Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Razib Khan and his continuing successful quest for respectability

UPDATE: my response to the Jamelle Bouie twitter link: The Triumph of Racist Razib Khan 

All my thoughts on Razib Khan here.

Every now and then I get a visitor to this blog via a search for Razib Khan. For those out of the loop, Khan used to run a web site called "Gene Expression" that is now sponsored by - and given a level of respectability by - Discover Magazine. I've been writing about Khan since the earliest days of this blog.

Of course Razib Khan is also granted respectability by Steven Pinker.

But there is no evidence that Khan has dropped the obsession that drove him ten years ago - the search to prove that blacks and women - but especially blacks - are intellectually inferior.

He's not so blatant about it now as he was in 2003 though. To understand the true Razib Khan, check out this comment he made on Gene Expression ten years ago:
And a book published recently claims to show that American blacks who come from families that have a certain amount of wealth do have the same IQs as whites who come from families with that same amount of wealth
this is chicken or egg now....
what you mean is *asset* levels. income on the other hand is less important, "middle class" blacks do far less well academically than "middle class" (or even working class) whites. this can be chalked up to culture of course. and that is where adoption studies come in, and i tend to think they tilt toward a genetic explanation-though we haven't eliminated all possible variables that could give a cultural explanation.
but as i've noted, the ~ 1 STD deviation difference between blacks & whites persists for a century-despite the fact that blacks are wealthier & healthier (though not AS healthy or wealthy) in relation to whites than they were one century ago.
certainly environmental effects are important, but me thinks we attempt to eliminate the VERY POSSIBILITY of inherent differences of IQ between individuals, and average mean differences between populations, for political, not scientific, reasons.
one reason that black adoptees might do more poorly on IQ tests than white adoptees is that society is racist-and yet, scarr et al. found that genetic markers for "blackness" did not correlate well to intelligence, and Dienekes has posted data which indicates a weak correlation between light-skin & IQ in blacks. what would this imply? scarr tries to argue that this implies race != have a relationship to average IQ, though jensen counters that generations of recombination surely have lead to a decoupling within the black population of more eurpoid phenotype from the alleles that contribute to higher IQ. if, as some, including flynn, have argued, that racism even among adoptees from the parents is what causes the lower average IQ of black children, then the "whiter" looking ones should be subject to less racism and therefore have higher IQs. scarr i believe found that biracial children had IQs intermediate between white and black children, which dovetails well with both the thesis that IQ is genetic, or that social discrimination determintes a child's self-perception and therefore eventual IQ. from jensen's perspective, he would argue that progressive recombination over many generations have not resulted in the linkage equilibrium between multiple genes (assuming random mating, etc.), and so that is why biracial children still exhibit higher IQs than black children....
economic deprivation does not lead to cocomittant low academic performance (to the same degree) among some non-black groups (asians of course i mean here), so the cultural explanation is the catch-all. so you look at kids that are adopted and therefore of "white culture," but if that data doesn't fit, you assert their phenotype sets them off from the population. from the various interpretations you then weight toward the one that argues for environment more than genetics.
from what i see, most people have a conclusion they want to reach, and they will keep positing "plausible" hypothesis after plausible hypothesis until they find something they can hold onto.
Posted by: razib at July 25, 2003 09:14 PM
I bolded the last bit. In a display of his standard lack of self-awareness, Khan suggests that it's others who have a conclusion they want to reach (in this case that there is no evidence for black intellectual inferiority), while he, Razib Khan is pure and unaffected by politics.

Maybe the most telling evidence for where, exactly, Razib Khan is coming from is further down the page:
the numbers cited in AMREN i have seen elsewhere in print (from lynn and a few others). the "asian" population in england has a lot of components. the gujaratis from east africa tend to be well-off and well educated. the sikhs less so, but still OK. the bottom of the heap are bangladeshis and to a lesser extent pakistanis. these last two groups tend to come to work in blue-collar sectors. there is probably some lag in that the lower SES groups are less assimilated/newer to british culture (east africa gujaratis might have showed up in the 1970s, but they tend to come from world-wide cosmopolitan families with a strong command of english and western folk-ways)-but the type of person who comes to work in a mill is going to be a bit different that the Ph.D. sort, at the least, the dumber brothers will go work in the mill, the bright one come to the US.
btw...according to CITY JOURNAL 25% of students in med school in england are south asian-about the same population:med student ratio as the US....
Posted by: razib at July 27, 2003 12:46 AM
The AMREN source Khan is using to bolster his argument is American Renaissance, a proudly racist site. And although Razib Khan doesn't show his love for American Renaissance any more, going so far in 2006 as to refer to them as "the most highbrow of racialist publications" American Renaissance still loves Razib Khan and links to his Discover-branded Gene Expression all the time. He's their hero, of course, because Khan has achieved the kind of respectability in this century that other racists can only dream of.

Khan and Steven Pinker both believe there is a liberal conspiracy to suppress the truth of evolutionary psychology and its message of black/female intellectual inferiority. In a correspondence with me some years ago Pinker claimed that Stephen Jay Gould's opinions on socio-biology (different name but exactly the same as evolutionary psychology) should be discounted because Gould had left-wing political views.

We see Khan doing the same thing recently in reference to Richard Lewontin:
Richard Lewontin’s fame rests in part on his pioneering role in the development of the field of molecular evolution, and secondarily due to his trenchant Left-wing politics.
Actually, as you can see in the Wikipedia entry on Lewontin, his fame does not rest, even secondarily, on his left-wing politics. But for Razib Khan as much as Steven Pinker, the very fact that you have objections to the conclusions of biological determinism proves that you are driven by left-wing politics. Because it is literally unthinkable for them that there might be solid scientific objections to biological determinism. 

Or perhaps they really do see themselves are political players, and understand that the best defense is a good offense - to claim the other side is tainted by political considerations is a good tactic to obscure your own blatant political views.

Razib Khan sees no hypocrisy in complaining about the alleged political leanings of socio-biology critics while contributing to a web site called "Secular Right" - one of its other contributors is John "too racist for National Review" Derbyshire.

And I find it extremely offensive that Khan writes for the site under the name "David Hume." I strongly suspect David Hume would have found Razib Khan contemptible.