Latest on the student miscreants at Middlebury and Evergreen State

Just two updates. You’ll remember that students at Middlebury College in Vermont physically attacked both Charles Murray and his host, Allison Stanger, on March 2 (see here and here). Never mind that most of them hadn’t read The Bell Curve, or that Murray wasn’t even talking about that book; it was enough that he got demonized because they heard Murray was a racist. Fine; let them protest from their ignorance, but don’t allow them to physically assault Murray. Stanger’s hair was pulled, and apparently that injured her neck.

Over at the Washington Post, columnist Richard Cohen, whose politics I don’t know, has a piece decrying the thugs at Middlebury, “Protestors at Middlebury College demonstrate ‘cultural appropriation’—of fascism“, which is a good title. It begins and ends with Stranger’s injury:

From time to time, I email Allison Stanger. She answers always, but says she is not yet healthy enough to talk. On March 2, Stanger was escorting the social scientist Charles Murray, whose speech at Middlebury College, where she teaches, had just been shouted down, when the mob charged their car. “Someone pulled my hair,” she recounted, “while others were shoving me. I feared for my life.” The car was rocked. Stanger is still recovering from a concussion.

. . . I have known Stanger a bit over the years. To me, she personifies the scholarly life — fluent in Russian, fluent in Czech, fluent in critical ideas. She has her politics, avowedly Democratic, but she agreed to moderate the discussion with Murray solely because she believes in the robust exchange of views. Now she suffers because some protesters thought they were entitled to silence Murray and injure Stanger. Middlebury got a black eye, Stanger got a concussion — and we all got a warning.

Cohen gives a link to the Post‘s report on the disciplinary action taken by Middlebury (see the college’s statement here), which at least was something, but probably not sufficiently harsh to deter future violence:

More than five dozen Middlebury College students were disciplined for their roles in shutting down a speech by the author Charles Murray in March, the college announced this week. But the students were spared the most serious penalties in the episode, which left a faculty member injured and came to symbolize a lack of tolerance for conservative ideas on some campuses.

The college, in Middlebury, Vt., issued a statement on Tuesday describing sanctions against 67 students “ranging from probation to official college discipline, which places a permanent record in the student’s file.” The statement did not disclose how many students received the harsher punishment, but said, “Some graduate schools and employers require individuals to disclose official discipline in their applications.”

Ten to one the vast majority of students got probation, which isn’t on their records. In such cases there is no deterrent once the probationary period is over, and for those not so punished, there is no deterrent towards disruptive behavior. If I had a kid, I wouldn’t send it to Middlebury, or to Evergreen State for that matter. And I wouldn’t lecture at either school if invited.

Discussing the college disruptions of speeches by Milo Yiannopoulos and Heather MacDonald, Cohen uses the students’ own petard against them:

Far more dangerous than what any of these speakers has to say is the reaction to it. The protesters — some of them non-students — are involved in what’s called, to invoke a trendy term, “cultural appropriation.” In this case, it is the culture of fascism. Benito Mussolini’s rise to power in Italy was facilitated by the steady use of violent protesters to break up meetings and silence opponents. The tactic proved successful, and in 1922 Mussolini became dictator of Italy. Hitler, on the other side of the Alps, took careful notes.

I won’t flatter the student protesters by asserting they are aware of their ideological antecedents. But I will say that those who chose not to hear Mac Donald or Murray missed something. Mac Donald, who writes often for the Wall Street Journal, knows her stuff. You may not agree with her, but she is reasonable and learned. As for Murray, his caricature as a white racist is a simplistic libel. I am not prepared to defend “The Bell Curve” — it has been years since I’ve read it — but that’s beside the point. It’s for Murray to defend. And, if given the opportunity, I’m sure he can do it.


Reader “ohnugget001” called my attention to a piece by beleaguered biology professor Bret Weinstein at the Evergreen State College, whose safety was threatened for refusing to leave campus as a white man on the “Day of Absence.” Yesterday Weinstein wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal called “The campus mob came for me—and you, professor, could be next.” (The reader misidentified it as coming from the Post.) I have a copy of that article, which is behind a paywall, and perhaps judicious inquiry will also yield you a copy. (Deadline 4 pm CST today).

The first half of the piece recounts what happened at Evergreen; the second gives the background. Weinstein notes that Evergreen is “arguably the most radical college in the country,” and part of that stems from its curriculum, which is designed to allow extensive interpersonal interactions between professors and students. (I also had that at The College of William and Mary.) He blames the current problems at his school on the tension between science and postmodernism, and on the new President, George Bridges, whom Weinstein thinks should resign (he said this on Dave Rubin’s show). I’ll quote the last bit of the piece verbatim; it’s the meat of Weinstein’s thesis, so you don’t really need to read the whole article.

The bolding is mine as I think equity of outcome needs to be discussed more openly. Let me add that I’ve discovered that Weinstein has a long history of anti-racist activism and fighting against prejudice, so demonizing him as a racist, which is what the students did, is deeply unfair.


. . . . the protests resulted from a tension that has existed throughout the entire American academy for decades: The button-down empirical and deductive fields, including all the hard sciences, have lived side by side with “critical theory,” postmodernism and its perception-based relatives. Since the creation in 1960s and ’70s of novel, justice-oriented fields, these incompatible worldviews have repelled one another. The faculty from these opposing perspectives, like blue and red voters, rarely mix in any context where reality might have to be discussed. For decades, the uneasy separation held, with the factions enduring an unhappy marriage for the good of the (college) kids.

Things began to change at Evergreen in 2015, when the school hired a new president, George Bridges. His vision as an administrator involved reducing professorial autonomy, increasing the size of his administration, and breaking apart Evergreen’s full-time programs. But the faculty, which plays a central role in the college’s governance, would never have agreed to these changes. So Mr. Bridges tampered with the delicate balance between the sciences and humanities by, in effect, arming the postmoderns.

The particular mechanism was arcane, but it involved an Equity Council established in 2016. The council advanced a plan that few seem to have read, even now — but that faculty were nonetheless told we must accept without discussion. It would shift the college “from a diversity agenda” to an “equity agenda” by, among other things, requiring an “equity justification” for every faculty hire.

The plan and the way it is being forced on the college are both deeply authoritarian, and the attempt to mandate equality of outcome is unwise in the extreme. Equality of outcome is a discredited concept, failing on both logical and historical grounds, as anyone knows who has studied the misery of the 20th century. It wouldn’t have withstood 20 minutes of reasoned discussion.

This presented traditional independent academic minds with a choice: Accept the plan and let the intellectual descendants of Critical Race Theory dictate the bounds of permissible thought to the sciences and the rest of the college, or insist on discussing the plan’s shortcomings and be branded as racists. Most of my colleagues chose the former, and the protesters are in the process of articulating the terms. I dissented and ended up teaching in the park.

Yes, Weinstein isn’t supposed to be on campus, as the police say they can’t guarantee his safety. All that for writing a reasoned email refusing to absent himself from campus based on his skin color! I am curious to hear Weinstein’s views on equality of outcome, but I suppose neither his colleagues nor the students will get to hear them since they’ve effectively muzzled him. What a world!

h/t: BJ


  1. Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    What a world indeed!

    Is there any word whether Middlebury is taking action against the students involved?

    • BJ
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Of the 67 students “punished,” some were put on probation, and others given a demerit that will go on their record. As Jerry said, I would guess most of them got the completely toothless probation (which doesn’t go on one’s record), and either way, both punishments are absurdly and reprehensibly lax.

  2. Coel
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Top 20 monstrous moments at Evergreen College:

    • Graham
      Posted June 2, 2017 at 4:25 am | Permalink

      Words fail me. It’s one thing to read about it, but actually seeing it really brings home the extent of the out-of-control chaos.

  3. rickflick
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Sam Harris did an interview with Murray a few weeks ago (online) in which they discuss the disruption and Murray’s take on things. I found it quite illuminating. I read the Bell Curve years ago and found it mostly reasonable but realized it had sharp edges for the political times that were achangin’. I was strongly influenced by Stephen Jay Gould denunciation but have since come around to a more supportive view. The idea of preventing the man from speaking is, as described above, fascistic.

    • jay
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Murray was unfairly demonized. Equal opportunity will not always produce equal results. His statistical analysis (which has held up in general, year after year and in a wide variety of areas) merely demonstrated that there are OVERALL (which says nothing about any one individual) variations in our species (probably eventually decreasing as our genes mix more and more). He is demonized as a ‘white supremacist’ even though his statistics on G factor, IQ, SAT etc all consistently place European whites in the statistic middle of the pack, not at top or bottom.

      Our current political obsession with ‘correct’ percentages has worked out to be very strong discrimination force against East Asian students.

      • johnw
        Posted June 1, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        The Bell Curve was a political document and its fundamental message was that affirmative action doesn’t work because minorities are genetically inferior in terms of intelligence, and that inferiority is fixed. It was not an even-handed survey of intelligence as indicated by IQ tests amongst all populations and the bulk of the data that Murray and Hernstein relied on for support of there assertion was from people who were either openly or largely supported by white supremacists (Rushton, Jensen, and Lynn). The book played fast and loose with the meanings an overlap of heritability (broad and narrow sense) and genetic determination, which are not the same thing. Murray has never acknowledged any criticism of the book, despite evidence to the contrary of the changes to IQ associated with increased SES, education, stress, home environment (as demonstrated by adoptions studies), or the Flynn affect. IQ has been shown over and over to not be static in populations. To suggest otherwise is motivated reasoning. For the comprehensive alternate scientific view I suggest: Intelligence: new findings and theoretical developments. Nisbett RE, et al. Am Psychol. 2012 Feb-Mar; 67(2):130-59. Am Psychol. 2012 Feb;67(2):129. PMID:22233090.

        • Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

          Hmmmm. This seems, wrong. I read the book and remember that only one or two chapters were even relevant to the discussion. In any case this one statement of yours; “Murray has never acknowledged any criticism of the book” is simple to refute.

          For starters.

          • Craw
            Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

            It is wrong. It is nothing but name-calling and ad hominem. It exemplifies everything that is broken about debate in this country, including the false statement that Murray has never responded to criticism of the book.

          • johnw
            Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

            Meant to say “acknowledged as legitimate”. Yes he has consistently refuted criticisms and denied he had racist intentions, yet based the book on data from racists (including Shockley, forgot him).

            Funny defenders of the Bell Curve showing up on WEIT. Wonder what R. Lewontin’s take is these days? For point by point criticisms and text excerpts one can go here.

            And yes I’ve read the controversial parts of the book. The rest I couldn’t stomach.

            • Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

              I think that you cannot pretend that some data do not exist, just because they are supplied by racists.

              The author of this site regularly takes information from right-wing sources with whose viewpoints he disagrees. This is because “nicer” sources today have little respect for the truth and keep silent about all facts that do not fit a leftist agenda.

              • johnw
                Posted June 1, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

                That’s true, data isn’t necessarily false because those who collected it have ulterior motives. But in this case, I think those researcher’s started with an end in mind that is not substantiated by their data. People of like mind to Murray start from a similar position and often point to measured IQ differences but alson acknowledge that the environmental contribution is real but unknown. Then they leap right to so if at least part of the difference is genetic then that must be the most important part. It’s been demostrated that heritability of IQ (which does not mean inherited genetically btw – its a more complex calculation of variance in a population) is around 15% in low SES families and ~60% or higher in high SES familes (see Nisbett et al review link above). It’s unjustified to then make sweeping social statements about public policy based on supposed genetics that remains undefined and perhaps isn’t really at it’s root a valid measure of intelligence.

            • Denise
              Posted June 1, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

              Perhaps you’re confusing defenders of Murray with defenders of point by point criticism rather than hysterical shouting mobs.

              • johnw
                Posted June 1, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

                My posts have just been about Murray’ ideas, which were brought up by others. As regards the Middlebury incident, I think it was clearly wrong, criminal even, and Murray has every right to speak anywhere.

              • Craw
                Posted June 1, 2017 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

                No, your posts have not been about Murray’s ideas. They have been about Shockley and about false statements about a book you admit you have not read.

            • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

              The Bell Curve was a political document, says the person who invokes Lewontin as an impartial judge.

              • johnw
                Posted June 2, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

                Do you understand the difference between a book written by a conservative activist (and sympathetic psychologist) and an actual peer reviewed scientific publication? Have you read the APA response to the Bell Curve from 1996, or the updated summary of the field of intelligence testing I referenced above (Nisbett et al?)

                Lewontin is at least a scientist who understands heritability. Murray is a political scientist with a specific political agenda. I referred to Lewontin because he was PCCs PhD adviser who has considerable cred I would think on this forum. Which is why I also would like to read PCCs opinion. Considering his review of Nicholas Wade’s recent book (which Charles Murray loved)I think it would be interesting to see where he comes down.

                So do you feel any criticism of the Bell Curve is legitimate?

              • Posted June 2, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

                Lewontin is a marxist who allows his politics to derange his science, as when he disparaged natural selection for having been tainted by Darwin & Wallace’s industrial capitalist worldviews.

                He may understand heritability, but regarding race he went too far in saying “[s]ince … racial classification is now seen to be of virtually no genetic or taxonomic significance either, no justification can be offered for its continuance.”

                Edward’s critique of Lewontin was, imo, correct, as was Dawkins’ when he wrote: “However small the racial partition of the total variation may be, if such racial characteristics as there are highly correlate with other racial characteristics, they are by definition informative, and therefore of taxonomic significance.”

              • Posted June 2, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

                Of course there is legitimate criticism of the Bell Curve. I’ve seen the criticism of its maths, but I can’t follow them. I myself think the authors were too sanguine about the state of meritocracy in our society.

                But the claims of racism are unfounded and seemingly only leveled by those who haven’t actually read the book.

              • rickflick
                Posted June 2, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

                Yes Murray is a social scientist. He was undergraduate at Harvard and obtained a Ph.D. in political science from the MIT. His coauthor was Richard J. Herrnstein, the Edgar Pierce Professor of psychology at Harvard University who worked with Skinner. Between the two of them they probably had a pretty good idea what they were talking about (unless you think their biases caused them to just punt on some of those tricky genetic definitions).

        • BJ
          Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

          Have you actually read the book? Please cite some passages that show what you’re saying is actually true because it sure didn’t seem that way to me and most people who read it.

          • johnw
            Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

            Yeah I’ve read the book.

            It’s a motivated conservative con job.

            • BJ
              Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

              Please cite passages demonstrating this.

              • johnw
                Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

                Like I have time for that. The book has been discussd and criticized ad nauseum. Look it up your self – here’s a taste:”If it were possible to significantly, consistently, and affordably raise intelligence, many of the negative consequences of societal low IQ could be mitigated or removed. However, historical attempts to raise IQ using nutritional programs, additional formal schooling, and government preschool programs (such as Head Start) have proven to have little if any lasting impact on intelligence as measured by IQ tests. The one intervention that has consistently worked to raise intelligence is adoption form a bad family environment into a good one. The authors recommend that children born to single mothers with low cognitive ability be voluntarily given up for adoption.”

                This is false. Positive enriching environment and education raise IQ. Adoption studies that they mention prove this. Narrow sense heritability of IQ changes with SES. Each generation in all populations has increased IQ. IQ can change. The BW gap in IQ test has dropped .33 SD since the book was published. It is not a scientific review, it’s propaganda.

              • BJ
                Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

                What you said is right is actually what the paragraph you quoted says is right.

            • Craw
              Posted June 1, 2017 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

              You admit in another comment you have not read it, only “parts”.

              • johnw
                Posted June 2, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

                I have read the controversial parts including the presentation of the IQ data and in particular the policy related chapters. The rest I skimmed. Beyond that I’ve seen Murray interviewed numerous times and find his responses disingenuous and motivated. He has never budged from his position of inferences about heritability being an accurate proxy for inferences about the intelligence or potential for intelligence. He dismissed all contradictory dat and inferences of his and Hernstein’s conclusions, despite the fact the the differences they base their claims on can be entirely environmental.

                Have you read any Bell Curve critiques? Do you know what heritability actually means? What are the components?

              • Posted June 2, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

                I am sympathetic to the Lewontin-Sarkar critique of heritability (disclosure: Sarkar was my teacher in an unrelated – intermediate logic – course at McGill once) but I would love for an exploration about what counts as a “different environment”. Why? Well, it does seem to be correct to say things like “X is heritable to degree Y in environment Z”, and not just “X is heritable to degree Y”. But if that’s so, the critique of the use of heritability has to go one step further and show that human environments are relevantly changeable so that the heritability would change relevantly as well.

        • Denise
          Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          Well, it’s been 20 years since I read it, but I thought its fundamental message was that we were developing an elite stratum of cognitively gifted people that were pulling away from everyone else. This seems quite true now.

        • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

          ‘I think I’ll open with a genetic fallacy, spray some ad homs about, then finish by admitting I never read most of the book I’m criticizing. That’ll learn ’em!’

        • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

          I read The Bell Curve and this description is not a good summary of the book. Most of it was on social class and IQ; not much very much of it was on race (was it only 1 chapter, I can’t remember). I think it is completely misleading to state “its fundamental message was that affirmative action doesn’t work”. They may have stated something about affirmative action, but it was far from being its fundamental message, even if the small amount of the book that covered race was what generated all the controversy.

          Most of the criticism of the book comes across as highly politically motivated so I have a difficult time sorting out if any of it is valid. I have heard hand waving criticisms of their statistics, but no one says what was specifically wrong. People say they heard it was debunked, but they don’t say which claims were debunked and by who or describe what the problem was. When someone politically motivated says something has been debunked, I need to hear good reasons before I trust them.

          Murray gets called a racist, but no one ever shows any racist quotes from him. When James Watson made his remark it wasn’t very hard to turn up a quote, but I haven’t found any from Murray. So I’m assuming it is just a smear from people who didn’t like his ideas. The white supremacist accusation of other IQ researchers doesn’t make sense either. Why would white supremacists say that the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans have higher average IQ than Europeans.

          • johnw
            Posted June 2, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

            Do a little research on Arthur Jensen, Phillipe Rushton, Richard Lynn, William Shockley. Southern Poverty Law Center is a good place to start. Many other sources. Also the Pioneer Fund. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find the rot.

      • Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        “all consistently place European whites in the statistic middle of the pack…”

        And that is very convenient! What a great coincidence: people’s skin color correlates with the results of seemingly random questions based on school curricula. It looks like a miracle, for which we have no clear explanation, until we study the tests themselves.

        Originally, the idea of testing for intelligence (developed by the French psychologist Binet) was to check if a student was doing well in school. The tests were ultimately based on school curricula. This was an efficient way to find which students were falling behind and why.

        But a few psychologists -influenced by scientific racism of early 20th century- turned those upside down to produce a mass-consumption product which allegedly measures an inherent and immutable property in human’s brain!

        This last sentence is the thesis of Murray’s book for which he nor anybody else have produced an iota of evidence (he always goes on other tangents when talking about the book, usually after accusing the detractors of not reading the book).

        The IQ tests are inherently flawed. All they measure is the quality of education and in a broken way. Murray’s book is mostly based on some mass-administered tests carried out by the US army. One should not be surprised to find that those tests in WWI determined that black people were not fit for combat roles!

        • Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

          “The IQ tests are inherently flawed. All they measure is the quality of education and in a broken way.”

          Orly? Now this claim is going to need some evidence in support.

          While you’re at it, please defend your claims in the final two sentences (about where Murray’s data came from). This ought to be interesting.

          FTR, I don’t plan to defend Murray & Herrnstein. I just think in all too many cases, opposition to what they wrote is heavily dosed with an unthinking kind of self-righteousness unencumbered by actually having read the book.

          • Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

            “… the final two sentences ”

            Bell curve bases its thesis on NLSY surveys. Two points:

            1) Voluntary and self-assessment tests have been notoriously unreliable in other fields.

            2) NLSY does not even conduct a classical IQ test. They use the aptitude tests designed by the US army. Historical context of such designs aside, take a look at their content:

            It is beyond me how people come to believe these tests measure intelligence independent of culture, education, stress, family life. This is simply ludicrous. Good thing you don’t want to defend the Bell Curve. It is truly indefensible.

            • BJ
              Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

              Have you read the book?

            • Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

              Well yes, I do remember they used the army surveys but you must know, if you read the book, that that is not their sole source for data on IQ. In fact, I also remember when the book came out that it was dismissed precisely because some of the sources for it’s IQ data came from were incorrect (in terms of viewpoint), including the arguably execrable Mankind quarterly. Which, you will note, is an example of the “Guilt by Association” fallacy. But enough about that.

              You think it is “truly indefensible”, that is your opinion; you are welcome to it.

              I have not read the book in over 20 years and don’t plan to again. So from memory I find their thesis about race and intelligence unpersuasive. Indefensible? Maybe. I can’t be arsed to read it again. But you do know that only a portion of the book (and that small) was about race? Right? Much else they proposed -not the race related bits- have largely been shown to be true.

              So, the book is “truly indefensible”? I think it depends on which cherries you want to pick.

              • Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

                Oh crap. Forgot the HTML closer. Those responsible have been flogged.

              • Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

                Could you please refrain from cursing every time you make a formatting mistake?

                It is not about what portion of the book is on race. It is not about extracting blatantly racist quotes and pointing fingers or badgering the author. For me, it is mostly about skepticism and scientific method of analysis.

                There are reasons scientific racism is no longer a credible theory. Those reasons have nothing to do with political correctness. If some day, biologists discover an “IQ gene”, I will happily concede that I was wrong. In the meantime, I really think this kind of indirect research is prone to error and can’t be a basis for policy making. Murray’s research has been conducted even more dubiously thus is even more unreliable.

              • Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

                “Could you please refrain from cursing every time you make a formatting mistake?”

                “Crap” is a curse? Oh boy. If Dr Coyne doesn’t like it I will leave (it’s a BIG internet but WEIT is his place) but I think you need a thicker skin.

              • Denise
                Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

                Foxer –

                There will not be a single IQ gene identified because many genes contribute to intelligence. Quite a few have already been identified – 40 or 50 announced just last week.

              • BJ
                Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

                No, they don’t know what portion of the book is devoted to any subjuect. They already admitted they haven’t read it.

              • Posted June 1, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink


                Could you please provide a source for your claim?

              • Denise
                Posted June 1, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

                Foxer – Google it. It’s was widely reported. This is only the latest of a number of studies.

                If you don’t believe that genes play a part in intelligence then you must not believe in evolution. Individual differences are the raw material of evolution. They’re the reason we’re humans and not slime mold.

              • Posted June 2, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

                Does the Army actually use a psychologist to administer the test? A clinical psychologist I know pointed out that the school aptitude tests are *not* IQ tests because they are not administered according to the rules. (And if they use the correct instrument, the use is unethical and may even be illegal.)

            • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

              Military aptitude tests corroborate the results of IQ tests. Individual’s results on both closely correlate. Intelligence is a factor in aptitude.

        • BJ
          Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

          “…turned those upside down to produce a mass-consumption product which allegedly measures an inherent and immutable property in human’s brain!”

          Completely untrue. He talked about populations, not individuals.

          As for your last paragraph, every study done on IQ and prediction of future success shows that IQ is the best predictor we have of future success.

          • Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

            Come on! What is the difference? Really! Murray’s book plays along the familiar racist tune that blacks are good at sports (which is wrong btw) and bad at math! There is not much else to it.

            Attaching the word “average” reduces the perniciousness of the claim, but not much. In practice “average” means “expected”. If you toss a coin 100 times and all the times you get tails, the probability of getting heads in the 101’th toss increases dramatically.

            If an interviewer believes blacks are dumber than whites, he then needs to force himself to put aside that “fact” every time he interviews a black candidate. Can we really blame him for failing at this daunting task and giving up on black candidates after a while?

            Skin color tells absolutely nothing(=zero) about a person’s intelligence and it is unscientific to claim otherwise. Period.

            • BJ
              Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

              So, you haven’t read the book, as you’ve admitted above, are basically just repeating other things you’ve heard people say about the book, and you really didn’t answer anything I said except for providing platitudes.

              And you still have not provided any evidence for your secondhand claims, while there are reams of studies supporting mine.

              • Posted June 1, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

                ” you’ve heard people say ”

                I have not “heard” anything. I have read criticisms and responses and based on what I have read, I have formed my opinion.

                I have read excerpts from the Bell Curve and they didn’t address those criticisms. I would need multiple lifetimes to read everything all quacks have written throughout history!

              • BJ
                Posted June 1, 2017 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

                So you formed your opinion based on the opinions of other people who think like you, and decided he was a quack (even though he’s still a respected and influential researcher in many other areas) because other people said so. You’ve read “excerpts” and have no idea of the context. You see nothing wrong with this. Well, I guess you can have that opinion, but it’s not a reasonable one. If you want the truth, find it yourself, rather than relying on other people who agree with you.

                I’ve commented too much on this article, and I’m done debating with someone who doesn’t even know the material they’re discussing. I will not be commenting further.

              • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

                What is your point? I have not read Quran fully either and I don’t think it is worth reading.

                You are conflating a host of issues here. The claim I have specifically criticized (and labeled quackery) is that blacks have lower intelligence than whites (average or otherwise) and race (as laypeople understand it i.e. a combination of skin color and culture) has some role in intelligence determination.

                Murray explicitly repeated the first claim in his talk with Sam Harris and the second claim is also a central claim of his book.

                There are strong and very well structured criticisms against the Bell Curve itself. I am not going to repeat them here. Besides that book is not the only one promoting this racist idea.

            • Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

              The probability of getting heads will not increase dramatically. It will be 50%, as every time.

              You do not prove your thesis that “skin color tells zero about a person’s intelligence”, just make a case that studies on this subject should not be carried out.

              • Posted June 1, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

                will be 50%, as every time.

                You are right. I conflated another concept with expectations. Let me correct myself.

                You would expect to get approximately 50 heads if you tossed a fair coin 100 times. But if you tossed it 100 times and you got all tails, although it doesn’t say anything about the next toss, your belief in the fairness of coins should begin to waver.

                You should admit that such a thing happens rarely in the real world! The idea that blacks are “on average” dumber than whites is very powerful one which forms expectations and judgements no matter what.

              • Craw
                Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

                Do I need to point out that if you infer the coin is unfair, you should bet on tails, not heads?

              • Posted June 2, 2017 at 12:01 am | Permalink

                Well, the whole point is you don’t know before the experiment and you “think” the coin is fair. This is where my original comment went wrong. It confused the information before and after the experiment.

                But after you carry out the experiment with the belief that the coin is fair and only get tails after hundreds or thousands of trials, there is a possibility that the coin is not fair in the real world (where beliefs might be wrong!)

                And the point I was trying to make was that “average” still has some meaning and can and should form expectations from events. I reject the idea of the likes of Sam Harris who concede that blacks are dumber but then request not carrying out the test out of some imaginary benevolence (kind of reminds me of those who say religion is good for society, don’t attack it). There is no need to be benevolent since the whole thing is bogus.

              • BJ
                Posted June 2, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

                “blacks are dumber”

                You keep saying this in every thread, and yet, that was never the real claim. Of course, you don’t know because all your knowledge is second and third-hand.

                And you got statistics wrong. What is that, like five things in this article’s comments alone? Or is it more?

              • Posted June 2, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

                My claim was that, as far as I know, there are no data showing clearly that IQ distribution – whatever this indicator means – is identical across human populations. If this has sounded like “blacks are dumber”, this must have been just my racism showing through.

                I am not sure whether I want such data to be collected. Because, when you take your basket in the morning and go out to pick data, you do not know what you’ll find. What if you, like Terry Pratchett’s fishermen, end up with a catch you do not really want? I wouldn’t feel well if my group turns out to have a lower IQ than others. And most people would feel even worse if their group turns out to have a higher IQ than others.

              • Posted June 2, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Permalink


                And I did not accuse you of saying such thing. At the risk of attracting Bell Curve defenders again to launch personal attacks at me, I should say that the problem with this book-as well as many other “race scientists”- is its rhetoric. It is structured in a way to make it easy for the reader to form a sweeping spoon-fed opinion about race and intelligence. For example it definitely advocates putting the races in the following order:
                (1-Asian 2- White 3-Hispanic 4-Black).

                This ordering does not have any nuance. It does not address numerous peculiarities, problems, and criticism leveled against methods and results. It is just a number game which will have lasting and damaging effect.

                And if you challenge Murray or even someone like Jared Taylor, or even crazy Rushton, they would fully deny this and rightly so. Because they have not uttered such thing “explicitly” and it is more complicated than that and no one has bothered to read their deep works, etc. I liked a term used in a Skeptic article: “weasel language”. That’s exactly what it is.

            • Craw
              Posted June 1, 2017 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

              Your comment about the odds on heads prove that you have not a clue on how to evaluate statistical arguments. But all these arguments are statistical.

            • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

              The data are sound and indisputable: the bell curves* are stacked from top to bottom: asians; whites; hispanics; blacks.

              What is open for debate is why intelligence among these demographics vary.

              * That, btw, it the title of the book you didn’t read.

            • steve
              Posted June 2, 2017 at 5:24 am | Permalink

              “Attaching the word “average” reduces the perniciousness of the claim, but not much. In practice “average” means “expected”.”

              “If you toss a coin 100 times and all the times you get tails, the probability of getting heads in the 101’th toss increases dramatically.”

              No. It does not. Were you highlighting a common error, or do you not understand probability? (I really can’t tell from your comment)

              • steve
                Posted June 2, 2017 at 5:26 am | Permalink

                OOP!! Sorry. I did not read ahead to see that many others pointed out this obvious error already.

        • Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          “The IQ tests are inherently flawed. All they measure is the quality of education and in a broken way.”

          Tell this to parents and teachers of special-needs children.

          • Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

            Did you read my original comment?

            “Originally, the idea of testing for intelligence (developed by the French psychologist Binet) was to check if a student was doing well in school. The tests were ultimately based on school curricula. This was an efficient way to find which students were falling behind and why.”

            So yes, IQ tests can be a legitimate tool to find developmental problems. But they need to be administered carefully by trained psychologists and maybe even tailored for each individual.

            • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

              My mom was a special ed teacher for 45 years and regularly used Binet’s and Wechler’s and sundry other intelligence & aptitude tests. I just checked with her and she says you’re full of it.

              • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

                What is with the insult? Am I being too politically incorrect for you?

                About your comment:
                I don’t know. But here is what Binet himself has written. Pay attention to the last sentence:

                “ascertaining a level [of intelligence] does not tell us whether a child who is lagging behind is in a phase of intellectual relaxation, of either short or long duration; it does not tell us either whether his intellectual impairment is caused by a blockage of his nasal cavities because of a problem with his lymph nodes. Any such investigations must be done around the test; they are important and require the most careful, detached, and objective attention. Far be it from us to turn this into an assembly-line process!”


              • BJ
                Posted June 2, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

                It wasn’t an insult, but an (accurate) accounting of your secondhand BS in this thread (and you sure seems sensitive. You think words like “crap” are curses and this was an insult. You really can’t handle this;. You’ve been proven wrong so many times in this entire article’s comment section that it’s starting to hurt me watch).

                And my point in the other post that you asked about? It’s that none of your opinions are your own. They’re just things said by other people who you know agree with you already and say what you want to hear. You have no desire to increase you knowledge, but only to increase your wealth of talking points. You are the worst kind of debater and, as shown in this thread, the one most often proven wrong.

              • Posted June 2, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

                Foxer, you’ve shown you don’t know how probability works, don’t understand normal distribution, only know false memes about intelligence testing, and proclaim you won’t accept that a trait is heritable unless scientists have identified a single gene for it. To top that all off, you admit you haven’t even read the book you’re slamming.

                No one’s insulting you, but you sure are embarrassing yourself.

              • Posted June 2, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

                If these were actual IQ tests, and your mother was not a clinical psychologist or other trained clinician, this use is at the very least illegitimate. See above.

              • Posted June 2, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

                Well you better warn the state boards of education of California, Connecticut and Massachusetts then, and notify them of what all their illegitimate special ed departments are up to!

            • Craw
              Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

              This is incoherent. Multiple choice tests must be administered by “trained psychologists”? And “individually tailored” tests can never be meaningful The whole point of tests is commonality, whether IQ tests or blood pressure tests. Interpreting some “individually tailored ” test is like reading palms.

              • BJ
                Posted June 2, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

                Yeah there was literally no point I could suss out there. It’s a word salad of things heard elsewhere.

              • Posted June 2, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

                That’s because an actual IQ test is *not* just a multiple choice test!

              • Craw
                Posted June 2, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

                No, there are a variety of IQ tests. Some are quite standard tests taken under ordinary conditions. Some are more specialized, but you are insisting ALL are more specialized.

      • Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        He is demonized as a ‘white supremacist’ even though his statistics on G factor, IQ, SAT etc all consistently place European whites in the statistic middle of the pack, not at top or bottom.

        That makes him a ‘white mediocritist’ rather than a supremacist.

        • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

          Stealing that one.

      • Posted June 1, 2017 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        I read The Bell Curve and skimmed it again following the recent controversies. It might contain some faulty math (I can’t tell), but it is not racist.

        The understanding of intelligence is correct.

        A wonderful little book that provides a thorough yet digestible overview the IQ issue is Stuart Ritchie’s Intelligence: All That Matters.

        • johnw
          Posted June 2, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

          Sorry disagree. Based on this back and forth here I returned to the book this morning and came away with the same impression I’ve had – it’s motivated reasoning, primarily American conservative, and engages in genteel racism. Much like my mother in law when she tells that her new doctor is black and she likes him very much, but will get another as soon as she can because of course he’s product of affirmative action and can’t really be any good. But he seems like a great guy.

          Okay, I’m done here. Thanks for the repartee.

  4. jay
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Another interesting article. I don’t think I’ve seen it on your site.

    • Zach
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      City Journal’s got good stuff. It’s one of the best sources for intelligent writing with a (slightly) conservative bent.

      Victor Davis Hanson’s article The Oldest Divide helped me understand the Trump phenomenon more than, perhaps, anything else I’ve read. And it’s from 2015!

      Note: while Hanson is sympathetic towards Trump voters, I don’t think he is at all sympathetic towards Trump himself.

      • Filippo
        Posted June 2, 2017 at 2:49 am | Permalink

        Hanson: “The Founders were pragmatics who also owned farms or at least knew the soil . . . .”

        I wonder if Professor Hanson believes that the farm owner, intellectual and bon vivant Jefferson knew his soil anywhere near as well as his slaves who worked it, as the Bard put it, “grunting and sweating under a weary life”?

        • rickflick
          Posted June 2, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

          Actually, Jefferson was a very astute farmer in the sense that he studied and experimented and thought seriously about how and what to plant. He owned a large library and kept up with developments in many areas of technology including farming. So, despite the toil of slaves in his gardens, I think Jefferson knew as much a almost anyone in his era about the soil.
          But I understand your point that is often made that in spite of his exemplary mind as a politician, philosopher, and a scholar, he kept slaves, despite knowing it was unjust and immoral.

  5. Beth Purkhiser
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Those responsible for the injuries should be in jail. The rest should be expelled. That’s the only way bullshit like this is going to stop.

    • BJ
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I really wish Stanger would press charges, but it seems she’s too sweet to do so. She really should.

      I’ve had serious concussions, and they are absolutely brutal. Trouble getting out of bed, vomiting, constant nausea, blurred vision at random times, constant headaches…the list goes on depending on severity, and it seems hers was very severe if she still hasn’t completely recovered.

      • Filippo
        Posted June 1, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        The law may vary from state to state, but, is a person injured in a CRIMINAL assault afforded the option not to press charges? Seems that whether to press charges would be up to the local prosecutor, no?

        • BJ
          Posted June 2, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          Yeah, it depends on the state and the type of crime.

    • Posted June 1, 2017 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      Both Stanger and Weinstein have solid grounds for civil actions.

  6. Posted June 1, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    There appears to be a typo in which you’ve misspelled Stanger’s name as “Stranger.”

  7. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    A few links to the WSJ article from other sites seem to bypass the paywall (at least on my computer).

    When I click on the link tow wsj from reddit

    or realclearpolitics–you_professor_could_be_next_411719.html

    I get the whole WSJ article.

  8. GM
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    If I had a kid, I wouldn’t send it to Middlebury, or to Evergreen State for that matter. And I wouldn’t lecture at either school if invited.

    How long before you yourself get threatened with lynching at some college for some combination of not being an SJW and promoting the thoroughly and incorrigibly racist and misogynist discipline of evolutionary biology?

    This is where we are headed if this continues…

    • BJ
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      I’m surprised he doesn’t regularly receive death threats. Probably because he’s not on Twitter, as, if he was, he would be getting them constantly.

      • Craw
        Posted June 1, 2017 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        I think there can be little doubt these SJWs at this college would find a man as critical of Islam as Coyne is to be racist. Probably sexist too, just to be sure.

  9. GM
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Things began to change at Evergreen in 2015, when the school hired a new president, George Bridges. His vision as an administrator involved reducing professorial autonomy, increasing the size of his administration, and breaking apart Evergreen’s full-time programs. But the faculty, which plays a central role in the college’s governance, would never have agreed to these changes. So Mr. Bridges tampered with the delicate balance between the sciences and humanities by, in effect, arming the postmoderns.

    I have been saying this for a while — the reason college administrations are putting up with that BS is that is actually suits them quite well.

    One thing that is invariably present in the lists of student demands is the further ballooning of college administration (because that is what hiring all those additional diversity officers, sensitivity training staff, etc. means).

    And who ever heard of administration that does not like finding new ways to grow…

    In addition to that, who is going to take the brunt of the consequences of implementing speech policing on campus? The faculty, of course, because the faculty are the ones who interact with students every day. But who is going to do the policing? The administration.

    So a very attractive from the administration’s perspective effect that all of this is having is putting additional tools for control over the faculty in the hands of the administration.

    Is it any wonder that so few colleges have behaved responsibly in these situations?

    Then we also have the question of why the faculty in the hard sciences as a whole is sleeping and not trying to stop these processes before it’s too late…

    • Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      “…the reason college administrations are putting up with that BS is that is actually suits them quite well.”

      Yep. And that’s why these incidents, though some claim are isolated, are so scary. The very people who ought to be putting a stop to this kind of nonsense are on board with it. They enable it.

      It’s going to be rough.

    • BJ
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      But they’re failing to think long-term, as any good businessman or woman does. The inevitable result, in a few years, is a school in which you cannot maintain any discipline or order and whose reputation sinks as a result (just look at what’s happened to enrollment at Mizzou).

      • Posted June 1, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        But if the trend subdues all universities, as it seems it will do, enrollment will stay stable.

        • Craw
          Posted June 1, 2017 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

          No trend is ever uniform, and this one won’t be. I hope BJ is right, and think he is. But I also think there is no reason to just wait.

    • steve
      Posted June 2, 2017 at 5:41 am | Permalink

      They are not sleeping. They and their students are STUDYING. Studying to understand the large volume of content and process takes time. Other faculties of students and professors do not need so much time devoted to study because their content quantity and thus workload is less.

      I would wager a bet, that some of the students protesting, agitating, marching, chanting, etc. are actually receiving some sort of academic credit for their antics — sort of like a class project or participation mark.

      The end result is lots of free time and positive incentives for social science type of students to agitate, and less time and negative incentives for the natural sciences to agitate.

  10. BJ
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    The pathetically lax punishments these students received for literally assaulting a professor of the school (not to mention shutting down speech and disrupting a school function with mob violence) are reprehensible.

    As I’ve said before: does anyone think that if these things happened with a bunch of right wing students doing this to a leftist speaker and professor, that the outcome would be even close to the same? Of course not. Every single one would be expelled.

    And yet, we have no examples to go on because, somehow, the young people of the right and middle have taken up the mantle of free speech. It saddens me so greatly to see the left give up on one of our most important civil rights, but here we are.

    • Coel
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      If a group of conservative students did anything resembling the actions that we’re seeing at the moment they would be expelled on the spot.

      • BJ
        Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        Hell, we’ve had a student incite a campus-wide regressive riot by writing “Trump 2016” in chalk, as Speaker to Animals noted. The regressives disrupted events and demonstrated for days demanding the President find and punish the student, but the President came out in support of free expression. Huge props to him, but it’s not hard to imagine what would have happened to that student on a lot of these other campuses.

  11. barn owl
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    KOMO News (Seattle area) is reporting that Evergreen State College has been evacuated today due to a “direct threat.” No more information as yet.

    • Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      I wonder which group of loonies, right or left, called in the threat.

      • Posted June 1, 2017 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        My money is on Bridges.

      • Posted June 2, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        That illustrates another grave danger – false flags.

        • Craw
          Posted June 2, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          Yes a chanting crowd of students at a left-leaning college might well be a secret band of Trumpistas.

  12. BJ
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    From the WSJ article: “I was not expecting to hold my biology class in a public park last week. But then the chief of our college police department told me she could not protect me on campus. Protestors were searching cars for an unspecified individual—likely me—and her officers had been told to stand down, against her judgment, by the college president.”

    Gee, just like what happened with Milo at DePaul U, where people disrupted the talk inside by grabbing the mic from Milo’s hand and making it their own regressive event (as much as I detest Milo, I love his response to the woman who assaulted him. She said that, as a black woman, she had been “silenced for 200 years.” His response was to ask how she still looked so young at that age)….all this after Milo and the group that invited him were forced by the school to pay for extra security, which allowed multiple student to rush the stage, one repeatedly yelling at him inches from his face and threatening to beat him — yet the cops stood there and did nothing.

    Of course, it came out later that the extra security the school demanded the students and Milo pay for were specifically told by the administration and President of the school to do absolutely nothing if the regressives pulled any of this crap. Just let anyone who disagrees be assaulted and. silenced. It’s OK — they’re the bad guys!

    • BJ
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      By the way, if anyone doubts any of the details above, here’s a link from HuffPo (just in case there are people out there who would never believe something from a right-wing site) to prove it:

      “Administrators had fought against hosting the conservative event for over three months. As they watched the event unravel, they seemed almost relieved to see the radical protesters fulfill their wishes. The rights implications were utterly lost on them. All they wanted was a nice, quiet, homogeneously-thinking campus.

      “Only days before the event, administrators had demanded that DePaul College Republicans, the club that hosted the event, pay hundreds of extra dollars in security costs. This was a clear breach of contract, but the organizers paid the fee under threat of cancellation. Yet, after ordering a dozen security officers, the administrators prevented them from restoring order, forcing them to stand down.

      I talked to a few of the dozen Chicago police officers eventually called into the building, and they were irate. They were well-trained, and well-equipped to handle scenarios such as this. They wanted to do their job, and remove the protesters, but administrators demanded they stand passively and watch. Once again, violence prevailed over free speech on a liberal college campus, and the administration was 100% complicit.”

  13. Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink


    It’s spinning out of control….

    • BJ
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      They should defund them. This would be a great first step in getting college administrations to take these events seriously. Losing money is the one thing they cannot stand.

      • Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        Maybe, but it is very troubling that legislators are so quick to fall back on viewpoint discrimination. Would they do the same if it was a conservative school?

        Slippery slopes are slippery.

        • BJ
          Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

          They did this after the incident, not before it, so I don’t see how this can be called “viewpoint discrimination.” Harassment of professors based on skin color and disagreement is not a “viewpoint.”

          • Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

            I see it as viewpoint discrimination whether it occurs before or after. YMMV.

            The way I see it, if legislators want some kind of retribution for the acts of the students they could, say (making this up because I don’t know how to do it)…replace the College Regents with people who will replace Bridges and/or establish new and better policies for dealing with student violence.

            But cutting off funding to the college smacks of “shutting up those damned lefties”. Optics matter, if not intent. I am sure you see the danger in this. They could come for a college of your favorite political persuasion next.

            • BJ
              Posted June 2, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink

              But how can you call it that when this is the only college, and it’s in response to this incident?
              This sets an excellent precedent: uphold the law of the land as a government representative or we will defund you. The only reason you see it the way you do is because of the Bill’s sponsor; if there was a (D) after his name you wouldn’t see it this way.

  14. Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Assault someone for their political views, get a ticking off.

    Chalk ‘Trump 2016’ on a bench in chalk and – call the police! – that’s a hate crime.

  15. darrelle
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand why the University is the only entity dealing with these little hooligans. They’ve broken laws not just campus rules. Regular law enforcement should be involved.

    Apparently I don’t understand the law either. Some of these students have made actionable threats and committed assault which are criminal violations. I didn’t think that a victim pressing charges was necessary. Isn’t the government entity which has jurisdiction (city, county, state) responsible for pressing criminal charges? If so they should do their damn jobs.

    • Posted June 2, 2017 at 3:24 am | Permalink

      Campuses feel they are qualified in adjudicating on rape accusations so it’s hardly surprising they feel the same about assaults.

      They are very much like the Catholic Church in that respect.

      • darrelle
        Posted June 2, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        Yeah, that is exactly the comparison I thought of as well.

  16. johnw
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Okay PCC. We have some Bell Curve fans here. How about a post on using heritability as a proxy for arguing genetic determination, and the rapidity with which phenotypes can change (Oh yes you just did – elephant tusks), for instance as exemplified by the Flynn effect.

    • Posted June 1, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      You know, criticizing factual claims about the book (some of which were from one who has not read it) is NOT the same a being a “Bell Curve fan”; a phrase (in context) pregnant with hostility and arch condescension.

      But yeah, a post by Dr Ceiling Cat as you suggest would be most welcome.

      • johnw
        Posted June 1, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        Uh-huh, yeah sorry I wasn’t trying to be pregnant with anything, just brief as I’ve been naughty and spent too much time here this afternoon when I should be working.

        The Bell Curve is kind of a hot button for me, and I find it especially pregnant with hostility and arch condescension…and arch bs.

        • Craw
          Posted June 1, 2017 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          Kind of a hot button, but not actually worth reading.

          • johnw
            Posted June 2, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

            Hey, we actually agree yes, it’s not worth reading. It’s 655 pages of sciency cherry-picked political rhetoric. Yes I didn’t read every word. I read enough.

            Have you actually read any alternate viewpoints by actual behavioral psychologists?

    • Posted June 1, 2017 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      How is the Flynn Effect caused by selection?

      • johnw
        Posted June 2, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        Actually I don’t think it is…but its worth a comparative discussion. I think the Flynn effect is an example of cultural evolution and not significant changes in population allele frequencies, so only analogous to the elephant tusk example.

        • Posted June 2, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

          I understand now. Yes, that is Flynn’s own explanation.

  17. colnago80
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I really find the defenses of the Bell curve found here quite amusing. Back before WW1,the precursors to the IQ tests were administered by the US Army. Guess what, those tests “showed” that Jews from Eastern
    Europe scored much lower then the rest of the population, which was one of the drivers of the restrictive immigration law passed in 1924 which discriminated against Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. The results of those tests have subsequently been found to be so much horse manure, based on actual outcomes of the populations involved.

    • Zach
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      So, because IQ tests were flawed and inaccurate before WWI, that must mean IQ tests have been flawed and inaccurate ever since? Non sequitur…

      I read some of The Bell Curve about a decade ago (funnily enough, I was unaware of the controversies surrounding it; I just picked it up in a library) but didn’t get much out of it. I found myself wondering, as Sam Harris did when he recently interviewed Murray, what exactly is the point of quantifying people’s intelligences?

      Murray seems to be concerned with two things:

      1) The fact that as our society becomes more oriented towards fields where IQ* is more valuable, and as opportunities for induction into those fields expand, our society will become increasingly stratified and balkanized along lines of cognitive ability. This will happen because, contra the wishful thinking that has defined much of leftist thought for the past two centuries, general human abilities, including cognitive ability, are largely heritable. So instead of an aristocratic elite, we will get a brainy elite. Indeed, this seems to be happening, and is the subject of Murray’s most recent book Coming Apart (which is what he wanted to talk about at Middlebury).

      2) His other concern, I think, has to do with affirmative action and the wonky effects it has when average racial differences are not factored into its implementation. Needless to say, this is the topic that has turned the book into political uranium. Ironically, it makes up a relatively insignificant portion of the text. I wonder if Murray regrets including it…

      Anyway, I remain skeptical about IQ tests. Not about their accuracy, but about their utility. Having people take them seems, at best, tangential to our humanistic enterprise. Besides, we have other tests that effectively do the same job.

      *I personally don’t think a good definition of “intelligence” exists, but IQ tests certainly do measure some kind of ability in symbolic reasoning, which obvious applications in certain jobs more than others.

      • colnago80
        Posted June 1, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        Doesn’t mean that they are more accurate now then they were then either.

        • Zach
          Posted June 1, 2017 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

          No. Refinements in social science over the past century means they are.

      • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

        You misunderstand the point. They were not just “flawed” They were specifically designed by proponents of scientific racism with the agenda of racial cleansing of America. Some of those programs even became a model for German Nazis when they came to power!

        Doesn’t that warrant a bit of caution approaching this subject keeping in mind all this was done in the name of science.

        • Zach
          Posted June 2, 2017 at 1:37 am | Permalink

          In your first paragraph you claimed those tests were done “with the agenda of racial cleansing of America.”

          In your second paragraph you equated this with “science.”

          I really have to wonder at your definition of “science.”

        • rickflick
          Posted June 2, 2017 at 5:52 am | Permalink

          In the context of ill conceived motivations, I noticed that, in the Sam Harris interview, the point was made that whatever the causes for differences between populations, the bottom line is that people should be treated as individuals, say, when being interviewed for a job. It would be unjust and immoral to eliminate anyone from consideration just because of they belong to a racial group. This shows me that Murray et. al. are trying to be objective and helpful in researching intelligence at the population level. His, and Sam’s, observation is that most of the objections to this research are based on the fear of racial stereotyping and bigotry, not on objective measures.

        • Posted June 2, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          Please name these proponents of scientific racism and the specific intelligence tests they designed.

      • Posted June 2, 2017 at 3:19 am | Permalink

        I found myself wondering, as Sam Harris did when he recently interviewed Murray, what exactly is the point of quantifying people’s intelligences?

        Well, for one thing they are useful for determining if you have some kind of cognitive impairment. I had one as part of my Asperger’s assessment to rule out other conditions.

        But if there’s a normal range of intelligence then there are logically people at the high end and people at the low end. It’s shouldn’t be controversial to see that people at the higher end may be best suited to jobs that require a high degree of cognitive ability.

        • Zach
          Posted June 2, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          Yes, I wasn’t denying that IQ tests are useful in specific contexts. And, of course, there are institutions that have a vested interest in determining people’s cognitive ability, or at least sifting applicants by such. Colleges do this to some degree with the SAT and ACT (although it’s improper to say so), and the military still gives a “general aptitude” battery, the ASVAB, to those enlisting. The list of jobs they’re offered is circumscribed by how well they do on it.

          No, I was more talking about the kind of population-average meta-analyses to which Murray has devoted his career. I’m not sure those are actually generating useful knowledge. And I can understand why people like foxer are suspicious of the motivations behind them.

      • johnw
        Posted June 2, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        That’s a good quick summary. Dusting off my copy and looking thru, it seems to me that all of Part V, Living Together, is intended to build their arguments against affirmative action. It’s pretty dense and nearly a quarter of the book. Their editorial message seems pretty clear throughout to me.

        • Zach
          Posted June 2, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          … it seems to me that all of Part V, Living Together, is intended to build their arguments against affirmative action. It’s pretty dense and nearly a quarter of the book.

          All right, calling that portion “relatively insignificant” may have downplayed it a bit.

    • Zach
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      *which obviously has applications in certain jobs more than others

    • Posted June 2, 2017 at 12:06 am | Permalink

      “Two stories about early IQ testing have entered the folklore so thoroughly that people who know almost nothing else about that history bring them up at the beginning of almost any discussion of IQ. The first story is that Jews and other immigrant groups were thought to be below average in intelligence, even feebleminded, which goes to show how untrustworthy such tests (and the testers) are…. The first is based on the work done at Ellis Island by H. H. Goddard, who explicitly preselected his sample for evidence of low intelligence (his purpose was to test his test’s usefulness in screening for feeblemindedness), and did not try to draw any conclusions about the general distribution of intelligence in immigrant groups.”

      Herrnstein, Richard J.; Murray, Charles. Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life

      • BJ
        Posted June 2, 2017 at 1:10 am | Permalink

        Oh, gee whiz, Foxer is wrong again (not from the original comment, but you can see their comment supporting it just above). This is my shocked face.

      • Posted June 2, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        Thank you for this. This is exactly how Rushton ( defends Goddard and his experiments. I am sure Murray and his friend were only trying to correct a misunderstanding though.

        Naturally, they forgot to mention that those select groups were chosen by immigration officers or that the tests were given to many of the immigrants in English. It might also be worth mentioning that even before 1924, the tests served to increase the number of deportations and decrease the number of admitted immigrants because the eminent and honest “scientist”, Dr.Goddard declared that based on his phony test:

        “we cannot escape the general conclusion that these immigrants were of surprisingly low intelligence.”

        I am wondering how someone dares to call this craziness “science”. Nevertheless, it is defended by the authors of the Bell Curve. Okay! What is next? Eugenics was a respected scientific discipline that politically correct SJWs unfairly attacked?

        • Posted June 2, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

          Binet designed his test so the French gov’t. could implement a national special education program. Burt & Thompson in the UK promoted the use of IQ tests to ensure that lower class students were not denied the education that maximized their natural talents.

          These tests are accurate, uniformly conducted, their use ubiquitous in education. Providing each student the optimal curriculum and services suite for their talents & needs would be impossible without them.

        • BJ
          Posted June 2, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          Yeah, science at the time of WWI really supports your second and third-hand opinions and theories. You have been shown to be wrong at least five or six times in this comments section, showing no understanding of probability, scientific discovery, studies on IQ, correlations of IQ and other things, and the very material you’re questioning itself. Just quite while you’re this far behind.

          As I’ve recommended to your multiple times: do your own research. At the very least, look up the latest (say, last two decades) studies on IQ. This is sad.

    • Zeph
      Posted June 7, 2017 at 6:12 am | Permalink

      It’s unfortunate that you didn’t read the book, as it actually addresses that criticism in some detail, and I believe debunks it.

      It is sad when we see such similar tactics used by climate change deniers, and anti-bell curve partisans – pull out an old and discredited talking point which has been well addressed, and think from lack of knowledge that this point is devastating and makes the other view “amusing”. It’s amazingly like arguing with denialists who think they can crush the IPCC reports by regurgitating a contrarian talking point which was in fact considered in detail and addressed in the IPCC reports – but they don’t know that and think they just won the debate.

      I’m somewhat agnostic about the Bell Curve – it’s not my field of specialization and I’m high enough on the Dunning-Kreuger curve to recognize my lack of determinative knowledge. But I can recognize when their arguments have been misrepresented or turned into a strawman for superficial disposal, as opposed to a well informed critique which shows sign of having actually read and digested the work in question.

      Their general point is that there really is something to the concept of general intelligence which is not entirely based on cultural assumptions. Some people really do have different cognitive abilities than others, and this attribute is to meaningful degree measurable – they make the case for that, and you are free to make a solid counter case. They make the case that general intelligence is clearly demonstrated to be partially due to environment and partially due to genetics, and that it’s not easy to tease these apart or assign degrees, but neither genetics or environment alone can explain the data. They make the point that our society is stratifying by cognitive ability, and describe why that is problematics. On the one hand, they say that general intelligence correlates very strongly with success; and on the other, they say that intelligence is perhaps overrated and that factors like talent, drive, charisma, or character are just as important. (There’s a nuance that which is easily missed). They suggest that a society which is overly stratified by cognitive ability, even if it were a pure meritocracy, would not be a good society – people with less cognitive ability have not done anything wrong and deserve a respected place in society rather than being marginalized and disrespected. And they make that case without reference to race, using only statistics about Caucasions. However, they get into trouble by also citing information suggesting that different populations have different bell curves for general intelligence are not identical, and the implications of that.
      Is their case correct or incorrect? I am not sure; there are solid criticisms. But it becomes clear to me that much of the criticism is “motivated reasoning” as somebody mentioned; some people are so repelled by what they think the book prescribes (not having read it mostly), that they KNOW in their bones that it’s very, very wrong; the reasons follow but the conclusion is foregone. Much like the folks who decry climate change because they just know that people couldn’t have that much effect, or evolution because they just know that we had to have a creator.

      IF (and that’s a real if) there is merit to the arguments advanced by The Bell Curve, it’s an extremely inconvenient truth – one that many or most of us would rather banish.

      But if it has merit, the truth isn’t going to go away because we don’t like it. As a thought experiment, what if they were right? That is, suppose there is something to the concept of general intelligence, and both individuals and populations vary? What conclusions would a decent caring person form from that? One is that any statistical difference between populations should NEVER prejudice one about any individual, period (which they say). Individual variation is far larger than any population variation, so group membership is a terrible predictor of individuals (which they say). But a social intervention which defined unequal outcomes as prima facie proof of bias and discrimination might in some cases be barking up the wrong tree. Effective intervention aimed at really improving the world for real people needs to be reality based; relying instead on fantasy or ideology, even well meaning, will lead one down self-defeating paths.

      OK, if you are able to look squarely at the possibility that they have some truth to their perspective and think about how to best create a just society in light of that objective reality, THEN you are ready to honestly evaluate whether there is or is not merit to their thesis. If you find their thesis (or your probably false imagining of their suggested policies) so repugnant that you cannot admit any possibility of it having merit, then you will find yourself unable to fairly evaluate the evidence they (and their critics) present – you will be captive to confirmation bias. (Generic “you” here).

      I am interested in more solid criticism of The Bell Curve (I have read some). I actually hope the book is wrong, because if it is we have a larger challenge to resolve. (It would also be a relief if climate change turned out not to be a real problem after all, so we could focus on other problems) But reading arguments which are way too akin to climate denial in their tone and quality is not helpful to dealing with Climate Change or the issues raised by The Bell Curve.

      • Posted June 7, 2017 at 6:26 am | Permalink

        This comment is nearly a thousand words long, more akin to an essay. Please try to keep your comments much shorter than this in the future. Thanks.

        • Zeph
          Posted June 7, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink


  18. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    … Richard Cohen, whose politics I don’t know …

    Cohen has been on The Post‘s masthead since Christ left Chicago (or at least since Spiro Agnew plead nolo). He started out as something of a liberal squish, but has trended neocon over the years. Whatever his politics, he’s a master of the obvious and a wizard of conventional wisdom.

    You ain’t missed much.

    • darrelle
      Posted June 2, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      “. . . since Christ left Chicago . . .”

      Where’s he bound? New Orleans?

      • Posted June 2, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        St. Louis?

        (Are there many US cities named for saints?)

        • barn owl
          Posted June 2, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          All the “San” and “Santa” cities – some in Texas, loads in California.

          • Posted June 5, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

            Is that always the case?

            In Quebec, some uses of “Saint” in French actually would translate as “Holy”, rather than “Saint” in English.

  19. Posted June 1, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    For an alternate view:

    View at

    PS: For some reason, talking about campus protests can become very emotional. I do not support violence or threat of violence at all. If someone has committed an act of violence, they must be punished accordingly.

    Posting this link is only in the interest of trying to understand what the students have to say and their version of the events.

    • Denise
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Shorter version: how dare Weinstein defend himself.

    • Zeph
      Posted June 7, 2017 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      Thanks for posting that; always good to understand what the protesting students and their allies are saying, and not rely on what their opponents attribute to them.

      That said, Littleton’s defense seems suspect. e There’s a lot of begging the question in regressive liberal framing – they assume that their concept and definition of racism (etc) is already unquestionably correct and true, and then use dissent from that dogma as some kind of hard evidence of the racism of the dissentor. Other viewpoints are OK, so long as they are not racist – but anything which dissents is racist, so doesn’t deserve free speech. This “I always win every discussion” approach is seductive, but it produces little illumination.

  20. W.Benson
    Posted June 2, 2017 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    Indeed, “What a world.”

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