewed these days -- most papers at least pretend to have a diversity of viewpoints) to explain away the science they don't want to be true by attacking "science" as a field.
The generally accepted range for genetic influences is much higher -- say 50% to 2/3 although we know little as to which genes do what when it comes to something like intelligence.
Who's being misleading here? That "generally accepted range" you're trying to invoke is precisely was is being studied here. And it was wrong, largely because the people generally accepting it were confusing social factors with genetic ones.
they used multiple validation cohorts, they controlled for environmental factors, they controlled for non-autosomal factors, applied multiple methods to boost the predictive performance of their model. adding more snps typically leads to an overfit and poor performing model on validation cohorts, which is why they use so much rigor and end up with usually 100-400 snps for each of the phenotypes.
in anycase they found a lot more than 10 SNPs, and they did more than one analysis in the paper.
Parent educational status is a significantly better predictor than the polygenic risk score for educational attainment. heritability (also known as r^2) for cognitive performance they estimated at an even lower ~7-10%.
I read both the Federalist and the Huffington Post, because it's interesting to contrast how issues are being presented in mass media (and I get a certain pleasure in exercising my bullshit detector). But I certainly don't link to them in pursuit of a reasoned argument, because they're both quite biased.
I mean: let's talk sample bias. So many psychological studies are run with just psychology students as subjects, certainly in cognitive science. There are also quite a few studies using questionable sources like Amazon Turk. Did anybody ever get reprimanded over this from higher up? I've only saw them receiving praise for yet another article published.
And they didn't even do that in this case. They retracted the study because it was flawed. The researcher has had an opportunity to revise the study, which happened; updates in . The retraction spells all this out; here's an excerpt, my emphasis added. You'll note that the researcher didn't lose her job, she just had to do a little more work to address concerns raised. Universities have to do this once and a while, when they publicize faulty research -- retract it, and if the researcher is willing to patch issues, post a revision.
> The University feels it is important to make the following three points about this incident:
> 1. This is not about academic freedom, as some news outlets have made it out to be. This faculty member — and, indeed, all Brown faculty members — have the right to conduct research on topics they choose. This is the case even for research that leads them into politically controversial territory. Brown gives its full support to this faculty member to conduct her research and publish her work.
> 2. This is about academic standards. Brown can publicize only a small subset of the great research conducted by our faculty. As a research institution, we feel we must ensure that work that is featured on the University website conforms to the highest academic standards. Given the concerns raised about research design and methods, the most responsible course of action was to stop publicizing the work published in this particular instance. We would have done this regardless of the topic of the article.
> 3. Academic freedom and inclusion are not mutually exclusive. This paper has attracted wide attention due to its politicized nature. Brown is steadfast in conveying to people who object to the content of the research that we stand by academic freedom, and will not do anything to thwart this (or any) faculty member’s research.
This is the problem with publications like The Federalist and Huffington Post: they mix editorializing and fact without making a clear distinction between the two. They've got agendas, and their primary focus is on reader enragement.
I'm not sure it's appropriate to limit such a question to Brown. It would be great to know how often shoddy studies are published, the types of errors / malpractice, in which fields, in which journals, how often they're caught, and how that's handled by journals, authors and the institutions that employ them. Perhaps you could do a meta-study and report back.
You don't have to block science, if you can block the scientist.
Also take into account this is an official, open requirement. For something like that to manifest, it has to be preceded by a lot of bias.
I have been hearing for a long time about how scientists are scared to question climate change, or gender differences between men and women. From what I've seen, the reality is that there are pretty clear conclusions that we can draw in those areas: that climate change is human-caused and dangerous, and that purely biological, mental differences between men and women are usually overstated.
Frankly, I don't think that there's a particularly strong culture in science that is scared to ask those questions, and while cancel culture is a real thing, I don't think it's a real problem here. I do think there's a culture at the edge of science that doesn't like the answers researchers have found, and that is aggressively underestating the degree of confidence in those answers in the hopes that certain debates can be prolonged forever rather than used to influence policy changes right now.
In other words, pervasive doubt can be just as dangerous and just as politically motivated as pervasive certainty. There are certain topics (such as climate change) where we effectively know the right answer. Of course we never reach 100% certainty, of course there are areas where we want to learn more, but we're a heck of a lot closer to 100% certainty than we are to 50% certainty.
Because of that, some of the taboos you notice on the far-edges of the scientific community are actually justifiable defensive measures -- because running the clock down while introducing impossible standards of certainty is an effective strategy to circumvent scientific and social progress. We saw this happen with the sugar industry, we saw it happen with the tobacco industry, we saw it happen with race science, and we're seeing it happen today with gender studies, climate science, and anti-vaxers.
If you were to look at the subjects I just listed to pick out a common theme or lesson, I would say that it is, 'beware isolated demands for scientific rigor, particularly when those demands are selectively applied in ways that benefit a political or socioeconomic status quo.'
The problem is this is circular: you reached your conclusions based on the output of the academic system (presumably).
I used to think like this, that if most scientists agreed on something it was very likely to be true, that mistakes by whole fields were exceptionally rare and remarkable events, and that groupthink wasn't very powerful.
Over the years I've been faced with evidence that I was wrong about those things, over and over again. Now I think if most scientists agree on a topic where you can't run extremely rigorous experiments then it's quite likely to be wrong, that mistakes by whole fields are very common and groupthink is extremely powerful.
I do think there's a culture at the edge of science ...
Science is almost entirely funded by governments. In some fields there's more diversity than others, but it's notable that the fields that seem to have the biggest problems and most controversies attached are the ones where there's little private sector involvement. If groupthink sets in, and due to the lack of any feedback loops from outside the academic system that is clearly a problem in academia, then almost by definition anything that's taboo will be at the "edge of science" even if it's right.
My perspective is that I used to think like you growing up as a Creationist, and I can't see a major difference between the arguments OP is making and the arguments that were made to me by members of my church. I used to be highly dismissive of group consensus, I used to say that if you couldn't explain your point in a way that convinced me in specific, that I didn't care how many people agreed with you.
I now think that consensus is an important metric that should be at least considered, particularly in areas where I am not an expert.
Of course, we've seen areas where the broader scientific community was wrong. Before race science became a fringe argument used by fringe segregationists, it was a generally accepted conclusion. But again, underconfidence is just as dangerous as overconfidence. You can't pick one, you have to reject both.
> you reached your conclusions based on the output of the academic system (presumably).
At the end of the day I have to base my conclusions on something, and I think basing them on scientific output is a better place to start than basing them on ideology. Even from the much more subjective metric of "do I trust the communities who argue for this", climate-science doubters and gender-science doubters don't come out looking well.
During the early rise of neural networks, where consensus was that this was extremely promising for AGI, I could find neutral, intelligent people that I respected who disagreed with that conclusion. That made me feel much more confident rejecting the general consensus myself. On the subject of gender-science, I can't find the same number of quality defectors. To me, the people saying that race/gender are heavily tied to IQ look a lot like Creationists, and I ain't getting pulled into that trap again.
I'm curious what led you away from creationism. Was it purely a matter of observing most people aren't creationists and deciding to go with the crowd? Or did people argue with you about it (perhaps implicitly via things you read or watched) and you came to realise the arguments didn't hold water?
Given no competing evidence against it, I'm happy to go with the apparent consensus on a topic, especially if it doesn't matter to me. Where there's disagreement combined with a question that matters though, argument-by-apparent-consensus doesn't do it for me anymore.
Partly this is because of what I saw in the Bitcoin community. That whole community lost its mind after a small minority of people hijacked the communication channels, started deleting any posts they disagreed with and loudly insisted that their (crazy, unsupported) views were actually the scientific consensus, that anyone who disagreed was either uninformed or - when they couldn't quite get away with that argument - simply in a tiny minority and should be ignored. None of that was true but because concepts like "consensus", "intellectual minority", "edge of science" etc are totally subjective they were able to effectively create in people's minds that belief despite that it was false.
I see a lot of that sort of behaviour in academia now. There are people who say, wait a minute, does that claim stack up? And in response what they get is "Shut up, you aren't qualified to have an opinion, 97% of scientists all agree so they can't be wrong". Such claims of consensus usually fall apart when examined, but you can't get the word out because those same people are doing everything they can to silence disagreement.
That's why I don't think we can really trust much academic output. The signs of groupthink are all there. Note: I distinguish between science and academia. Lots of great science is done by corporations, e.g. in the field of AI. It's the institution of academia that has the problems, not science as a concept.
To me, the people saying that race/gender are heavily tied to IQ look a lot like Creationists, and I ain't getting pulled into that trap again.
Look in what way? The people I've seen say that are all scientists or people quoting them. I don't like these conclusions either, because I'd like to believe my own intelligence or IQ is related to hard work and not DNA. As would everyone! But I can't just blow the people off who have research showing these things because of how they look. Surely that'd make me the whatever-ist?
That is a downright sinister use of moving the goal posts that effectively calls not actively ensuring suppression of all inevitable all succession related mutations an evil. Since how else do they hope to maintain a status quo post-mortrem? Merely leaving the replacements to decide would.
I wonder if there is a word for that "not-even remotely a crime" cast as something sinister vilification effort. Given an inverse Halo effect I wonder if most users are even aware that they are doing it.
What this article and other "dark web" people are doing is trying to play the victim and contriving a boogeyman. Just because science isn't shouting "omg women are inherently submissive" and "oh black people are better suited to manual labor", "dark webbies" make it sound like someone is suppressing research into any such area. Finally, climate change is real and people should get over it. If you look within the scientific community there's a huge range of diversity on opinions on every issue, including climate change. It's just not of the type "dark web" enthusiasts would like it to be because it's constrained by actual facts and not fantasies.
By the way, scientists tend to be left-leaning in general. It's not like there's some force out there "pushing them" to act like lefties. And no, the general leftward tendency of scientists doens't negatively impact research, because science isn't political. Climate change isn't a political issue, and neither are any of these other so-called "points". Science is about learning how nature works. The scientific establishment certainly has some flaws, most notable being the publish-or-perish regime that dominates many fields. But this dark web stuff is total nonsense that's only there to justify shitty beliefs or make people feel special and part of some "cool", "rebel" outsider group without having to put any work in.
Edit: oooh looks like i made some dark webbers salty. Downvote as many comments as you want, everyone is onto this charade. If you care about objectivity, fairness or justice then stop looking for boogeymen and easy narratives and focus on trying to make a difference for people who need help.
A bunch of liberals at American universities isn't enough to completely throw off something like climate change or genetic influences on behavior. A lot of eyes have looked at a lot of data.
So why do taboos against topics like race and gender biology exist?
Tell me why the gate is there.
So... the correct results that are being suppressed all skew to the political right and in favor of established social order? Really? You're sure that's not itself an observer bias?
The trick is to find one that will produce money for you as a researcher/investor even if it's an unpopular opinion (i.e. not reliant on investment / cooperation from mainstream players).
Related, what's the best way to short cancel-culture-heavy endeavors? Seems like it predicts a much higher chance of failure in the long term.
> ensuring pursuit of severely one sided science for decades
More like a government level effort, not some random left leaning activism infesting science. So this is the social and economic policy they want.
Once you start trying to attack climate change, you lose all your credibility. This is something that has MOUNTAINS of evidence that is quite clear and gets even clearer with the passage of time.
> extremely strong, emergent cultural pressure against certain results and certain questions, which has been holding back a wide range of fields and ensuring pursuit of severely one sided science for decades.
> Once you start trying to attack climate change, you lose all your credibility
I am a firm believer in climate science, but this reaction suggests that the post you're replying to is correct.
Sorry, there are things in this world called facts. There are things in this world that are empirically correct. As far as science can determine, climate change is factual and real. If that isn't your position, you really don't believe in climate science. And I'm calling you out on it--this isn't a "truthiness" zone.
The climate politics, aka what should be done about it, is a very different problem and falls under social and economic "science".
No amount of supporting evidence renders a topic exempt from scrutiny.
Climate science is solid, to my knowledge. And while I think most of the people who want to see it pulled down from the pedestal are wackos, intellectual humility demands that they be allowed to continue to try. Not with the same tired tactics – they shouldn't be able to DDoS debate with the same old crap. But to the extent that people can come up with novel, testable angles.. the question shouldn't be forbidden.
There's subjectivity here. IMO there are good faith and bad faith attempts to challenge eg climate science. The overwhelming majority are in bad faith. But the good faith versions of the question should not only go unpunished, but be encouraged.
It doesn't seem to go that way in practice. Certain lines of inquiry are de-facto forbidden in science, at least informally.
As for climate modeling, there are WILD differences in projections.
This is why there are constant "X years until point of no return!" articles in tabloid media, which are all different and usually incorrect.
Immediately shooting people down for being anti-science for suggesting the impact is on the lower end of the prediction spectrum is not scientific.
Further strengthening your denialist status is the fact that you in a separate post (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22050842) try to pass off state censorship of criticism to its (suggested) policies as suppression of research disproving climate change.
Also, insisting the wildfires are caused more by arson than exceptional drought and heat is also unambigiously mainstream denialism.
If you are serious about going into the climate change discussion, you obviously have some reading to do about the status of the research, and more importantly the over 30 years of organised and well funded attempts to discredit and suppress climate research.
Back in 2014, Nature did an entire series of articles that attempted to explain the "global warming pause".
And now, recent articles claim there never was a pause.
So it's apparent there is disagreement even among those scientists who are firm believers in global warming.
The problem with our societies approach to climatology is anyone who scratches the surface of this field sees problematic practices, but the moment they try and talk about it legions of what can only be described as true believers attack them and do everything they can to shut them down and destroy them completely. Our societies discussion about climate has become totally unhinged. You now see important people who seem to literally believe the world will end in just a few years or decades. There's absolutely no reason to believe this, yet any attempt to bring the discussion back down to earth via actual scientific discussion is attacked as "denialism".
What will happen as a result of those changes and how it will impact us are models. The application of those models fed by assumptions for the trends/changes in the parameters are forecasts. Forecasts and models aren't facts.
So are you defending the facts? Or are you calling your favorite models/forecasts facts and saying no one can question them?
Seems to me that science education is as much an issue as the taboos...
I don't doubt you when you say that researchers are open when it comes to the models for which they are competing with. People who conduct research is usually doing it for a genuine interest to find out answers, and in the domain of those models I am not worried. The concern is when they intersect with politics, such as the above example.
There are certainly individual claims of climate change that are probably not entirely correct. That's how science works - hypotheses are made, experiments run, some are disproved and others continue to stand. Anyone who works to disprove those claims runs the risk of being tagged a denier due to the actions and motives of those who came before them. I don't have much sympathy.
EDIT: Apparently this isn't even true. Individual claims are rebutted all the time and the theory is adjusted according to https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22050728. I'll leave my original comment up for posterity.
Excellent example! I'm no climate scientist, but I am a former geoscientist, and as it happens, all of our estimates for historic atmospheric conditions are based on various proxies which in turn are rooted in assumptions. Let's take a look at ice cores, for example. The theory is that bubbles of gas are trapped during solidification and a very strong assumption is that gas ratios do not change through processes like diffusion while the ice changes state through gradual burial over thousands of years. Now I could not find any literature after a cursory search questioning or even exploring such assumptions. But it is a fact that at least one other indicator contradicts estimates from ice cores. Plant stomata overreport historic CO2 concentrations relative to ice cores.
Now, a hypothetical thought experiment: suppose a scientist is able to obtain funding for and completes research which suggests that ice cores actually underestimate peak CO2 concentrations, indicating that modern levels are actually not as unprecedented as commonly believed. Which scenario do you think is more plausible:
1. The paper is published and the field of climate scientists, quite entrenched in a particular dominant viewpoint, become much more sceptical.
2. The scientist is shunned, if they even find an outlet willing to publish, for being a denier, and their career is jeapordized.
Remember, scientists need to eat too.
I do not wish to turn this into a debate about climate science. But there are other perfectly valid indicators, hard to find in "prestigious" journals, which are in desperate need of scrutiny but are not explored because people who spend their best years pursuing a PhD are unlikely to risk destroying their careers and losing their jobs when they have safer questions to ask. That's a large component of this emergent pressure to research in a particular safe direction.
Honestly, given the massive uncertainty that we deal with in geoscience, with strong economic pressures to be precise (oil wells are expensive) it is extremely difficult for me to see the same wildly uncertain proxies, models, and technologies being used to justify unquestionability of facts in climate science, particularly considering the risks of overestimating warming are far lower than drilling a $200MM dry hole. Climate is a massive, complex, chaotic system which we have only recently begun studying, and requires enormous infrastructure for data collection, processing, and modeling, the latter of which cannot be empirically verified. To believe that the science is settled and beyond questioning is naive. CO2 levels are rising, but how far this deviates from the norm and how bad it may ultimately be for humans and animals is still an open question.
It seems to me this should be an easy matter to analyze in detail. Diffusion would blur two distinct bands into each other, right? A sharp change in gas composition would appear more gradual with time, as diffusion blurred the boundary. So, are there sharp changes in the old ice? Lack of sharp changes might not prove anything, but the presence of sharp changes in very old ice should be informative. I'm no statistician but it seems to me a statistician should be able to look at the data and give you an upper bound on diffusion.
The oil industry is literally the wealthiest industry in the history of the world. Oil companies and petrostates are perfectly capable of funding and feeding any and all contrarian scientists. I find it really hard to believe that the stigma of being labeled a 'denier' is what is holding back researchers. More likely is that plenty of research is being or has been done, but nothing truly compelling has yet to be found.
This is disappointing but it's not climate change censorship, it's ETS (as a solution to carbon emissions) censorship.
Edit - And he was probably wrong anyway, look at the results of the ETS in action: https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/climate-cuts-cov...
ETS and climate change are inextricably linked and related.
If the establishment cannot even handle dissent on solutions, how could they handle dissent on the actual problem?
Considering the next conservative government cut funding to the CSIRO, particularly in climate science areas is there any evidence that it's about the report itself or is it just about not pissing off the current government?
Considering how heavy handed the climate deniers have been (https://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article129837...) you're going to need more examples.
I'm not sure if you're defending or supporting CSIRO here. Bending to the whims of the government is reprehensible for an "independent" organization.
Also, consider the words of the scientist who was censored: "Managers said it was a political hot potato — too political to publish". 
So CSIRO is acting politically, using bullying and harassment to force censorship.
I don't see why I should have to prove a trend, I've already shown the chilling effect they intended.  Speak against the political grain, and get severely punished personally and have your career ruined. This means politics is driving climate science through intimidation.
Honest question: do you think anyone would put their livelihood, career and reputation on the line to question the political status quo after someone was publicly executed for doing so?
Not if backed up by data. I believe that we had this recently with the fact that one of the temperature measurements was off and stuck out. Eventually they traced it back to calibration on sensor platform.
There is a VAST difference between the science of climate change (does it exist and what caused it) and the politics of climate change (what should be done about it). The deniers always want to conflate the two because the science is basically unassailable.
More troubling is his claim that they are "weaponizing" reproducibility against climate change. Doesn't that raise a red flag? If you're worried that reproducibility poses a problem for something, doesn't that mean you might just a little bit probably have beliefs not based on reproducible science, but on faith? And that the irreproducible science has a chance of being wrong?
I'm not trying to deny climate science, I think it's real. But it seems like there's a real problem with this person's stance and how they're trying to argue and obstruct.
I'm kind of a believer that people can think for themselves. Let anybody attend anything - if it's a science convention that isn't promoting science it seems like it's not going to get very far, no protesting required.
Who are these people who feel that simply listening to someone speak is equivalent to endorsing them?
No one is hiding scientific claims about climate change. It wouldn't be difficult to list scientific claims, but that's not his point. He is complaining that this organization is misrepresenting itself and the nature of its event in order to trick people into attending or appearing to support something they do not actually support.
He doesn't claim that climate deniers' arguments are incorrect because of something about their character or motives (that would be an ad hominem attack). He just doesn't want people to be deceived regarding this organization and its conference.
> More troubling is his claim that they are "weaponizing" reproducibility against climate change. Doesn't that raise a red flag?
No. Why should it raise a red flag? People can invoke the name of true and important criticisms in the defense of beliefs that are incorrect or harmful.
> I'm kind of a believer that people can think for themselves. Let anybody attend anything - if it's a science convention that isn't promoting science it seems like it's not going to get very far, no protesting required.
It seems like this person would agree with you: and that's why he has made an effort to inform people that (in his view) this conference is not promoting science. Moreover, how is this so-called "cancel culture" incompatible with people thinking for themselves? This person can write criticisms about an organization in a Twitter thread. Someone from that organization can write a WSJ article in response. People can and do choose what to believe. This Twitter poster (presumably) does not have the ability to unilaterally cancel anything, nor is there some cultural rule that if his tweets get a certain number of likes then the target of his criticism automatically gets cancelled.
Furthermore, the organization you're talking about isn't even NAS -- it's NASEM: the "National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine". [1,2]
This was all described in the article.
Furthermore, there are a bunch of other groups with the acronym NAS:
Nationaal Arbeids-Secretariaat", a trade union federation in the Netherlands from 1893 to 1940
National Academy of Songwriters, a music industry association for songwriters
National Apprenticeship Service, the official UK government body responsible for apprenticeship coordination
National Archives of Scotland, in Edinburgh, Scotland
National Association of Scholars, an educational organization based in the United States
National Association of Schoolmasters, a former trade union representing teachers in the UK
National Association of Seadogs, a Nigerian confraternity
National Audubon Society, an American environmental organization dedicated to conservancy
National Autistic Society, an autism-related charity in the United Kingdom
National Salvation Front (South Sudan), a South Sudanese militant group
Nautical Archaeology Society, a British archaeology charity
Nord Anglia International School Dubai
If I encounter an organisation with a name that tries to make me sound reputable primarily funded by Marlboro
If I take not of the fact that they make the claim that cigarettes are not unhealthy.
If they support this claim by picking and choosing data and misconstruing and twisting the words of reputable sources and scientists to make them fit their claim. (See their mention of a Claudia Tebaldi statement in the report this mess is about and other fud they've written in the past of course completely disregarding anything else she'd say that conflicts with their views)
If disregarded and bashed for this I then see them rethink strategy and simply start saying there are too many studies showing the negative effects on health are not reproducible (not defining what is too many which can be anything from hundreds to a single one) and drawing a link to "anti cigarette dogma"
Can I then not say they are weaponising reproducibility without being accused of just "being afraid I'm wrong"?
Anastasios Tsonis https://www.businessinsider.com/scientists-who-deny-climate-...
Elliot D. Bloom https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=403...
Patrick J. Michaels https://climateinvestigations.org/patrick-michaels-climate-d...
S. Stanley Young https://errorstatistics.com/2014/12/13/s-stanley-young-are-t...
David Randall https://undark.org/2018/04/18/national-association-of-schola...
David Theroux https://blog.independent.org/2012/10/27/its-official-no-glob...
Peter Wood https://undark.org/2018/04/18/national-association-of-schola...
Overall, I'm mostly underwhelmed by the evidence he presents. Anastasios probably falls into the climate change denier camp, though I know him from my time in UWM's math department and I believe he's a genuine skeptic acting in good faith. On the other hand, I turned up an awful lot of unscientific nonsense peddled by Elliot Bloom in my short time looking into him .
I haven't looked into the rest other than by following links above, which again are off-putting but not completely damning. I will add that the National Association of Scholars does appear to publish a lot of articles on climate change by clear climate change deniers and authors with significant links to the oil and gas industry , including:
- Leo Goldstein, whose website makes such claims as "CO2 in a greenhouse does NOT warm it. 'Greenhouse gas' is a misnomer.", "Higher CO2 concentrations in atmosphere do warm the surface, but only insignificantly.", and "Of all potential global dangers conceivably related to human activity, nothing has been studied better and found more harmless than anthropogenic CO2 release." 
- Edward Reid, who has at least 26 years of experience in the natural gas industry  and "fifty years of experience in the energy industry".
- David Legates, who according to Wikipedia "is a senior scientist of the Marshall Institute, a research fellow with the Independent Institute, and an adjunct scholar of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, all of which have received funding from ExxonMobil." 
 For example, the graphic at 1:17:08 of https://youtu.be/1zrejG-WI3U?t=4628 is based on the same data as the graphic in http://archive.is/qlqA8, which is debunked here https://blog.hotwhopper.com/2014/02/roy-spencers-latest-dece... and in the follow-up linked at the top of that page
There are certain topics that are so settled, that to engage with anyone with a contrary view is tantamount to giving them credibility and a platform to reach the uninformed. Some topics simply don't have "both sides" in any meaningful sense. Flat eartherism, Holocaust denial, and antivaxxerism are ones that immediately come to mind. Anyone who denies the mainstream consensus on those subjects is either a moron, a dishonest person with selfish or malicious motives, or both.
Denial of human-caused climate change is close to being in that bucket by this point (the next 2 decades will determine the truth of it). From the perspective of those advocating for action against climate change, deniers have blocked any sort of meaningful action for nearly 30 years. Their actions have led to unprecedented, potential economic, humanitarian, and ecological crises.
You could say the same thing about geocentrism, germs , fat vs sugars, etc. - which all turned out to be false, given time and scrutiny.
Scientists have to learn the science to understand it, and that means encountering it from all perspectives. As new generations of people learn, they all have to go through it all again.
To not do so is to promote faith, not science.
Plus if denialism is wrong, then there should be nothing to worry about anyway. Assuming scientists are scientific, they will consider it, consider other evidence, and come to the correct conclusion.
Those things were not proven false by simply exposing the supposed political influence in the practice of science! The validity of a scientific theory does not depend on the political influence of the institutions that researched or proposed the theory. They were proven false and replaced by better scientific theories.
I don't follow the logic of that. If denialism is wrong, but it's influencing society and policy, how is that not something to worry about?
The payoff for anthropogenic climate change existing and us doing something is much higher than the price of it not existing and us doing something.
By engaging in cancel culture, it gives the silenced side way more credibility, because they can say “why are they afraid to let us speak?” It’s not just that cancel culture is morally bad, its also ineffective.
It's easy for a bullshitter to make up more bullshit, and people love to believe "contrarian" bullshit so they can appear smarter than the next guy. Refuting bullshit takes time, energy, and effort that could be spent on more productive activities.
It's absolutely a worry that legitimate contrarian speech (I get that that's an oxymoron to some people) might be suppressed. But that's not what's currently happening.
Fats vs sugars I don't know what you're referring to, but it hasn't really ever been a scientific theory.
The germs article about a discovery in the 1800's. And if that is a allegory about climate change, the doctor's who denied germ theory are the climate deniers.
> Plus if denialism is wrong, then there should be nothing to worry about anyway. Assuming scientists are scientific, they will consider it, consider other evidence, and come to the correct conclusion.
Scientists have already considered it and come to the correct conclusion. And if climate change denialism is wrong (which pretty much every scientist who has studied the subject believes) and we choose not to act that could cause billions to trillions of dollars in harm and many lost lives.
Also climate change science is pretty simple. If you take a green house and fill it with carbon dioxide it will get hotter. Do the same thing to a planet and it will get hotter. Not to mention the global temperature record has told a very consistent sorry over the last decades of warming.
We shouldn't use science to inform policy?
Flat Earth though seems pretty valuable to me. It's an intellectual exercise to argue a challenging position, and to do so you must learn the evidence you're arguing against. Until flat Earth advocates start getting into NASA or something I can't see how they're doing any harm.
In general, I tend to think that even if some ideas are toxic and should be kept from children or the mentally disturbed, there's nothing wrong with discussing ideas of any kind between people speaking peacefully and consensually.
>The @NASorg [National Association of Scholars] sounds like the National Academy of Science, but it's not.
>The conference they are organizing has 21 speakers. Of them, 7 are hard core climate change deniers and 0 are climate experts.
Sounds like a pretty shady group to me.
I took an environmental law seminar at Northwestern, and one of the invited guests was read the riot act by faculty who accused him for being a climate change denier. But he didn't actually deny climate change, he just had a model that predicted 50% as much increase in temperate at IPCC average models. And, for that, many called him a denier.
So just because Teytelman makes this claim, doesn't mean its true. Teytelman might also be 100% correct.
That is NOT what his Tweets say. He is warning that the conference is not what it says it is but nowhere does he argue for canceling the conference.
I've been warning people not to attend it.
This kind of spiking backfires badly when discovered (NBC blocking Ronan Farrow because they had their own related problems, he wound up taking the story elsewhere).
# Nasorg sounds like NAS and could be mistaken for it.
# Nasorg is conservative and have published material with conservative slant.
# 7 out of 21 speakers are climate denialists.
# Therefore it is righteous to deplatform them.
The question is the last point: assuming everything else here is true, is this sufficient grounds for deplatforming? Do you want to live in a world where it is?
Edit: apparently the HN answer is: yes, we totes do.
For example, the scientific method deplatformed geocentrism.
It's not "deplatforming" when your objection to someone speaking is about what they're saying. An organization pushing climate change denial should not be treated as credible because climate denial is not science.
Anyone who has even the faintest experience with physicists -- anyone who has sat in a room full of them -- knows that there are thousands upon thousands of physicists in the world, any of whom are perfectly capable of interpreting the detailed technical reports from climatologists. If the theory of global warming was carious, there are a lot of people who would know. Physicists are known to complain about theories they don't like, and they do -- usually about string theory or fusion power, never about climatology.
And that's just it. Anyone who understands enough physics to read a paper knows that the "climate change debate" is a media ploy to trick people into voting for something stupid.
The people running the ploy have made their beliefs known as well -- they realize that climate change is going to happen, but they think that the world, or at least the West, will be OK. Ronald Bailey delivers the exegesis of this viewpoint, and his readers are largely the educated right, who go on to encourage this nonsense among the gullible.
> Since 2006, Motl's has focused less on fundamental physics research and instead on controversial questions in other, related fields. In these related fields, Motl is regarded as something of a crackpot.
The speakers aren't talking about climate denial. They are talking reproducibility in science.
Bullshit. They look down their nose at climatology just like any other science without any experimental validation of theoretical models (a.k.a soft science).
Agree or disagree with the event's motivations, trying to get it shut down is an outright attack. Defending against that publicly, like this article seems so do, is warranted and not an attack on Mr. Teytelman.