A grudging nod to HBD from mainstream media

I live in the Portland area – which is a very dangerous place to live.  For example, we have not only the famous Powell “City of Books”, which is the largest bookstore in the world, but we actually have two Powells.  One of them is fairly close to my house.  They are dangerous because every time I walk into one of them, I leave with less money than I had going in.  On my last visit, I left with a paperback called “What is Your Dangerous Idea?”  It is easy to see why I couldn’t resist.
“What is Your Dangerous Idea?” is a collection of about 120 short essays on ideas that might be considered “dangerous” to one extent or another written by many famous scientists and thinkers.  Some of those ideas are established scientific fact, others are flights of fancy.  I did not expect to find anything substantial on HBD because it was, after all, sitting on a table in plain view in a major bookstore.  HBD is a truly “dangerous idea”; it is well-supported and it threatens the very foundations of modern leftist faith.  Therefore, it should not be included in such a book, nor should it be found in such a prominent location in a major bookstore.
It so happens, however, that there is a chapter called “Groups of People May Differ Genetically in Their Average Talents and Temperaments” by Steven Pinker, who is also the writer of the introduction to the book (where he mentions the possibility that blacks have higher testosterone levels and Ashkenazi Jews have been selected for higher intelligence).
Pinker is very careful in how he words this (short) chapter.  Here is a portion of that chapter:

In March, developmental biologist Armand Leroi published an op-ed piece in the New York Times rebutting the conventional wisdom that race does not exist.  (The conventional wisdom is coming to be known as Lewontin’s fallacy:  that because most genes may be found in all human groups, the groups don’t differ at all.  But patterns of correlation among genes do differ between groups, and different clusters of correlated genes correspond well to the major races labeled by common sense.)
In June, the Times reported a forthcoming study by physicist Gregory Cochran, anthropologist Jason Hardy, and population geneticist Henry Harpending proposing that Ashkenazi Jews have been biologically selected for high intelligence and that their well-documented genetic diseases are a by-product of this evolutionary history.
In September, political scientist Charles Murray published an article in Commentary reiterating his arguments from The Bell Curve that average racial differences in intelligence are intractable and partly genetic.
Whether or not these hypotheses hold up (the evidence for gender differences is reasonably good, for ethnic and racial differences much less so), they are widely perceived to be dangerous….  Large swaths of the intellectual landscape have been reengineered to try to rule these hypotheses out a priori (race does not exist, intelligence does not exist, the mind is a blank slate inscribed by parents).  The underlying fear that reports of group differences will fuel bigotry is not, of course, groundless.

Readers of this blog should have already noticed the above deception, the implication that there is little evidence of racial differences.  Most likely, this deception is merely a way for Pinker to protect himself against charges of racism.  Nevertheless, it is far more honest than what we are used to seeing in the wider media.  The book was published in 2007.  I believe that it is a tool we can use to help break the taboo against HBD with our friends and family.  It can be gotten from Amazon for $4.00 including shipping (used).  It cost me a bit more; I paid for the ambiance of Powells.  The chapter on race is strategically located about 4 (short) chapters into the book.  Close enough to the beginning that even those who don’t finish reading books will probably get to it – but it is not the first chapter, so people won’t get the idea that this is just a sneaky way to get them to accept HBD.
As I read more of the book, I’ll probably share some of the more interesting ideas therein with the rest of y’all.

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10 Responses to A grudging nod to HBD from mainstream media

  1. A bit more than a month ago, I found a video of Steven Pinker talking about the study by Cochran, Hardy, and Harpending (which was also discussed in Chapter 7 of The 10,000 Year Explosion by Cochran and Harpending) before the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research on YouTube. Unfortunately, it seems that the video is no longer on YouTube. Fortunately, however, after a brief search, I found it here:
    The lecture is from December 1, 2005.

  2. B.B. says:

    In The Blank Slate Pinker leaned favorably towards environmentalism on the racial IQ gap issue, citing the works of Thomas Sowell and Jared Diamond to justify his position. Although it seems he has slowly been shifting his position, treating the hereditarian position as a plausible albeit unproven explanation.

  3. My tangential two cents: Liberals are predominately fervently atheists, but they can never claim to be more intellectually honest than a religious person if they believe an idea should not be entertained because it is ‘dangerous’. They talk of religious people as an ‘other’ when people’s proclivity towards religion in the first place stems from the same base human desire that liberalism is based on – to seek out a narrative that makes them feel better.
    Sorry to take things off course a bit.

    • WmarkW says:

      I’m a regular commenter on a fairly well-known atheist blog.
      Whenever the author writes something about tepid support for teaching evolution, I always make sure to come back with “Do you let evolution go where it will after bipedalism? Or do you have limit on what differentiations among human groups you’ll allow, based on nothing but ideological opinions? If so, you’re not doing anything the Creationists aren’t, arguing that scientific endeavors should be limited by what opinions you’d prefer people to hold.”

  4. a random user name says:

    I certainly see signs that HBD is gaining adherents. Just a look at the number of comments per post in HBD blogs (e.g. Sailer routinely gets 70+) is an indication of that. More to the point, the IQ of the average poster on these blogs is very high. Most are probably in their 20s and 30s if I were to hazard a guess.
    These people are going to be influential, and that influence is going to grow over time as they get further into their careers and ascend the hierarchy.
    Already I see the presence of these people in other non-HBD forums. It is the first time that the liberal orthodoxy has been challenged. They don’t like it, but the voices are too many to be drowned out.
    At the moment the media seems to be ever more PC, but we have to understand that the media (i.e. TV, movies) is a hierarchy. Unlike a forum, the direction of propaganda is governed by entrenched baby boomers who had their thought processes crystallized 20 years ago or more. However, these people must eventually relinquish their grip on power.
    Smart academics like Pinker will sniff the wind and do what it takes to stay relevant. If they have an ego, they will also much rather be remembered as a Darwin (i.e. correct) as opposed to a Lamarck (wrong). When history is written 50 years from now, Lewontin, Gould, Diamond et al will be remembered as the Lamarcks of their day.

    • DFA says:

      I’m very encouraged by the comment sections I come across online. Seems like the stories Drudge links to usually end up with lots of interesting thoughts on race in the comments section. Just a couple years ago I was an ardent leftist and the biggest reason for my shift to the right had to do with leftists on blogs, message boards and comments sections giving links to “racist” sites like this and others. While some of the sites they linked to are rather vile, they none the less opened my eyes to a world of thought that I had never encountered.
      While I usually dont go into great detail about race and IQ online, I always like name dropping people like Sailer, Arthur Jensen, Michael Hart, Charles Murray and Linda Gottfredson in the hopes that some people will do as I did and google those names to be introduced to ideas they’ve probably never seen. In stories or threads about evolution I’ll usually copy and paste something from Richard Lynn about climate, evolution and IQ.

    • jewamongyou says:

      “More to the point, the IQ of the average poster on these blogs is very high. Most are probably in their 20s and 30s if I were to hazard a guess.”
      I hope the 20s and 30s you’re referring to is age and not IQ!

  5. IQ says:

    I have been following Steven Pinker’s work. He’s a closet HBD’er. He has obviously spent a lot of time analyzing this research for his talks and his book “The Blank Slate.” As we know, it’s hard to honestly look at the data and not come to the Occam’s razor conclusion.

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