Some media appearances. Not everything will be listed as most media mentions are just copies of what other media write.
Talks and interviews — see this page
Media mentions by date and topic
These are in English unless otherwise noted.
E-democracy using blockchain technology — May 2014
OKCupid dataset release — May 2016
- Fortune: Researchers Caused an Uproar By Publishing Data From 70,000 OkCupid Users (neutral)
- WIRED: OkCupid Study Reveals the Perils of Big-Data Science (negative)
- Forbes: 70,000 OkCupid Profiles Leaked, Intimate Details And All (mixed?)
- Vice, Motherboard: 70,000 OkCupid Users Just Had Their Data Published (negative)
- (Danish) DR: Dansk studerende offentliggør 70.000 brugere af datingsite (neutral)
- Retraction Watch: Publicly available data on thousands of OKCupid users pulled over copyright claim (neutral)
- The actual paper
There are many more on this topic as it was a worldwide media event. Not written in any of the articles is that the Danish Data Protection Agency (Datatilsynet) did look into the matter, but decided not to file any charges against me. Thus, all the media has written is that they were looking into it etc., but not the news that nothing happened. Here’s the letter from Datatilsynet, along with my clean criminal records:
In 2016 while the media attacks were ongoing I wrote an FAQ detailing answers to various popular questions. It can be found here.
Adam Perkins attack affair — February 2017
For unknown reasons, some people decided to make up spelling errors and attack Adam Perkins for reposting official labor statistics. Lots of claims about lack of peer review, no source given etc., when it would have taken a total of maybe 5 minutes to find the actual source and verify the numbers. The first plot is not even mine, but was simply reused in my paper. It is from Norwegian & Finnish researchers (Skardhammar et al 2014). See also here.
The IQ of immigrants — March-April 2017
- (French) Breizh-Info: Emil Kirkegaard : « Le quotient intellectuel mondial est à peu près de 85 » (positive)
- (French Swiss) Le Temps: Dans le laboratoire de la «fake science» (negative)
I think the second is a kinda sorta reply to the first, but I don’t know what the real motive is behind this hit piece. The journalist was deliberately misleading.
Pseudoscience — May 2017
Norwegian media researcher Petter B. Brandtzæg discusses me as an example of an ideological pseudoscientist. Unclear what prompted this mentioning. Perhaps the above, but seems unlikely given that these were in French.
London Conference on Intelligence — December 2017 (ongoing)
This resulted in a quite large number of media reports, some more inaccurate than others. It began with two people who did some original research: a pair of students at UCL wrote for London Student, a student blog/newspaper. Then a bunch of larger media copied it more or less verbatim, sometimes adding their own variants, sometimes not.
- London Student: Exposed: London’s eugenics conference and its neo-Nazi links (negative)
- Guardian: UCL to investigate eugenics conference secretly held on campus (negative)
- The Scientist: Secret Eugenics Conference Uncovered at University College London (negative)
- The Telegraph: UCL launches ‘eugenics’ probe after it emerges academic held controversial conference for three years on campus (negative)
- Independent: University College London launches ‘eugenics’ probe after controversial conference secretly held on campus (negative)
- Russia Today: Shamed Toby Young ‘attended secret eugenics conference with neo-nazis and pedophiles’ (negative)
- Daily Mail: Top London university launches probe into conference that included speakers with controversial views on race and gender (neutral)
- VDARE: Then They Came For The London Conference on Intelligence–And Science, And Free Speech (neutral/positive)
- Kristeligt Dagblad: Dansker deltog i kontroversiel konference om racehygiejne (neutral) (Danish)
Curiously, the Daily Mail’s coverage was the most neutral and least inaccurate of the English sources. The Danish Christian newspaper’s coverage was also good.
Racism coming back / Wikipedia as a battleground — January-March 2018
Not sure what prompted the SPLC one in particular, perhaps Guardian’s recent pieces, though I’m not mentioned directly. These two pieces were written by long-time social justice activists with no science background to speak of, but of course making strong claims about various topics:
- Guardian: Racism is creeping back into mainstream science – we have to stop it
- Guardian: The unwelcome revival of ‘race science’
- SPLC: Wikipedia wars: inside the fight against far-right editors, vandals and sock puppets (negative)
Science denialism in politics — April 2018
German magazine Tichys Einblick covered some research of mine:
Regional social inequality and intelligence — April 2018
French right-wing newspaper Breizh-Info has a story on my regional intelligence paper with Lynn and Fuerst (Lynn et al 2018):
- Une étude sur le QI moyen de chaque département français (French)
- English translation (coming)
Noah Carl firing affair — 2018-2019
I am sometimes mentioned in articles covering this:
- Varsity: Senior Eddie’s fellow found ‘potential failures of disclosure’ by Noah Carl during college appointment process
- Cherwell: Former Nuffield fellow denounced for “racist pseudoscience”
- New Statesman: No, objecting to Cambridge’s appointment of a eugenicist is not about free speech
Attack piece on Quillette — December 2019
I am tangentially mentioned in this attack piece on Claire Lehmann and Quillette.
Andrew Sabisky affair — February 2020
I am tangentially mentioned in relations to the hire-and-fire case of Andrew Sabisky, who attended the London conference in 2015.
- The Independent: I warned about the spreading influence of eugenics – yet an advocate was able to work at Downing Street
A book few book mentions — 2018-2019
Not exactly media mentions, but mentions of sorts. These are all the book mentions I saw.
Dutton, E., & Woodley of Menie, M. A. (2018). At Our Wits’ End: Why We’re Becoming Less Intelligent and What it Means for the Future (1st Edition). Societas. Google Books.
So, let us turn to what is happening, using the example of Denmark. Emil Kirkegaard is a Danish researcher who began his career by doing a degree in linguistics. Indeed, his bachelor’s thesis looks at the exciting issue of Danish spelling reform. However, tiring of the academic quiet life, Kirkegaard has turned to the academic hot potato of group differences in IQ.
Rindermann, H. (2018). Cognitive capitalism: Human capital and the wellbeing of nations. Cambridge University Press. Google Books.
Emil Kirkegaard is a young student of linguistics and researcher, born around 1990, who developed together with other scientists a new, peer-reviewed online publication platform. This is an example of citizen science not totally unusual in intelligence research. Intelligence research is attractive to intellectuals from outside the field who pick up research questions that are not sufficiently studied by institutionalised science and frequently disregarded due to political reasons.
On May 8, 2016, two researchers—Emil Kirkegaard and Julius Bjerrekaer—
scraped information from the online dating site OkCupid and publicly released a dataset of about 70,000 users, including variables such as username, age, gender, …
Whatever the scientific merits of their work, the researchers in this group were and still are undeniably tight-knit. Most of them are largely unknown outside their circle but highly prolific within it. They have managed to build a thin veneer of scientific credibility that comes from getting published and cited, almost entirely by publishing and citing one another. And they keep finding new outlets for their work. The latest addition to this alliance is Open Differential Psychology, an open-access online journal that claims to have been set up in 2014 by a Danish research fellow at the Ulster Institute of Social Research called Emil Kirkegaard. It includes Gerhard Meisenberg and John Fuerst among its reviewers, and its published papers so far include a study of IQ in Sudan, and of crime among Dutch immigrant groups.
- Richardson, V. J., Teeter, R., & Terrell, K. (2019). Data analytics for accounting. McGraw-Hill Education.
I could not find a copy of this, but seems to use the OKCupid data story as an example.
Leftist sociology article — 2020
A weird kind of attention, but surprisingly accurate. See also this post on the same guy.
Iturriaga, N., Panofsky, A., & Dasgupta, K. (2020). How white nationalists mobilize genetics: From genetic ancestry and human biodiversity to counterscience and metapolitics. American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
In other contexts, DIY biologists (Patterson, 2010), have rejected precautionary admonitions as tools of professionals to patronize amateurs and stifle their creativity. This can be seen in, Kirkegaard’s (2015) call for behavioral geneticists to publish polygenic scores for educational attainment for different racial groups. Geneticists have argued such comparisons are invalid, likely reflecting population stratification and different environments than different genetic endowments for education (Duncan et al., 2019; Novembre & Barton, 2018). Kirkegaard agrees such cautions “should be taken into account when interpreting the results, but is not sufficient for not showing the results” (3) he then accuses researchers of not publishing the data for political reasons. But his interests aren’t purely intellectual; such information, he argues, would be necessary for eugenic programs of selective abortion or genetic engineering to improve cognitive outcomes. In contrast to the relative caution of professional geneticists, the energy of this group of amateur researchers comes from the bold,unconventional (many would say fictitious) statistics and provocative interpretations.
These efforts have begun to pay off in terms of pushing their ideas into mainstream American Psychological Association journals such as Intelligence and Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences. Consider for example, a recent article“Polygenic scores mediate the Jewish phenotypic advantage in educational attainment and cognitive ability com-pared with Catholics and Lutherans ”in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences (Dunkel, Woodley of Menie, Pallesen,, & Kirkegaard, 2019). Its first author, Curtis Dunkel is a psychologist at Western Illinois University, the other three fit the amateur designation: Michael Woodley of Menie is listed as an affiliate with the far right Unz Foundation, and Jonatan Pallesen and Kirkegaard list no affiliation. The article draws on polygenic scores for IQ from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study comparing Jews to Catholics and Protestants. They claim that Jews’ higher polygenic scores cause them to have an IQ advantage. This was rebutted by a group of sociogenomics researchers who showed that given the polygenic score of the Jewish group, their IQ should actually be four standard deviations above non-Jews not slightly above average as it is. This means the polygenic score is actually a function of population stratification and the direct comparison that Dunkel et al. made is fallacious: “The obvious danger of naïve efforts to use polygenic scores is that the influence of various sorts of social differences will be misidentified as genetic influences” (Freese, Domingue, Trejo, Sicinski, & Herd, 2019).
For more on our paper, see the FAQ. Actually, Woodley and Pallesen are both PhDs, and Woodley has an affiliation at a university, listed in the paper “Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Unz Foundation”, of which Panofsky strangely omits the first part. 🙃
Other weird stuff (no particular date)
Stuff that didn’t really fit in above, but was curious enough to save.