The Richwine IQ affair

sci-am-logoScientific American said

Clarification: Some readers may wonder what I mean by “ban,” so let me spell it out. I envision a federal prohibition against speech or publications supporting racial theories of intelligence. All papers, books and other documents advocating such theories will be burned, deleted or otherwise destroyed. Those who continue espousing such theories either publicly or privately (as determined by monitoring of email, phone calls or other communications) will be detained indefinitely in Guantanamo until or unless a secret tribunal overseen by me says they have expressed sufficient remorse and can be released.

DennisManganDennis Mangan said

Genuinely, unironically shocked. Cynics like us reactionaries aren’t usually shocked easily, but the Richwine affair has left me aghast. The swiftness with which Richwine and anyone and anything associated with him, including Harvard, have been denounced as beyond the pale of humanity, was stunning. We now have calls demanding that Harvard investigate—or be investigated for, one isn’t really sure—the PhD that it granted Richwine. It’s not terribly surprising that the Heritage Foundation fired Richwine, since we already knew that conservatives, especially those under the Republican brand label, were mostly useless. But will we see Harvard itself make a move toward somehow punishing Richwine’s graduate advisers, or putting an end to all IQ research, or some other action? Stranger things have happened…

The resemblance between what the Church did to Galileo and what society is doing to Richwine has not escaped the notice of some observers…

Things are getting bad out there.

murrayCharles Murray said

I have a personal interest in this story because Jason Richwine was awarded a fellowship from my employer, the American Enterprise Institute, in 2008-09, and I reviewed the draft of his dissertation. A rereading of the dissertation last weekend confirmed my recollection that Richwine had meticulously assembled and analyzed the test-score data, which showed exactly what he said they showed: mean IQ-score differences between Latinos and non-Latino whites, found consistently across many datasets and across time after taking factors such as language proficiency and cultural bias into account. I had disagreements then and now about his policy recommendations, but not about the empirical accuracy of his research or the scholarly integrity of the interpretations with which I disagreed.

In resigning, Dr. Richwine joins distinguished company. The most famous biologist in the world, James D. Watson, was forced to retire from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 2007 because of a factually accurate remark to a British journalist about low IQ scores among African blacks. In 2006, Larry Summers, president of Harvard, had to resign after a series of attacks that began with his empirically well-informed remarks about gender differences. These are just the most visible examples of a corruption that has spread throughout American intellectual discourse: If you take certain positions, you will be cast into outer darkness. Whether your statements are empirically accurate is irrelevant.