Friday, May 24, 2013

Not Shocked by Andrew Sullivan's Pedestrian Views on Race

Popular blogger Andrew Sullivan has weighed in on the Jason Richwine thoughtcrime affair,  tepidly taking the controversial position that there should be free debate on the subject of race and IQ while trying to minimize its importance.  He writes:

There’s a very solid case against race as anything meaningful in our culture... 

I respond: Yeah, the case is so very solid that it sinks like a rock the moment one endeavors to find actual evidence of race becoming meaningless in our culture.  Let’s see...racial disparities in crime, academic achievement, and incomes aren’t narrowing; the Diversity and Affirmative Action industries aren’t shrinking; and the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses haven’t yet announced any plans to close up shop.

...and an even stronger case that in the process of constant miscegenation, we are rendering the whole idea of race moot. I sure hope so.

You can hope for anything -- a winning lottery ticket, world peace, immortality...something grand.  You hope that one day after you’re long dead from complications related to HIV, we’ll all turn brown.  Do you also hope that all varieties of tigers and bears, that all subspecies of finches and sea turtles, get blended out, too?  Or is it just human biodiversity you fantasize about extinguishing?

Fortunately for those whites, blacks, American Indians, and others who value the continuation of their unique phenotypes, respectively, you've refrained from engaging in the kind of sexual behavior that could have resulted in a population's gene pool being polluted by your DNA.

There’s also a strong argument that IQ is of extremely limited use – and, in fact, misses a whole range of intelligences that are often more important to our lives and cultures as humans.

IQ is extremely (highly) correlated with performance on a whole range of standardized tests that elementary schools, high schools, colleges, employers, and the military use to gauge mental skills that are important to our lives and cultures as humans.

I just refuse to wish the data away. The data shocked me when I first read it, and shocks me still.

You’re shocked…still shocked...that IQ scores covary with race.  Yet the persistent academic achievement gaps that have been well documented for decades have been well known by you for years.  Racial variation in the distribution of cognitive traits should only be surprising (or alarming) to someone who is ignorant of (or ideologically averse to) the basic biological fact that evolution didn’t stop at the neck. 

I suspect you’re just feigning shock. You’re pretending to be shocked to have discovered that the races aren’t cognitively identical because you don’t want your politically correct readers to suspect you of having committed the thoughtcrime of assuming that not everyone and not every group are endowed equally by nature. You’re reassuring the enforcers of political correctness that the egalitarian fairy tale you grew up believing in was and still is your default assumption.  

Meanwhile, the realities of racial differences that won’t go away are causing you to suffer under the agony of cognitive dissonance.  You wish the realities would go away, but you know you can’t actually wish reality away.  All you can do is express a hope – a hope that one day racial distinctions will cease to be so that the egalitarian fairy tale can come true.

But why should we even hope for it to come true?  Equality seems like a rather uninteresting and uninspiring ideal to contemplate for humanity. Equality didn’t build Rome.  Equality didn’t send a man to the moon.  Equality didn’t give you the ability to make a living blogging over the Internet.  And equality-worship won’t save civilization from what now ails it.

An overriding intellectual deference to the strictures of political correctness is what ails civilization presently.  I am not optimistic about this dogmatic creed of unreason being overthrown anytime soon.  Few actual heretics exist. The masses of any civilization can be counted on to absorb and embody the civil religion of the times, however irrational it may be.  

That’s why I’m not shocked by your post.

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