Shamefully, a tenured professor has been fired for publishing the landmark 2019 study “Global Ancestry and Cognitive Ability,” demonstrating a linkage between intelligence and racial admixture as measured by DNA. (This finding was replicated with a different database in 2021, a second admixture study that I described in some detail here if you want to familiarize yourself with the science.)
The Chronicle of Higher Education exults in this scandalous desecration of academic freedom:
Racial Pseudoscience on the Faculty
A professor’s research flew under the radar for years. What finally got him fired?
ALEX WILLIAMSON FOR THE CHRONICLE
By Cid Standifer
OCTOBER 13, 2022
Liam O’Brien was a master’s student in political science at Cleveland State University in 2019 when a screenshot from a new article, titled “Global Ancestry and Cognitive Ability,” crawled across his Twitter feed.
To the untrained eye, the abstract was highly technical. “Using the ancestry-adjusted association between MTAG eduPGS and g from the monoracial African-American sample as an estimate of the transracially unbiased validity of eduPGS (B = 0.124),” the authors wrote, “the results suggest that as much as 20%-25% of the race difference in g can be naïvely explained by known cognitive ability-related variants.”
The argument dressed up in that statistical jargon? That Black people are genetically disposed to be less intelligent than white people.
O’Brien was disturbed to see that debunked racial-hierarchy arguments popular in the late 19th and early 20th century had a toehold in modern academe. Scientifically rigorous research arguing that intelligence is inherited is itself controversial, but few geneticists take seriously the claim that intelligence is racially linked.
His dismay turned to outrage when he discovered that one of the authors, Bryan J. Pesta, was a tenured professor in Cleveland State’s business school. O’Brien’s home institution was essentially providing a soapbox for racist pseudoscience.
He had a history of political activism, so he did what came naturally, talking to students and professors about Pesta’s article, and trying to get him censured.
iSteve commenter Mr. Anon notes:
His name is even O’Brien. Hey, Professor, how many fingers am I holding up?
“The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”
The lengthy Chronicle article doesn’t even attempt to refute Dr. Pesta’s scientific advance other than by calling it names.
How did the college get away with violating the academic freedom written into the professor’s contract?
The cited justifications were trivial missteps dug up by a lengthy investigation. As Comrade Beria, head of Stalin’s secret police, said, “Show me the man and I’ll find you his crime.”
For some reason, the intellectual ditch the Establishment has chosen to die in is that there can’t possibly be any genetic influence on the IQ difference between whites and blacks in America.
I don’t really grasp the reason for the fanaticism on this proposition.
After all, ever since I was a child a half century ago, it has been obvious to me that there are genetic differences among the races in sports performance, that, say, the best black football running backs like O.J. Simpson (whom I saw rush for 239 yards at the Coliseum in 1968) tend to be faster than the best white football running backs, and that those sports differences can’t plausibly be wholly explained away by culture or environment.
That genetic differences cause some of the racial differences seen in sports does not prove that genetic differences cause some of the racial differences seen in practically every measure of cognitive performance known to the sciences. But… the sports example does open up the possibility that something similar could be true with cognition.
And because we are living in an era of rapidly improving DNA testing, it’s highly possible that the sizable amount of data needed to chase down loose ends and come to a fairly confident conclusion on the race-genes-IQ might not be far off.
So you might think that well-intentioned intellectuals might be devoting some thought to thinking through how we can come to live with the accumulating evidence (after all, we live with what we see on ESPN every day without it being the end of the world).
Instead, they are doubling down on this empirical question and taking horrible steps to silence dissent.