“a kind of social paranoia, a belief that mysterious, hostile forces are operating to cause inequalities in educational and occupational performance, despite all apparent efforts to eliminate prejudice and discrimination”

Quoting from Arthur Jensen’s book Educability and group differences (1973). He was being criticized for postulating genetic causes, which some critics think would cause great social harm if they were to be believed. That is, Jensen was replying to the Turkheimers of yesteryear. The scientific task is to get at the facts and properly verifiable…

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Paige-Harden, Turkheimer and the psychometric left

Kathryn Paige Harden is professor of psychology who belongs to the Turkheimerian ‘left psychometrics’ school. I’ve discussed the odd behavior of Eric Turkheimer before, but since then I found a rather amazing essay: The Search for a Psychometric Left 1997 (the journal seems to no longer exist). It’s definitely worth reading in its entirely, but…

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What you can’t say: genetic group difference edition

Paul Graham‘s 2004 essay What you can’t say had a big influence on me and remains my favorite essay. In he argued essentially that popular morality shows fashion tendencies i.e. that it varies over time but for no evidence-linked reason. What is at one time considered a grievous moral evil is later considered not a…

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It works in practice, but does it work in (my) theory?

There’s a certain type of person that doesn’t produce any empirical contribution to “Reducing the heredity-environment uncertainty”. Instead, they contribute various theoretical arguments which they take to undermine the empirical data others give. Usually, these people have a background in philosophy or some other theoretical field. A recent example of this pattern is seen on…

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Animal cross-fostering, race and IQ, and the deductivist’s fallacy

I wish to coin a fallacy I’ve seen a number of times, exemplified in this paper: Kempthorne, O. (1978). A BIOMETRICS INVITED PAPER: Logical, epistemological and statistical aspects of nature-nurture data interpretation. Biometrics, 1-23. Abstract: In this paper the nature of the reasoning processes applied to the nature-nurture question is discussed in general and with…

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Review: The Censor’s Hand (Carl E. Schneider)

Schneider, C. (2015). The censor’s hand: the misregulation of human-subject research. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. Medical and social progress depend on research with human subjects. When that research is done in institutions getting federal money, it is regulated (often minutely) by federally required and supervised bureaucracies called “institutional review boards” (IRBs). Do–can–these IRBs do…

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Chomsky on postmodernism [repost]

This text used to be hosted at Shalizi‘s university website, but it was recently taken down for unknown reasons. However, Internet Archive saves us, and I repost it here because it’s interesting and so it doesn’t get lost. This text has circulated quite a number of times on Usenet, and so far as I know…

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