October 30, 2007

Wolfgang Zernik v. Steve Sailer on The Big Question

In the Letters column on VDARE.com, Wolfgang Zernik raises a common question:

The real problem Sailer should tackle is this: society has no way to treat the recognition that one racial group is intellectually inferior to others.

I mean simply no way to deal with it, legally, constitutionally or morally. We are not Nazis, after all, and are not likely to become like them. Why not discuss important issues?

If we ever get to the point where we are forced to acknowledge that people of African descent are on average far less intelligent than whites or Asians, what do we do then?

Click here for my answer.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

20 comments:

dumb-dumb said...

Well, we as a society seem to have almost no problem dealing with the fact that some kids come in to our society with a trust fund already set up and an endowment of millions, while others come into our society with six siblings (through four different fathers), no dad in the house and no money.

Pretty unfair, but we don't seem to make to much of a fuss about it as a society.

That's the way it is.

I think this whole thing is a bit of a tempest in a teapot.

Anonymous said...

You didn't really deal with the objection, Steve. Yes, we must "deal with it" but exactly HOW?

The Ugly Truth said...

Steve, I agree with anonymous there. Yes, we'll deal with it. But how? For example, the NFL has found a way to deal with the inferiority of whites for many positions: don't bother to recruit them. That's why those positions you mention have 0 whites, which on "merit" alone would be statistically improbable in the highest. OK, they are dealing. That's a "how".

So how do with deal with a race of low IQ people? Your series on how to help the other half of the bell curve is a good start:
http://www.isteve.com/How_to_Help_the_Left_Half_of_the_Bell_Curve.htm
... but Wolfgang Zernik was not asking about that. He was asking about issues of equality, about political structures made based on a premise of equality, and about how to go about getting a world full of people in the deepest denial to accept the facts.

Not that I think "deal with it" is that bad an answer, because muddling through really does work. Time passes whether we are comfortable or not. But I still feel like you were evading the question.

Anonymous said...

The only practical effect I can foresee is the white-managerial "fuzzy glow" of hiring an Aframerican, for instance, might give a little. Hard-scrotummed hirers using their own money will get more straightforwardly racist, mainly the ones who are now straightforwardly racist.

You'd probably still favor a real evident go-getter, regardless of race, and probably feel a little good about not being racist...so, basically, the world would look almost exactly the same.

The fight against racism is the biggest and most multifarious propaganda campaign of all time. "Races" can be abstracted like tribal units, meaning it's very easy for people to abstract through these lenses.

So...cultural artifacts look half-crazy and dated...constraints on discourse and omissions in logic look pitifully obvious in retrospect...all the brightest figures of the time blithely went along with it...right. History.

dearieme said...

How? Take each man as you find him.

Bill said...

I mean simply no way to deal with it, legally, constitutionally or morally. We are not Nazis, after all, and are not likely to become like them. Why not discuss important issues?

-Zernik


Uhhh... Didn't Jesus have something relevant to say about this?

TabooTruth said...

We deal with it?

Uh, have you seen our history? Do you know how brutal our species is?

Do you really trust humanity to deal with race differences in intelligence the way they deal with race differences in athleticism?

Basically, after acknowledging this, what will we do about third world economies? Recolonize and sterilize them?

Start a eugenics program in urban ghettos?

Why are humans considered better than animals?

Because we are smarter than them, smart enough to rule them.

Well, then, couldn't you use the same logic to justify oppressive policies to groups that are less endowed?

Look, unless all the smart people of the world abandon the earth and establish colonies on other planets, there WILL be conflict when people realize that genetics matters more than economic policy or "culture".

Steve, we need a better plan. The world needs a better plan. And if you think that we can just "deal with it," things will get ugly.

The only thing that can save us possibly is the singularity
which can act in concert with massive genetic engineering.

I'm really surprised that with your realistic and accurate prediction of the results of Gulf War 2, you think that it won't be a problem to acknowledge race differences.

SFG said...

The Singularity completely ignores limitations of energy requirements. It's the geek Rapture, basically. (And is probably up there among nerd fantasies with the nerd woman, which as Steve has pointed out may go back to Athena. She was the goddess of handicrafts and wisdom, after all.)

Most likely we'll stumble along miserably. But I think the lie will persist for a while. Lies necessary for social harmony can be preserved for a while; I'm not sure I'll live to see the day when they admit Jensen was right. (And I'm a young guy.)

And no, I don't think the American people are Nazis. We already freaked out about disloyal foreigners (the Japanese) in our midst in WWII, and we didn't kill them.

Escuerd said...

tabootruth:
"Well, then, couldn't you use the same logic to justify oppressive policies to groups that are less endowed?"

Do you think that the existence of racial differences in intelligence actually would justify oppressive policies toward groups that are less intelligent on average?

If not, why not? That ought to be your answer.

In sound-bytes, my answer is as follows:

1. Racial differences, while real, are smaller than the variation within the population (not so for other animals).

2. The absolute differences in intelligence are much smaller than than those with humans and other animals (a related, but distinct point).

3. Intelligence isn't the whole story. High intelligence may be sufficient to feel empathy toward something (e.g. AI that passes the Turing Test). Why is it necessary? We don't think it's OK to abuse the retarded do we?


Perhaps you think that while there are good reasons to respect the humanity of people with low IQs (or who just happen to be in groups with low average IQs), but that most of society would be unable to understand them. I don't think this is so. The idea that certain truths should be withheld because society can't handle them sounds more appropriate for clergy than for scientists.

Anonymous said...

:::Uh, have you seen our history? Do you know how brutal our species is?

Do you really trust humanity to deal with race differences in intelligence the way they deal with race differences in athleticism?:::

People seem to regard athleticism and musicality as far more interesting than intelligence. I was hanging out with a latino guy who was in prison his entire life the other day: it's getting him laid in a class above his station. Everybody thought it was cool. I wanted to talk to him about it, it gave him an appealing and dangerous personal brand. That's real life, barring Hitlerian freaks, or people into the life of the mind. Comparitively, all I get are negative points with almost everyone for pretty much any manifestation of intelligence.

Looking at America: seriously: what would be different? The system already behaves like this is an established fact, more or less. Is any quasi-tribal self-consciousness or mythologizing ready for it? Who cares? "Dangerous Minds" didn't raised inner city GPAs, most people will not believe it or not care. People with money on the line already act like these differences exist.

:::Start a eugenics program in urban ghettos?

Why are humans considered better than animals?

Because we are smarter than them, smart enough to rule them.

Well, then, couldn't you use the same logic to justify oppressive policies to groups that are less endowed?:::

And who's going to do this? I don't think that's America's style. China's always minded its own business. The only impending eugenic possibility is everybody getting a tricked-out genius kid in 100 years. Awesome. People reflexively think sterilizing the retarded is immoral. I don't think it's anything to anticipate.

Last time I checked Africa had the biggest population it's ever had and everybody is fed, except for a few erratic situations now and then. They don't have Ipods. So what? People with Ipods want sex and community far more than technology. Overseas, Western institutions are mimicked pretty well, but there's a ton more awkward problems and incompetence. Implementation of some institutions are farcical but reasonably operational. They live their lives pretty well, the Rule of Law works outstandingly. Maybe some strategic alterations would make it work even better -- but it's working pretty well right now! -- and if there's outright catastrophe or catastrophic war, the west will step in, ideally. There are a million ugly human scenarios pioneered in European countries not playing out, some are, admittedly, but people are largely living okay. Elite and third-world interests are served better by institutions the way the are, not any crazy massive human-engineering project.

:::Look, unless all the smart people of the world abandon the earth and establish colonies on other planets, there WILL be conflict when people realize that genetics matters more than economic policy or "culture".

Steve, we need a better plan. The world needs a better plan. And if you think that we can just "deal with it," things will get ugly.

The only thing that can save us possibly is the singularity
which can act in concert with massive genetic engineering.

I'm really surprised that with your realistic and accurate prediction of the results of Gulf War 2, you think that it won't be a problem to acknowledge race differences.:::

I don't see anything inevitable about any of this. The last generations' pseudo-science just lamely got pasted onto traditional tribal territorial modes of reasoning through national self-interest. Is there a diminishment in this sort of crazy governing? Yes, it's eerie, but maybe it was more eerie and inplausible how prevalent it ever was.

Bill said...

I don't know why people think this is such a big deal -- we've been dealing with intellectual differences since before we were even human.

The biggest problem is people whose own self-worth is based entirely upon the sense of superiority they derive from being smarter than the rest of us. Intelligence is not a value judgment; it just is. It is a powerful asset, and ideally it doesn't have to be a selfish one.

In my own experience, people who have truly superior intellects understand this very well, and those of us who benefit from their gifts for the most part don't feel denigrated by their achievements.

It is really the mediocre, envious types who hold things back. They are far more numerous than those who expand our potential, but far less numerous than those of us who benefit from advances. This is one of the fundamental constraints on human potential, and is a very difficult problem to overcome.

However, we already have philosophies and belief systems that address this problem, and it is frustrating to see how people are blinded by a sort of provincial modernism.

Escuerd said...

Zemik's original (rhetorical) question seemed to be essentially a stronger form of "Isn't this knowledge useless anyway? Why study it if it has no clear implications for what we should do?"

Of course, this is the kind of objection that could be raised against most science. E.g.:
-"Hey, they discovered a new particle interaction at Fermilab."
-"Ok, but what should we DO about it?"

It's like saying knowledge and/or truth have no inherent value, which I find an inherently detestable attitude.

Incidentally, I think that knowing whether there are racial differences could probably inform some policy decisions more easily than a heretofore unknown particle interaction.

E.g. In trying to eliminate racial discrimination, can we legitimately take underrepresentation of some group to imply that it's still going on? The case for that would be a lot stronger if there were no statistical differences between races.

Tom Merle said...

We'd undoubtedly find ways to deal with=accommodate IQ variation if that were the core issue. But it's not. Social problems ensue because of differences among other human (primate) traits.

Yes, there are Latino gangs, but they remain at the fringe of their communities. Black crime is far more prevalent and more serious since it is so pervasive. What counts are the attitudes of those with lower intellectual horsepower. Hispanics are more desirable as employees because of their more positive work ethic and the relative absence of the chip-on-the-shoulder syndrome.

Though it would never fly in the 21st century, we have chemical means available--a la Brave New World* to modify personalities, making their owners more productive and less aggressive. The Baptist religion used to be the drug of choice to accomplish this, but hip hop has eliminated this option

The counter approach, more realistic but more dangerous because the criminal justice system will not/cannot "throw the key away" is the "warehousing" of those who threaten civil society.

Steve's reference to the NFL, unfortunately, is a cop out. There is a relatively limited number of opportunities for blacks to be paid for their superior athletic prowess. We are left with the cliché: Real world opportunities require other skills. Steve also likes to mention the success of the Army to achieve assimilation. I wonder. But it does defuse the anger which is so destructive.

(*) From Shakespeare's The Tempest:
"O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beautious mankind is!
O brave new world
That has such people in't!"

Mthson said...

The future will, alas, be far less exciting than we might imagine it.

Once gene therapy becomes a mainstream part of reproductive care, group differences in ability will begin to be remedied for the first time in human history. We would have it no other way.

At that point, acknowledging past differences is much more viable than today.

Fred said...

Zernik asks the wrong question. Whatever science says, people of faith (liberal egalitarians, Evangelical Christians, etc.) will feel free to believe in the tenets of their religion that say otherwise.

The better questions are:

1) What do you want to accomplish?

2) Will continuing to point out the IQ gap between blacks and whites help you accomplish this or not?

Let's start with 2). I'd like to see affirmative action done away with. I'd also like to see unskilled immigration to this country curtailed. So how does 1) help me in accomplishing either goal? It doesn't appear that it helps at all, does it? The Watson affair shows that bringing up the IQ gap is a ticket to marginalization.

Ward Connerly didn't talk about the IQ gap during his successful campaigns to ban affirmative action, did he? Weren't they premised on egalitarian ideas that blacks didn't need affirmative action to compete?

Similarly, the successful opposition to Bush's immigration amnesty bill, by NumbersUSA and others, wasn't based on invidious comparisons of white and mestizo IQ.

tommy said...

The real problem Sailer should tackle is this: society has no way to treat the recognition that one racial group is intellectually inferior to others.

The problem is that society has no way to treat the non-recognition that one racial group is intellectually inferior to others.

stencil said...

here's how "it" will be dealt with: the usa becomes bronzed and latinized in the next 100 years then deals ruthlessly with the darker hues - and doesn't lose a minute of sleep over it.

this entire conversation showcases the pussification of the white man. "things are gonna get ugly?" you mean that the 15,000 black on white rapes per year that we have in america today are not ugly? or the untold number of black on white rapes in the prisons are not ugly? yeah it would be so "ugly" to keep violent blacks at bay. instead let's allow them to prey on whites like wolves on sheep.

whites as group are now fully neurotic and dysfunctional. worrying themselves sick about nonsense that their confident sensible ancestors didn't think twice about.

"let's not hurt other race's feelings". only modern ever-shrinking white populations think this way. in darwinian terms it is forfeiting the game. but all the while whites tell themselves the entire time that they are more evolved because of it. so maybe now evolved means allowing your own ass-kicking? what a complete departure from the known history of life on earth.

meanwhile back in reality less emotionally fixated (less feminized) non-white men are literally pushing white men across the continent. so nature apparently disagrees with the white appraisal that modern whites are more evolved.

so go out and do something really white today...get a vasectomy and buy your dog a halloween costume.

Anonymous said...

The football analogy doesn't work because everyone save sports writers are willing to discuss racial differences when they show blacks in a positive light. Whites can more or less live with blacks' football superiority because they are not deeply insecure about, and single-mindedly obsessed with, race.

But even in this relatively obvious difference sports journalists always rake each other over the coal when one admits the awful truth, just as scientists do. I think Zernik wants to know if we will ever move beyond this scapegoat mentality to the point where low-IQ scores can be discussed as openly in the media, academia, and in social life as the weather. I'm in my 20s, and I'll be dead before it happens although the number of communities where it is acceptable to covertly admit it may increase.

Eternally anonymous

Marc said...

I agree with people who say this is all a tempest in a teapot. The most that I can see coming from acceptance of this knowledge policy-wise is a change in immigration laws in some high-IQ countries discriminating against people from low-IQ countries, which is hardly something to be concerned about (sorry, but if you think not being allowed to put down residence wherever you please is a human rights violation, you need your head examined.) Even that might prove temporary. As the specific genes that code for intelligence are nailed down, many countries will probably scrap such laws in favor of genetic testing of potential immigrants of all races.

Anony-mouse said...

Everyone here assumes that the big problem here will be in black-white relations.

But what will happen if its revealed, say, that East Asians are genetically more intelligent than whites.

Anybody know of an East Asian who can replace Steve Sailer right here? What will we do with all the commenters on isteve (who I assume are all white)?

Maybe all that talk about immigrant visas (if the immigrants come from East Asia) makes sense after all?