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The problem with R&I at Wikipedia 
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There was something I wanted to comment on in this thread, but since it's not about the thread's main topic, I figured it's better to start a new thread rather than derail the existing one. It relates to the comments about how Mathsci is "defending science", and that driving away people with a particular point of view improves the encyclopedia. The most basic problem with R&I articles at Wikipedia, and with people's attitude towards them, is that this topic is framed very differently depending on what kind of source you look at, and not everyone reads the same sources. (I previously explained this privately to EricBarbour, so he should know what I'm talking about.)

The two most prominent peer-reviewed journals on the topic of human intelligence are Intelligence and Personality and Individual Differences, both published by Elsevier, and these also are the journals that publish papers about R&I by far the most often. Both journals publish papers arguing for all different perspectives about R&I, but the consensus view has pretty steadily been that the hereditarian hypothesis (that race differences in average IQ contain a genetic component) isn't any more or less likely than any other hypothesis. You also find the same perspective in graduate-level textbooks written by specialists in the field, such as Human Intelligence by Earl Hunt. But on the other hand, if you go to a regular bookstore and look at the section of books about human intelligence (if it has a section about that at all), the only thing you'll find there is pop-science books like Gould's The Mismeasure of Man or Nisbett's Intelligence and How to Get It, which make statements to the effect that race differences in average IQ are known with certainty to be 100% environmental. Both of these books were big sellers, but also were heavily criticized in the professional literature for presenting a one-sided approach to the topic. The same issue applies to newspaper or magazine articles about R&I, TV documentaries, etc.

It's pretty much the exact reverse of the problem that exists with articles about creationism and intelligent design. The popular media likes to pretend there's a "creation/evolution controversy", but if you look in mainstream evolutionary biology journals or textbooks, you'll see that there really isn't any controversy among experts in the field about whether or not the theory of evolution is correct. On the other hand, if you look in mainstream psychometrics journals or textbooks, it's apparent that there actually is a debate in this field over race and intelligence, but the popular media doesn't usually present it that way. In either case, at Wikipedia there are a lot of people who edit the articles on these topics without reading any of the professional literature about them, and who try to make decisions about what is or isn't undue based only on how these topics are presented in the media.

On articles related to R&I, this problem seems to have gotten worse in the past several months. I can think of some specific examples where people clearly were making assumptions about what sources say without actually reading them, but my post's long enough already, so I'll only provide examples if other people want them.


Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:46 pm
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....its full of racists. Or would be if they were not banned.


Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:14 pm
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Anroth wrote:
....its full of racists. Or would be if they were not banned.

Are you referring just to people like Mikemikev and Tholzel, or do you think everybody who wanted Wikipedia to present this topic the way it's presented in journals like Intelligence is a racist?


Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:23 pm
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It would be really cool if you would define what "R&I" is, before using that label throughout your thread title and original post.

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Fetishizing low impact journals is the absolute worst way to study any topic. This is the typical appeal of the most sophisticated believers in wacko ideas.


Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:20 pm
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Captain Occam wrote:
There was something I wanted to comment on in this thread, but since it's not about the thread's main topic, I figured it's better to start a new thread rather than derail the existing one. It relates to the comments about how Mathsci is "defending science", and that driving away people with a particular point of view improves the encyclopedia. The most basic problem with R&I articles at Wikipedia, and with people's attitude towards them, is that this topic is framed very differently depending on what kind of source you look at, and not everyone reads the same sources. (I previously explained this privately to EricBarbour, so he should know what I'm talking about.)

The two most prominent peer-reviewed journals on the topic of human intelligence are Intelligence and Personality and Individual Differences, both published by Elsevier, and these also are the journals that publish papers about R&I by far the most often. Both journals publish papers arguing for all different perspectives about R&I, but the consensus view has pretty steadily been that the hereditarian hypothesis (that race differences in average IQ contain a genetic component) isn't any more or less likely than any other hypothesis. You also find the same perspective in graduate-level textbooks written by specialists in the field, such as Human Intelligence by Earl Hunt. But on the other hand, if you go to a regular bookstore and look at the section of books about human intelligence (if it has a section about that at all), the only thing you'll find there is pop-science books like Gould's The Mismeasure of Man or Nisbett's Intelligence and How to Get It, which make statements to the effect that race differences in average IQ are known with certainty to be 100% environmental. Both of these books were big sellers, but also were heavily criticized in the professional literature for presenting a one-sided approach to the topic. The same issue applies to newspaper or magazine articles about R&I, TV documentaries, etc.

It's pretty much the exact reverse of the problem that exists with articles about creationism and intelligent design. The popular media likes to pretend there's a "creation/evolution controversy", but if you look in mainstream evolutionary biology journals or textbooks, you'll see that there really isn't any controversy among experts in the field about whether or not the theory of evolution is correct. On the other hand, if you look in mainstream psychometrics journals or textbooks, it's apparent that there actually is a debate in this field over race and intelligence, but the popular media doesn't usually present it that way. In either case, at Wikipedia there are a lot of people who edit the articles on these topics without reading any of the professional literature about them, and who try to make decisions about what is or isn't undue based only on how these topics are presented in the media.

On articles related to R&I, this problem seems to have gotten worse in the past several months. I can think of some specific examples where people clearly were making assumptions about what sources say without actually reading them, but my post's long enough already, so I'll only provide examples if other people want them.


The problem is that what you are calling "mainstream psychometrics" isn't mainstream. The stuff by Rushton, Lynn and others, all funded by the racist Pioneer Fund and mostly published in a few "house" journals, is all self-referential, enclosed publication, virtually ignored by all other scholars, except an occasional criticism. Same with things like "IQ and Wealth of Nations" - you read reviews of that book by people who actually know what they're talking about (say, economists) and it's pretty clear it's not a mainstream work. The only thing that stops them from calling it the utter racist garbage that it is, is academic politeness (i.e. the reviews are written in a manner similar in those quips about British officer reports Tungsten posted in the other thread) .

I actually wish that standard academic practice involved more explicit criticism of such nonsense, but I also understand why serious people don't want to engage the likes of Pioneer Fund grantees. It's basically an academic version of DFTT. By responding to people like Rushton or Lynn, even negatively, you are in some part legitimizing them as part of the debate. They are not.

Unfortunately for Wikipedia, what this means that a dedicated POV pusher (like, say, Mirardre) can pretend that publications from Mankind Quarterly or whatever are legitimate, published reliable sources - because there's little outright criticism at the level of actual articles out there.

So nice try, but no.


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From my perspective the problem lies in the fact that, among the regulars who actually have relevant expertise, they are usually experts in the social sciences. As a result they tend to favor the nurture side of the nature-nurture equation. The question of human personality traits and genetics is definitely a mainstream issue and, regardless of how you define it, race factors into that question.

If you want to see one of the problems in the race and intelligence topic area just check out the bio for Hans Eysenck (T-H-L), especially the "alleged relationships with far right groups" section.

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thekohser wrote:
It would be really cool if you would define what "R&I" is, before using that label throughout your thread title and original post.

+1

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The problem with Race and Intelligence at Wikipedia?

It's a Race to the bottom, and their Intelligence is misused.

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Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:40 pm
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thekohser wrote:
It would be really cool if you would define what "R&I" is, before using that label throughout your thread title and original post.

Race and intelligence. It's shorthand for the debate in psychology over the reason why some ethnic groups tend to cluster lower or higher on the IQ scale than others. It probably seems like something that doesn't matter, until you realize that scientists like James Watson (yes, that James Watson) have been forced to resign because of making insensitive comments about it. There's actually a huge amount of money that's been spent trying to reduce the size of the gaps, but to reduce them we'll probably need to know what's causing them.

iii wrote:
Fetishizing low impact journals is the absolute worst way to study any topic. This is the typical appeal of the most sophisticated believers in wacko ideas.

Volunteer Marek wrote:
The problem is that what you are calling "mainstream psychometrics" isn't mainstream. The stuff by Rushton, Lynn and others, all funded by the racist Pioneer Fund and mostly published in a few "house" journals, is all self-referential, enclosed publication, virtually ignored by all other scholars, except an occasional criticism.

I tried to address this in my initial post. Intelligence isn't a "house" journal. It's published by Elsevier, and has the highest impact factor of any journal in the field. Hunt's Human Intelligence was published last year by Cambridge University Press, and is used as a textbook in college or graduate courses about this part of psychology. There isn't some other group of psychologists who research human intelligence and don't take these sources seriously. If you're going to discount everything that's in these sources or cites them, you have to discount pretty much the entire portion of psychology that deals with human differences.

I'll believe you that economists have less respect for this field, but most of the research and discussion about this topic is in the field of psychology, so I'm not sure how much the opinion of economists should count for. (I feel the same way about how much the opinion of economists should count about something like climate change, where the authorities are climatologists.) And incidentally, none of the mainstream journals in this field pay any attention to Mankind quarterly. In all the books and articles I've read on this topic from academic publishers, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've seen it cited.

Now, the funny thing is, I'm aware of your history with this topic, and that most of this stuff has been pointed out to you before. In this discussion, Victor Chmara explained this to you in much more detail than I'm doing now, and you didn't bother trying to respond to most of it. I can't stop you repeating the same points that other people have already answered at length, but I'm certainly going to call you out on it when you do.


Last edited by Captain Occam on Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:48 pm
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Captain Occam wrote:
And incidentally, none of the mainstream journals in this field pay any attention to Mankind quarterly. In all the books and articles I've read on this topic from academic publishers, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've seen it cited.

There might be reasons for that. Example, the Wikipedia article.
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It has been called a "cornerstone of the scientific racism establishment" and a "white supremacist journal",[1] "scientific racism's keepers of the flame",[2] a journal with a "racist orientation" and an "infamous racist journal",[3] and "journal of 'scientific racism'".[4]

Its foundation in 1960 may in part have been a response to the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education which ordered the desegregation of schools in the United States.[5][6] It was originally published in Edinburgh, Scotland, by the International Association for the Advancement of Ethnology and Eugenics.

They've been criticized since 1962. Plus......
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It is worth examining the changes in Pioneer grants over the past four decades. For those interested we are providing a spreadsheet of all Pioneer grants from 1971 to 1996. During the 1950s and 1960s, Garrett helped to distribute grants for Draper and was one of the founders of the International Association for the Advancement of Eugenics and Ethnology (IAAEE) in 1959. The IAAEE brought together academic defenders of segregation in the U.S. and apartheid in South Africa. The Pioneer Fund supported the IAAEE and other institutions working to legitimising race science, including the IAAEE's journal, Mankind Quarterly. (6)

Even the SPLC has a few mentions of Mankind Quarterly.
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To help run TOQ, Regnery assembled some of the biggest names from radical right circles. Its one-time chief editor was Kevin Lamb, who had written for racist publications since the 1990s, when he published articles in Mankind Quarterly, a eugenics journal.

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In 2006, Tanton brought Kevin Lamb on as managing editor of The Social Contract. The prior year, Lamb was fired from two mainstream managing editor positions with Human Events and The Evans-Novak Political Report after the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that Lamb was concurrently editing The Occidental Quarterly, a white nationalist journal. After his firing, Lamb wrote a bitter essay saying that several fellow employees had known of his work for the racist quarterly, including Al Regnery, the conservative publisher who owns Human Events. In fact, Lamb had written for racist publications as far back as the early 1990s, when he published works in Mankind Quarterly.

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Council for Social and Economic Studies Inc.
http://www.mankind.org
Described as an academic organization, this group offers for sale books and journals including The Mankind Quarterly. The council's Web site carries titles such as "The Evolutionary Function of Prejudice," "The Problem of Equality" and "Will America Drown? Immigration and the Third World Population Explosion."


And have a nice day.

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EricBarbour wrote:
There might be reasons for that. Example, the Wikipedia article.
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It has been called a "cornerstone of the scientific racism establishment" and a "white supremacist journal",[1] "scientific racism's keepers of the flame",[2] a journal with a "racist orientation" and an "infamous racist journal",[3] and "journal of 'scientific racism'".[4]

Its foundation in 1960 may in part have been a response to the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education which ordered the desegregation of schools in the United States.[5][6] It was originally published in Edinburgh, Scotland, by the International Association for the Advancement of Ethnology and Eugenics.

Yep, and two guesses who added that information to the article.

But anyway, you won't see me defending that journal. There are a lot of little obscure journals out there that exist mostly to advance one particular point of view, and that's one of them. It's best for Wikipedia to mostly avoid citing sources like those, especially in high-level articles like the main R&I article.


Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:05 pm
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The Devil's Advocate wrote:
From my perspective the problem lies in the fact that, among the regulars who actually have relevant expertise, they are usually experts in the social sciences. As a result they tend to favor the nurture side of the nature-nurture equation. The question of human personality traits and genetics is definitely a mainstream issue and, regardless of how you define it, race factors into that question.


What a peculiar little assertion! Tell me, are you a biologist or a medical researcher? Because it's pretty clear from the best literature on the subject that the race concept is "at best a crude first-order approximation to the geographically structured phenotypic variation in the human species."

Anyone arguing as in your last sentence is at the very least lacking in knowledge of the actual study of race in the context of the social sciences and biology and, at worst, is a racist.


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"The problem with R&I at Wikipedia";

fools rush in where angles fear to tread.


Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:19 pm
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Captain Occam wrote:
I tried to address this in my initial post. Intelligence isn't a "house" journal. It's published by Elsevier, and has the highest impact factor of any journal in the field.


As has been pointed out to you, the "field" in question is corrupt. Elsevier is in the business of publishing, and if there is money to be made they will pump out absolute garbage until someone takes notice and calls them on it. As long as the impact factor is low, most academics don't really care about this. I used to have a little hobby of calling out editors and publishing houses for publishing nonsense in fields relating to astrophysics, but unless someone chooses this as a specific crusade it is unlikely that these large conglomerates will police themselves.

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If you're going to discount everything that's in these sources or cites them, you have to discount pretty much the entire portion of psychology that deals with human differences.


There is something to this, actually. A rather large portion of psychology is rotting from the inside. Really, the only bits of psychology still taken seriously by external academics are the parts on the neuroscience side and the parts on the social psychology side. The rest of academia is ignoring psychology departments as they slowly commit intellectual suicide.


Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:29 pm
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iii wrote:
There is something to this, actually. A rather large portion of psychology is rotting from the inside. Really, the only bits of psychology still taken seriously by external academics are the parts on the neuroscience side and the parts on the social psychology side. The rest of academia is ignoring the subject as it commits a slow suicide.

OK, so how do you suggest Wikipedia ought to handle psychology topics, either related to intelligence research or anything else? Whether you think the field is corrupt or not, the only thing Wikipedia articles can be based on is what's published in reliable sources. And by the standards of RS policy, publishers like Elsevier and Cambridge University Press are reliable, whatever we might think about them personally.


Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:38 pm
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iii wrote:
A rather large portion of psychology is rotting from the inside. Really, the only bits of psychology still taken seriously by external academics are the parts on the neuroscience side and the parts on the social psychology side. The rest of academia is ignoring psychology departments as they slowly commit intellectual suicide.

Some evidence to back this up would be nice right about now.

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Captain Occam wrote:
OK, so how do you suggest Wikipedia ought to handle psychology topics, either related to intelligence research or anything else? Whether you think the field is corrupt or not, the only thing Wikipedia articles can be based on is whatever's published in reliable sources. And by the standards of RS policy, publishers like Elsevier and Cambridge University Press are reliable, whatever we might think about them personally.


:facepalm:

Wikipedia's "handling" of subjects is done through mean crowdsourcing. Expectations for any sort of consistency or laudability in coverage are grossly misplaced.

The typical refuge of those who are proudly championing certain causes, wittingly or unwittingly, is to declare that they see "reliable sources" where there are none and to hide behind an insipidly designed guideline that is ill-equipped to handle a group committed to a promulgation of a particular sort of ignorance. This is the basic problem with all areas relating to pseudo-academics and general out-on-a-limb nonsense: the crazies clamor to get their stuff published and may be met with limited success as they shop around until finding a press that takes notice that there is a community of crazies who will shell out money for books and journal access.


Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:48 pm
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EricBarbour wrote:
iii wrote:
A rather large portion of psychology is rotting from the inside. Really, the only bits of psychology still taken seriously by external academics are the parts on the neuroscience side and the parts on the social psychology side. The rest of academia is ignoring psychology departments as they slowly commit intellectual suicide.

Some evidence to back this up would be nice right about now.


Start here and work your way out.


Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:52 pm
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iii wrote:
The typical refuge of those who are proudly championing certain causes, wittingly or unwittingly, is to declare that they see "reliable sources" where there are none and to hide behind an insipidly designed guideline that is ill-equipped to handle a group committed to a promulgation of a particular sort of ignorance.

So if I'm understanding your perspective correctly, it's that RS policy itself is part of the problem.

Personally, I wholeheartedly agree with the philosophy of Wikipedia as it applies to psychology topics, which is to impartially summarize these topics the way they're described in the most prominent academic sources. Whether Wikipedia's community can live up to that philosophy is another matter, though. It depends on the articles being edited by people who have a certain amount of familiarity with those sources, and in the R&I topic at least, there aren't many people like that left.


Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:06 pm
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Captain Occam wrote:
So if I'm understanding your perspective correctly, it's that RS policy itself is part of the problem.


The policy is merely a symptom of a larger problem called, "Wikipedia".

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Personally, I wholeheartedly agree with the philosophy of Wikipedia as it applies to psychology topics, which is to impartially summarize these topics the way they're described in the most prominent academic sources.


The "most prominent" sources for crazy ideas tend to be of concomitantly low quality. What are the "most prominent" sources for the subject of "reincarnation research" for example?


Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:13 pm
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iii wrote:
What a peculiar little assertion! Tell me, are you a biologist or a medical researcher? Because it's pretty clear from the best literature on the subject that the race concept is "at best a crude first-order approximation to the geographically structured phenotypic variation in the human species."

Anyone arguing as in your last sentence is at the very least lacking in knowledge of the actual study of race in the context of the social sciences and biology and, at worst, is a racist.


I tend not to pay attention to those types of editorial flourishes that are clearly just the researcher's own opinions eking out into the study itself, because I'm not a drone. My concern is with what is actually contained in the research itself. The current consensus in evidence is not really that "race does not exist" or "race is just a social construct", but rather that "the popular conception of race is rigidly defined in a manner inconsistent with biological reality" and many experts take that to mean there is no such thing as race.

As to the "racist" quip, that is probably another big problem in that topic area as it would be for anyone involved in the subject outside of Wikipedia. Topics of this nature usually bring political and emotional considerations for those involved in them. Hence, people who do not adhere to the right view are condemned in some of the ugliest ways imaginable.

EricBarbour wrote:
Some evidence to back this up would be nice right about now.


It's no secret that psychology is widely-reviled within the scientific community, especially among those who specialize in the physical sciences. That is because its conclusions are perceived as not being easily vetted by the scientific method given that it regularly deals with intangibles. Basically, materialistic people have a hard time respecting something that is not heavily grounded in their materialistic view.

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Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:21 pm
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The Devil's Advocate wrote:
The current consensus in evidence is not really that "race does not exist" or "race is just a social construct", but rather that "the popular conception of race is rigidly defined in a manner inconsistent with biological reality" and many experts take that to mean there is no such thing as race.


Not quite. The point is that when you are looking at genetic variation within the human species, race isn't very helpful, and because it is imbued with social and historical significance, race is often entirely misleading as an indicator.

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As to the "racist" quip, that is probably another big problem in that topic area as it would be for anyone involved in the subject outside of Wikipedia. Topics of this nature usually bring political and emotional considerations for those involved in them. Hence, people who do not adhere to the right view are condemned in some of the ugliest ways imaginable.


And there are undoubtably people who have been involved in the subject who are out-and-out racists. This is unavoidable. Pointing this out should be uncontroversial, and whether you are a racist or not is difficult to tell when you parrot arguments made by racists for their own racist agenda. It's an occupational hazard of the game you are playing.

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That is because its conclusions are perceived as not being easily vetted by the scientific method given that it regularly deals with intangibles. Basically, materialistic people have a hard time respecting something that is not heavily grounded in their materialistic view.


It's actually worse than that. It has been documented, for example, that the actual methodologies employed are corrupt. The refuge of the embattled "intangibles" believer who claims that there is "something more" than the material universe is nothing more than a sad grasping at straws. Someone who bases their claims about reality on arguments relating to whether materialism is wrong is pretty much asking to be shunted off to a Divinity School backwater, or, at the very least, treated as a curiosity of some sort of accommodationist philosophy group. In any case, when these types of arguments start to be brought up you know that the argument is about to descend into anti-intellectualism rather quickly.


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iii wrote:
And there are undoubtably people who have been involved in the subject who are out-and-out racists. This is unavoidable. Pointing this out should be uncontroversial, and whether you are a racist or not is difficult to tell when you parrot arguments made by racists for their own racist agenda. It's an occupational hazard of the game you are playing.


Hence why any debate about the subject is so easily stifled. People can cry "racist" based solely on prejudicial perceptions and then, when their bluff is called, can walk it back as the fault of the person being labeled a racist for saying something with which a racist might agree. I know first-hand that such tactics have been employed in other topic areas by the usual debunker types. Poisoning the wells can be an effective debating technique, especially when it plays into people's emotional preconceptions.

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It's actually worse than that. It has been documented, for example, that the actual methodologies employed are corrupt. The refuge of the embattled "intangibles" believer who claims that there is "something more" than the material universe is nothing more than a sad grasping at straws. Someone who bases their claims about reality on arguments relating to whether materialism is wrong is pretty much asking to be shunted off to a Divinity School backwater, or, at the very least, treated as a curiosity of some sort of accommodationist philosophy group. In any case, when these types of arguments start to be brought up you know that the argument is about to descend into anti-intellectualism rather quickly.


There is nothing anti-intellectual about disagreeing with a rigidly materialistic view of reality. You deal with intangibles all the time. People who refuse to acknowledge or understand them will only hamper their own intellectual development. I bet you are one of those who tries to label memetics as pseudoscience.

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Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:55 pm
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The Devil's Advocate wrote:
Hence why any debate about the subject is so easily stifled. People can cry "racist" based solely on prejudicial perceptions and then, when their bluff is called, can walk it back as the fault of the person being labeled a racist for saying something with which a racist might agree. I know first-hand that such tactics have been employed in other topic areas by the usual debunker types. Poisoning the wells can be an effective debating technique, especially when it plays into people's emotional preconceptions.


I don't feel sorry at all for those who are "falsely" labeled as racists for using arguments with which racists agree. If you can't make your case without separating yourself from people with whom you disagree, you don't have a very good case.

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There is nothing anti-intellectual about disagreeing with a rigidly materialistic view of reality. You deal with intangibles all the time. People who refuse to acknowledge or understand them will only hamper their own intellectual development. I bet you are one of those who tries to label memetics as pseudoscience.


Asserting the existence of phenomena that have no basis in material reality is to assert the existence of phenomena that cannot be observed. Facilely, it's a self-contradiction. Taken to its extreme, it's mysticism. It's as simple as that.

While there are certainly people who adopt a pseudoscientifically mechanistic view of memetics, proposing the existence of memes as a phenomenon is not antimaterialist. In principle, one can observe whether or not a meme exists.


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The Devil's Advocate wrote:
Hence why any debate about the subject is so easily stifled. People can cry "racist" based solely on prejudicial perceptions and then, when their bluff is called, can walk it back as the fault of the person being labeled a racist for saying something with which a racist might agree. I know first-hand that such tactics have been employed in other topic areas by the usual debunker types. Poisoning the wells can be an effective debating technique, especially when it plays into people's emotional preconceptions.


I don't feel sorry at all for those who are "falsely" labeled as racists for using arguments with which racists agree. If you can't make your case without separating yourself from people with whom you disagree, you don't have a very good case.

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There is nothing anti-intellectual about disagreeing with a rigidly materialistic view of reality. You deal with intangibles all the time. People who refuse to acknowledge or understand them will only hamper their own intellectual development. I bet you are one of those who tries to label memetics as pseudoscience.


Asserting the existence of phenomena that have no basis in material reality is to assert the existence of phenomena that cannot be observed. Facilely, it's a self-contradiction. Taken to its extreme, it's mysticism. It's as simple as that.

While there are certainly people who adopt a pseudoscientifically mechanistic view of memetics, proposing the existence of memes as a phenomenon is not antimaterialist. In principle, one can observe whether or not a meme exists.

I just think, like, demanding that something must be measurable and observable for it to be included in disciplines that require measurability and observability is, like, unfair and stuff. Man.


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DanMurphy wrote:
I just think, like, demanding that something must be measurable and observable for it to be included in disciplines that require measurability and observability is, like, unfair and stuff. Man.

Mua ha ha ha. (Once you set these POVers off, they turn everything into the Wikipedia Review Annex. This argument belongs on Wikipedia,
but it's spreading. Just like that infectious cancer that is killing off the Tasmanian devils.)

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At least within the field of psychology, I think psychometrics is a relatively "hard" science, in terms of dealing with things that can be quantified in mathematical terms. There's IQ scores obviously, and there's also mental chronometry, which measures a person's reaction speed in milliseconds. It's also possible to measure intelligence indirectly based on biological variables that correlate with it, such as the brain's glucose efficiency and neural density. As of around a year ago, it's even become possible to link over half of the variance in IQ to the distribution of specific genes, although that method hasn't been applied to the study of group differences yet.

These methods also have pretty good predictive validity, in terms of their ability to predict real-life outcomes such as job performance. Another paper that summarizes the physical data this field is based on is here, although since this is a paper from 2010, it doesn't include the 2011 gene study.


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EricBarbour wrote:
DanMurphy wrote:
I just think, like, demanding that something must be measurable and observable for it to be included in disciplines that require measurability and observability is, like, unfair and stuff. Man.

Mua ha ha ha. (Once you set these POVers off, they turn everything into the Wikipedia Review Annex. This argument belongs on Wikipedia,
but it's spreading. Just like that infectious cancer that is killing off the Tasmanian devils.)

Yes, but are they redheads? :lookdownnose:

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SB_Johnny wrote:
EricBarbour wrote:
DanMurphy wrote:
I just think, like, demanding that something must be measurable and observable for it to be included in disciplines that require measurability and observability is, like, unfair and stuff. Man.

Mua ha ha ha. (Once you set these POVers off, they turn everything into the Wikipedia Review Annex. This argument belongs on Wikipedia,
but it's spreading. Just like that infectious cancer that is killing off the Tasmanian devils.)

Yes, but are they redheads? :lookdownnose:

Now, now, that's how things get moulton. :blink:

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Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:29 am
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Captain Occam wrote:
At least within the field of psychology, I think psychometrics is a relatively "hard" science, in terms of dealing with things that can be quantified in mathematical terms.


This is a typical canard. Unless what you are quantifying is rigorously empirical, the game is essentially numerology.


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iii wrote:
This is a typical canard. Unless what you are quantifying is rigorously empirical, the game is essentially numerology.

Did you read the rest of my post, and the two Nature papers that I linked to? At this point, what's being quantified in psychometrics has an empirical basis in genetics (explained in the 2011 paper) and neurology (explained in the 2010 paper).


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Captain Occam wrote:
iii wrote:
This is a typical canard. Unless what you are quantifying is rigorously empirical, the game is essentially numerology.

Did you read the rest of my post, and the two Nature papers that I linked to? At this point, what's being quantified in psychometrics has an empirical basis in genetics (explained in the 2011 paper) and neurology (explained in the 2010 paper).


That's really not what these papers say at all, but go ahead and believe that if you want. This is hardly the place to argue such nonsense as others have pointed out.


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It may be fashionable to condemn ad hominem arguments but I consider it a legitimate question to ask why someone is interested in a particular field of research. When the field of research is race and intelligence, then an awful lot of those involved are fully deserving of being addressed by ad hominem arguments just as the likes of David Irving are deserving of ad hominem arguments for their nitpicking research around the Holocaust.

There is a fair amount of evidence that such psychometrics as the IQ test measure the ability to do the IQ test rather more accurately than they measure intelligence. This is evidenced by the marked rise in the average IQ since the test was introduced, a rise which has happenned in far too few generations to be explainable in terms of genetic shifts in the underlying population.

For those who do not have political axes to grind, then the pragmatic questions around how best to educate a population of young people with diverse abilities so as to allow as many as possible to achieve close to their potential are far more important than wondering whether the mean potential of some populations may or may not be a handful of points away from the mean for other populations.

In general, South-East Asian people are less tall than members of a number of other "races". However, the recently deceased tallest woman in the world was Chinese. Even if there is a real difference between the average intelligence of different "races", that is no reason to assume that the less intelligence "races" will not similarly end up producing some of the most intelligent people in the world. The important thing, then, becomes to enable such a person to attain close to their potential rather than to label them with their "race" and assume that they won't be any good at academic subjects.


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When I was looking over job applications I tended to reject any that mentioned IQ scores. Their mum might have been impressed we weren't:
http://prometheussociety.org/cms/

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eppur si muove wrote:
It may be fashionable to condemn ad hominem arguments but I consider it a legitimate question to ask why someone is interested in a particular field of research. When the field of research is race and intelligence, then an awful lot of those involved are fully deserving of being addressed by ad hominem arguments just as the likes of David Irving are deserving of ad hominem arguments for their nitpicking research around the Holocaust.


You may see it as a legitimate question, but when entering a particular research field means a person has to deal with everyone asking questions such as "are you a racist?" you are inevitably going to keep actual legitimate researchers from pursuing the field due to them not taking kindly to being called racists, while the racists will not really mind it that much and thus have no problem working in the field.

Quote:
There is a fair amount of evidence that such psychometrics as the IQ test measure the ability to do the IQ test rather more accurately than they measure intelligence. This is evidenced by the marked rise in the average IQ since the test was introduced, a rise which has happenned in far too few generations to be explainable in terms of genetic shifts in the underlying population.


The rapid rise in the average IQ score does not necessarily indicate that it does not gauge intelligence, but rather that it probably cannot be used as a reliable measure for any postulated genetic intelligence factor. Education has rapidly improved in the same time period so it could mean there is a nature factor, but that nurture also pays a very strong role.

Quote:
For those who do not have political axes to grind, then the pragmatic questions around how best to educate a population of young people with diverse abilities so as to allow as many as possible to achieve close to their potential are far more important than wondering whether the mean potential of some populations may or may not be a handful of points away from the mean for other populations.

In general, South-East Asian people are less tall than members of a number of other "races". However, the recently deceased tallest woman in the world was Chinese. Even if there is a real difference between the average intelligence of different "races", that is no reason to assume that the less intelligence "races" will not similarly end up producing some of the most intelligent people in the world. The important thing, then, becomes to enable such a person to attain close to their potential rather than to label them with their "race" and assume that they won't be any good at academic subjects.


You are right with the last paragraph, but there is a very good reason to evaluate the traits of a group as opposed to the traits of an individual. Exploring what causes certain deficiencies in a group can provide a basis for general improvement of the group, rather than simply raising the abilities of the individuals who are easier to improve. Saying you do not think it is important to identify a gap and a cause for the gap is like saying you want someone to fix your sink without trying to figure out why it is broken.

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eppur si muove wrote:
There is a fair amount of evidence that such psychometrics as the IQ test measure the ability to do the IQ test rather more accurately than they measure intelligence. This is evidenced by the marked rise in the average IQ since the test was introduced, a rise which has happenned in far too few generations to be explainable in terms of genetic shifts in the underlying population.

It would be nice if you could read the sources I'm linking to before making statements like this. I would assume that when psychologists measure a person's reaction speed or neural density, they're measuring more than the person's ability to perform on an IQ test. IQ tests are one of the oldest and most refined methods used in psychometrics, but it's possible to measure the same things that IQ tests measure just based on neurological variables.

These methods demonstrate something kind of interesting about the Flynn Effect (the rise in average IQ between generations). According to this paper, while IQ scores have risen between generations, mental chronometry scores have not risen. So while I agree that IQ tests don't separate the effects of culture from the effects of genetics, you should realize we also have other tools for measuring the biological basis of intelligence more directly.

The Devil's Advocate wrote:
You are right with the last paragraph, but there is a very good reason to evaluate the traits of a group as opposed to the traits of an individual. Exploring what causes certain deficiencies in a group can provide a basis for general improvement of the group, rather than simply raising the abilities of the individuals who are easier to improve. Saying you do not think it is important to identify a gap and a cause for the gap is like saying you want someone to fix your sink without trying to figure out why it is broken.

Yes, I was about to make this point. Lots of money has been spent trying to reduce the size of racial IQ gaps, which is a laudable goal, but without an idea of what's causing them we're just fumbling around in the dark.

Incidentally, understanding whether genetic factors play a role is just as important as learning what environmental factors are involved. Many people seem to assume if a portion of the gap is genetic, that means it's here to stay. That might have been the case in the 1970s, but there's no reason to assume it in the 21st century. It's been possible to treat lots of other disadvantages that have a genetic basis, such as diabetes, once we have a proper understanding of their causes. With further research, it could eventually become possible for low IQ as well.


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Captain Occam wrote:
The popular media likes to pretend there's a "creation/evolution controversy", but if you look in mainstream evolutionary biology journals or textbooks, you'll see that there really isn't any controversy among experts in the field about whether or not the theory of evolution is correct.
But as I understand it, there is more than one version of the theory, and strict Darwin version is problematic.

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Back on topic, I previously mentioned the Hans Eysenck (T-H-L) article, but no one seemed interested in it. The "alleged relationships with far right groups" section of that article is like a fourth of the page and is devoted entirely to attacking his position on race. He believed that personality traits were the result of biology and he noted this as possibly explaining observed differences between different groups, including races. The racial aspect of the hereditarian view was hardly his only contribution to his field and far from his biggest contribution, yet more space is given in his bio on Wikipedia to attempts to denigrate him for it than is given to detailing his other contributions.

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Hersch wrote:
Captain Occam wrote:
The popular media likes to pretend there's a "creation/evolution controversy", but if you look in mainstream evolutionary biology journals or textbooks, you'll see that there really isn't any controversy among experts in the field about whether or not the theory of evolution is correct.
But as I understand it, there is more than one version of the theory, and strict Darwin version is problematic.

And Newtonian mechanics turned out to need refinement as we went along...
Quantum mechanics seems to be pretty accurate at this point.


Your point?

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The Devil's Advocate wrote:
Back on topic, I previously mentioned the Hans Eysenck (T-H-L) article, but no one seemed interested in it. The "alleged relationships with far right groups" section of that article is like a fourth of the page and is devoted entirely to attacking his position on race. He believed that personality traits were the result of biology and he noted this as possibly explaining observed differences between different groups, including races. The racial aspect of the hereditarian view was hardly his only contribution to his field and far from his biggest contribution, yet more space is given in his bio on Wikipedia to attempts to denigrate him for it than is given to detailing his other contributions.

I'm interested, but as you're probably aware, I don't have the option of helping you improve the article. (Unless you'd like me to help you look for sources.)

The sort of thing you're describing is really typical, though. It's one of the results of how there's almost nobody left on these articles who's actually interested in psychology as a science, and almost everybody who edits them anymore is involved because they have a political axe to grind.


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Captain Occam wrote:
I'm interested, but as you're probably aware, I don't have the option of helping you improve the article. (Unless you'd like me to help you look for sources.)

The sort of thing you're describing is really typical, though. It's one of the results of how there's almost nobody left on these articles who's actually interested in psychology as a science, and almost everybody who edits them anymore is involved because they have a political axe to grind.


It is certainly typical to have these types of articles on people living or dead that are essentially just hit pieces, in any topic area. Still, it is worth pointing out where and when it occurs.

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That wasn't the only thing I meant. I'll show you another example, although this one involves an article that's only tangentially related to R&I.

In 2009, I helped Varoon Arya write the article Race and crime in the United States (T-H-L), although he did the vast majority of the work. He based the structure of the article after the 2008 edition of Gabbidon and Greene's book Race and crime, because this was the most respected book available on the topic, and was used as a texbook in several college criminology courses. The book has sections about each of the theories on the causes of racial disparities in crime rates, and each of these theories got a small section in the article, with a length proportional to the corresponding section of the book. Here is what the article looked like in December 2009, shortly after he finished writing it. In terms of sourcing and organization, it wasn't far from the criteria expected for a GA.

Varoon Arya got chased away from Wikipedia in summer of 2010, so after that he was no longer around to maintain the article, and I'm not around to maintain it anymore either. Here are a few of the things that have happened to the article in the time since then:

  • All of the tables of data from the Department of Justice have been removed and replaced with external links, even though this goes against MOS.
  • An IP address blanked an entire section about the assumptions that research in this area is based on. This content had been in the article for over two years, but the removal was never discussed on the talk page, and the section was never added back.
  • ArtifexMayhem blanked two sections, here and here, about sociobiological theories of race and crime. While on the surface it might seem debatable whether this removal was justified, remember that the structure of the article is based on Gabbidon and Greene's book, which includes sections about both of the theories that ArtifexMayhem removed. As with the other removal, this change was never discussed on the talk page.
  • Earlier today, an IP address added a new section that consists entirely of original synthesis from primary sources. It's possible someone will eventually notice the problems with this change and revert it, but I'm not getting my hopes up.
  • Finally, none of the data in the article has been updated since the article was first written. When Varoon Arya wrote the article in 2009, he used data from 2008 and 2009 because it was the most current data available. The article still uses data from 2008 and 2009, because there's nobody left who cares enough about this article to update it.

It's hard to describe how discouraging I find it to see someone put several months of work into researching and writing a well-sourced and well-organized article, and then to see the article slowly turn to shit because the person who wrote it and maintained it isn't around anymore. This is one of the best demonstrations I've seen of why when the people who are knowledgeable about the topics of these articles get driven off, ultimately the articles end up suffering as a result.


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Captain Occam wrote:
[*]ArtifexMayhem blanked two sections, here and here, about sociobiological theories of race and crime. While on the surface it might seem debatable whether this removal was justified, remember that the structure of the article is based on Gabbidon and Greene's book, which includes sections about both of the theories that ArtifexMayhem removed. As with the other removal, this change was never discussed on the talk page.


Hmm, ArtifexMayhem (T-C-L) huh? Not surprisingly I have seen him do similar things in the 9/11 topic area. He and another editor removed any mention of controlled demolition theories from the article on the Collapse of the World Trade Center, despite the fact that NIST listed its conclusions about controlled demolition as one of its report's principal findings. Artifex actually has fewer edits than I thought (just over 500 article edits), nearly all of them are him reverting what he sees as fringe POV-pushing.

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Hersch wrote:
But as I understand it, there is more than one version of the theory, and strict Darwin version is problematic.

That's like saying that the classical view that the Earth is a perfect sphere was discredited in the late 17th century, and it was discovered in about 1960 that the polar flattening is marginally less than the previously assumed value, so maybe the Flat Earthers have a point.


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The Devil's Advocate wrote:
Hmm, ArtifexMayhem (T-C-L) huh? Not surprisingly I have seen him do similar things in the 9/11 topic area. He and another editor removed any mention of controlled demolition theories from the article on the Collapse of the World Trade Center, despite the fact that NIST listed its conclusions about controlled demolition as one of its report's principal findings. Artifex actually has fewer edits than I thought (just over 500 article edits), nearly all of them are him reverting what he sees as fringe POV-pushing.

NIST disagrees wholly with that theory.
tldr: show
8. Why didn’t NIST consider a “controlled demolition” hypothesis with matching computer modeling and explanation like it did for the “pancake theory” hypothesis?

NIST conducted an extremely thorough three-year investigation that included consideration of a number of hypotheses for the collapses of the WTC towers.

Some 200 technical experts—including about 85 career NIST experts and 125 leading experts from the private sector and academia—reviewed tens of thousands of documents, interviewed more than 1,000 people, reviewed 7,000 segments of video footage and 7,000 photographs, analyzed 236 pieces of steel from the wreckage, performed laboratory tests, and created sophisticated computer simulations of the sequence of events that occurred from the moment the aircraft struck the towers until they began to collapse.

Based on its comprehensive investigation, NIST concluded that the WTC towers collapsed according to the scenario detailed in the response to Question 6.

NIST’s findings do not support the “pancake theory” of collapse, which is premised on a progressive failure of the floor systems in the WTC towers (the composite floor system—that connected the core columns and the perimeter columns—consisted of a grid of steel “trusses” integrated with a concrete slab; see diagram). Instead, the NIST investigation showed conclusively that the failure of the inwardly bowed perimeter columns initiated collapse and that the occurrence of this inward bowing required the sagging floors to remain connected to the columns and pull the columns inwards. Thus, the floors did not fail progressively to cause a pancaking phenomenon.



WTC Towers Diagram For FAQs




Diagram of the Composite WTC Floor System Credit: NIST



NIST’s findings also do not support the “controlled demolition” theory since there is conclusive evidence that:

the collapse was initiated in the impact and fire floors of the WTC towers and nowhere else, and;
the time it took for the collapse to initiate (56 minutes for WTC 2 and 102 minutes for WTC 1) was dictated by (1) the extent of damage caused by the aircraft impact, and (2) the time it took for the fires to reach critical locations and weaken the structure to the point that the towers could not resist the tremendous energy released by the downward movement of the massive top section of the building at and above the fire and impact floors.

Video evidence also showed unambiguously that the collapse progressed from the top to the bottom, and there was no evidence (collected by NIST or by the New York City Police Department, the Port Authority Police Department, or the Fire Department of New York) of any blast or explosions in the region below the impact and fire floors as the top building sections (including and above the 98th floor in WTC 1 and the 82nd floor in WTC 2) began their downward movement upon collapse initiation.

In summary, NIST found no corroborating evidence for alternative hypotheses suggesting that the WTC towers were brought down by controlled demolition using explosives. NIST also did not find any evidence that missiles were fired at or hit the towers. Instead, photographs and videos from several angles clearly show that the collapse initiated at the fire and impact floors and that the collapse progressed from the initiating floors downward until the dust clouds obscured the view.

9. Weren't the puffs of smoke that were seen, as the collapse of each WTC tower starts, evidence of controlled demolition explosions?

No. As stated in Section 6.14.4 of NIST NCSTAR 1, the falling mass of the building compressed the air ahead of it—much like the action of a piston—forcing smoke and debris out the windows as the stories below failed sequentially.

These puffs were observed at many locations as the towers collapsed. In all cases, they had the appearance of jets of gas being pushed from the building through windows or between columns on the mechanical floors. Such jets are expected since the air inside the building is compressed as the tower falls and must flow somewhere as the pressure builds. It is significant that similar “puffs” were observed numerous times on the fire floors in both towers prior to their collapses, perhaps due to falling walls or portions of a floor. Puffs from WTC 1 were even observed when WTC 2 was struck by the aircraft. These observations confirm that even minor overpressures were transmitted through the towers and forced smoke and debris from the building.

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I don't think I implied anything to the contrary. Rather, I noted that they made a point of bringing it up in their principal findings. Any decent encyclopedic article on a subject is going to note the principal findings of the most authoritative investigation into said subject. That goes along with a pattern of material that clearly is relevant to a comprehensive encyclopedic work being excluded because one of the debunkers thinks any mention of it is enabling bad views. Amazingly, the article on race and crime in the United States now only makes one very brief mention of the claim of a biological cause, citing the opinion of a single 19th century scholar. Obviously, past and present claims of a biological origin for higher crime rates among racial groups are completely relevant to an encyclopedic article on the subject of race and crime. It has been and is part of the discussion, even if people do not like the implications.

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Sorry for bumping this old thread, but there's something I'm really curious about ArtifexMayhem's comment here.

Can anyone figure out how he knows anything about who I am? I was long gone from the R&I topic by the time he showed up there, and I also don't think I've ever edited any of the other articles where he participates. I guess he might have seen my posts on this forum, but I've never said anything here about Arthur Jensen or J. P. Rushton, who I assume are the two "scientific racists" whose deaths he's glad about.


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Captain Occam wrote:
Sorry for bumping this old thread, but there's something I'm really curious about ArtifexMayhem's comment here.

Can anyone figure out how he knows anything about who I am? I was long gone from the R&I topic by the time he showed up there, and I also don't think I've ever edited any of the other articles where he participates. I guess he might have seen my posts on this forum, but I've never said anything here about Arthur Jensen or J. P. Rushton, who I assume are the two "scientific racists" whose deaths he's glad about.


He is the second R&I editor to basically get off on the deaths of these two people. It is pretty sickening and makes their hostility towards the likes of Mikemikev look more like it is about ideology than morality.

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Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:33 pm
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