These last posts from George and Jonathan, filled with self-righteousness and amazingly distorted characterizations of my positions, say it all about the closeted sectarian left. This whole discussion started when Mitchel Cohen said that all discussions of race and intelligence were fascist propaganda. I asked people to read my Bruce Lahn profile in Science from last December--still only two people have asked for the pdfs, so most of the posters here don't have any idea what I am talking about--because I saw it as a case where science had won the day. It sometimes happens. When Lahn published his original Science papers in 2005, they were trumpeted by every right ring and racist blog from John Derbyshire at NRO to Steve Sailor at vdare as evidence that Blacks were inferior in intelligence, and if you Google Lahn you will find tons of this stuff. I broke the story in Science that the followup studies by Lahn and Rushton had failed to show this connection. My story has received a lot of attention and has had the effect of stopping all this in its tracks. In doing so, not by pursuing an agenda but simply doing my job as a reporter and reporting the facts (although it was my idea to do this particular article), I did more to counter the race-intelligence connection than all of the people who have attacked me here put together and multiplied by 10. Why? Because too many leftists are still talking to themselves, and think it is beneath their ideological purity to actually engage with racist ideas in the real world, where political correctness and self-righteousness don't get you anywhere. Science operates in a social and political context, sure, and I have acknowledged that all along the way in this discussion. But if you believe that progressive ideas are right and true, then science also has the power to help bring that truth to light. That is what S.J. Gould realized when he wrote The Mismeasure of Man, a book that is still assigned in university courses today and which has had a huge influence--and all because Gould knew that he had to confront scientific racism rather than ignore it, and on a scientific as well as a political basis. Some people here would rather stew in their juices than follow Gould's example.

Stew away, some of us are trying to work in the real world.


On 2/22/07, George Salzman < [log in to unmask]> wrote:
Subject: Re: Genetics & Race
From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 18:06:30 +0000
To: [log in to unmask]

This is such an amazing distortion of my position on the issues we have been discussing that I find it staggering and question myself whether it is possible to discuss these issues here. I will leave the list if George personally asks me to, although I would be interested to hear whether others feel that these discussions have been useless.

Dear Michael,
      The issues here are much larger than you or me or the SftP listserv. The listserv has hardly discussed anything bearing directly on the fact that global human society is on a dead-end. I forget whether it's 80,000 people a day who die, basically from malnutrition, lack of potable water and related deprivation. The number is huge, and most of them are children, and most of them have skin color different from that of damn near everyone on this list. How many of us middle class people know the amount of fossil fuel we consume with our automobiles, air conditioning, electric dishwashers and driers, home laundry equipment, power lawn mowers, air travel, audio and television equipment, electric tooth-brushes and pencil sharpeners, ski-lifts and snow-making machinery, electric golf carts, overheated overlighted large houses, electric blankets, second houses, motor boats, power-this and power-that? How many thousand miles a year do we feel we are 'entitled' to fly and drive? What part have you, Michael, taken in the struggle to prevent that great center of scientific research, the University of California at Berkeley, from firing (or, as they say in academize, not granting tenure, as though tenure is a gift from the all high administrators) to Ignacio Chapela? What has the American Association for the Advancement of Science done to confront that threat to so-called academic freedom bought and paid for by Syngenta? And how much of its budget does the AAAS get from federal sources? The threat to the world's food supply is not being done by mistake, it's for profit above all else. The transgenic contamination of corn, first discovered here in Oaxaca and reported in Nature by Ignacio Chapela and a student of his, David Quist, was disowned by the cowardly editorial staff of Nature on the basis of a campaign mounted by the biotech industry. I've written about it in the posting that begins,
Mexico, birthplace of corn, threatened by its contamination

Scientist who first announced the danger threatened by firing

A chance for you to act
May 2, 2004

this page is at

Subject: Help protect honest, courageous scientists. Not just an academic matter.
George Salzman <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Sun, 02 May 2004 19:31:11 -0500; 20:03:05 -0500
To: [log in to unmask]
BCC: (entire general list)

      Corn is a primary food for many millions of humans. Transgenic corn was invented by agro-industrial giants in pursuit of greater profits. In 1998 the Mexican government, aware of the threat to its native corn, prohibited planting transgenic seeds, but permitted their importation for animal feed. In November 2001, in Nature, a premier British science magazine, Prof. Ignacio Chapela of the University of California at Berkeley and David Quist, a graduate student, reported finding transgenic contamination of Mexican corn. Agricultural bio-tech interests mounted a vigorous smear campaign to discredit the research. But the original results were subsequently confirmed. In that same year, 2001, Prof. Chapela's review for tenure began. After three years, the Chancellor of the Berkeley campus denied tenure. Prof. Chapela's position there is set to end on June 30.
      How much are you paid to plow the narrow furrow that you are assigned? Have you ever seen and talked with a farmer who workes with his or her hands, who relies more on metabolic energy than what I call mechanical energy to sustain the life of his or her family? Do you have any idea why so many of them here in Oaxaca have had to abandon their land to seek jobs to get money as hand laborers in the great USA as roofers, stoop laborers in agribusiness-run industrial farms? Do you think that possibly, just possibly, it might not be because of their inferior genetic heritage? In any event, I'm not interested in reading your 'science-out-of-context' arguments, written from within your subsidized middle-class bubble. Subsidized, I should add, as all of us middle-class folk are, by the labor of the poor people of the world and the robbery of so-called natural resources, which is rapidly destroying the ecosphere, as many frequent-flyer ecologists and other learned persons run around the world informing the rest of us.

      There's no reason for me to ask you to leave the SftP listserv. If others want to make an effort to change your perception of the world, that's no longer a concern of mine. I just want Steve to take me off this list.

Sincerely, with disappointment but not personal rancor,


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