Tag: William Saletan

Slate Trumps Time: Publishes Response To Saletan On Race And IQ

Unlike Time, which blocked all responses to Joe Klein’s factually challenged column on FISA, via Matt Yglesias, Slate has published a response by Stephen Metclaf to Will Saletan on race and IQ. The nuts:

Much of Saletan’s précis of the rest of the research surveyed in “Thirty Years of Research Into Race Differences on Cognitive Abilities” is highly questionable. His takeaway regarding the “admixture” studies is precisely the opposite of what an American Psychological Association task force concluded the studies show-that more “European” blood in a black American does not make him smarter. Saletan points up the problems with a favorite study of the environmentalists, into the IQ outcomes of children fathered by foreign soldiers and raised by (white) German mothers. This study showed that kids with African fathers scored the same as those with white fathers. But, Saletan says, it suffers from a fatal flaw: Blacks in the military had been screened for IQ. Saletan concludes, “Even environmentalists (scholars who advocate nongenetic explanations) concede that this filter radically distorted the numbers.” But this is flatly untrue. The two most prominent environmentalists, Richard Nisbett and James Flynn, have dismissed this very objection. Both have pointed out that white soldiers were also screened, and so had higher IQs than the general white population. James Flynn has argued extensively that the black-white gap in the military was the same as in the population at large.

In essence, Metcalf demonstrates that Saletan, like Joe Klein on FISA, simply did not know what he was writing about. It is to Slate’s credit that it was willing to publish such a demolition of one of its regular writers. Score another one for honesty for Washington Post Company, which allowed Krauthammer to be demolished today.

William Saletan: Another Joe Klein.

Well I found this on Atrios first, but he has an ‘A’ in his name and I’m way too lazy to pay attention to time stamps.  It seems we have some more trouble with ‘truthiness’ and this time at Slate.

Perhaps you remember William Saletan-

Created Equal

Liberal Creationism

from: William Saletan, Slate

Posted Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007

Last month, James Watson, the legendary biologist, was condemned and forced into retirement after claiming that African intelligence wasn’t “the same as ours.” “Racist, vicious and unsupported by science,” said the Federation of American Scientists. “Utterly unsupported by scientific evidence,” declared the U.S. government’s supervisor of genetic research. The New York Times told readers that when Watson implied “that black Africans are less intelligent than whites, he hadn’t a scientific leg to stand on.”

I wish these assurances were true. They aren’t. Tests do show an IQ deficit, not just for Africans relative to Europeans, but for Europeans relative to Asians. Economic and cultural theories have failed to explain most of the pattern, and there’s strong preliminary evidence that part of it is genetic. It’s time to prepare for the possibility that equality of intelligence, in the sense of racial averages on tests, will turn out not to be true.

If this suggestion makes you angry-if you find the idea of genetic racial advantages outrageous, socially corrosive, and unthinkable-you’re not the first to feel that way. Many Christians are going through a similar struggle over evolution. Their faith in human dignity rests on a literal belief in Genesis. To them, evolution isn’t just another fact; it’s a threat to their whole value system. As William Jennings Bryan put it during the Scopes trial, evolution meant elevating “supposedly superior intellects,” “eliminating the weak,” “paralyzing the hope of reform,” jeopardizing “the doctrine of brotherhood,” and undermining “the sympathetic activities of a civilized society.”

Now the extended entry referenced by Atrios to Lawyers, Guns and Money’s Robert Farley mentioned that there were at least 2 other stories in this embarrassing sequence but didn’t link them and I’m having trouble cranking around the Slate search engine so I can’t prove it.

Still there is this quote from the very short apology I’d like to highlight-

I don’t want this role. I’m not an expert. I think it’s misleading to dismiss the scenario, as some officials have done in response to Watson. But my attempts to characterize the evidence beyond that, even with caveats such as “partial,” “preliminary,” and “prima facie,” have backfired. I outlined the evidence primarily to illustrate the limits of the genetic hypothesis. If it turns out to be true, it will be in a less threatening form than you might imagine. As to whether it’s true, you’ll have to judge the evidence for yourself. Every responsible scholar I know says we should wait many years before drawing conclusions.

Now where have we heard that before?

I’ve spent the past few days nosing around in the ongoing dispute about what the House FISA Reform bill (The Restore America Act) actually says. I’ve reached no conclusions.

An intelligence community source who deals with the FISA court told me he believed the word “persons” could be interpreted by the court to mean individuals. A Democratic source from the House Intelligence Committee referred me 50USC1801(m), which defines persons  as “an individual or any group, entity or foreign power.” In other words, Al Qaeda is a “person.”

I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who’s right (ADD: about this minor detail of a bill that will never find its way out of the Congress).

So why are you drawing paychecks you lying sacks of crap?