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Other than saying that I was a member of Science for the People during most
of its existence as an organization and that a quick look at the
"Civilization's Discontents" segment of the News section of my Web site will
make my personal politics clear, I will leave it to others to comment on
whether my association with Science disqualifies me from commenting on
science from a left perspective.

www.michaelbalter.com


On 2/20/07, Jonathan Campbell <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>  This is so ironic.
>
> SESPA and Science For The People arose as a challenge to the corporate use
> of science that was representative, at the time, of the AAAS and its
> magazine, Science. Here we have an author from - of all magazines - Science,
> who disparages anyone who criticizes anything that is generally accepted by
> the very mainstream science that SftP challenged.
>
> Does anyone else see the irony of this situation? Mr. Balter is Mr.
> Science Establishment. You can't get any closer to the polar opposite of
> what SftP was. It would be interesting to find out Mr. Balter's opinion on,
> say, genetic engineering of food using antibiotic resistance marker
> technology, RR soybeans, BT and RR corn, etc. His early article in the
> International Herald seems rather uncritical:
> http://www.iht.com/articles/1991/12/19/inst.php
>
> Jonathan
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
> *To:* [log in to unmask]
> *Sent:* Tuesday, February 20, 2007 2:02 AM
> *Subject:* Re: Anti-Science Left
>
> Robert, thanks for this, very helpful. By the way, over the past year or
> so those who believe in a race/IQ connection have gotten very excited about
> the findings of University of Chicago geneticist Bruce Lahn's publication in
> my own journal, Science, of genes possibly linked to human cognition, under
> recent natural selection, and which have an allele distribution suggesting
> Africans are disadvantaged (microcephalin and ASPM.) Many here may have
> followed this. In December I wrote a profile of Lahn for Science which
> raised the social and political issues with a sidebar looking at recent
> scientific challenges to these interpretations. The articles can be found
> here: *Science* 22 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5807, pp. 1871 - 1873. But
> if anyone does not have access to Science online and wants to email me
> offlist, I will be happy to send the pdfs.
>
> best, Michael
>
> On 2/20/07, Robt Mann <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >
> >  Josť Morales has opened an important theme.
> > But in doing so he wrote:
> >
> > ...
> >
> > my thesis advisor ...  asked me what if researchers had completed a
> > study and found that white people were of superior intelligence to people of
> > color, would I believe the conclusions?  What if the study was rock solid,
> > completely water tight.  Then I went through a series of questions and
> > caveats and he replied yes this study took that into account.  Ultimately,
> > the idea was that all possible criticisms from all corners (people of color,
> > civil libertarians etc.) were taken into account and controlled for.  Would
> > I believe it?  I said, well if all these possible concerns and questions
> > were taken into account and controlled for, I'd have to believe that all
> > white people are of superior intelligence to all people of color.  He said,
> > OK you will be a good scientist.
> >
> >
> >         Josť's msg doesn't look generally careless or unexamined, so I
> > take this as he states it.
> >
> >         The idea that 'white people were of superior intelligence to
> > people of color' rocketed to prominence while I was a grad student at
> > Berkeley, where education prof Arthur Jensen stated it (in the form of a
> > difference in IQ medians &/or means &/or modes   -  any or all will serve
> > for present purposes, I suppose  -  between some whites and some
> > Afro-Americans).  The nature of this contention, and of the conclusions from
> > all the IQ measures which were purged from the Stanford-Binet IQ test suite
> > if they showed any difference between men and women, is* overlapping*distributions with different means.
> >         Has anyone said '*all* white people are of superior intelligence
> > to* all* people of color'  -  at least during the past century or so?
> > Is the assertion deserving of serious discussion these days?  Everyone who
> > has experienced a sample >100 of each knows the most stupid whites are far
> > less intelligent than a clever non-white.  The notion of any race whose
> > intelligence distribution fails to overlap those of all other races is
> > contrary to obvious fact.
> >         Similarly, the slogan 'the Slavs are sub-human' is obviously
> > false.  But it was a major defining slogan of the Nazi party, which you had
> > to assent to if you wanted the social security that was available in Germany
> > for a decade by open adherence to that party.  I postulate that it's in the
> > nature of totalitarian systems to require assent to slogans which are not
> > subtly but flagrantly false &/or immoral.
> >         What Josť says he would assent to if research concluded it
> > rock-solidly is known to every experienced adult, whether educated or not,
> > to be false.  I am loath to believe that he or anyone else on this list
> > could ever assent to it, whether or not some scientists had asserted it with
> > whatever authority & 'evidence'.
> >         I focus on this slide from 'race W is, on average, of superior
> > intelligence to race C' to  '*all*  people of race W are of superior
> > intelligence to* all* people of race C' because this same fallacy often
> > occurs in polemics about sexism.  In my experience, even when the postulated
> > distributions are drawn with very large extents of overlap (on a paper
> > napkin at lunch in a U staff club), fanatical wimminsLibbers are capable of
> > promptly threatening violence, complaining as if what had been asserted was
> > '*all* men are of superior intelligence to* all* women'.  Such a raver
> > is immediately escorted out of the building, but when outside fails to give
> > any excuse for decking her.  I have seen that mode of argumentation
> > countless times, which is why it interests me now when it comes from Josť
> > (wrt race not sex).
> >
> >         BTW supposing the Jensen/Shockley-type conclusion had been
> > proven, wouldn't it follow that the disadvantaged group should get special
> > help in education, medicine, nutrition,   ...  ?  That was my response 4
> > decades ago when those who fancied themselves as radicals vilified Jensen
> > (of whose work I knew nothing else); and is still my answer.  Racial
> > differences entailed in sickle-cell anaemia should be admitted (when
> > proven), and acted upon.  It is not racist to say so.  Why is intelligence
> > utterly different?
> >         I must add that I'm very sceptical of IQ and far from convinced
> > that the Jensen conclusion describes anything important.  But since Josť has
> > postulated the condition of its being thoroughly meaningful & proven, I want
> > to respond on his reaction to that imagined state of affairs.
> >
> >         If what Josť said was, instead, an oversight in his writing,
> > then I would like to hear discussion of psychological patterns of this type,
> > which can cause a certain amount of misunderstanding & trouble.
> >
> > R
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
>
> --
> www.michaelbalter.com
>
> ******************************************
> Michael Balter
> Contributing Correspondent, Science
> [log in to unmask]
> ******************************************
>
>


-- 
www.michaelbalter.com

******************************************
Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
[log in to unmask]
******************************************