Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Steven Pinker's right-wing, alt-right & hereditarian connections

A PDF version of this document is available here. 

Click the picture to enlarge.

What are hereditarians?
Although right-wing and alt-right are fairly well-known terms, "hereditarian" is not and requires an explanation.
"Hereditarian" an advocate of the theory that individual differences in human beings can be accounted for primarily on the basis of genetics. 

Although in practice the term most often refers to racial differences, as discussed by Linda Gottfredson:
Rushton and Jensen’s (2005) hereditarian hypothesis is that Black–White differences in general intelligence (IQ, or the general mental ability factor, g) are “substantially” genetic in origin... 
Other terms which are similar are "evolutionary psychology," "human biodiversity" and "racial realism." Related to these terms is "biosocial criminology."
Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist who conducts research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations. He grew up in Montreal and earned his BA from McGill and his PhD from Harvard. Currently Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard, he has also taught at Stanford and MIT. He has won numerous prizes for his research, his teaching, and his nine books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and The Sense of Style. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, a Humanist of the Year, a recipient of nine honorary doctorates, and one of Foreign Policy’s “World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals” and Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” He is Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and writes frequently for The New York Times, The Guardian, and other publications. His tenth book, to be published in February 2018, is called Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. 
The Blank Slate
Written by Pinker, published in 2002, this is the New Testament to The Bell Curve's Old Testament for hereditarians. 
Although Steven Pinker claims in The Blank Slate that he doesn't agree with the conclusions about black intelligence made in The Bell Curve, he has never to my knowledge explained why, although he agrees with almost every other hereditarian claim, the Bell Curve is wrong about that. 
...Intellectuals deny biology, according to Pinker, because it interferes with their pet theories of mind and behavior. These are the Blank Slate (the belief that the mind is wholly shaped by the environment), the Noble Savage (the notion that people are born good but are corrupted by society), and the Ghost in the Machine (the idea that there is a nonbiological agent in our heads with the power to change our nature at will). The "intellectuals" in Pinker's book are social scientists, progressive educators, radical feminists, academic Marxists, liberal columnists, avant-garde arts types, government planners, and postmodernist relativists. The good guys are the cognitive scientists and ordinary folks, whose common sense, except when it has been damaged by listening to intellectuals, generally correlates with what cognitive science has discovered. I wish I could say that Pinker's view of the world of ideas is more nuanced than this... 
Quillette is an online magazine founded by Australian writer and former psychology graduate student Claire Lehmann. The publication has a primary focus on science, news, culture, and politics......The magazine has been praised by the evolutionary biologist and writer Richard Dawkins, who described it as a "superb online magazine", and has garnered support by the psychologist Jordan Peterson. 
Steven Pinker has recommended Quillette articles on Twitter and said about Quillette:
...one of the most stimulating & original new web magazines. 

Quillette has published many hereditarians, some of whom have been interviewed by Stefan Molyneux and republished articles in the white supremacist American Renaissance including Kevin M. Beaver, Brian Boutwell, Ben and Bo Winegard and John P. Wright. 

Claire Lehmann
...Australian writer and the editor and founder of the online magazine Quillette. Before starting Quillette, I was a grad-student in psychology, but dropped out after having a baby. I graduated from The University of Adelaide with First Class Honours in 2010. I’ve written for Quillette, Commentary Magazine, Psychology Today, The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC’s The Drum, and my essays have been cited in the National Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Australian, and The Spectator. I live in Sydney with my husband and two children 
Until late 2017 Claire Lehmann was a contributor to Rebel Media.
Kevin M. Beaver
Judith Rich Harris Professor of Criminology · Director, Distance Learning Program, Florida State Universityhttp://criminology.fsu.edu/faculty-and-staff/college-faculty/kevin-beaver/
Quillette article:
Interviewed twice on Stefan Molyneux's channel
Brian Boutwell
Associate Dean for Research and Corporate Partnerships College for Public Health and Social Justice; Associate Professor Criminology and Criminal Justice, Saint Louis Universityhttps://www.slu.edu/public-health-social-justice/faculty/boutwell-brian.php
Quillette articles
At last count Boutwell has authored or co-authored 24 articles for Quillette
Steven Pinker tweeted to his followers links to Quillette articles by Boutwell
Interviewed on Stefan Molyneux's channel 

Articles republished in American Renaissance
Ben Winegard
Benjamin Winegard is an Assistant Professor at Carroll College.https://www.carroll.edu/faculty/dr-benjamin-winegard
Quillette articles
At last count Ben Winegard has co-authored four articles in Quillette
Steven Pinker tweeted to his followers links to Quillette articles by Winegard.
Articles republished in American Renaissance
Bo Winegard
Bo Winegard is an essayist and a graduate student at Florida State University.https://psy.fsu.edu/~baumeisterticelab/winegard.html
Quillette articles
At last count Bo Winegard has authored or co-authored five articles for Quillette
Steven Pinker tweeted to his followers links to Quillette articles by Winegard.
Articles republished in American Renaissance
John Paul Wright
Professor, University of Cincinnati... He currently teaches Biosocial Criminology at the undergraduate level and Life-Course Criminology and Criminal Offender at the graduate level.http://cech.uc.edu/criminaljustice/employees.html?eid=wrightww
Quillette articles
At last count John Paul Wright has authored one  article in Quillette

Interviewed on Stefan Molyneux's channel

Wright, Boutwell and Beaver are all academics who work in criminology, and have published articles and books together. 
Of the three, John Paul Wright is the most openly political, publishing with co-author Matt DeLisi in 2015 "Conservative Criminology: A Call to Restore Balance in the Social Sciences" and an associated web site Conservative Criminology. 
Wright is also the most candid about admitting the actual beliefs behind "biosocial criminology." In his chapter "Inconvenient Truths: Science, Race, and Crime" in the book "Biosocial Criminology: New Directions in Theory and Research" edited by Kevin M. Beaver and Anthony Walsh he wrote:
While self-control is an important executive function, so, too, is intelligence. Indeed, there is no other individual variable as studied as intelligence. While hotly debated, thousands of studies of millions of individual intelligence scores indicate that IQ follows traditional racial categories (Rushton & Jenson, 2005). Asians have an average IQ of 106, Caucasians 100, and Blacks 85 (Lynn, 2006; Sarich & Miele, 2004)…  
...Self-control and IQ covary, so that individuals with low self-control are also more likely to have low IQ. These deficits are potent enough to predict many of the negative life-course factors that afflicted individuals will experience. Longitudinal analyses of cohorts of individuals demonstrate that these individuals will face multiple problems across their life-course and that their self-limiting choices will show a high degree of continuity. Most will fail at their education and will then encounter problems in employment… They likely will live a fluid existence, relocating from place to place but often within the same economic stratum (Wright & decker, 1997). Finally their relationships will frequently be marred by  conflict, unfaithfulness and unreliability. This pattern holds for anyone with deficits in executive control functions, black, white or Asian, but due to the distribution of low IQ and low self-control found in black populations, it is more often reflected in the lives of blacks.
Although I haven't found Beaver or Boutwell writing anything this frank, they also have never, as far as I can tell, had a problem with Wright's claims and Beaver was the editor of the book in which the above excerpt appeared. It's clear Brian Boutwell and Kevin M. Beaver agree with everything John Paul Wright says on this subject.
Rebel Media
The Rebel Media... is a Canadian far-right online political and social commentary media website founded in February 2015 by the former Sun News Network host Ezra Levant, Brian Lilley, and Hamish Marshall... Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys far-right men's organization, is also a contributor.
Until late 2017 Claire Lehmann was a contributor to Rebel Media.
Gavin McInnes
McInnes himself has ties to the racist right and has contributed to hate sites like VDare.com and American Renaissance, both of which publish the work of white supremacists and so-called “race realists.” 
McInnes has been a frequent contributor to Rebel Media.

McInnes declared Steven Pinker to be one of his heroes in Taki's Magazine.

McInnes appeared on InfoWars.
Taki's Magazine
Founded on February 5, 2007, the intent of the site, according to Theodoracopulos, was to "shake up the stodgy world of so-called 'conservative' opinion..." "Takimag is a Libertarian webzine. We believe the best stories are smart, cheeky, and culturally relevant. We take our politics like we take life—lightly.".[4] The website garnered some controversy in 2013 after it published articles in support of the Greek ultranationalist political party Golden Dawn.[5][6][7] 
Gavin McInnes, Razib Khan, Richard Spencer, Steve Sailer, and Jared Taylor have all contributed to Taki's.
Stefan Molyneux
A skilled propagandist and an effective communicator within the racist “alt-right” and pro-Trump ranks, his promotion of scientific racism and eugenics to a large and growing audience is a serious concern. Molyneux has been delivering “race realist” propaganda, based on pseudo-scientific sources, to his audience on an ongoing basis for over two years, and thus has encouraged thousands of people to adopt his belief in biological determinism, social Darwinism and non-white racial inferiority. Molyneux puts considerable effort into cloaking the practical implications of these beliefs across his media platforms. 
Molyneux interviewed Ezra Levant, founder of Rebel Media
Molyneux also appeared on InfoWars.
In addition to interviews with authors from Quillette, Molyneux has interviewed an assortment of hereditarians on his channel which he has gathered together under the heading Human Intelligence (IQ) | The Experts Interview Series. Those interviewed include Charles Murray, Richard Lynn and Linda Gottfredson.
InfoWars is an American conspiracy theorist website and media platform owned by Alex Jones's Free Speech Systems LLC.[2][3][4][5][6] It was founded in 1999.Talk shows and other content is created primarily in studios at an undisclosed location in an industrial area outside Austin, Texas.[7] The InfoWars website receives approximately 10 million monthly visits, making it more visited than some mainstream news websites such as The Economist and Newsweek.[8][9]The site has regularly published fake stories which have been linked to harassment of victims.[a] In February 2018, Alex Jones, the publisher, director and owner of InfoWars, was accused of discrimination and sexually harassing employees.[16] InfoWars, and in particular Alex Jones, advocate numerous conspiracy theories particularly around purported domestic false flag operations by the US Government (which they allege include the 9/11 attacks and Sandy Hook shootings). InfoWars has issued contractions various times as a result of legal challenges. 
Gavin McInnes and Stefan Molyneux have both appeared on InfoWars.
David Duke
David Duke is the most recognizable figure of the American radical right, a neo-Nazi, longtime Klan leader and now international spokesman for Holocaust denial who has nevertheless won election to Louisiana's House of Representatives and once was nearly elected governor.Duke... endorsed Molyneux’s propaganda multiple times on social media over the last few years, most notably in his promotion of Molyneux’s apologia for George Zimmerman, known for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. 
Razib Khan
On March 18, 2015, The New York Times announced that Razib Khan would become a contributing opinion writer. A day later, The Times terminated the contract.At the time, Khan was a Ph.D. student in genetics at the University of California, Davis and a popular science blogger. He had written about science for The Times, Slate, The Guardian, and other mainstream publications. For years, Discover had hosted his genetics blog. The famed Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker had even called him “an insightful commentator on all things genetic...”...Still, Khan insisted that his writing about the biology of race was sound. “It’s not socially acceptable to say that there might be group differences in an endophenotype — in their behavior, intelligence, anything that might have any genetic component,” Khan said. “You cannot say that, okay? If someone’s going to ask me, I’m going say, ‘It could be true.’”Other scientists, he insisted, believe the same things. They just won’t admit it. “I’m sick of being the only fucking person that says anything,” said Khan. “I know I make people uncomfortable, but a lot of times I say what they’re thinking... 
From Steven Pinker's web site
But aren’t you just being defensive? Authors always think that negative reviews of their book are wrong. Has anyone else replied to Kolbert? Razib Khan has a response in the Gene Expression blog on the Discover magazine Web site: 

Razib Khan had a regular column at Unz Review.

Khan has frequently contributed to Taki's Magazine.

Khan published an article with co-author Brian Boutwell in Quillette.
The Unz Review
Razib Khan, who lost an opportunity at the New York Times over his views on human biodiversity, now writes for the alt-right Unz Review. 
Steve Sailer
Sailer is the founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute, a neo-eugenics online discussion forum where right-wing journalists and race scientists have promoted selective breeding of the human species. He also writes frequently for the anti-immigrant hate site Vdare.com... 

Steve Sailer author at American Renaissance article list.

Steve Sailer author at VDARE article list.

Steve Sailer article list at Taki's Magazine.

Steve Sailer article list at Unz Review.
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004
In 2004 an article by Steve Sailer, "The Cousin Marriage Conundrum" was included in "The Best American Science and Nature Writing."
Steven Pinker edited the book along with Tim Folger. Folger responded to my email query about Sailer's inclusion:
In hindsight Sailer's story shouldn't have been included in the anthology, and we should have looked into his background more carefully. Until reading your email today, I knew nothing about Sailer's alt-right connections. Steven Pinker selected the story, and unfortunately I never discussed the article with him, an oversight that I regret.
My review of Sailer's "The Cousin Marriage Conundrum" here: 
Steven Pinker & Malcolm Gladwell
I wondered about the basis of Pinker’s conclusion, so I e-mailed him, asking if he could tell me where to find the scientific data that would set me straight. He very graciously wrote me back. He had three sources, he said. The first was Steve Sailer. Sailer, for the uninitiated, is a California blogger with a marketing background who is best known for his belief that black people are intellectually inferior to white people.  
VDARE also publishes essays by prominent academic racists. For example, a column by Jared Taylor, who has argued elsewhere that black people are incapable of maintaining any kind of civilization, dismisses "the fantasy of racial equality," claims the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "stripped Americans of the right to make free decisions," and says that "[b]lacks, in particular, riot with little provocation," unlike the far more peaceable white race. He has also published pieces by J. Philippe Rushton, the head of the Pioneer Fund, which gives financial backing to academics who specialize in race and IQ studies. 
Jared Taylor
Taylor entered the active racist scene in 1990, when he founded the New Century Foundation, a pseudo-intellectual think tank that promotes "research" arguing for white superiority. A year later, he began publishing American Renaissance, a magazine that focuses on the alleged links between race and intelligence, and on eugenics, the now discredited "science" of breeding better humans. 
Richard Spencer
...In 2007, after he dropped out of a Ph.D. program at Duke University in modern European intellectual history, Spencer took a job as assistant editor at American Conservative magazine, where he was later fired for his radical views, according to former colleague J. Arthur Bloom. Following that, Spencer became executive editor of the paleoconservative website, Taki’s Magazine. In 2010, Spencer founded AlternativeRight, a supremacy-themed webzine aimed at the “intellectual right wing,” where he remained until joining NPI......In an address at white supremacist Jared Taylor’s 2013 American Renaissance conference, Spencer called for “peaceful ethnic cleansing.” As an example of how this could be accomplished, he cited the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, where new national boundaries were formed at the end of World War I. “Today, in the public imagination, ‘ethnic cleansing’ has been associated with civil war and mass murder (understandably so),” Spencer said. “But this need not be the case. 1919 is a real example of successful ethnic redistribution—done by fiat, we should remember, but done peacefully.” 
American Renaissance
Founded by Jared Taylor in 1990, the New Century Foundation is a self-styled think tank that promotes pseudo-scientific studies and research that purport to show the inferiority of blacks to whites — although in hifalutin language that avoids open racial slurs and attempts to portray itself as serious scholarship. It is best known for its American Renaissance magazine and website, which regularly feature proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black racists. The foundation also sponsors American Renaissance conferences every other year where racist "intellectuals" rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists. 
Richard Lynn
Lynn is the current president of the notoriously racist Pioneer Fund. Prior to becoming president in 2012, he received hundreds of thousands of dollars in Pioneer Fund grants, both directly, and through the Ulster Institute for Social Research. Lynn is the founder and president of the Ulster Institute, “a think tank for the support of research on social issues and the publication of works by selected authors in this field.” According to its website, “The Ulster Institute for Social Research specialises in the application of psychology to the analysis of social problems,” which translates to promoting racist research by Lynn and several of his colleagues and collaborators......He has contributed to several white supremacist publications including VDARE.com, The Occidental Quarterly, and American Renaissance. He also sits on the editorial committee of Mankind Quarterly, a pseudo-scholarly journal dedicated to publishing “articles in controversial areas, including behavioral group differences and the importance of mental ability for individual outcomes and group differences” — a thinly veiled admission that they primarily print racist pseudoscience. 
Now, as race science leaches back into mainstream discourse, it has also been mainlined into the upper echelons of the US government through figures such as Bannon. The UK has not been spared this revival: the London Student newspaper recently exposed a semi-clandestine conference on intelligence and genetics held for the last three years at UCL without the university’s knowledge. One of the participants was the 88-year-old Ulster-based evolutionary psychologist Richard Lynn, who has described himself as a “scientific racist.” 
Pioneer Fund
...Arthur Jensen, an educational psychologist focusing on race since 1966, got more than $1 million in Pioneer grants over three decades. In his famous 1969 attack on Head Start — the early-education program that aims to help poor children — Jensen wrote in the prestigious Harvard Education Review that the problem with black children was that they had an average IQ of only 85. No amount of social engineering could improve that performance, he claimed, adding that "eugenic foresight" was the only solution......In recent decades, the Pioneer Fund has supported mostly American and British race scientists, including a large number of those cited in The Bell Curve, a widely criticized 1994 book that claimed that differences in intelligence were at least partly determined by race. According to Barry Mehler, a leading academic critic of the fund, these race scientists have included Hans Eysenck, Robert A. Gordon, Linda Gottfredson, Seymour Itzkoff, Arthur Jensen, Michael Levin, Richard Lynn, R. Travis Osborne, J. Philippe Rushton, William Shockley and Daniel R. Vining Jr. 
R. Philippe Rushton
From 2002 until his death, the Pioneer Fund was headed by Rushton, a Canadian professor who has been investigated for allegedly violating Canadian hate-speech laws. Rushton first courted controversy in 1989 when he published work focusing on the sexual characteristics of different races. His findings: blacks have larger genitals, breasts and buttocks — characteristics that Rushton alleges have an inverse relationship to brain size and, thus, intelligence. Rushton has personally received over $1 million in Pioneer funds to support his work. 
Charles Murray
Charles Murray has been a central figure in discussions of race, intelligence and public policy since the 1994 publication of The Bell Curve, which Murray co-authored with controversial psychologist Richard Herrnstein, who died shortly before the book’s publication. Murray, a statistically minded sociologist by training, has spent decades working to rehabilitate long-discredited theories of IQ and heredity, turning them into a foundation on which to build a conservative theory of society that rejects equality and egalitarianism.
“You want to have a job training program for welfare mothers? You think that’s going to cure the welfare problem? Well, when you construct that job training program and try to decide what jobs they might qualify for, you had better keep in mind that the mean IQ of welfare mothers is somewhere in the 80s, which means that you have certain limitations in what you're going to accomplish.”—Interview on race and IQ, “Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg,” PBS, 1994
The year after The Bell Curve was published, in the lead-up to a Republican congress slashing benefits for poorer Americans, Murray gave expert testimony before a Senate committee on welfare reform; more recently, congressman Paul Ryan, who helped push the Republicans’ latest tax cuts for the wealthy, has claimed Murray as an expert on poverty. 

One of the reasons scientific racism hasn’t gone away is that the public hears more about the racism than it does about the science. This has left an opening for people such as Murray and Wade, in conjunction with their media boosters, to hold themselves up as humble defenders of rational enquiry. 

The Bell Curve
For all the shock value of its assertion that blacks are intractably, and probably biologically, inferior in intelligence to whites and Asians, The Bell Curve is not quite an original piece of research. It is, in spite of all the controversy that is attending its publication, only a review of the literature—an elaborate interpretation of data culled from the work of other social scientists. For this reason, the credibility of its authors, Charles Murray and Richard J. Herrnstein, rests significantly on the credibility of their sources...... 
Surely the most curious of the sources he and Herrnstein consulted is Mankind Quarterly—a journal of anthropology founded in Edinburgh in 1960. Five articles from the journal are actually cited in The Bell Curve’s bibliography (pp. 775, 807, and 828).2
But the influence on the book of scholars linked to Mankind Quarterly is more significant. No fewer than seventeen researchers cited in the bibliography of The Bell Curve have contributed to Mankind Quarterly. Ten are present or former editors, or members of its editorial advisory board. This is interesting because Mankind Quarterly is a notorious journal of “racial history” founded, and funded, by men who believe in the genetic superiority of the white race.3...... 
They cite in their book no fewer than thirteen scholars who have benefited from Pioneer Fund grants in the last two decades—the grants total more than $4 million. Many of The Bell Curve’s sources who worked for Mankind Quarterly were also granted Pioneer money.16... 
There is no way to isolate the scholarship of Richard Lynn, and that of the other Mankind Quarterly contributors, from their racial and political views. Social science is not so easily insulated from ideology, as Murray and Herrnstein are quick to emphasize when railing against their critics. The scholarly subcultures on which the authors of The Bell Curve depend for information are hardly less biased than those they are summoned to rebut. The bias of the Mankind Quarterly contributors, however, is much nastier. And as we have seen, some of the scholars Murray and Herrnstein rely on distort the evidence, which in key cases does not support The Bell Curve’s contentions.