November 28, 2007

John Derbyshire on the topic of the hour

The Derb has has a three part Q&A on IQ, race, and genes in NRO. Here's part one, part two, and part three.

From Part One:

Q: Is this stuff interesting to anyone but white supremacists?
A: I bet it is interesting to white supremacists, though it should — see above — be even more interesting to yellow supremacists. I know a lot of people who find it interesting, though, and I don’t think any of them is a white supremacist. (Which I take to mean: A person who desires special legal/constitutional privileges for white people.) I’m not one myself.

Who this is mainly interesting to is, science geeks. I am one of those, and have been since childhood. The people I know who are interested in the race-I.Q. discussion would all, I believe, make the same claim. They all seem to have been keen readers of science fiction at some point. One of them writes sci-fi for a living.

I came late to biology and the human sciences myself, finding physics, astronomy, and information sciences more interesting. The human sciences have fundamentally the same appeal, though. Here are phenomena, features of the world, that I see with my eyes every day. Some people are smart, some are dumb. There are different races, accounted for — pretty obviously — by having their deep ancestry in different parts of the world. Different races seem to have different patterns of capabilities. What’s it all about? Here are some accredited researchers, applying the tools of scientific inquiry — measurement, classification, comparison — to try to find the underlying facts. What’s not to be interested in?

What’s that you say? It’s wrong to be interested in these things? I’m supposed to pretend not to notice those things I’m noticing? Those aren’t scientists: they are bad people with dark motives only pretending to do objective research? That’s what you’re saying? Okay, let me put this as politely as it deserves to be put: Bite me, pal. ...

Q: Isn’t all the so-called race-I.Q. research funded by outfits like the Pioneer Fund, which have racist agendas?

A:
Some of it is, but so what? ...

Look: The controversy here is not between research group A, resourced by fund X with bias M, saying this is so; while research group B, resourced by fund Y with bias N, insists no, that is not so — THIS is so!

That’s not the structure of the controversy. The structure of the controversy is: research group A, resourced by fund X with bias M, saying this is so, while a mighty host of journo-school grads, law-school grads, and liberal-arts department heads — yes, and even a few careerist, tenure- or office-seeking biologists and money-seeking, PC-compliant pop-science authors — shriek YOU MUSTN’T TALK ABOUT THAT! YOU ARE BAD PEOPLE! That’s the structure of the controversy.

It’s not as if the underlying data here, which now goes back for decades, was all assembled by twitching clubfooted racists with collections of SS memorabilia and slave manacles in their closets. The biggest single lumps of it were collected by sober establishment outfits like, for example, the U.S. armed forces.

And this whole story about researchers being lap-dogs of their funders doesn’t bear close scrutiny anyway. A couple of years ago, for example, I reported in National Review about the discoveries of human-geneticist Bruce Lahn. Lahn had turned up some variants of genes known to be involved somehow — we didn’t (and still don’t) know exactly how — in infant brain development. These variants showed strikingly different frequencies when tallied by race. Could these variants help explain race-I.Q. differences?

Not hard to find out. Assemble two groups, equalized by age, sex, income, race, and anything else you can think of, one group with variant P, the other without it, this being the only detectable difference between the groups. Give ‘em I.Q. tests. See if there is any statistically-significant group difference.

That follow-up experiment was done. The result was negative. No, these gene variants seem not to be an explanatory factor for race-I.Q. differences.

The lead researcher on that follow-up experiment that got the negative result is J. Philippe Rushton of the University of Ontario. Prof. Rushton has been a major recipient of Pioneer Fund grants, and currently heads the fund. I guess he momentarily forgot he’s supposed to be a lap-dog.

From Part Two:

Q: What is race, anyway? Hasn’t it been proved a meaningless concept?

A:
Race is just common ancestry. More precisely, it’s mostly common ancestry.

If I sit down to work out my family tree, I have two slots for parents, four for grandparents, eight for great-grandparents, and so on.

Go back a thousand years — say thirty generations — and there are, by the well-known doubling rule, a billion-something slots to fill. Now, there weren’t a billion people alive in the world in A.D. 1008. The actual number of different persons filling those billion slots is likely only a few ten thousands, each name repeated over and over hundreds of times as a result of inbreeding across a millennium.

Can I say anything nontrivial about those few-ten-thousand persons of the early 11th century whose inbred contributions make up my genome?

Well, yes, I believe I can, just by looking in the mirror. I can assert with perfect confidence, for example, that it is not the case that any large proportion of them — twenty, thirty, forty percent or more — were Australian Aborigines. If that were the case, I would not look so unmistakably European. (And should my confidence in the mirror test waver, there are now firms that will sequence my genome for a few hundred dollars, from which I would get the same answer.)

Of course, there might be an Aborigine in there somewhere — even two, four, eight, or sixteen. Most of my ancestry, though — look at me, for Pete’s sake! — is European. In fact, given what I know about my ancestry, and about history, and about mobility and mating customs in times gone by, my strong guess is that most of those few ten-thousand people were subjects of Ethelred the Unready, born in England. Most of the rest lived within a thousand miles of England.

In my children’s cases, half of their few-ten-thousands ancestors circa A.D. 1008 would be east-Asian, the other half north-European. They’re mixed race. I don’t personally find this a difficult concept to grasp. Nor, again — boy, I must have ice in my veins! — is it anything I get worked up about. ...

From Part Three:

If you hang out with race-realist types a lot — and yes, I do, and count myself one — a thing you notice is that a high proportion of them, of us, are antisocial loners. Trust me, it’s not just because of their opinions that race realists don’t win any popularity prizes. (And as a corollary, not many of them, of us, are successful in a worldly way. Poor social skills. Jim Watson, though world-famous for what he did, fits the pattern. Talk to anyone who knows him and expressions like “difficult,” “prickly,” and “loose cannon” soon turn up.)

Watson is a complicated fellow, because he's both a loose cannon and a world-class fundraiser and lab leader. He's extremely social, just not in glad-handing kind of way. I feel sorry for him because what has happened to him is likely to hurt him more than somebody more Aspergery, like Larry Summers.

Like every other feature of human nature, the groupish emotions are unevenly distributed. Some individuals are richly endowed with them. They are plunged into despair when their baseball team loses; they bristle to hear their religion criticized; they are furious at insults to their nation; if of eccentric sexual preference, they may swear brotherhood with those similarly disposed; and yes, they are mad as hell to hear their race described as failed, even though they understand at some level that it’s an abstract statistical description that does not reflect on them personally, any more than their baseball team’s losing the World Series does.

Your antisocial loner isn’t like that. He probably has no strong opinion about the relative merits of Yankees and Mets. If he goes to church, it’s for personal and metaphysical reasons, not social ones. He’s a poor employee and a feeble team-sports participant. He may like his country, and be willing to fight for it, but exuberant expressions of patriotism embarrass him. He’s more likely than the average to marry someone of a different race. (Am I describing anyone in particular here? No! Absolutely not!) Tell him he belongs to a failed race and he’ll probably say: “Yes, I guess so. It’s sad. But hey, I’m doing okay...”

To the degree that he has any preference, the antisocial loner is an Americanophile. The U.S.A. advertises itself as the nation of individualism, where you judge a man, and he judges himself, by what he can accomplish — by, as somebody once said “the content of his character” — not by which group he belongs to.

If you are not that type — and most people, even most Americans, are not — it’s much more difficult for you to discuss human-group differences. Too much groupish emotion gets in the way. It was hard not to notice, in the recent kerfuffles about illegal immigration, how many people on the pro-illegals side had names like Rivera, Chavez, Sanchez,...

But see, as I’ve just pointed out, people strongly susceptible to group identification do better in the world — are more successful. It’s a social world, success-wise, and they’re social people. What is social success, but identifying with groups and securing high status within them? Having a set of good robust groupish emotions will do that for ya. Thus, race realists don’t get much of a hearing; and when they pipe up, their views sound strange and eccentric. They heat up the groupish emotions of the majority — of most normal human beings — and shouting breaks out.

The kind of cool, antisocial personality to whom race realism makes sense is not likely to attain the commanding heights of a field like, say, opinion journalism, so when the shouting starts up he’s at a natural disadvantage — a small playa being shouted down by big playas.

The truth content of the argument? Oh, that just gets lost in the shouting. Who cares about truth when careers and money and within-group status are at stake? Not many, I’m afraid; and most of those who do care are quirky loner types that nobody much likes anyway.

Since the Derb is thinking here of me (among others), it seems not inappropriate to engage in a little navel-gazing. Does this describe me?

I was a fierce sports fan up at least through the time I started having kids. Kirk Gibson's homer in the 1988 World Series brought my 23 year love affair with the LA Dodgers to a satisfying high point, after which it trickled away. I was certainly a fanatically hard-working corporate employee and a reasonably exuberant patriot. So, no, I don't think this describes my natural inclination. I'm by emotional nature a very regular guy, a golf-playing family man. I just happen to be, by intellectual nature, relatively better at a sort of cold-eyed pattern recognition than I am at anything else, so over the decades, I've come to focus upon that.

I guess I'm kind of a pro-social loner. In person, I come across as mild, polite, not a strong personality. Strange as it may seem from reading me, in person I don't like causing anyone any emotional discomfort. (But, if you choose to step into the public arena, however, well, no holds barred.) I discovered a long time in social situations that at first I was reasonably popular because I could ask just about anybody intelligent questions about their favorite subjects; but that if I kept talking to that person too long, I'd come up with questions they hadn't thought about before, and frankly found rather disturbing to contemplate.

The development of Internet email and the WWW around 1995 allowed me to find some of the small number of people who voluntarily want to discuss questions that interest me, so I became less social with people around me, which also means I less often disturb my neighbors with unanswerable questions. To them, I'm a nice guy who doesn't make a vivid impression.

Another key aspect of my personality is that I'm a staff guy, not a line leader. I was an adviser to a bunch of CEOs over the years during my corporate career because I was good at figuring out what the facts were and thus what alternative courses of action they had to choose among. But I never had a strong urge to make the decision myself. Similarly, I love informing people in my writing about how things work and what that means, but my enthusiasm for imposing particular solutions on them is limited. I figure that people can make up their own minds about what to do about the facts.

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

62 comments:

jody said...

the question here is still by far, BY FAR:

given their absolutely gigantic intelligence advantage over every other group, what in the world do the chinese spend their time doing?

chrysoperil said...

I know a lot of people who find it interesting, though, and I don’t think any of them is a white supremacist. (Which I take to mean: A person who desires special legal/constitutional privileges for white people.) I’m not one myself.

JD doesn't know the official definitions of "white supremacist":

1. Any white who defends white interests in the way all non-whites are encouraged to defend their race's interests.

2. Any white who objects to special legal/constitutional privileges for non-white people.

3. Any white who objects to mass immigration by non-white people.

Anonymous said...

Steve

John Derbyshire has not given any scientifically compelling reason why the study of IQ scores and race is a worthwhile endeavor.

Measuring,collecting and calibrating is glorified stamp collecting.

John Derbyshire is interested in IQ scores and race because of the presumed policy consequences of this kind of research. It all begins and ends with this.

I do not beleive that Derbyshire is a racist. Although I do believe he is quite confortable with race-based politics of the asians within the borders of America.

the Narrator... said...

"If you hang out with race-realist types a lot — and yes, I do, and count myself one — a thing you notice is that a high proportion of them, of us, are antisocial loners. Trust me, it’s not just because of their opinions that race realists don’t win any popularity prizes"
_________________________________

Well, I have.....many years ago anyway. The reason why so many of us have a grim persona today is because we are actually smack dab in the middle of the collapse of civilization......and WE know it.

There is nothing more disheartening than discovering someone you believe to be perfectly intelligent, can't grasp the most basic of concepts which his every sense telling him is true...

Luke said...

I have noticed, Steve, that you are one of the few "race realists" with a smile on your face!

Hans said...

Steve, I'd rather see less of your navel in future.

regular joe said...

Here's the thing- everything about race itself that Derb says may be true. Indeed, I believe it likely is. But, the pose of disinterestedness, by Derb, and differantly by Steve, are bunk. Derb's definition of white supremacy "no legal privelages for white people" needs the significant caveat added that he mean only white citizens- he'd gladly screen immigrants solely on race. That may be sensible, but it certainly counts as politically interested, and also counts as white supremacist by his own definition.

Why didn't he add the caveat? Because the pose of the disinterested science geek makes his case seem more objective to the wary. And the 'what's to worry about' is another pose. We ALL know the history of racism and oppression etc. Are there reasons that this new data that fits the old justifications so well are not to be feared? Well, make that case, don't pretend that a person as intelligent as Derb just can't imagine where such fears come from.

Frankly, just dismissing the quite reasonable and plausible fears, and adding unessacary poses of objectivity and lack of racial self interest only, and quite rightly feuls skepticism rather than quieting it.

bucephalus said...

(1)

What is the evidence that the world's populations fall into ancestral clusters (i.e., there are distinct groups of people whose members are more closely related to one another, than to members of other groups) which correspond with the classical five races of man ?

I'm sure 99% of Derbyshire's ancestors are European, but that's because he is from the western periphery of Europe. People in the eastern periphery of Europe would be more likely to genetically blend into the rest of Eurasia. In other words, are the world's populations characterised by clades or clines ?

(2)

If distinct population clusters do exist which correspond with the five classical races, why is that a scientifically useful statement ? I mean, other than illuminating human population history, why is "the classical five races are biologically observable" an observation worth making ? For example, it's been observed that certain drugs work differently for American whites than for American blacks. But American blacks are overwhelmingly West African in origin, so this could be a statement about "West Africans", rather than about "the black race" or "the Sub Saharan African population-genetic cluster". Is there any biological statement about the alleged genetic cluster "Sub-Saharan Africans" that is true ? Neil Risch, who found strong evidence for 5-6 racial clusters, nonetheless said ethnic labels (such as Norwegian and Armenian) were more informative medically than their common racial group ("Caucasoid").

Thursday said...

I discovered a long time in social situations that at first I was reasonably popular because I could ask just about anybody intelligent questions about their favorite subjects; but that if I kept talking to that person too long, I'd come up with questions they hadn't thought about before, and frankly found rather disturbing to contemplate.

The story of my dating life. Knowing a lot about the arts is great in that there are lots of women out there who dabble in the arts, so if you are widely read etc. chances are you know their favourite author/composer/director etc. Its a great way to get a first date. However, if you get too deep into the process of art, its actually a turn-off. You get categorized as a nerdy obsessive, even if its in a subject that they find interesting. Women tend to want to bask in the glow of someone with a vaguely artistic temprament, they love the artistic pose, they aren't really interested in someone who thinks through the mechanics of how art works. They want art to be about mystery.

I was a fierce sports fan up at least through the time I started having kids. Kirk Gibson's homer in the 1988 World Series brought my 23 year love affair with the LA Dodgers to a satisfying high point, after which it trickled away.

As a kid, I was a total sports nut and actually wasn't that interested in the arts. Though a somewhat nerdy smart guy, I was also fairly big and fast, compared to most of my high school peers. But that all ended after high school. Being a fast 5'11, 190 pounder is usually enough to make you a good high school athlete (I played football and softball, the improvisational aspect of basketball always baffled me), but take that up to the college level and people with my stats are a dime a dozen, so I stumbled onto the arts, which I am now very grateful.

More generally there are lots of things in the world that interest me, but I just don't have time for. For example, video games are actually a lot of fun. Some of the stuff my friends have shown me are pretty impressive. I'm not at all snobbish about this; I understand why people like them and wish I had more time to play myself. The level of craftsmanship that goes them these days is phenomenal. But there are just so many more important things in life that I really can't be bothered. For much the same reason, I just don't watch much sports anymore. I want to get stuff done.

PatrickH said...

Steve, you just seem to me to be your more or less well-adjusted introvert. Not the "cool anti-social" type at all. If the Derb was talking about you in that passage, he's got you wrong.

jlf said...

His description fit me perfectly. Unfortunately, it is much more difficult to get away with this sort of behavior without being constantly castigated for it by your peers when you are both female and black. Instead of the getting labeled "eccentric" and being ignored like a male with a similar personality might be, you are viewed as some sort of abomination who must be corrected instead of merely tolerated.

David said...

Buh-bye, Derb. Type your resignation letter into your email program and have it ready. When in a few weeks or months you get the inevitable call from your NR editor to "come in and see me about something," hit "send." That way, you officially were not fired; you quit. Be sure to "CC" the personnel/payroll departments, and anyone higher up than the editor, if any. If you argue or whine, then prepare to see yourself smeared as the worst antisemite since Adolf Hitler or Joe Sobran.

Anonymous said...

Derb's personality profile hits dead on for me. Asperagery loner, devoid of interest in team sports, very little group feeling. Married to a person of another race.

Interested in race and IQ? Yes.


Is this going to be in the NR print edition? I guess it doesn't look polished enough.

Anonymous said...

I find Part III of his analysis to be the most interesting and insightful.

I'm a law student, which means that I am around extremely opinionated people most of the time. But by and large, most law students hold some consistent collective view (e.g. if you support civil rights, you are more likely to support affirmative action, and so forth).

The big exception consisted of the libertarians and the ex-quantitative / science majors (two groups that seem to strongly overlap). While there may have been a contratrian streak to these individuals, I think that they were most willing to consider ideas that -- frankly -- would not make anyone feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Most memorably, I had a small class which consisted almost entirely of libertarians and ex-science majors, where we debated issues like abortion, the politicization of science, etc. (Apropos to the discussion several days ago, one of the students was actually a linux kernal hacker.) The professor posed the hypothetical of whether someone who was born without, say, their right hand was less 'valuable' than someone who was born with all four limbs intact.

The debate raged back and forth, but there was an eerie clarity in the way the class divided: the libertarians and ex-scientists immediately divorced the ideas of moral/legal rights with economic value, and proceeded to analyze the issue in cold-blood. The minority of the class (consisting of humanities types, who also happened to be social butterflies) voted with their "hearts."

This will come as no surprise to anyone who has spent time in legal academia, but the openness of this class, and the willingness of the students in it to consider novel (and sometimes commonsense but faux-pas) ideas, made it by far the best class that I have ever taken.

Bill said...

I read the whole thing, and it comes off as defensive. Strangely, Derbyshire defends race realists by implying that they are a bunch of pathetic, awkward weirdoes at the fringe of society.

Anyway, you come off as a pretty together, successful guy. Good career, wife, kids, golf and now doing your own thing. Reminds me of my engineer uncle, who's about exactly your age. He's a social guy, but a bit of a nerd who is prone to making factual statements that make people uncomfortable, and never as cool as either his athlete or fighter-pilot brother. He also loves golf (I don't really get it, but hey, if graphite clubs or whatever get you going...), and he married an Italian.

The difference is that he just doesn't bother with social policy, the arts or any other matters that don't involve complex math or technical expertise. And I don't think it's for lack of interest; it's more that for the majority of guys like him they are out of their element and often intimidated by the social milieu that surrounds cultural pursuits. There's a sort of glass manhole, if you care to view it in feminist terms, that prevents most technically competent men from descending too deep into the sewers of what passes for commentary in America.

So I guess it's natural that Derbyshire is on the defensive. And as for yourself, well, you are a bit out of your element. I don't think that would be the case if your interests and efforts were confined to engineering or baseball statistics. Face it: you crossed a line. Not only by contradicting social dogma, but by stepping out of your socially defined role.

Although Derbyshire makes people who hold his views out to be a strange, pitiable lot, that isn't really the case. These views are prevalent amongst technically-oriented people. A lot of these guys marry Chinese because Chinese families value intellectual achievement (although that's breaking down in China). The vast majority of them wouldn't dare write an editorial, because most of them got any such notions of speaking up beaten out of them by the 8th grade. They know that if they speak what seems clear to them they could find themselves suddenly facing the wrath of the beautiful people.

However, some guys like a fight, and as mild mannered as you claim to be, I've seen you unload with both barrels a couple of times in your articles (are you part Irish by any chance?). This is not in character with Derbyshire's timid loner, who, if you'd take his word for it, pursues truth out of some inexplicable compulsion, rather like an insect fluttering into an arc-light.

Maybe the source of dissonance is the decompartmentalization of the managerial structure of American society. As the bureaucratic model that developed in the mid-20th century breaks down through globalization and affirmative action, both inevitable products of its founding philosophy, more and more guys who would have been at least passably satisfied organization men are finding themselves wandering in the wilderness, and a few are popping up where they don't belong, causing ideological division.

I think it's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

"[their race] does not reflect on them any more than their baseball team’s losing the World Series does"
A very poor analgy, very awkward. Even straining for PC. Baseball teams are not necessarily related to us genetically. Especially not nowadays.

John Smith said...

"Not hard to find out. Assemble two groups, equalized by age, sex, income, race, and anything else you can think of, one group with variant P, the other without it, this being the only detectable difference between the groups. Give ‘em I.Q. tests. See if there is any statistically-significant group difference.

That follow-up experiment was done. The result was negative. No, these gene variants seem not to be an explanatory factor for race-I.Q. differences."

Uh, what do you expect? After equalizing for income that alone must have significantly decreased the potential IQ differences between those with the gene and those without it. Sounds fishy.

Anonymous said...

Sort of makes race realists sound like losers. White guys who marry Asian women (particularly immigrant Asian women) tend to be guys who don't have the game to land a non-obese white woman.

In other news: William Saletan essentially recanted today in part 4 of his series on race and IQ. Now he thinks Rushton is unreliable because of the Pioneer Fund.

fifi said...

"Maybe the source of dissonance is the decompartmentalization of the managerial structure of American society."

My god, bill, as if the introspective insight into Steve's personality/lack of tact wasn't enough, you have to craft this sentence. Now, I tend to take whatever the Derb says as being more than slightly facetious but you and Steve have descended into a maudlin reverie about nerdiness in response.

All I've got to say is strap down your man boobs and get back to crunching numbers!

Anonymous said...

How do asians fit onto the edges of the bell curve as compared to whites? Their average IQ may be higher, but do they have as many geniuses? All the historical and present-day anecdotal evidence says no. Is there a chart that says one way or the other?

Anonymous said...

jlf:
You're a black woman and you're interested enough in this to tolerate the high percentage of sexist men who post here? I am impressed.

Eternally Anonymous

Svigor said...

We ALL know the history of racism and oppression etc. Are there reasons that this new data that fits the old justifications so well are not to be feared? Well, make that case, don't pretend that a person as intelligent as Derb just can't imagine where such fears come from.

Frankly, just dismissing the quite reasonable and plausible fears, and adding unessacary poses of objectivity and lack of racial self interest only, and quite rightly feuls skepticism rather than quieting it.


What is it with critics of Euro ethnocentrism and ye ol' bag of fallacies? They never seem to tire of the same worn out saws.

If (only white, of course) ethnocentrism leads inevitably onto the slippery slope that drains inevitably into concentration camps, transatlantic slave trade, etc., then why do "anti-racism," opposition to white ethnocentrism, race obscurantism, egalitarianism, etc., not lead inevitably onto the slippery slope that drains inevitably into gulags, forced starvation, etc?

Lucius Vorenus said...

regular joe: Here's the thing- everything about race itself that Derb says may be true. Indeed, I believe it likely is. But, the pose of disinterestedness, by Derb, and differantly by Steve, are bunk. Derb's definition of white supremacy "no legal privelages for white people" needs the significant caveat added that he mean only white citizens- he'd gladly screen immigrants solely on race. That may be sensible, but it certainly counts as politically interested, and also counts as white supremacist by his own definition.

Why didn't he add the caveat?


Why do you assume this?

I bet that if you were to ask The Derb himself, then he'd tell you that he'd be more than happy to screen immigrants based on things like SAT/GRE/LSAT/MCAT scores.

And maybe on whether they were willing to swear an oath to abandon any totalitarian ideological baggage which they were carrying with them, such as that invented* by the likes of Marx & Mohammed.



*Although the more I think about it, the more I wonder whether Marx really invented his ideology out of thin air, or whether maybe he was drawing upon a much older tradition.

Bert Rustle said...

The Cato Institute has an accessible debate between academics on the IQ Conundrum. James Flynn has a “Nurture” viewpoint and argues reasonably fairly; the other two “Nurture” proponents, Stephen Ceci and Eric Turkheimer rather less so. Linda Gottfredson has a “Nature” viewpoint and presents clear logical arguments against James Flynn and the others. In my opinion, even though she is outnumbered three to one, she out-guns them by a considerable margin.

In my opinion, the above discussion is quite to superior to that in the articles of John Derbyshire.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Steve, but Derb is talking about himself. He married a Chinese woman.

Sal said...

a qualm i have about the data underlying much of the current race-vs-IQ discussions is the age of the studies' participants. they are predominantly children/young-teens.

IQ means something quite different for a pre-adult. it measures the intelligence relative to that expected FOR THEIR AGE. this is actually what the original IQ tests were developed to measure. (it was only later that someone realised you could use the same methodology (but different tests) to measure someone's intelligence relative to the entire adult population.)


ie, i value all this discussion about the observed facts, regardless of the PC received wisdom.
but on the data i've seen so far, the discussion is muddled by the proxies so far available to us actually measuring relative maturity more than relative intelligence.

Sal said...

(off-topic to this specific post, but related:
Come on People! Bill Cosby is Right

"The authors respond to their detractors. “Certain people tell us that we are picking on the poor. Many of those who accuse us are scholars and intellectuals, upset that we are not blaming everything on white people as they do. Well, blaming only the system keeps certain black people in the limelight, but it also keeps the black poor wallowing in victimhood.”"

it's lucky he's black, or he'd be strung up
;)

RobertHume said...

Anonymous asks for a scientifically compelling reason to study IQ scores and race.

It's important because otherwise lack of success of some ethnic groups will be attributed to other, incorrect factors. Capital and labor will be devoted to the wrong objectives and the happiness of all ethnic groups will not be maximized.

Among the factors worked on will be "prejudice" of the successful ethnic groups. This can lead to actual physical conflict which will be completely unjustified and unsuccessful at achieving the desired goal.

I guess these are not "scientific" reasons but they certainly justify scientific research. Many scientists are devoted to their work in order to improve the happiness of humanity.

Anonymous said...

roberthumme

you made my point for me. The only justification for having a "scientific" discusion about a score on a IQ test are the presumed social policy consequences of this research which of course is not a scientific question.

I see no value in sidetracking a discussion of the racial transformation of America and whether this is a great benefit to Euro-Americans with a discussion of the finer points of psychometrics which the general public will never grasp. Time is running out.

SFG said...

White guys who marry Asian women (particularly immigrant Asian women) tend to be guys who don't have the game to land a non-obese white woman.


Ya mean like Rupert Murdoch? Exception that proves the rule, blah blah blah. White-asian marriages are more and more common these days.

Anonymous said...

Derb was describing professional class race realists. Outside that class, *everyone* is a race realist, but the ones who are intelligent enough to aspire to higher things shut up about it, and sometimes brainwash themselves into believing that what they know ain't so.

His social analysis is applicable to a small number of people at a very odd time in history. Recognizing group differences is a normal thing for humans to do. 75 years ago, the countercultural position was that there was *not* a physical basis for easily observable differences in intelligence, lustfulness, and criminality in the human races. The difference between then and now is that all the ornery people who believed in human equality could socialize in the Communist Party and its fronts. Ornery people today don't have an international organization to get them laid.

Roger Thatchery said...

The problem with "race realists" is their fixation on test scores and the lack of discussion of the truly profound differences between the races. Asian intelligence is inherently apart from European intelligence. Yes, there is some common ground. But Asians see the world differently and they hear the world differently. Their brains process the world differently at the biological level (these differences apply to the other races also).

Race-realism is not just about test scores. That is the real taboo here. Whites created the fantastic West. The West is a product of a white individual outlook and white group outlook. White outlook is the global vanguard. Every other group on the planet either apes white society, aspires to white society, or maintains a dependency on white society.

The high IQ Asians and Jews are not going to be the new global vanguard based on test scores. The "race-realists" who promote a "meritocratic" takeover by high IQ alien elites within the western nations are ushering in the New Dark Ages. Similar to Auster's maxim that it is the nature of liberals to be perpetually shocked by reality, it is the fate of the "race-realists" to remain baffled while the Asian/Jewish dominated meritocracy steadily degenerates around them.

RobertHume said...

Sorry, anonymous. I didn't read your post carefully enough.

But you seemed to imply that this research, since it was not scientifically motivated, was unworthy. Do you think it is worth doing because of its social impact?

I'd draw the analogy to cancer research, or the Methuselah Foundation. They are funded, and many scientists work in the field, because of the possibility of a cure or of indefinite life.

A few others are looking for insight to the nature of life. Are only these worthy?

Fredster said...

Isn't Derbyshire always talking about himself?

Anonymous said...

White guys who marry Asian women (particularly immigrant Asian women) tend to be guys who don't have the game to land a non-obese white woman.

That's pretty much true if you just look at men who marry Asian mail-order brides. Other than that, not so much.

mrs. anonymous said...

Absolutely, Mr. Thatchery. And as I said, outside of the Western professional class, no one doesn't know this and very few people act like they don't know it.

Martin said...

" Anonymous said...

Steve

John Derbyshire has not given any scientifically compelling reason why the study of IQ scores and race is a worthwhile endeavor."

There is no scientifically compelling reason for conducting research in controlled thermonuclear fusion. We understand the basic fusion reaction quite well - that problem was solved by the early forties. The reason for doing it is the hope that it will lead to a clean, plentiful source of energy. That is a socio-economic goal, but not a scientific one.

"Measuring,collecting and calibrating is glorified stamp collecting"

Measuring and collecting accurately describes most of biology and geology prior to about 1960. Were biologists and geologists of that time just engaged in frivolous "stamp-collecting"?

Even to this day, a great deal of experimental atomic and nuclear physics consists in "measuring, collecting, and calibrating". Are atomic and nuclear physicists just "stamp-collectors"?

".....That may be sensible, but it certainly counts as politically interested, and also counts as white supremacist by his own definition."

Only in the same way that preferring your own family to other prople makes you a family supremacist.

What is called white supremacy today is nothing more than the healthy regard for one's own people and culture. It is a point of view that most everyone in this country casually and naturally assumed prior to the 1960's. It is the point of view that most all people have held for most all of history. It is not intrinsically evil, nor does it inexorably lead to Treblinka and the Middle Passage.

Andrew Breese said...

I appreciate the autobio overview; I've certainly wondered about your personality traits and history!

Lucius Vorenus said...

Fredster: Isn't Derbyshire always talking about himself?

Some people believe that that is all that any of us are capable of talking about.

wfprice said...

For you guys arguing about the white/Asian marriage thing, it is true that landing an Asian woman in Asia is kind of like fishing in one of those ponds for five-year-olds. A lot of white guys get hooked on that, because the attention makes them feel like the high school quarterback they always envied. There are drawbacks, but no point in rubbing it in.

Still, I don't know if I can ever forgive some of the white guys I knew over there for the contempt with which they treated American women as a result of their newfound desirability. Some of the European and American women I knew in China were ruthlessly humiliated by their own compatriots -- mainly immature guys with chips on their shoulders.

Because of this, I sort of understand where black women are coming from. Believe it or not, a lot of white men in Asia suddenly begin to act like black men do over here.

Let's! said...

If Derb is describing himself, he should say marrying women from other countries.

This is the way to go, whether dating or marrying.

Why put white American women on a pedestal? The quintessential modern example is the Tea Leoni type in "The Family Man." She's a nagging bore, yet the movie wants us to look at her as if she's some sort of great catch for Nic Cage.

Too many American women today are jaded, self-absorbed and emotionally stunted. They've lost their ability to flirt, to charm, to even make eye contact.

Is it any wonder half of female-sung pop songs today seem to be girls bragging about how mercenary and/or asexual they are? Ashlee Simpson's "L-O-V-E," Pink's "U + Ur Hand," Black Eyed Peas' "My Humps," Shania Twain's "Man! I Feel Like a Woman," and Ciara's "Goodies" just to name a very few.

Female artists didn't sling this mud at us even as recently as 20 years ago.

If guys had any self-respect, we'd boo every misandrist song off the speakers instead of lamely cheering another quasi-sexy but actually pernicious anti-manthem.

The fact is, there are lots of foreign women (and a few Americans too) who are comfortable around guys and know how to be interesting and flirt. And as comforting as it may be for U.S. nags to think that all they want is a green card, guess what, most of us can spot those types a mile away.

Steve Sailer said...

"Anti-manthem"!!!

Anonymous said...

martin

Your post indicates how little you understand how science works.

Let'ts take fusion physics. As a field of study it is theoreticlly embeded and conected in very deep ways to well established areas of physics that have very deep physical principles. Also the equations that the describe the behavior of plasmas formed during the fusion process are of great interest to mathematicians in and of themselves. Also there are technology spinoffs that come out of Fusion research

The Utilitarian aspects of Fusion reseach are obvious.

The aforementioned can not be said of the "scienific" investigation of IQ scores and race.

Particle-big atom smasher physics is facing a big crisis today. It's days may be numbered. Theoretical physcicists have very little interest in having experimental physcists collecting data, calibrating and measuring.
unless theoretical physicists can can come up with deep theories that make testable predictions. Accelerator physics days may be numbered. In science, it is deep theoretical models constructed from deep theoretical principles that count. Calibration,measuring and data collecting are for trivial minds.

And I can tell you that in the physics blogs, the above mentioned points I made are under serious discussion in the Physics blogs.

As for the Utilitarian applications of IQ score and race reasearch goes, there is basically only this one: to tell vulnerable children every year,including thousands Euro-American children, that they are dumb compared to Jews and Asians. I don't want anything to do with this garbage. My interests are completely with the racial group I belong to(Euro-America)

Euro-America did quite well when there were hardly any asians in the America. Euro-America put a man on the moon. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Just yesterday, I was watching the Discovery channel on cable. It was a show about the team of enginners and technicians that keep the Space Shuttle engines humming. All of the engineers and technicians were Euro-American. Didn't see one Asian. And interestingly, every Euro-American Engineer and technician interviewd for this show had a Southern accent.

DiverCity said...

Regular Joes said: "Derb's definition of white supremacy "no legal privelages (sic) for white people" needs the significant caveat added that he mean only white citizens- he'd gladly screen immigrants solely on race."

Uh, what's wrong with guaranteeing the application of "legal privileges" to American citizens (of whatever race)? Your thinking results in the insane Huckabeean contention that it's wrong to discriminate against non-citizens, just because they're from another country. Good God! We simply don't have room for another 6 billion people here. Please, let's start discriminating again against non-citizens!

Hank said...

The problems of mixed-race children:

http://www.cnn.com/2003/EDUCATION/11/01/mixed.race.ap/

dougjn said...

Regular Joe said—
Derb's definition of white supremacy "no legal privelages for white people" needs the significant caveat added that he mean only white citizens- he'd gladly screen immigrants solely on race. That may be sensible, but it certainly counts as politically interested, and also counts as white supremacist by his own definition.

That’s simply wrong Reg. Joe.

He probably wouldn’t have any problem with fairly large (comparable to now) continued E.Asian mass immigration. As well, I’m quite sure he’s ok with highly skilled immigration from any race or ethnicity.

My own views on immigration, which are similar to his so I tend to feel I can usually interpolate his, are that it’s idiocy to allow mass immigration, legal or illegal, among groups that the society at large extends affirmative action to (or to their children).

That’s not to say I’d not let any Mexicans or Africans in. I’d still let in the sorts of high IQ Africans we do to our elite universities for example (but without affirmative action lowering the bar on just how high IQ they have to be, considerting that they can be and are used to fill the black quota (e.g. at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, etc.). Selma Hayek’s are also just fine. ;)

But not mass immigration among peoples who “need” or “deserve” affirmative action. That is obviously against national interest, and can only be defended on a world leveling or welfare work sort of rationale. We are too over-streched and have too many of our own problems, as more and more are beginning tor realize, to keep doing that.

mrs anonymous said...

I took my white man to Asia and didn't have any problems. White women in Asia have problems with men the same reason black women in America do - they're loud, vulgar, unfeminine, and compared to the dominant ethnicity, a massively bad bet for ensuring paternity.

Asian men go after white women, too, it's just that white American women can't read the signals unless they grew up in California, dating Asian boys.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Let's!: Why put white American women on a pedestal? The quintessential modern example is the Tea Leoni type in "The Family Man." She's a nagging bore, yet the movie wants us to look at her as if she's some sort of great catch for Nic Cage.

I haven't ever watched "The Family Man" from beginning to end [although, oddly enough, it's playing on HBO right now, and I caught a few minutes of it the other evening - I'll have to catch the whole thing one of these nights].

But Adam Sandler seems to have covered much the same ground with Tea Leone, in Spanglish, and there I got the feeling that we were supposed to feel pity for Sandler because he was married to such an evil witch, and that the whole purpose of the movie was to highlight the nobility of Sandler's sacrifice in keeping his family intact.

[Shhh... Don't tell anyone, but * S a n d l e r * is a * R e p u b l i c a n *...]

But you get this everywhere in pop culture nowadays.

Journeyman [comes on after "Heroes" on Monday nights] uses exactly the same plot device: Kevin McKidd is married to an evil, snarling, hag of a white career woman, but can't get involved with the true love of his life, Moon Bloodgood [hubba hubba], for the very same reasons as Sandler, in Spanglish.

[And McKidd's problem is even more delicate - if he messes around with Bloodgood, then the timeline might get altered, and his son might never be born in the first place.]

You're also seeing the same problem on Stargate Atlantis - the series ate up and spit out Torri Higginson, as Dr Elizabeth Weir, because no one wanted to have to listen to some evil nasty white witch career woman giving military orders, and now it's doing the same thing to Amanda Tapping, as Colonel Samantha Carter - she used to be marginally sexy on SG1 [although, admittedly, a little whiney], but now that she's assumed command of Atlantis, she's just another evil white witch.

And the new doctor, Jewel Staite, as Dr. Jennifer Keller [she was the engineer, Kaylee, on Firefly & Serenity] has a sexiness factor of about absolute 0 degrees Kelvin, for the very same reasons.

Curiously, the only character on Atlantis who is even slightly sexy, and who develops any chemistry whatsoever with any of the guys, is the black chick, Rachel Luttrell, as Teyla Emmagan, because at least her character tries to act with some class and dignity.

Evil Neocon said...

As far as sexiness and career-ism, with white upper class women in film/TV, probably the best depiction was Miss Parker (Andrea Parker) in the Pretender.

Depicted as both legitimately tough (physically and emotionally) and vulnerable, her pursuit of "Jared" (Michael T. Weiss) reversed gender dynamics and was the show's center. I.E. the woman physically chasing the man.

As far as modern corporate life goes, it's very hard for ordinary men to demonstrate to the women they meet in the workplace that they are desirable mates. Very likely the more relaxed ethics and such in Media outlets and so on tends to mask this fairly large social change -- the difficulty most men have in finding/attracting a mate. Workplace dating is discouraged in most corporations (sensibly) and is fraught with difficulties. Other forums (bars, other pick-up venues) emphasize "game" which favors those with pick-up skills that often conflict with the attributes needed for a good relationship/marriage.

Very likely part of the high divorce rate is the skewed selection process women have for men (and the relative over-supply of men to women).

Anonymo said...

Just read like 80,000 words from John Derbyshire, thanks, Steve. I'm just getting into this rational "conservative" thing, but there's obviously better writing on the right these days. God, contemporary liberal novelist-essay books are horrible. You can't find essays by Hazlitt or Addison in the biggest Barnes and Nobles. Kinda weird shortish essays have NO appeal, with people's short attention spans.

"Why put white American women on a pedestal? The quintessential modern example is the Tea Leoni type in "The Family Man." She's a nagging bore, yet the movie wants us to look at her as if she's some sort of great catch for Nic Cage."

Or all the reviews of Curb Your Enthusiasm are like "why is the wife with HIM?" Uhh...maybe because he's worth 500 million while being one of the funniest people in the wor-, human history? And she's a nightmarishly boring WASP moron who could be instantly replaced by hotter woman 20 years younger? Jesus.

But I hate to hate on any women. I "imagine" nerdy menfolk turn evil after years of "game" failure...it's just womanly selection is as superficial, idiotic and inexorable as male-selection. We want you to not eat and be young, you want us to be some kind of alien thing without much to be said for it, except that it pleases your innate triggers and appears upstanding to you. You deprive us of sex when we can turn our minds into something more interesting, we deprive you of sex when you have no hope of ever changing. Unfortunately, after years of woman-trouble, I can only say "ha ha," but we can't much change what we're attracted to.

Martin said...

Anonymous:

" Anonymous said...

martin

Your post indicates how little you understand how science works."

As it happens I have a Ph.D. in physics and did research in the field of controlled fusion for 10 years.

"Let'ts take fusion physics."

Yes, let's.

"As a field of study it is theoreticlly embeded and conected in very deep ways to well established areas of physics that have very deep physical principles."

As a field of study, it is entirely concerned with the confinement of a hot plasma. Although the fusion reaction itself involves the strong force, and hence ultimately quantum chromo-dynamics, that is all immaterial to the plasma physics involved. As far as a fusion reactor designer is concerned, all that nuclear physics may be summarized in the fusion cross-section.

"Also the equations that the describe the behavior of plasmas formed during the fusion process are of great interest to mathematicians in and of themselves."

No, they aren't. They are of interest to theoretical plasma physicists.

"Also there are technology spinoffs that come out of Fusion research"

Really? Name one. (There are perhaps a few, but I'm betting that you don't know what they are.)

"The Utilitarian aspects of Fusion reseach are obvious."

Yes, except for the fact that people have worked on it for over 50 years now, and we still don't have a fusion reactor. And in 50 years time, we probably still won't have one. And even if we were to, it likely won't be economical compared to almost any other way of producing power.

My point was that one doesn't justify pursuing controlled fusion by saying it will fundamentally contribute to science. One justifies it by saying that it is of great material benefit. And yet, it is a scientific endeavor, because it is conducted according to the rules of science.

Also, you're denigration of mere measurement as being in some way unworthy of science demonstrates that it is YOU who do not understand how science works.

When it comes to the hard sciences at least, measurement IS science. Measurement is certainly the basis of physics. If you do not measure, you cannot quantify, and if you are not quantitative you are just gassing on.

Oh yeah, and by the way, I spell better than you too.

Evil Neocon said...

Ironically ... Laurie David left her husband for the building contractor remodeling her Martha's Vineyard McMansion (younger than David, by about 30 years, and married himself).

David said after the divorce settlement he went home ... and turned on all the lights.

Even David's money and Show Business power wasn't enough for him (well after Laurie David became co-producer of Al Gore's film and pal of Sheryl Crow).

So perhaps those "why is she with him?" comments were not too far off the beam, given the post-monogamy, serial polygamist world we live in.

Fred said...

"Or all the reviews of Curb Your Enthusiasm are like "why is the wife with HIM?" Uhh...maybe because he's worth 500 million while being one of the funniest people in the wor-, human history? And she's a nightmarishly boring WASP moron who could be instantly replaced by hotter woman 20 years younger? Jesus."

"Ironically ... Laurie David left her husband for the building contractor remodeling her Martha's Vineyard McMansion (younger than David, by about 30 years, and married himself)."

The plot line of the most recent season of Curb Your Enthusiasm had Larry David's wife Cheryl leaving him (a subplot had them taking in a black Katrina family named, coincidentally, "the Blacks", which led to some funny lines). In the episode when Cheryl leaves him, Larry shuffles off to his manager's house, despondent. His manager, the manager's wife, Super Dave Osbourne, Super Dave's wife and daughter (played by the actress who played Blossum) are all having dinner.

After Larry tells them his wife left him, Super Dave starts listing why it's too bad Cheryl left: "We all liked Cheryl," she was "smart," "witty," etc. And then: "she's got a great body" at which point Larry's manager chimes in: "used to be phenomenal", and Super Dave nods solemnly in agreement.

That was funny.

One theme this season was a subtle mockery of Hollywood's environmental obsessions. That topic's a little too close to home for Larry David to be his usual obnoxious self, but he does hint at how much of the environmental charity stuff is about status-seeking, socializing, and vanity. At least that was my impression. Maybe I'm giving him too much credit. I can imagine his ex-wife was a deadly-serious harpy about it though.

Steve, if you liked Seinfeld, you should check Curb Your Enthusiasm out.

SFG said...

I "imagine" nerdy menfolk turn evil after years of "game" failure...it's just womanly selection is as superficial, idiotic and inexorable as male-selection. We want you to not eat and be young, you want us to be some kind of alien thing without much to be said for it, except that it pleases your innate triggers and appears upstanding to you. You deprive us of sex when we can turn our minds into something more interesting, we deprive you of sex when you have no hope of ever changing. Unfortunately, after years of woman-trouble, I can only say "ha ha," but we can't much change what we're attracted to.

No kidding. It's too bad you don't have the option to become a monk or priest like in the old days. Nobody gave you a hard time for not dating. I don't know. I mean, I can't really blame women for not being attracted to me when I'm not attracted to most of them.

Fred said...

"No kidding. It's too bad you don't have the option to become a monk or priest like in the old days."

You still can. There was a documentary series on basic cable last year about a monastery in the Southwest last year, where they sent a half-dozen troubled regular guys to live there for a while. I always thought the motivation for joining a monastery was to avoid the pressure of making a living, not dealing with the opposite sex. But I don't know.

I do think the frustration with women expressed here is interesting. How high is the correlation between interest in HBD and difficulties with the opposite sex?

Anonymous said...

Martin

You may or may not be a fusion physicist(ex-variety). Your post certainly gives no indication that you have a great knowledge of the massive theoreatical structures underlying Plasma/Fusion physics research. Because if you did you would know that the early years of thermonuclear controlled fusion research took place in the 1950's at the Princeton Plasma laboratory(top secret Project Matterhorn) and that world renown Mathematician Martin Kruskal laid the theoretical foundations of controlled nuclear fusion. Kruskal's immersion in the nonlinear aspects of thermonuclear fusion no doubt provided a rich source of ideas in nonlinear mathematics which enabled him to find an exact solution of the KdV equation(solitons) which will play a key role in finding an exact solution to the N=4 Yang-mills Equation(this will be a great achievement in for both mathematics and physics)

All the Top fusion physics departments are blended in with fundamental plasma research.

Fusion/plasma physics is a great source of mathematical problems for mathematicians working in PDEs and nonlinear science.

So you claim that fusion/plasma is of no interest to mathematicians is patently false.

As far as technoligical spinoffs you might want to check out the homepages of the MIT Fusion and Palsma physics department, Francis Chens homepage. In Michael Apteds documentaries 7-Up,21,27-up and the other UPs. Nick, the farmers son who went on to become a Fusion physicist and university Wisconsin Professor of Physics, is working on the technological applications of his work in Fusion research.

Here is the main point:Plasma/Reserarch is in fact pursued because of it generates a lot of intetesting physics and mathematical problems with the possibility of usefulll technologuical spinoffs-regardless if controlled fusion is viable in 50 or 500 years.

Yes, serious science requires very carefull and delicate measurement, data collecting and calibration. But in deep science and important engineering programs data collecting,calibration and measurement is deeply connected to deep theoretical programs and serious enginnering and technology programs.

In and of itself, data collecting,measurement and calibration is of little or no value. Serious scientists and engineers,technologist have no interest in glorified stamp collecting. IQ scores and Race research is in the glorifed stamp collecting category.

Some people have a deep interest in this research for one reason:the presumed policy consequences of this research,nothing else. Scientifically it is not serious reseearch.

And if we are honest, IQ and race research is all about telling thousands of Euro-American kids across the United States the following:Asians and Jews are smart;thousands of Euro-American children across the nation you are all dumb. It is all about creating thousands....millions of self-forfilling prophecies of academic failure and academic marginality within Euro-America..a beleagured Euro-America these days.

Steve, I hope you have enough intellectual honesty to let this post go through

mcwhitechick said...

"And if we are honest, IQ and race research is all about telling thousands of Euro-American kids across the United States the following:Asians and Jews are smart;thousands of Euro-American children across the nation you are all dumb. It is all about creating thousands....millions of self-forfilling prophecies of academic failure and academic marginality within Euro-America..a beleagured Euro-America these days."

This has already happened. It was common knowledge among my generation and later that Asians were going to outperform us in math and science. As for IQ tests creating self-fulfilling prophecies, the achievement tests given to most children are close correlations. That means kids already have an idea where they stand IQ-wise. My generation had a good idea of this too though we were never given official IQ tests. I don't remember what the tests were called but we were told if we were performing at, above or below grade level and also at what grade level our performance was rated. So IQ testing is nothing new. Interestingly enough, we were tested so often that the information became almost meaningless. This was in part because it didn't seem to change much. Later test results merely confirmed the validity of previous tests.

I also think that an honest evaluation of mental abilities as well as weaknesses may help kids more than hinder them. I've had female friends pushed into science and engineering majors by well-meaning fathers but they didn't have the aptitude for at least some of the requirements and were greatly relieved when their fathers were finally convinced to let them study something in social science or liberal arts.

Besides, the IQ comparisons are done with the average IQ. Anyone scoring above the average for a high IQ group is bound to feel a little bit superior. ; )

Martin said...

Anonymous:

"Martin

You may or may not be a fusion physicist(ex-variety)."

I am. And I certainly don't have to answer to someone named "anonymous". You may or may not be a mathematician. I don't care.

And the term is plasma physicist and the field is almost always called plasma physics or controlled fusion, not fusion physics. It doesn't really matter what you call it, but the fact that you seem to be unfamiliar with the lingo means you probably don't know too much about it.

The early theoretical work in plasma physics (for controlled fusion) was mostly in solving the linearized MHD equations. They had to be linearized in order to find analytical solutions, given the primitive state to computing at the time.

Yes, plasma physics does provide a rich playground for non-linear PDEs. But here's some news for you: the DOE does not spend upwards of a quarter billion dollars a year (more if you include the weapons research) in order to find an exact solution to the N=4 Yang-mills Equation.

They do it in the hope that it will one day allow us to produce power.

Spinoffs? Like what? Plasma processing, plasma cutting? Yeah, those are nice - so nice that they would have been invented anyway. Spinoffs are not a very good argument for anything. If they were, then we should be at war all the time, as nothing generates spinoffs like wars. If you want A, work on A, don't work on B in the hopes that A will fall out of it.

And your continued denigration of measurement betrays a very incomplete understanding of science. Theory is of course important - it is what ties physics together. And theoreticians get most of the accolades, for theirs is the (intellectually) more difficult task. As an experimentalist I recognize that. But without measurement, no theory can be tested, and no decent theory may be formulated. That is why Lord Kelvin said that "physics is a science of measurement".

"Steve, I hope you have enough intellectual honesty to let this post go through"

That's the most tired, lamest kind of special pleading, that whole "ye dare not print the high-power truth that I'm telling" schtick.

Lame.

Anonymous said...

martin

Kelvin's important contributions to Physics and Mathematical Analysis notwithstanding,he had tendency to make ignorant,borderline stupid and visionless statements abou science and its future.

Here is a sample of these statements by Kelvin:1)"heavier than air flying machines are impossible;2)I have not the smallest molecule of faith in the aerial navigation other than balloning";3)I would nt care to be a memeber of the Australian Aeronautical Society";4)There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now.All that remains is more and more precise measurement"(1900).

Kelvin's brain was clearly in the mad-calibrator realm which is conducive to supporting trivial scientifc pursuits such as the study of IQ test scores and race.

The scientific study of IQ test scores and race does not attract top scientific minds. You and I both know this. Deep scientific minds have no interest in pursuing a career in calibrating,measuring and data collecting.

It is extremely difficult to make the scientific case for IQ test scores and race research. This research is not motivated by serious scientific considerations. It is completely motivated by the presumed policy consequences of this research which is not a scientfic question.

mcwhitechick

I'll give a longer response latter on. But for the time being:your comments would certainty upset and anger actress Danica "Math doesn't Suck" McKellar.

Martin said...

" Anonymous said...

martin

Kelvin's important contributions to Physics and Mathematical Analysis notwithstanding,he had tendency to make ignorant,borderline stupid and visionless statements abou science and its future."

Big deal. Kepler believed in astrology. Newton practiced alchemy. I'll take important contributions with occasional stupid statements over frequent stupid statements with no important contributions.

Notwithstanding any (in hindsight) stupid statements Kelvin may have made, what he said about the importance of measurement to physics is true. Without measurement, physics is just theology with math. Most of the greatest theoreticians recognized this - Einstein, Feynman, Heisenberg. The epistemological starting point of special relativity and quantum mechanics could be summed up as: What do we actually measure, and how do we actually measure it.

And if I'm going to defer to authority, well.......

Lord Kelvin.....Anonymous.

Golly, now that's a hard choice.

Martin said...

Mr. Sailer,

If you choose not to publish my last post, I quite understand. Of course, one always wants to get the last word in. However, you perhaps have grown as weary of this dialogue on the merits of "mere" measurement as I have.

Hey, now that I think about it, I've just invented a novel form of that type of blog extortion you've probably seen alot of, you know, that "I bet you don't have the guts to post this" riff:

"I bet you don't have the guts to not post this. Go ahead, I dare ya'".

Anonymous said...

Martin

Interesting that you should mention Feynman. Feynman was interviewd by William Poundstone. In one of Poundstone's books there was a chapter on genius sperm banks. Feynman was asked about this. Feynman responded by saying that the whole idea was idiotic. Pundstone put the question to several other Nobel Prize winners(around half a dozen). They all gave the same response as Feynman.

You are attributing to me a position that I don't beleive in. Measurement is mighty important for serious scientific and engineering research. Measurement is only important to the extent that furthers a deeper understanding of scientific theories-this also includes strengthening the validity of established scientifc theories such as GR-and contributes to the development of technology(which contributes to the devolpement of scientific theories)

Quantum mechanics arose out of thought experiments by Plank on the nature of black body radiation. Plank wasn't measuring anything. Neither was Einstien. The engaged in thought experiments about measurements in Classical Physics. These thought experiments lead to a revolution in terms of our understanding of the Universe. The actual measurements came after the thought experiments.

To put what Linda Gottfriedson and Phillip Rushston do on the same level as what Plank and Einstien did is insulting to the memory of Max Plank and Albert Einstien and to science in general.

Calibrating,measuring and data collecting in of itself is glorified stamp collecting. This is largely what IQ and researchers do. For IQ test scores and race enthusiasts the only thing that matters are the presumed social policy consequences of this research.