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By the way, since concern has been expressed on this list about methods of
argumentation and personal attacks, let me be clear: I do not consider
Jonathan's post about my Science connection to be a personal attack, but a
legitimate political attack on my credibility as a commentator on science
related issues from a left perspective. If I worked for Exxon, that would
certainly be relevant to my credibility if the subject of global warming
came up here. I have defended myself against this political attack, that is
all. Likewise, it is a political and not a personal attack if I say that
Jonathan's peddling of crackpot theories discredits the left and its
influence in the wider population, especially when they are disseminated
publicly.

MB

On 2/20/07, Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> 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]
> ******************************************
>



-- 
www.michaelbalter.com

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