Political Idiocy Week, #1

by wjw on April 13, 2010

Let’s not assume that this week’s political idiocy is committed only by politicians. John Derbyshire of the National Review, the once-respectable publication founded by noted racist William F. Buckley, has been carrying the flag of white supremacy ever onward!

Derbyshire, given the opportunity, to speak before the Black Law Students’ association of the UPenn Law School, spent his time lecturing his audience about their racial inferiority, and pointing out that their genetics have condemned them to be stupid brutes who will inevitably end their days behind bars.

No doubt he thought it was damn’ liberal of him to allow that Negroes are good at sports.

Different physical types, as well as differences in behavior, intelligence, and personality, are exactly what one would expect to observe when scrutinizing these divergent populations.

Now, the empirical grounds. We all notice the different physical specialties of the different races in the Olympic Games. There was a run of, I think, seven Olympics in which every one of the finalists in the men’s 100 meters sprint was of West African ancestry — 56 out of 56 finalists. You get less pronounced but similar patterns in other sports — East African distance runners, Northeast Asian divers, and so on. These differences even show up within sports, where a team sport calls for highly differentiated abilities in team members — football being the obvious example.

We see the same differences in traits that we don’t think of as directly physical, what evolutionary psychologists sometimes refer to as the “BIP” traits — behavior, intelligence, and personality. Two of the hardest-to-ignore manifestations here are the extraordinary differentials in criminality between white Americans and African Americans, and the persistent gaps in scores when tests of cognitive ability are given to large population samples.

kat April 13, 2010 at 11:08 am

… oh my god, I thought the IQ test pseudoscience was dead. And yet.


It's zombie pseudoscience. Quoted by an *idiot*.

john_appel April 13, 2010 at 11:39 am

To borrow a phrase from Ta-Nehisi Coates, "It's like they're proud of being ignorant."

S.M. Stirling April 15, 2010 at 4:14 am

Derbyshire's married to a Chinese woman, by the way.

dubjay April 15, 2010 at 5:04 am

Possibly he feels Chinese women are genetically submissive and would never question their masters.

Not knowin. Just sayin.

vgjvgjlh April 16, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Personally I find most of the IQ realists to be unsavory. They're mostly supremecists with sick shouts in their heads.

But you folk (while savory!) are embarassingly retarded. Calling Derb out on what he said to about a hundred people brought his talk a whole HELl of a lot of publicity and the fact is…stay with me now… that he's right – and OBVIOUSLY right.

Again, I'd rather live next door to y'all than to the people who go around shouting everywhere that the mean for Oriental mathematical intelligence is a boatload higher than the mean for African intelligence but you guys make for much duller dinner guests. Cause y'all iz re-tarded.

No offense. I still love ya 🙂

dubjay April 16, 2010 at 11:41 pm

It is sadly the case that being a complete asshole in public will get your more attention than being a polite person, at least for a while.

Jerks tend to wear out their welcome before too a significant amount of time passes.

"Derb," as you call him, may have spoken actual facts in his presentation, but his conclusions that Africans are both natural athletes and jailbirds seems far more simplistic than the reality I know.

It doesn't mention that minorities may do well in sports because it's one place where they are judged on their merits. Either they make the basket or they don't, either they catch the football or not.

It doesn't take into account the notion that legislators pile all sorts of extra penalties on crimes that tend to be committed by minorities, while being much softer on the sorts of crimes that white people commit. Or that judges and parole boards are far more likely to sentence a minority to prison time than a white.

And of course, Derb's position is also convenient. Because if that's true, we can just stop thinking about these people— all we have to do is just put them in jail, because that's where nature intended they end up.

Schwartz April 19, 2010 at 1:38 am

***I thought the IQ test pseudoscience was dead.***

Not at all. They predict a number of outcomes better than any other variable in psychology.

Interestingly, there are a number of biological correlates which neuroscientists observe with ‘g’. These are discussed in the paper by UCLA neuroscientist Paul Thompson & Yale psychologist Jeremy Gray.

‘NEUROBIOLOGY OF INTELLIGENCE: SCIENCE AND ETHICS.’ Nature Reviews Neuroscience 5, 471-482 (June 2004)


If you want an up to date discussion of the research in relation to group differences see.

June 2005 issue of Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol. 11, No. 2.


Consider the findings of the Snyderman & Rothman survey of 661 members of the American Education Research Association, the National Council on Measurement in Education, the American Psychological Association, the American Sociological Association, the Behavior Genetics Association, and the Cognitive Science Society:

"Respondents were asked to express their opinion of the role of genetic differences in the black-white IQ differential. Forty-five percent believe the difference to be a product of both genetic and environmental variation, compared to only 15% who feel the difference is entirely due to environmental variation. Twenty-four percent of experts do not believe there are sufficient data to support any reasonable opinion, and 14% did not respond to the question. Eight experts (1%) indicate a belief in an entirely genetic determination.[4]"


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