If psychologists do research human intelligence, then their conferences must be picketed or, better still, shut down. Berkeley’s Arthur Jensen received bomb threats and had to be accompanied by bodyguards on campus in 1969 for pursuing such research.
So it is not surprising that the British anti-intellectual Left descended into paroxysms of outrage in January when they discovered that a conference—which included many papers on race and the genetics of intelligence—had been held for four years at University College London [UCL], one of Britain’s most prestigious universities, without the university even knowing about it.
The mastermind behind the “London Conference on Intelligence” was Dr. James Thompson, an “honorary senior lecturer” at UCL. (This is an emeritus position, he was previously a senior lecturer at the University of London—not the same school—from 1975-2007. ) Dr. Thompson, who blogs at Unz.com, organized the small-scale conference—which had 24 speakers in 2017, by invitation only—each year. Advertised only on H-BD websites, few Marxist academics found out about it. In fact, its existence only came to light by accident.
Toby Young, a British right-wing journalist, hit the headlines in the UK in December 2017, because he’d been appointed to the government’s “Office for Students,” with part of its remit being to protect free speech on university campuses dominated by “safe spaces.” This provoked fury, especially because Young had written in favor of eugenics and made various non-PC Tweets. [Toby Young quotes on breasts, eugenics and working-class people, By Martin Belam, Guardian, January 3, 2018]
Media enforcers began digging. University student journalists duly discovered that Young had given a keynote address at the ISIR [International Society for Intelligence Research] conference in Montreal in July 2017. In this speech, published online in the leading journal Intelligence, Young mentioned his attendance, in May 2017, at this “secret” conference.
On 10th January, the London Student splashed with: “Exposed: London’s Eugenics Conference and its Neo-Nazi Links.”, January 10, 2018. The writer, Ben Van der Merwe, asserted that the “secret” conference was “dominated by a group of white supremacists.” These included “white nationalist” Richard Lynn (whom he conveniently failed to mention was the first to prove that the East Asians have higher average IQ than white people). Many of those at the conference had published in the “racist” academic journal Mankind Quarterly, the student wrote. He did not mention that of eleven articles in the edition that was current at the time (58:2, Winter 2017), nine had been penned by non-whites including Arabs, Chinese researchers and two black South Africans.
London Student interviewed suitably horrified scientists who explained that “race” is meaningless because “there are more differences between two people of the same race than between races,” ignoring clear proof that when small differences are in the same direction they can, and do, lead to a situation where there are clear genetic differences between races which allow important and correct predictions to be made about intelligence, health, responsiveness to drugs . . . And London Student went for guilt by association too, reporting that one of the speakers—an eccentric Dane called Emil Kirkegaard—had blogged, in 2012, that it might be ethically acceptable to allow paedophiles to have sex with sleeping children, so long as the children never knew of it and it didn’t harm them. Leftist philosophers, it failed to mention, get away with such utilitarian thought experiments all the time. [The ethics of pedophilia, By Ole Martin Moen, Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics (2015), 9 (1), 111–124]
The students, however, left their key revelation for Private Eye, a Left-leaning satirical magazine published the same day: Toby Young had attended this conference and it included outrageous papers. [Toby Young Breeds Contempt, Private Eye, January 10, 2018. (Not online, click to enlarge, or try this PDF)]
This set off a media frenzy. UCL put out a statement asserting that they were “committed to . . . combating racism and sexism in all its forms.” UCL said that it was going to investigate if Dr Thompson had broken its rules, demanding that he must reveal controversial speakers in advance.
The scandal was reported in most of the UK newspapers. The next day, The Guardian quoted Leftist academic Adam Rutherford [Email him ] as saying, “there are some people at these meetings with some deeply obnoxious views . . . “[UCL to investigate eugenics conference secretly held on campus, by Kevin Rawlinson and Richard Adams, January 11 2018 ]The “racist” conference, they failed to mention, had speakers from Japan, China, Brazil . . . They referred to ISIR as “a similar conference,” making it clear that right-minded academics simply do not research such an offensive subject as “intelligence.”
Russia Today headlined that Toby Young had attended a “secret eugenics conference” with “neo-nazis and pedophiles.” The London Student set up a petition to have James Thompson stripped of his honorary lectureship. Twitter went into virtue-signalling meltdown. Jeremy Noel-Tod [Email him] a literature professor at the University of East Anglia, tweeted that the conference “(makes) me want to be sick.” Senior MPs, such as Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable, condemned it. The conference was described as “dark Nazi stuff” by a panellist on the popular BBC show Question Time, where the audience ask topical questions to a panel of politicians and media types. On 15th January the student union held a protest against the conference in front of the Provost’s Office, holding charming placards such as “Fuck Eugenics.” [Students protest at University College London over racist eugenics conference, by Tomáš Tengely-Evans, Socialist Worker, January 15, 2018]
Young resigned from the Office for Students.
On 18th January, there was another press release from UCL. An investigation into James Thompson was happening and a “full range of sanctions” would be considered. UCL made clear that it basically opposed free speech for race realist academics though they said “we have a legal obligation to protect free speech on campus, within the law, even if the views expressed are inconsistent with the values and views of UCL.”
But the statement added this:
The President and Provost Professor Michael Arthur [Email him] has, however, made clear his own disdain for eugenics: “I personally have no support for eugenics and I regard it as complete nonsense. I am appalled by the concept of white supremacy and will not tolerate anything on campus that incites racial hatred or violence. UCL is committed to an unflinching examination of its historic role in eugenics as exemplified by the range of events and exhibitions we have supported on the subject.”So, clearly Dr Thompson can expect a fair investigation by people with no bias against him whatsoever . . .
[UCL statement on the London Conference on Intelligence, January 18, 2018]
This is the UK in 2018. Academics who do no more than present their findings based on the simple interpretation of their data must censor themselves if the results question the dogmas of the Church or they will face the Inquisition.
But looking through the London Conference presentations (only one is on eugenics), it is nevertheless amazing how many senior academics—published in high-impact journals including Nature—attended and how many of the presentations from the conference have been subsequently published in high impact journals.
If the Leftist stranglehold on universities continues then we will return to the situation we had in the mid-nineteenth century. The university was about promoting the country’s ideology and training its lawyers. Genuinely innovative science was conducted by gentleman scholars, thinkers with sympathetic patrons, and highly intelligent amateurs who conducted their research when not making shoes.
Ultimately, UCL’s reaction to this “controversy’ only goes to demonstrate that it is decreasingly a university worth taking seriously—like all the rest.
Lance Welton [Email him] is the pen name of a freelance journalist living in New York.