Jonathan Marks: "Is Science Racist?"
January 20, 2019, 02:01 PM
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In 1995 leftist anthropologist Jonathan Marks coined the term “human biodiversity” in his book of that name. I came up with the phrase independently but second in history, as I immediately discovered by entering the phrase into the early Alta Vista search engine. In the later 1990s, Dr. Marks and I agreed to propose to magazines that we debate whether race exists for the edification of their readers. But, it turned out, editors were not as enthusiastic about the idea as he and I were.

Here’s a comment to a book review in Aero by Cody Moser of Is Science Racist? by Marks:

A New Radical Centrism (@a_centrism) says:
January 18, 2019 at 9:10 pm
This review only flits around the reason that I believe that the scientific method is coming under intensified and coordinated attack from the activist left in academia –- and that reason is preemption. It has to do with cutting off the opposing army before it can land the final devastating and humiliating blow: Direct evidence for the genetic basis of important group differences.

2018 was a year in which you began to get the sense that the environmentalists in the nature-versus-nurture debate on differences in individual cognitive and behavioral traits finally threw in the towel. Huge genome-wide-association studies (GWAS) and tools like polygenic risk scoring took over where twin studies had fairly convincingly left off, but added the coup de grace –- hundreds of specific genes and variants were identified and associated with traits and outcomes like cognition and educational attainment

As the year faded, standard bearers for the left like the New York Times, the Guardian, and New Statesman -– each aggressively hostile over the years to genetic arguments (the case of Nicholas Wade at the NYT is an example of what happens when you dare to go against the environmental orthodoxy) –- began to start to walk a tightrope across the chasm between what their readers (indoctrinated in the pleasantries of the blank slate religion) wanted to read and what science was actually saying. Sometimes you had to read between the lines, but the message was clear: We’ve got some bad news for you. To be able to maintain any credibility among the scientists doing the most important research, these papers all realized that they had to back down from their pro-environment positions, and they did.

And so, with respect to individual differences in these traits, the verdict appeared to be in: Genes had finally won. This was especially true with respect to intelligence. It is now estimated -– based upon large studies conducted over the last several years — that by mid-adulthood about eighty percent of individual differences in intelligence can be explained by genes. With respect to certain executive cognitive functions, a large study found that up to 100 percent of these are heritable.

But the genes-versus-environment battle over individual differences isn’t the big one for the left. The big one -– potentially Armageddon –- is the battle over group differences. A genetic basis for the consistent and significant gaps in IQ between racial groups (e.g., a staggering twenty-point difference between African Americans and Asian-Americans) has the potential of destroying the foundation upon which much of the progressive-left project in the US has been built, leaving it no more excuses, no more facile blame-throwing at “oppressive social forces.” The statistical and empirical evidence for a genetic basis for racial IQ gaps –- called “circumstantial” by the left –- is already overwhelming, consisting as it does of IQ data from over 500,000 persons obtained through a variety of different scientifically-validated tests (some actually deliberately designed to skew toward blacks or against Asians), adoption studies, racial admixture studies, controlled-for-SES studies, brain studies, and so on. The desperation of the left, evidenced in tactics such as its endless smear campaigns against honorable and respected scientists like Arthur Jensen, suggests that it quietly (and perhaps even subconsciously) suspects that the worst is true. Otherwise, why would it so aggressively fight against the idea of funding for rigorous scientific research which should, to their way of thinking, ultimately produce the promised egalitarian result?

If 2018 was the year in which the genes-versus-environment battle over individual differences was finally decided in favor of genes, then 2019 is already shaping up as a year in which a preemptive strike by the activist left in the battle over group differences is going to be launched. Is Science Racist? is just a bit player in this spectacle. Most of it is going to play out in places like the New York Times, which in the past two weeks alone has gone after after James Watson (low-hanging fruit) and now –- predictably after his courageous NYT op-ed back in March 2018 attacking the scientific validity of the notion of race as a purely social construct — even the formidable David Reich. The attacks will be shameless, involve diversions and strawmen like “white supremacy” — shouldn’t it be “northeast Asian supremacy” or “Ashkenazi Jewish” supremacy, anyway? — and, as always, be thin on the actual science. Politically-motivated hacks like Amy Harmon, the NYT’s hitwoman (a science reporter with no training in a scientific field), will interview third-rate scientists with deep activist resumes (or will simply avoid interviewing scientists at all) and avoid eminent figures (like Richard Haier or even James Flynn) who she knows will tell her things that she and her editors and readers don’t want to hear. Institutions like the Times may believe that morality and compassion are on their side, but their fervor and desperation suggest that they already know that science isn’t.

[Comment at Unz.com]