April 30, 2010

Harvard 3L Stephanie Grace writes "I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African-Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent" — and is publicly reamed.

... at her law school, on the internet, and in the press. Grace's statement came in email sent to 2 friends, who'd had a private conversation about affirmative action. She felt a need to extend her remarks. And at some point the email got out on the internet, and all hell broke loose:
“Here at Harvard Law School, we are committed to preventing degradation of any individual or group, including race-based insensitivity or hostility,’’ [Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School] wrote in a message to Harvard’s law school community.

Minow said she had met with leaders of Harvard’s Black Law Students Association on Wednesday to discuss the hurt caused by Grace’s e-mail....

... Minow called the incident “sad and unfortunate’’ but said she was heartened by the student’s apology. She added: “We seek to encourage freedom of expression, but freedom of speech should be accompanied by responsibility.’’
(Via TaxProf, who collects a bunch of other links on the story, including links that will get you to the full text of the email.)

Grace has apologized. Of course, she's sorry now. "I am heartbroken and devastated by the harm that has ensued. I would give anything to take it back." Note the passive voice: "the harm that ensued." A  new way to say I'm sorry you were offended. She also says "I understand why my words expressing even a doubt [that African-Americans are genetically inferior] were and are offensive." She's learned something: This is a subject where you can't play with ideas and speculate. People get very angry, and the speaker had better be ready to deal with it.

Did Dean Minow handle this the right way? One question is: Why does the dean even get involved with something one student said in private email? If the answer is because the Black Law Students Association came to her and demanded a response, then maybe the question should be why did the  Black Law Students Association go to the dean for help? Why didn't the students all just argue and debate and express themselves to each other? These are Harvard students. Law students. Why not dig in and have it out and show your stuff? Why go to the nearest, biggest authority figure? Stephanie hurt me!

Here's the full text of Minow's message. (By the way, Martha Minow's father was FCC chairman Newton Minow, the man who called television "a vast wasteland.")
This sad and unfortunate incident prompts both reflection and reassertion of important community principles and ideals. We seek to encourage freedom of expression, but freedom of speech should be accompanied by responsibility. This is a community dedicated to intellectual pursuit and social justice....
Law school is a community with shared ideals. One of the ideals could be: When a student makes a point that contains what you think is an outrageous statement, unless she's been actively insulting to you, you should engage her in debate and not not expose her to a public trashing. And don't bring the dean into the fray as your champion. More from Minow:
As news of the email emerged yesterday, I met with leaders of our Black Law Students Association to discuss how to address the hurt that this has brought to this community. For BLSA, repercussions of the email have been compounded by false reports that BLSA made the email public and pressed the student’s future employer to rescind a job offer. 
I was going to say that "the hurt" to Grace and her reputation was much greater than the hurt to those students who only read the email. It's not as if she shouted ugly words in their face. But now I see that the BLSA students had reason to worry that they were the ones who would look bad because they were believed to have overreacted and taken some nasty revenge. Minow may have been activated by the need to clear their reputation.
A troubling event and its reverberations can offer an opportunity to increase awareness, and to foster dialogue and understanding. 
Minow tries to be even-handed and control the fallout. She frames it as a teaching moment. But what has everyone learned?

283 comments:

1 – 200 of 283   Newer›   Newest»
Hoosier Daddy said...

Hey maybe she can get an advisory job with the administration like Larry Summers. You know, that Hahvad president who said women don't have the intellectual chops to excel in the hard sciences.

Original Mike said...

Why should anyone care about an opinion expressed by a student in a private e-mail? Good grief.

TMink said...

The HUGE problems with the nurture side of the nat/nut debate are so out of whack in black Americans that there could be no useful data from the nature side of the fence. The 70% of black kids that grow up in a single parent home are so compromised that they are literally handicapped in terms of school and later job success.

I blame Bush and the Tea Party. 8)

Given multi-generational matched socio-economic samples, I bet the data shows no statisticaly significant differences in intelligence measures.

Trey

wind.rider said...

But what has everyone learned?

The stupider the shit, the larger the spray pattern when it hits the fan.

Skyler said...

It's a pity she apologized.

I suppose no one will do a "make a hypothetical at Harvard" day, and surely Prof. Althouse wouldn't endorse it if they did.

Intellectual cowards run our nation's academia.

wild chicken said...

There is little freedom of speech now. This repression begins over naughty stuff no one will own...where does it end?

shoutingthomas said...

I learned: Don't say stupid things in e-mail.

Didn't Obama just announce that his plans for the fall election were to rekindle his core followers' enthusiasm? Wasn't he explicit that he was reaching out to every group except white men? That's not offensive?

These "offense" kerfluffles need to go away.

These periodic PC race heresy episodes are an atrocity. I don't care whether a kid in law school says or writes stupid stuff. It's of no importance.

Blacks can fend for themselves. They aren't going to explode and die in the aftermath of some kid voicing heresy.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Wait until the moralizing-in-the-guise-of-economics crew get hold of this one. Aha! A negative externality!

Parker Smith said...

I don't think she ruled out the converse, either - is there a testable, falsifiable hypothesis that can be extracted from what she said?

Kyle said...

Apparently we've again thrown thinking and learning out the window in exchange for anger. Why reason with her when you can play the black/race "I win" card? Maybe that's just clever argument on BLSA's part. Maybe they really don't know any better.

rhhardin said...

The email is correct.

The chances that Blacks genetically inferior are in fact 50%.

Ensuing doesn't take an object and so doesn't even have a passive. Stealth retreats into a lexical item.

The Drill SGT said...

I'm with rhhardin...

She was having a private conversation on a topic she had done research on. She was expressing in words, doubts about confidence factors and statistics.

so much for honesty...

FJ Harris said...

What can one say. American blacks are now fed, bathed and put to bed by their liberal minders. Firmly slapped and moved back on the plantation when they stray.

Dawne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cato Renasci said...

The young woman's statement was completely unobjectionable: any rational person would take the view that the evidence shows there exist group differences in average intelligence, and that it is possible that these differences are genetic.

Political correctness has run amok. I could never make it through law school or graduate school today, I would have been run out for falling afoul of the received liberal wisdom.

Something rather like this in the late middle ages made the universities almost irrelevant in the Renaissance and, likewise, similar sterility made the universities (other than the Scots) almost irrelevant in the 18th century.

Michael said...

I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that the Black Law Students Association did not consider themselves intellectually up to the challenge of debating this as an issue rather than running to the racism police.

Mind you, I also absolutely do not rule out the possibility that your average Harvard student has a whole bunch of ideas about who's inferior that he or she usually is more careful about expressing, but that occasionally come out anyway (eg., suggesting that flyover country folk are bitter and clinging to their guns and religion).

Original Mike said...

"Mind you, I also absolutely do not rule out the possibility that your average Harvard student has a whole bunch of ideas about who's inferior that he or she usually is more careful about expressing,"

:-)

Fat Man said...

"Law school is a community with shared ideals."

That they will all graduate and make $160,000/yr. and one day they too will be president.

They are a bunch of weenies. Do yourself a favor. Don't hire them.

Scott said...

There is no place for racism in civil society.

And in any case, even if you could prove that race X is statistically stupider than race Y (assuming you could base your study on a racially pure sample, which would be impossible), there would be no point to such an observation, other than to engage in racial triumphalism, which is stupid regardless of what race you belong to.

Jim Ryan said...

Coward gets cowed by thought police. Yawn.

AJ Lynch said...

I call for an immediate moratorium to halt the election of candidates who went to an Ivy League school. They are too dumb to fail.

AllenS said...

I've learned that the Black Law Students Association is a racist bunch of people.

2yellowdogs said...

Let the mau mauing begin. I'm sure Larry Summers can offer Ms. Grace some insight as to how the Harvard community fosters the free expression of ideas.

Good luck.

rcocean said...

You skipped over the interesting part:

1) How did the private e-mail get out on the internet?

2) Why doesn't she have the right to privacy?

3) Why should anyone care what a Law student writes/says in a private conversation about AA?

Talk about Orwellian thought police. But this is what happens when liberals rule.

Balfegor said...

She's learned something: This is a subject where you can't play with ideas and speculate. People get very angry, and the speaker had better be ready to deal with it.

You would think she would have learned, by the time that she was a 3L, that there are things you can't say in public, at least in English.

And in any case, even if you could prove that race X is statistically stupider than race Y (assuming you could base your study on a racially pure sample, which would be impossible), there would be no point to such an observation, other than to engage in racial triumphalism, which is stupid regardless of what race you belong to.

This is actually incorrect. If, for example, you found that the statistical distribution of intelligence (however you choose to measure it -- IQ, other test scores whatever) was different in different semi-arbitrary racial groupings, then accusations of (and legal suits alleging) racism based on a disparate statistical impact to those self-same semi-arbitrary racial groups of a facially neutral policy would be more difficult to maintain. After all, the purported "disparate impact" might reflect different underlying fundamentals in the populations that are being compared -- does that count as discrimination? This also feeds into the whole concern about the "achievement gap" in education. The question of whether it is nature or nurture that results in the statistical disparaties between racial categories is also important in determining what kinds of remedial policies you want to implement -- if it's nature, for example, there's not much you can do about that (without, you know, turning into Gattacca) but if it's nurture, then you need to figure out what's gone wrong in the nurture (e.g. is it food? Is it "role models?" Is it the family environment?), and see what levers you can manipulate to fix the problem.

What matters isn't "scientific" race, in these cases, but legal race, and statistical differences between them. And race is accorded meaningful legal recognition in the US, even if science says there's no such thing. This is, of course, a discussion one cannot have in polite company (in English, in the US), but the issues aren't exactly irrelevant to current questions of policy and law.

roesch-voltaire said...

Clearly high IQs and an Ivy League education have little to do with doing the right thing or contributing to a productive life style, as witnessed by the current crop of the best and the brightest who brought us to the edge of a major depression and embroiled us in two wars, but I do know how important flaunting status and intelligence can be which seems to be why so many folks re-visit this issue.

prairie wind said...

I've learned that black law students need someone to fight their battles for them. I am unsure if this is related to their intelligence or not.

kathleen said...

I've learned that Harvard law is run by imbeciles. Actually I learned that quite a while ago, and now it has been confirmed yet again.

mariner said...

Why is there a Black Law Students Association. It's a racist hate group.

Maguro said...

And in any case, even if you could prove that race X is statistically stupider than race Y (assuming you could base your study on a racially pure sample, which would be impossible), there would be no point to such an observation, other than to engage in racial triumphalism, which is stupid regardless of what race you belong to.

Well, I would agree with that statement except for the fact that our government's official policy on discrimination in the workplace is based on the premise that all races - indeed, all identifiable subgroups of humanity - are, on average, absolutely equal in intelligence.

Therefore, if you're an employer (say, a fire department in Rhode Island) and you give your employees a written promotion test to determine which one know the most about firefighting, the results had better be equal for blacks and whites or else the government will assume that you're discriminating against blacks. That's "disparate impact" in a nutshell.

So, the fact that blacks score significantly less well than whites and Asians on IQ tests makes it very difficult (if not impossible) to design a test that is will produce equal outcomes between the various racial groups.

Basically, it's government policy that makes comparisons of the average intelligence of racial groups relevant. If disparate impact wasn't a part of the law and government anti-discrimination legislation focused only on actual disparate treatment of individuals, we could safely ignorea all this average intelligence by race business and just treat everyone as an individual.

David said...

It's a stupid and useless debate to start with. "All Men Are Created Equal" is a belief in the intrinsic and indivisible value of each human life. We are "endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights." Those rights do not vary according to our intelligence quintile, beauty, athletic ability, math skill or talent in mountain climbing.

As a society--and Harvard Law is a great example--we are now so preoccupied by ranking that we forget that equality is a matter of the human soul. Half the people are going to be below average in every measurable characteristic.

But we are so far from really believing in human equality that crap like this debate will continue, even (especially) in places where our supposedly most wise, accomplished and intelligent are collected to think and learn.

Michael said...

They can't work it out among themselves because they haven't learned how. When is the last time you have seen children engaged in unsupervised play? Think about it. Every baseball, football, lacrosse game you see has adults as officials. If kids have a conflict that becomes noticeable the adults leap in to "solve" it. It is not surprising that a higher authority is sought out by students today and going forward. We are in deep deep trouble.

The Sophist said...

I've learned that if you decide to attend Harvard Law School, you should first convert to Islam. Or at least say you did.

That way, you can get away with saying whatever you'd like, and no one will actually dare to take you through the ringer.

-TS

Cosmo said...

Two things going on here.

First, an opportunity to fire up the grievance calliope, to whatever advantage its musicians can gain. In this case, a Struggle Session-style apology and a kowtowing administrator.

Second, the accelerating trend toward petitioning for the intervention of authority figures in more an more areas once left to resolution by those involved.

America's slow-motion Cultural Revolution and the infantilization of its people continue apace.

WV: happrot e.g. what's happening to the American academy

Charlie said...

You got it, 2yellowdogs. Is this evidence the Summers dust-up has already faded from Harvard's collective forebrain? I woulda thought certain elements there would make a concerted effort to keep that lil PC victory foremost in school mythology, the way some other schools hype bowl wins or #1 sports rankings.

AllenS said...

This is going to sound racist, but what the hell: Barack Obama is genetically inferior to Joe Biden. I'll bet Biden knows how many states there are.

MadisonMan said...

If you don't want to be pilloried in the press, don't write outrageous things in email. Email is never private. I've told my kids that many times.

That said, I agree that the Black Law Student Association is looking particularly weenie-ish.

I also am curious how the email got leaked. Isn't it just like a lawyer to send a clarifying email about a dinner-time debate, though -- always wants the last word, I guess.

Robert said...

Since someone brought up Lawrence Summers, I think it's relevant to point out what happened to him when he was scheduled to speak before the UC Regents. A collection of women faculty, led by a woman at my alma mater, UC Davis, banded together and demanded that he not be allowed to speak. Rather than asking instead to turn his speaking engagement into a debate, at which they could offer their contrasting viewpoint, they chose instead to silence his.

It's how those with poor arguments choose to fight - they use spineless administrators to do what they cannot compel by the validity of their positions.

Charlie said...

Scott said,

"There is no place for racism in civil society."

You got it exactly backwards there, Scott. Racism must be excluded at the policy level. You can't regulate individual opinion.

Indeed, it is our very low level of racism in civil society despite the fact that the only means of regulation there is self-regulation that is cause for optimism.

lucid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Billy Oblivion said...

Good lord, you people are supposed to EDUCATED, and capable of INDEPENDENT THOUGHT.

Bunch of fucking sheep in a pasture.

Just about every intelligence test given shows that *ON* *AVERAGE* Asians score highest, Caucasians next, then Blacks of African descent.

It is a consistent result across time, test and location.

This is *statistical*, and doesn't say the first fucking thing about an INDIVIDUAL.

FAIL

Go ahead and say it, I'm "baaaaaad".

Grow up. Your country needs adults now, not little children screaming at shadows.

(Oddly enough the black kids I grew up with were almost all on the right of the bell curve. But then they largely grew up in white middle class neighborhoods with parents who cared about education and made sure the left the house with a full stomach every morning. But hey...)

lucid said...

Affirmative action policies constantly make exactly the same point that the student was contemplating--that African-Americans cannot compete on an even playing field with other groups. This is the constant undertheme in all affirmative action processes--that blacks are unequal to compete. Should we all pretend that is not what affirmative action means?

Is the "outrage" simply proportional to the possibility that the statement is distressing if true? There is a lot of evidence to support the possibility in the student's statement, and some evidence to refute it.

Suppose one said, "Asians may be on average genetically endowed with greater intelligence"?

Or, "African-Americans on average are endowed with greater athletic ability"?

Or, "African-Americans have larger penises than other groups do"?

Isn't identity politics wonderful?

Milwaukee said...

When will we have enough of affirmative action? Why do those Black Law Students need somebody to argue on their behalf?

But then, 95% of African-Americans voted for President Obama, so they are rather acting like a group. Guessing that a, now what do I say, Black American? (That seems so 70s, and feels offensive, but then African-American feels uncomfortable, like I'm highlighting how they are different.), but that group of specially chosen people voted so overwhelmingly for one political party, that yes, generalizations can be made about that group. When 68% of children in that special group are brought up in a single-parent household, one must pause. Is that cultural or racial or genetic or economic?

Anybody notice that certain positions in the NFL are dominated by certain racial groups? (And the NBA?) So when a White American player is drafted in the early rounds in those positions, there are some questions whether they can handle the position. There was a fuss in the NCAA tournament about how some teams had so many white boys playing. We definitely are having troubles with race here.

Tim said...

First, in defense of Summers, even though I disagree with his politics, what he SAID was that the VARIABILITY of intelligence among men was LARGER than that among women, or among a mixed group. Therefore, OF COURSE there are more men in the upper tail, just as there are more men in the lower tail. People do NOT understand statistics.

Furthermore,in tests for "g" black Americans consistently score slightly behind white americans, who consistently score slightly behind Asian Americans, and all of us fall behind Ashkenazi jews.

A problem with the resulting conclusions is that a white guy with a tested IQ of 85 is barely able to function in society. A black guy with tested IQ of 85 functions quite well. Therefore, SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THE TEST.

I would hesitate to draw any conclusions from the IQ tests at all, and the young ladies response is measured and correct. With the knowledge we have currently, NO possibility should be ruled out. Hell, maybe she should change her major to engineering, she might make it.

slarrow said...

I think one thing we've learned from these kinds of escapades is that if you go to the racism well too often, sooner or later it'll run dry.

It takes a whining complaint from a thin-skinned student organization working through the boss dean of the law school to bully down one student who has no support and no resources. If you need a hammer to smash an ant, then how strong are you really?

People get fed up after a while. Then all the pretty words and petty threats don't accomplish much.

Original Mike said...

"I'll bet Biden knows how many states there are."

Allen, I'll take that bet.

WV - cenit. I am Al Franken and I am in the cenit.

Calypso Facto said...

Riffing off mariner: Why didn't the White Law Students Association rally around their peer's right to privacy? Oh wait.... there isn't a WLSA? Why not?

And I note that I ASSUME Minow is white without even seeing the photo evidence. Because I cynically understand that this issue would never have seen the light of day otherwise.

Quayle said...

Why should anyone care about an opinion expressed by a student in a private e-mail? Good grief.

It isn't even an opinion. It is stating a no-decision and openness to the evidence.

By the way, where is the evidence, one way or the other, or does nobody care to look?

And let me be clear what my view is: I don't think it is a bad think if blacks are adjudged less "intelligent" according to some IQ test or what not, because:

(1) I believe our view of "intelligence", which I interpret to mean quick mind, is a very narrow and insufficient measure of a human's attributes, and

(2) I believe we overvalue that kind of "intelligence" in our society, and undervalue other attributes (which also may be based on genetics) such as heart, wisdom, spirituality, humility.

Just think, regardless of African-Americans' "intelligence" how much heart they bring to our country, and how much spirituality, often.

Only Harvard people care only about intelligence, and look where that is getting us, as they crowd the positions of "leadership."

Chris said...

Goodness. The contemporary generation of cosseted African-American Harvard students has no direct experience with what formerly passed for racism in this country. Their fragile sense of self-esteem requires a fit of the vapors when even private emails call into question their collective awesomeness. Pass the smelling salts, lucrative government jobs await!

Prosecutorial Indiscretion said...

Assuming arguendo that her comments were terribly inappropriate (I think she's out of her depth as far as the science goes, but so am I) does that justify a nationwide campaign to strip her of her clerkship and, if past practice is any indication, to attempt to blacklist her in the broader legal community? I think not. The proper answer to someone saying something dumb is to give them an intellectual smackdown, not to try to ruin her life.

As far as the substance goes, I think it's not all that informative to talk about race and genetics since there's not all that much racial genetic uniformity. Neither "blacks" nor "whites" are much of a uniform ethnic group; you can say things about closely-knit genetic communities at a lower level (like, say, Ashkenazic Jews). So talking about racial genetics is inherently suspect from the get-go. But certainly intelligence seems to have some genetic component, or at least there is sound basis for researching that issue further. And my understanding is that most of our measurement tools show a persistent gap between various racial groups. A lot of that gap, maybe even the whole thing, could arise from environmental factors. But it's possible that there is a genetic component based on hereditary traits within various subgroups of the demographics. But if TMink is right and there is no genetic component, the appropriate response is to smack this girl down with evidence.

Much as Larry Summers was intellectually crucified for having an open mind and challenging preconceptions about another achievement gap, this incident shows that for many in the academy raising certain possibilities is so dangerous that the heterodox thinker must be destroyed. If the girl is wrong, prove it and make her feel dumb. Don't try to crush her dreams and ruin her life. That's a grossly disproportionate response and one that will cripple the academy going forward. It's comparable to misogynistic Iranian fundamentalism and other irrational ideological extremes.

Another cause for concern is that this e-mail was forwarded six months after the fact by someone with a grudge. It's a calculated effort to ruin someone, and we as a society ought to discourage such malicious actions. And as you suggest, the national BLSA folks pushing retribution look pretty awful and vindictive (and Elie Mystal looks especially stupid, even by his standards, for demanding a more militant response from HLS BLSA).

The upside is that she's clerking for Kozinski and he's ballsy and free-thinking enough to flip off the world if they try to get him to rescind her offer. The downside is that a vindictive motherfucker has blown her chances at a Supreme Court clerkship based on one ill-advised (and possibly drunken) conversation and a follow-up e-mail, without regard to her broader life and any of her accomplishments or virtues. I hope there is a nasty strain of gonnorhea waiting out there for the low-down person who engaged in this calculated destruction of a young woman's future.

Verification word: rehares = rabbits again

William said...

Most of civilization's important innovations were born in China and not Europe. There is speculation as to why this happened. Some reputable historians claim that it is because the Chinese were a rice based civilization. It took harder work and more social organization to grow rice than the other grain crops. The Chinese thus became more industrious and intelligent over time.....The teachable lesson here is while it is ok to claim that Europeans are less intelligent than other groups and something for scholars to chew on, any other invidious comparison is verboten. Also while generalized positive statements about Afro-Americans are useful and good, negative statements are verboten. If the woman had said that she didn't rule out that Afro-Americans had genetically stronger hamstrings than other races, would she be in the same amont of difficulty?.....For the record, I think that any disparity in IQ scores is more a function of social pathology than genetics. Also for the record, history matters. A German cannot boast of his native born virtues with the same vainglory as a Puerto Rican.

former law student said...

But what has everyone learned?

That Harvard Law admits people who can't perceive how other people will interpret their words.

Why does the dean even get involved with something one student said in private email?

As a cordial heads-up to the other closet bigots on campus: kindly think before you speak. Imagine everything you say being presented on CNN -- which happens often enough to HLS grads.

Conrad Bibby said...

@ scott: You need to educate yourself on this subject before jumping to conclusions. There are, without question, significant differences in IQs among different racial groups. This part isn't even scientifically controversial. The question that is debatable is whether, and to what extent, the disparities have a genetic component.

Moreover, you are plainly wrong in asserting that the ONLY purpose of demonstrating group differences in intelligence is "racial triumphalism." For one thing, much of our current national education policy is focused on eliminating achievement gaps between racial groups. If it proves to be the case (which it hasn't, so don't accuse me of asserting otherwise) that such disparities are inherent given the genetic makeup of the groups in question, then clearly the policy should be adjusted accordingly.

If you want to argue that we should ignore science and enshrine as the "truth" whatever beliefs happen to be the most personally comfortable and politically convenient, go ahead.

Chris said...

Goodness. The contemporary generation of cosseted African-American Harvard students has no direct experience with what formerly passed for racism in this country. Their fragile sense of self-esteem requires a fit of the vapors when even private emails call into question their collective awesomeness. Pass the smelling salts, lucrative government jobs await!

Alex said...

Why is there a Black Law Students Association. It's a racist hate group.

True.

FLS - she simply said what Charles Murray already wrote in "The Bell Curve". Why do you hate reality?

Alex said...

William - perhaps the Chinese were as advanced or more so then the Europeans up to the 1400s. But it was a German who invented the printing press, not a Chinaman.

holdfast said...

These chuckleheads are about to graduate with at least $150k in debt (not including any from undergrad), into a world that (i) has a lot fewer high-paying attorney positions than it did three years ago and (ii) is fully aware that HLS grads tend to be highly theoretical and practically useless. So they spend their time arguing about a mealy-mouthed, passive aggressive email sent by a nitwit ("I absolutely do not rule out the possibility" - I mean geez, way to take a stand).

Regardless of what you believe, if you are going to throw a rhetorical bombshell like this, you better have both the evidence and the spine to back it up - but anyone at HLS and heading for a clerkship should know better than to put something like this into an email.

Oh, and you just have to love the gratuitous smear of the the Federalist Society, since corrected, at ATL.

Balfegor said...

A problem with the resulting conclusions is that a white guy with a tested IQ of 85 is barely able to function in society. A black guy with tested IQ of 85 functions quite well. Therefore, SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THE TEST.

This is a good point -- IQ is whatever it is, but the things that correlate with IQ aren't necessarily the same across all populations. In one population, a low IQ may correlate with developmental disabilities of some sort -- motor coordination problems and so on -- while in another, someone with the same low IQ may be able to function perfectly normally.

PatCA said...

Are they discussing their "hurt" or their plan for revenge?

Grace must be an Enemy of the People! Denounce her!

AllenS said...

The Chinese invented gunpowder, for which I am deeply appreciative.

Alex said...

. A German cannot boast of his native born virtues with the same vainglory as a Puerto Rican.

Nazi Germany aside, Germans have a lot to be proud of from Guttenberg, Goethe, Beethoven, Nietzsche.

former law student said...

Regarding the nature vs. nurture discussion: We have mapped the human genome: which genes are responsible for intelligence? How do they differ among the races?

While I'm typing here: have you bitter clingers forgiven Obama for an injudiciously phrased thought he made in front of a group of (what he thought were) his supporters? When you tried to enter into a debate on this topic with Obama, what was the result?

Alex said...

But yeah Ms. Grace's career is over. She might as well try to find a job in a meat-packing plant now.

AllenS said...

What in the fuck are you talking about, fls?

Balfegor said...

William - perhaps the Chinese were as advanced or more so then the Europeans up to the 1400s. But it was a German who invented the printing press, not a Chinaman.

What, Gutenberg? The Chinese developed movable type in the 11th century. In the 13th century, Koreans developed presses with metal movable type. There wasn't a whole lot of printing done, though, and the technology (like many technologies developed in East Asia during the period) was not really pursued with any vigour.

Gutenberg independently developed movable type in the mid 15th century.

Lem said...

..what has everyone learned?

An obvious lesson is that when someone with authority over you says "This is a community dedicated to intellectual pursuit and social justice...." what is meant is you better dial back/keep in check your "intellectual pursuits".

Alex said...

FLS - why should I enter a debate with a Chicago community organizer who attended 20 years of Rev Wright's hate church and is an Alinsky devotee? You might as well as me to be buddy-buddy with Nazis.

Alex said...

Balfegor - still it's interesting to note that Europe rapidly caught up and surpassed China in tech and world domination. Those are simply facts.

Almost Ali said...

Harvard's African-American students should parade their raw GPA's for all the doubting Grace's to see.

In fact, Barack Obama should release his own GPA just to prove Grace wrong.

Or we can just continue dumbing down this country until there's nothing rational left.

rdkraus said...

When I was a 2L, lo those many years ago, I wrote an article in the school paper about whether the Army, which did not allow gays, should be allowed to interview on campus.

Some gays disagreed. We discussed it over lunch in the cafeteria. Then we all went to our next class.

End of story.

Kirk Parker said...

"Isn't it just like a lawyer to send a clarifying email about a dinner-time debate, though?"

What's weird about that? Email is just another form of communication; one not all that different, in terms of cost and effort, from having a discussion via blog comments.

Alex said...

Ann - what I've learned is universities do not prize debate anymore. Debate is what's allowed by the various "victim groups". If you're white - you should just STFU and go with the program.

Scott said...

@Conrad: Setting aside your snark, you observe that "...much of our current national education policy is focused on eliminating achievement gaps between racial groups." This kind of policy is widely regarded among conservatives and libertarians as a mechanism for institutionalizing racism; and it indeed reflects a kind of racial triumphalism that the left adores (although it would never dare to characterize it as such).

Because they tend to frame their view of society in the funhouse mirror of class struggle, leftists are among the most racist people you will ever find. If a person is black, they are presumed to be constrained by their social milieu -- and are assumed to have a low IQ. The left are so wedded to this perceptual distortion that someone like Clarence Thomas is considered to be a disturbuing anomaly.

But even if the "genetically low IQ" myth were provably true (and it isn't), such "facts" are unuseful informational detritus. Any social policy built on this sandy soil is of questionable strength.

My opinion is informed, and I stand by it.

Balfegor said...

Regarding the nature vs. nurture discussion: We have mapped the human genome: which genes are responsible for intelligence? How do they differ among the races?

I think people are still working on which ones exactly are responsible for intelligence (apparently there's quite a number of them). On the second, if people are researching that, they'd have to be colossally stupid to tell anyone that was what they were doing. People don't want to know that kind of thing.

Anthony said...

Back when I was in law school, I was a member of ITALSA -- the Italian American Law Students Association. It basically was a way to get together every other week and get one of Syracuse's Italian restaurants to give us a group discount.

A starical newspaper came out at the law school one day that had as one of its "ads" the list for the ITALSA Lecture Series.

Lecture 1 -- Understanding RICO
Lecture 2 -- Understanding the Vandetta Filing Act of 1992
Lecture 3 -- The Perfect Marinara Sauce

There were some members who wanted to file a compliant with the Student Senate but wiser heads (of which I like to think I was one) prevailed and we just decided to laugh it off.

I just think some people like feeling self rightous outrage. In the spirit of the UK election week -- "Mary Whitehouse has taken umbrage"

The Monster said...

We can observe the top finishers in the Olympic Men's 100 Meter sprint, and see that they are without exception of West African descent, that people of other genetic backgrounds have access to the same or better training facilities, and conclude that the superiority of those sprinters of West African heritage must have some genetic basis.

Why is it that the idea that genes contribute to intelligence, and that those genes are not uniformly distributed across ethnic groups, is considered unthinkable? Why is it that whenever anyone goes there, they are immediately denounced as racists?

Balfegor said...

Harvard's African-American students should parade their raw GPA's for all the doubting Grace's to see.

I kind of suspect that African-American students at Harvard have pretty high GPAs. I mean, Harvard isn't choosing people randomly -- it tries to choose the top of every bell curve.

In fact, Barack Obama should release his own GPA just to prove Grace wrong.

It wouldn't prove her wrong -- he's one individual, and her point seems to have been about statistical averages. And in any event, I suspect his GPA, at least at Harvard Law, was pretty high too. Didn't he graduate with honours?

Prosecutorial Indiscretion said...

Charles Ogletree, a true gentleman and one of the most decent people on an HLS faculty full of generally good-hearted souls (despite their trend toward ideological insanity), spoke with the student and then declared this matter closed to the Crimson. He deserves extreme kudos for defusing this situation and actually talking with her and using this as a teaching moment. Race remains an important issue in America, and we're not going to grow beyond it unless we're willing to confront the issue and discuss it in a calm and sincere fashion. Prof. Ogletree sets a great example for other professors and for people in general.

The Crimson also reports that there was no national movement among BLSA members to get her clerkship revoked, despite suggestions to the contrary at ATL. I apologize for any comments I made that are based on nonexistent facts.

Now that things seem to be calming down for Grace, I wonder if chickens will start coming home to roost for the woman who forwarded the e-mail. Grace's identity is smeared all over the internet, but so far the effort to shield the vindictive e-mail forwarder has been pretty successful. This person was relying on the racist stereotype of the angry black mob to extract a particularly vicious vengeance. That's not cool.

LordSomber said...

Three degrees of separation from... Gilligan's Island?

"The S. S. Minnow ... was sarcastically named for [Newton Minow] to express displeasure with his assessment of the quality of television."

Scott said...

@The Monster:

"Why is it that the idea that genes contribute to intelligence, and that those genes are not uniformly distributed across ethnic groups, is considered unthinkable?"

It's not unthinkable. With regard to IQ, it is probably unprovable, even though it may possibly be true.

"Why is it that whenever anyone goes there, they are immediately denounced as racists?"

I think the reaction has to do with a few hundred years of black-white race relations in the United States. Access to government and the application of justice should be utterly colorblind. The fact that it isn't is a societal failing. And in this era, people are realizing that Lyndon Johnson's Affirmative Action is every bit as racist as Dred Scott.

Lawler Walken said...

This is what passes for meaningful discourse in most law schools. And why most lawyers are so completely useless when they first get out of law school.

Just exactly how many Black students are there at Harvard Law School? Rhetorical question because we all know they are in the minority. That's the funny part in all this. If the administration of Harvard Law School is so horrified that anyone would believe that it might possibly agree with or even condone Stephanie Grace's point of view maybe it can show how vehemently it disagrees by admitting a whole lot more African-American students.

Lem said...

It interesting to observe how whenever this topic comes up the reflexive response (not only by those near and dear but including those far and wide) is to proffer a clean bill of health.

No me.. no way, no how.

Maybe the thing to do (if it could be done at all) is to declare this field taboo.. along the lines of human cloning / inter-species reproduction.. you see where I'm going?

Form a Taboo review board at every school.. then the Intellectual review board could form a softball* team and play against the Taboo review board.

*You have to have at least two girls in the field and at least one African American.

I'm not serious.. or something ;)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The whole who is more intelligent argument is foolish. Mostly because we have no real grasp on what is intelligence and how to measure it.

Some people, and yes, even some groups such as men/women or other groups, excel in certain aspects of mental cognition or in other skills.

There is no controversy that more men are in the top percentile of math and certain science disciplines.

There is no disputing that certain 'races' have physical characteristics that give them advantages in sports or other physical challenges. Eskimos will never excel at being long distance runners and Nilotic Negros will never be great at enduring cold environments.
Men and women have different brains (so to speak) and that doesn't make one better than the other. Just different.

If it turns out that certain races excel in certain brain functions as a genetic predisposition (which hasn't been proved) it doesn't make them better or worse.

Just different.

Scott said...

@DBQ: What you said. :)

Lem said...

Then one day as luck would have it you are the African American and you are by far the best player in the league as measured by the stats.

The Intellectual review Board comes knocking.

The Intellectual review Board wants to win.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Seriously, how do we measure intelligence?

Is it less intelligent to be a sculptor or composer than to be a mathematician?

Was Bach less intelligent than Newton?

It it 'better' to be a chemist than to be an architect?

Are you smarter if you are a poet or if you are a mechanic?

Do we only measure intelligence based on its usefulness to society in a material way? What about the usefulness of philosophers to society? Are they of less worth than the mechanical engineer?

What if they can even be the same person?

Evidently I've had too much coffee this morning :-D

Paul Zrimsek said...

And now I've learned something else: Charles Ogletree gets to decide when racial disputes are over.

DADvocate said...

Why does the dean even get involved with something one student said in private email?

You answered the question before you asked it - This is a subject where you can't play with ideas and speculate. At leasst at liberal incampments.

Funny, few challenge the supposition that blacks are better athletes and that "White Men Can't Jump." (My lily white sister had the highest vertical on her D-1 college basketball team and my oldest son can jump through the roof.)

I agree with TMink's position as far as intellligence is concerned. The 70% of black kids that grow up in a single parent home are so compromised that they are literally handicapped in terms of school and later job success. Few do well when confronted with a lifetime of unfavorable winds. As we learned in another post a couple of weeks ago, the genetic differences in races are miniscule enough that anthropoligists consider the concept of different races of humans as erroneous.

If a particular group actually less intelligent, what difference would it make? In all likelyhood, we would still have highly intelligent persons in every group and mentally retarded people in very group. All should have equal opportunity.

Original Mike said...

"There is no controversy that more men are in the top percentile of math and certain science disciplines."

I wouldn't say that at Harvard, if I were you.

Shanna said...

Why should anyone care about an opinion expressed by a student in a private e-mail? Good grief.

My sentiments exactly. She isn’t a political candidate or public figure. Leave her alone.

rhhardin said...

Belmont Club see it all as knowing your place.

Alex said...

She'll be shunned by every single one of her classmates. She will not dare raise her hand to ask a question. Black students will harass her. She'll end up dropping out and become a temp worker or housewife.

MadisonMan said...

I wonder if chickens will start coming home to roost for the woman who forwarded the e-mail. Grace's identity is smeared all over the internet

I hope the leaker is IDed. I do not assume the leaker is female. People should know who is a tattletale.

Maybe leaking the leaker's name is just like leaking the email however.

Philip M said...

Her father's prominent party affiliation obviously not worth commenting on. Although if he were a different one it might be a sign of bad upbringing. Speaking nurture's effect on people's intelligence and reasoning.

Apparently the White Law Student Association had no comment, those racists.

knox said...

The contemporary generation of cosseted African-American Harvard students has no direct experience with what formerly passed for racism in this country.

That's because they are being told, at all times, that they are being oppressed. Anyone who is not black (or a liberal) is a racist who hates and fears blacks and is actively trying to keep them down. They truly believe that things are "different" but just as bad.

Lem said...

I'm trying to put together the similarities the Edwards and this affair might have but.. it (the fuzzy relationship in my mind) could just be the result of some residue from watching the interview last night.

We seem to have made up our minds that this emailer is an evil person and yet I cant help wish that I could see an interview (a lengthy interview) where she would be allowed to defend herself.

TRO said...

WTF does ANYONE care about this? Oh yeah, victim politics. Silly me.

Almost Ali said...

Balfegor said...
I kind of suspect that African-American students at Harvard have pretty high GPAs.

I think you're confusing Harvard with Howard;)

Meanwhile, I'll gladly concede exceptions to the rule - the OJ trial as one example (ie Johnny Cochran). Also Clarence Thomas. Plus a number of others.

But down where the GPA meets the road, even OJ preferred a Jewish lawyer - who in turn considered the racial makeup of OJ's majority African-American jury; enter Mr Cochran, with the skullcap and preachers' delivery aimed directly at the choir.

It was a perfect use of limited, racial resources.

jvermeer51 said...

You amaze me Ann. You live in one of the most intolerant and closed minded subcultures of America, academia. A whole industrial complex of speech codes, public humiliation, coercive indoctrination etc
have been developed to stomp the hell out of anyone voicing doubt about the reigning orthodoxies. Yet, you seem shocked, shocked, shocked when it happens. Open your eyes.

The Drill SGT said...

Robert said...
A collection of women faculty, led by a woman at my alma mater, UC Davis


Bossie Bossie Cow Cow.....

Greetings fellow Aggie :)

Almost Ali said...

Was Bach less intelligent than Newton?

Yes.

Lem said...

It seems to me we are still not intellectually far from witch burning.

Philip M said...

Yelena Shagall, the student who apparently spread the e-mail has a Facebook profile photo featuring, well, a man in shorts, if you can call them that. Just sayin'

Here

Amartel said...

Everyone has learned to never pass up an opportunity to celebrate yourself outing and punishing wrong-think, even if only perceived wrong-think. Also, don't think too deeply.

edutcher said...

Once again, the soft bigotry of low expectations - or something like that.

Sad to say, such an attitude is going to occur when your institution has X number of affirmative action slots that must be filled. The idea of a meritocracy, which runs that nasty old homophobic military and might just seat more blacks, Jews, Moslems, Latinos, and anybody else you could name given the state of education in this country, seems beyond the conception of these people

In any case, the mention of Larry Summers, who is now doing such a great job overseeing the economy, raises one issue. This isn't the only place where you are likely to say something politically incorrect.

So, move over Althouse, here come the Haavahd Hillbillies.

former law student said...

Who was dissing the social sciences the other day? We learn that Grace was a Sosh major, from links on the Tax Prof page.

FormerTucsonan said...

"Almost Ali said...

Harvard's African-American students should parade their raw GPA's for all the doubting Grace's to see."

Why? One would think that a scathing rebuke in the Harvard Crimson would suffice.

Treven said...

It's incidents like this that make me embarrased to be in academia. Thankfully, the long Christmas break, flexible schedule, etc... make up for it.

Lem said...

To paraphrase Rep Dingel.. We have not taken the the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to control the people.

Until then, we need to stop talking about this stuff ;)

I don't know why this is hilarious to me. Maybe the fact that a man in a wheelchair.. whatever.

Never mind.

Almost Ali said...

Anthony said...
Lecture 1 -- Understanding RICO
Lecture 2 -- Understanding the Vandetta Filing Act of 1992
Lecture 3 -- The Perfect Marinara Sauce


Personally, I'd reverse the order of the above simply because the perfect marinara would win any argument - and greatly enhance one's understanding of RICO.

SFC B said...

"While I'm typing here: have you bitter clingers forgiven Obama for an injudiciously phrased thought he made in front of a group of (what he thought were) his supporters?"

FLS, email from law student /= candidate for President speaking engagement

WV: retalibb. Too easy.

Roux said...

Why can't they just handle themselves? Because they are a bunch of babies... Grow up people. Someone calls you a name. Get over it.

Paul Zrimsek said...

If not for the outrage of the clueless few
The Minow would be lost.
The Minow would be lost.

Kirby Olson said...

Do NOT think outside the box, on any topic, or you will get reamed. If you do think outside the box, keep it to yourself, or you will get reamed. By the way, if we don't see any signs of independent thought, why would we ever hire you?

Moira Breen said...

TMink: Given multi-generational matched socio-economic samples, I bet the data shows no statisticaly significant differences in intelligence measures.

I don't think the available studies support that preferred conclusion, but the real point here is that decent people aren't even supposed to permit themselves to think that valid studies might return the "wrong" answers. See FLS on this thread: "As a cordial heads-up to the other closet bigots on campus: kindly think before you speak." See? By suggesting an experimental design, you're implying that the question is open. QED, you are a bigot.

Conrad Bibby said...

@Scott: I find your comments on this to be baffling, bordering on incoherent.

You call the idea that there is a genetic explanation for racial intelligence gaps a "myth" and declare that such a genetic factor is not "provably" true.

Then, in response to another commenter, you state that the genetic factor is "probably" not provable, but may in fact be true.

Meanwhile, although you seem to acknowledge that the issue does, in fact, have important public policy implications, you "stand by" your opinion that an understanding of whether a genetic component to intelligence exists is useless other than to permit people to engage in "racial triumphalism."

You state that your opinions are "informed," yet you agree with a poster who states that "we have no real grasp on what is intelligence and how to measure it." You do understand that psychometrics has been a serious field of academic and scientific research for the better part of a century?

Sorry, but I'm not convinced you are approaching this subject with a completely open mind.

Pogo said...

(1) We look forward to the debate on the relative worth of sun people versus ice people.

(2) Harvard 3L Stephanie Grace has just learned the value of preference falsification. Her classmates will later learn the eventual outcome of a coerced long-term silence.

stephen said...

@DBQ:

I am afraid you've neglected to engage your brain before posting:

The whole who is more intelligent argument is foolish. Mostly because we have no real grasp on what is intelligence and how to measure it.

If this were true then Harvard wouldn't ask for the results of the LSAT. Or undergraduate schools the results of the SAT. The facts are that we have quite sophisticated tools for measuring intelligence, and they show significant differences between the means of large populations.

There is no controversy that more men are in the top percentile of math and certain science disciplines

Perhaps you're familiar with one Larry Summers? The one who was railroaded out of Harvard for suggesting that there may be genetic factors underlying this result?

Of course you are. And of course there is controversy, because what's causing that result (and other observed differences in populations) is not agreed upon.

We do know that there are billions of dollars and endless political power to be doled out to correct these differences. A refusal to look at the facts allows those with an agenda to steer the debate.

maninthemiddle said...

I always go to the individual. It makes little difference if the group in which you are a part has a propensity for superiority or lesser achievement in a given area. There are large numbers involved, and what the individual can achieve is the deciding factor for that individual - inclusive of natural ability, environment, psychology, etc.
I hear little rumbling toward those that clearly state the average white dude or dudette is incapable of competing in various athletic pursuits - although statistically they are less likely to achieve in sprints or basketball. Nor do I see Dirk, Ginobili, or Nash being sidelined because their "group" is (as a whole) less likely to succeed in the NBA.
I suggest the individual should worry about the individual.
In other words, statistics could show the young woman was correct in leaving the question open - but who cares? I am me... not my group.

Daniel said...

Which one of the two "friends" she sent the message to decided to share it with the world?

Now a simple Google search by any prospective employer will turn up this story and very likely keep her from getting the high paying job she thought she would get as a Harvard JD. Thanks 'friend.'

former law student said...

By suggesting an experimental design, you're implying that the question is open. QED, you are a bigot.

If Grace had said something equally archaic and unfounded like, "I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that playing with frogs causes warts," we'd merely think her ignorant, not bigoted.

Leave claims about genetic predispositions to the geneticists.

mrbill said...

But what is going to happen when someone actually gives out the real data - which will uphold her point ?

Its quite available at most demographic data companies.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Finally, a real-world example of "epistemic closure"!

Balfegor said...

Leave claims about genetic predispositions to the geneticists.

Yes, like Watson . . . oh wait! In fact, credentials are totally irrelevant to the outrage, except to make public outcry even more violent. Look at Arthur Jensen.

Anyhow, she didn't even make a claim, as far as I can tell, just expressed an open mind, as to the possibility. And that's unacceptable. She needs to learn how to lie better.

If Grace had said something equally archaic and unfounded like, "I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that playing with frogs causes warts," we'd merely think her ignorant, not bigoted.

The difference is that we have loads of evidence about the wartogenic properties of fragskin, but we're still working laboriously through the process of identifying genes for human intelligence and their distribution in populations around the world. Here's an article from a few years ago describing one such effort.

former law student said...

real data [is] quite available at most demographic data companies

I'm pretty sure real genetics data is not available at any demographic data company. Finding the genes responsible for intelligence would probably be Nobel Prize-winning material.

Calypso Facto said...

All good Citizens of Harvard must subject Stephanie to the Two Minute Hate for her thought crime.

Balfegor said...

Its quite available at most demographic data companies.

But the material from demographic data companies won't resolve questions about (1) the validity of IQ as a cross-population measure, and (2) the contribution of genetics vs. the contribution of nature. All it will show is that Blacks on average score below Whites on average score below Asians.

JAL said...

What I learned today is that the Harvard Law dean wants to rewrite the Bill of Rights.

Minow: but freedom of speech should be accompanied by responsibility.

See?

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or responsible freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Fixed.

Balfegor said...

Contribution of nurture, I meant. Genes are the nature part, in that contrast.

former law student said...

Good link, Balfegor:

Craig Venter, who pioneered the decoding of the human genome, said: "There is no basis in scientific fact or in the human genetic code for the notion that skin colour will be predictive of intelligence."

JAL said...

Heh Drill SGT. See you're up to speed. ;-)

Hooah!

maninthemiddle said...

FLS - As I mentioned, I find little utility in applying group norms to an individual - nor spending coin and other resource in research. However, you seem to believe there are topics which cannot be broached due to some catechism of PC. "Thou shall not consider any thought that might be offensive to protected groups."
IMHO, that would seem fairly closed minded - "the name that shall remain unspoken" type of thing.
That does not seem a reasoned approach - just political PC.
And again - who cares about the group or what the young lady leaves open as possibilities thereof? My two boys - track athletes - were consistantly subjected to "what are you doing here (insert racial pejorative)" style invectives, but still managed to be high school all-Americans. Don't whine - achieve.

former law student said...

Arthur Jensen was not a geneticist, either. And the genetics article linked to discusses brain size, not intelligence.

If intelligence correlated to brain size, women would be less intelligent than men, because their brains are on average smaller. (Smaller skulls, smaller brains.)

Moira Breen said...

DADvocate: As we learned in another post a couple of weeks ago, the genetic differences in races are miniscule enough...

With all due respect to the fine commenters on this blog, I don't think the threads here are the go-to source for the defintive answers to all your questions about genetics.

...that anthropoligists consider the concept of different races of humans as erroneous.

I would bet that the vast majority of professional anthropologists on the softer, "cultural" side of the field will tell you that. (Probably one of the most peecee academic fields going.) Among "physical" anthropologists, not so much. Geneticists can tell your race from your genes to a pretty high degree of accuracy: the genetic cluster most people can be assigned to pretty much lines up with what the man on the street thinks of as "race". (Which has nothing to do with claims to "pure blood" or some eternal, immutable group genetic profiles, no matter how much the "there's no such thing as race" types try to obfuscate, muck up, and misdirect the discussion by throwing that kind of crap around. "Races" are people who have evolved together over time in relative isolation, adapting to given environments and developing distinct genetic profiles. Those profiles would change and are changing as people move(d) around, interbre(e)d, and are (were) subjected to different selective pressures.)

If a particular group actually less intelligent, what difference would it make? In all likelyhood, we would still have highly intelligent persons in every group and mentally retarded people in very group. All should have equal opportunity.

Do you know anybody who thinks that everybody in Group X is smarter or dumber than everybody in Group Y, or that talented people should be denied opportunity, based on their group's mean IQ? Me neither.

But, as others have pointed out, differences in mean intelligence would make a difference in aggregate. Equality of opportunity would not result in equality of outcome.

JAL said...

I do not rule out the possibility (most of y'all note it is couched as a possibility?) that Caucasian Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent than them Asian Americans.

Doesn't that get your dander up?

Why are you not up in arms?

(But then ... haven't there been cases where Asians are disaffirmed?)

Lem said...

If a square has four sides as Decarte declared is it possible that he was a racist?

He was French ;)

Balfegor said...

Good link, Balfegor:

Craig Venter, who pioneered the decoding of the human genome, said: "There is no basis in scientific fact or in the human genetic code for the notion that skin colour will be predictive of intelligence
."

The last one, the NYT link, has a geneticist looking at a particular gene -- appearing in European and Asian populations with much higher frequency than African populations -- to determine whether it might be connected with human cognition. Of course, if he turned out to be right (I think in this case, the results were inconclusive, but I can't find any follow-up public articles) any cognitive gains would be correlated with the gene, not skin colour. But then skin colour is correlated with the gene, so there's an indirect correlation. And that's no more than we'd expect. It's not like skin colour correlated with completely distinct non-overlapping buckets of cognitive ability -- that much we can tell is wrong, even with the limited data we have today. Instead, however you slice the population, you end up with largely-overlapping bell curves, with different means and different variances.

"Predictive" can cover a broad range of meaning. If we're looking for 100% prediction, then the statement is trivially true -- every one of us probably knows at least one smart person of every race. But even much lower correlations are of importance, given the way the law is structured today in the US, and the policy concerns our governments seek to address.

former law student said...

However, you seem to believe there are topics which cannot be broached due to some catechism of PC.

Sure. Compare these two sentences:

I do not rule out the possibility that Jews are genetically predisposed to be more intelligent than other people.

I do not rule out the possibility that Jews are genetically predisposed to steal more than other people.

JAL said...

Minow "Here at Harvard Law School, we are committed to preventing degradation of any individual or group..."

Must not have been teaching that when Obama was there. You know ... bitter clingers and all that.

And then there is the degradation of people who graduate from non elite colleges ... like Sarah Whatsername.

And how many on SCOTUS are graduates of a state law school?

Sniff.

ricpic said...

It's been shown seven ways to Sunday that the black bell curve peaks at IQ 85, 15 points below the peak of the white bell curve. Which means that there are blacks with IQ's of 130 or 145 but their numbers are miniscule relative to whites at those IQ levels. In an objective world this fact would be utterly uncontroversial.

William said...

No one ever mistook the Irish for the master race. In standardized IQ tests, the Irish would perhaps test lower than, say, the Chinese or Jews. I'm of Irish descent, and this is not a big issue for me. This is not an issue for me because it is not an issue for society at large. I do not think I will be unfairly stereotyped because of my ethnicity. I don't think black students can share my detachment....The dark, unspeakable secret is that IQ doesn't matter all that much in life. I've made a good living based on the strength of my back and a certain amount of low animal cunning. Like free will, man has intelligence and every so often gets to use it.....I can understand why blacks have a inflamned sensitivity to this issue, but the woman's actual statement is fairly innocuous. It just doesn't qualify as hate speech. I don't question the intelligence of black Harvard students, but I do wonder about their irritability quotient. They don't seem to be negotiating this contretemps with much social skill.

Balfegor said...

And the genetics article linked to discusses brain size, not intelligence.

The research is summarized thusly:

The new finding, reported by Bruce T. Lahn of the University of Chicago and colleagues in the journal Science, could raise controversy because of the genes' role in determining brain size. New versions of the genes, or alleles, as geneticists call them, appear to have spread because they enhanced the brain's function in some way, the report suggests, and they are more common in some populations than others.

Other reports (after public outcry) have been pretty up-front about what he was looking at:

What Dr. Lahn told his audience was that genetic changes over the past several thousand years might be linked to brain size and intelligence. He flashed maps that showed the changes had taken hold and spread widely in Europe, Asia and the Americas, but weren't common in sub-Saharan Africa.

He doesn't suggest that his research was conclusive, of course:

The 37-year-old Dr. Lahn says his research papers, published in Science last September, offered no view on race and intelligence. He personally believes it is possible that some populations will have more advantageous intelligence genes than others. And he thinks that "society will have to grapple with some very difficult facts" as scientific data accumulate.

Essentially, he was keeping an open mind, and flagging why the gene he was looking at might be important. And that's unacceptable.

rhhardin said...

Vicki Hearne suggests intelligence tests measure how quickly you can believe things.

former law student said...

It's been shown seven ways to Sunday that the black bell curve peaks at IQ 85, 15 points below the peak of the white bell curve.

But what about blacks that are part white? Can we plot a scale like:

Black: 85
Mulatto: 92
Quadroon: 96

Octoroon: 98
White: 100

Balfegor said...

Re:

I do not rule out the possibility that Jews are genetically predisposed to be more intelligent than other people.

I do not rule out the possibility that Jews are genetically predisposed to steal more than other people
.

I'm pretty sure both these statements are kind of risky, though the second is riskier than the first, since it ties into actual criminal behaviour, not just intelligence. Anyhow, there was a study a few years on Ashkenazi genes tentatively linked to intelligence, and I vaguely recall public outcry about how you shouldn't say things like that.

former law student said...

I'm of Irish descent, and this is not a big issue for me.

Remembering the Fitzgerald post from yesterday, we're all aware of the Irish male's shortcomings. One friend refers to it as "the angry inch."

maninthemiddle said...

I agree - offensive... So - what might be offensive should never be spoken... (thou shalt not offend)

...rather than be in the open to be rebutted effectively.

My dear sainted father used to appreciate the opportunity when a true bigot would spout his nonsense in his presence - it gave him an opportunity to point out the idiocy of the bigot's statements. (plus, he would pull out his NAACP card - which coming from the wallet of a 6'5" Texan, would shock a few folks.)

David R. Graham said...

"Something rather like this in the late middle ages made the universities almost irrelevant in the Renaissance and, likewise, similar sterility made the universities (other than the Scots) almost irrelevant in the 18th century."

This man, Cato, knows his history.

The "eugenics movement" of the late 19th through middle 20th Centuries, and more recently reflagged to "planned parenthood," "environmental movement" and "green movement," rested and rests on the presumed fact that persons of African descent are, overall, genetically inferior to persons of European, Indian (East) and Asian descent.

Student Grace's remark is unexceptional and beyond reproach. I should think her career has been considerably enhanced by this set of developments. I certainly would hire her were I a senior partner of a top-ranked firm. Her frankness and dispatch show much to commend her for the role in life she has chosen by matriculating at Harvard Law School.

former law student said...

I'll put it this way: if you're going to make sweeping scientific-sounding statements about the inferiority of groups other than your own, you'd better be able to back it up with facts.

Moira Breen said...

FLS: If Grace had said something equally archaic and unfounded...

What did Grace say that was "archaic and unfounded"?

Leave claims about genetic predispositions to the geneticists.

So I take it you're a "former" law student because you quit law to study genetics? Because your above criticism contains an implicit and quite sweeping claim about genetic predispositions.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I said: "The whole who is more intelligent argument is foolish. Mostly because we have no real grasp on what is intelligence and how to measure it. "

If this were true then Harvard wouldn't ask for the results of the LSAT. Or undergraduate schools the results of the SAT. The facts are that we have quite sophisticated tools for measuring intelligence, and they show significant differences between the means of large populations.

You are sadly mistaken.

The SAT and LSAT are really not tests of intelligence but rather, tests of what you have learned and indicitave of how well you "test".

While an IQ type of test can get closer to measuring "raw" intelligence,
they can be very heavily weighted for culture and cultural experiences. This leaves certain groups at a disadvantage.

that anthropoligists consider the concept of different races of humans as erroneous.

That would be the Social/Cultural Anthropologist who might feel that way. Physical Anthropology deals with the concept of race all the time.

Race is not ethnicity either. Ethinicty and culture is the baliwick of the Social Anthro field. Race is genetic and morphological and is derived from evolution of populations that have been isolated and selected for different physical and possibly mental survival characteristics.

If this is the case it could be likely that certain groups of people have different mental skills or the ability to excel in certain areas or the lack of skills in certain areas.


Because our society values a certain subset of mental skills, at this time, we might assume that one group is less intelligent.

However, this doesn't make them smarter or dumber.....just different.

former law student said...

I certainly would hire her were I a senior partner of a top-ranked firm.

You're looking for lawyers who feel free to speak their minds and hang the consequences? That might be a trait you look for in clients, because it will provide you plenty of work.

Balfegor said...

I'll put it this way: if you're going to make sweeping scientific-sounding statements about the inferiority of groups other than your own, you'd better be able to back it up with facts.

This is undeniably the social reality today. You can't engage in speculation in public.

david7134 said...

A book came out some years ago called "The Bell Curve". It was well done by staticians and indicated that Blacks truly do have a problem with learning and keeping up in our society. The book of course was critized and considered to be racist. Yet the book did not praise whites. It indicated that the smartest were Asians and Jews.
Until we accept that blacks may have a problem. Then all of us will suffer.

John Burke said...

This sort of thing pops up every so often and when it does, I'm reminded of what the late Bill Buckley said of a controversial "study" that pointed to the conclusion that Blacks might be, on average, somewhat below the white mean in some measures of intelligence. Buckley said that if hypothetically that were true, why should it matter? Many whites and Blacks still would be less intelligent and many of both races still would be more intelligent -- a small percentage of each group highly intelligent.

Of course, if one views members of racial and other groups not as individuals but as representatives of their tribes, it would matter a great deal. Buckley's point was that we needed to start seeing individuals, not groups, in which case such "studies" would be pointless, whatever their supposed findings.

One commenter noted that it is plausible that east Asians are on average more intelligent that whites based on their tendency to succeed academically whether they live in China, Taiwan, Korea or the US. As a white man, I would say that such a possibility does not in any way dismay me. So what?

Unfortunately, the residual effects of white racism remain with us. But it is taking longer than it should to rid ourselves of them in part because Black students at Harvard apparently can't quite see themselves as individuals whose merit is unchallengable by passing opiniosn of others.

Bruce Hayden said...

All it will show is that Blacks on average score below Whites on average score below Asians.

At least in the notorious "Bell Curve", the tested IQ means for Whites were only maybe a point or so below that for Orientals (presumably, and not "Asians" which includes "Whites") but maybe a standard deviation below that for Ashkenazi Jews. That wouldn't have been controversial. What was, was that the Black mean was somewhere around a standard deviation below that for Whites and Asians.

The book was apparently based on scores for standard IQ tests, and, as some above have pointed out, such tests, while measuring something, probably are not accurate in measuring all aspects of IQ.

Maguro said...

I do not rule out the possibility (most of y'all note it is couched as a possibility?) that Caucasian Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent than them Asian Americans.

Yeah, I believe Asian Americans average a 104 or 105 IQ compared to Caucasian Americans at 100, so you shouldn't rule that out.

Balfegor said...

The book was apparently based on scores for standard IQ tests, and, as some above have pointed out, such tests, while measuring something, probably are not accurate in measuring all aspects of IQ.

Well, they measure IQ, but IQ doesn't necessarily correspond to intelligence. Slipping back into unacceptable genetic speculation, if there's multitudes of genes responsible for human intelligence, collapsing their various cognitive effects down to a single performance factor, like IQ, is probably going to turn out to be an unhelpful oversimplification of what is actually going on in the brain.

edutcher said...

Maguro said...

I do not rule out the possibility (most of y'all note it is couched as a possibility?) that Caucasian Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent than them Asian Americans.

Yeah, I believe Asian Americans average a 104 or 105 IQ compared to Caucasian Americans at 100, so you shouldn't rule that out.


The idea of work ethic, praise for education, etc., should not be excluded. Jews and Asians are supposed to be smarter, but they don't care who jumps higher or is better looking. It's how smart are you, how hard do you work?

That may have a lot to do with it.

WV "frozotip" What happens when you streak in zero degree weather

Balfegor said...

The idea of work ethic, praise for education, etc., should not be excluded. Jews and Asians are supposed to be smarter, but they don't care who jumps higher or is better looking.

I can't speak for Jewish people, but . . . well, who is better looking is like a society-wide obsession back in Seoul or Tokyo. People care about it a lot. That's why Koreans do so much plastic surgery.

Shanna said...

Was Bach less intelligent than Newton?

Yes.


No. Music, particularly composition, is full of math.

I agree with DBQ, there are different types of intelligence and whether you think a musician or a physicist is smarter (knowing nothing else about them except that they are at the top of their field) is mostly a judgement call.

PD said...

If I were the dean, I would have called in the "aggrieved" person and the "racist" and facilitated a discussion until the matter was resolved.

Bruce Hayden said...

I do think it will be interesting to discover how this IQ thing works genetically. The greater standard deviation for males would seem to me to argue that there is some sex linkage, which, directly or indirectly, implicates the X chromosome. The reason that I think that it may be implicated fairly directly is that a female's two X chromosomes seem to average each other out, while the male only has one.

WV: Sithe\, v. i. [Cf. Sigh.] To sigh.

slarrow said...

Something else to be learned: apparently social reality is more important than physical reality.

Look, I don't know if the genetic tools are there to establish the proposition as of yet. I also don't commit to any further position if this proposition were indeed established in fact. But the possibility that this could indeed be true seems plausible to me; that is, given our knowledge base, we don't know enough to rule it out as physical, statistical fact.

But clearly that doesn't matter. The mere accepting of the possibility that the evidence might lead to X is verboten. Social reality is what matters, and the nasty thing about social reality is that it's got but a tenuous grasp on truth.

Cedarford said...

Discussions about "The Bell Curve", written by two authors, one a Harvard Professor - continue.

And various "aggrieved victim's groups" in this case a group of loud-mouthed and belligerant black female law students who should be kissing the ground at Harvard Law for getting in - are of course playing the old Jewish Bolshevik-Marcuse-Alinsky game.
"We are shocked and offended by what you think - so apologize - bow to our moral authority and stifle you thoughts from now on or further action will be taken."

The old game is a distressing ritual at certain universities these days and of course has pervaded public education and the workplace.

If everyone is equal in every ability by their respective "identity group" - as liberals have embraced as dogma -then any dissimilar outcomes are:

1. Due to inequities perpetuated by centers of oppression in society preventing equal outcomes.
2. No concerted plot of oppression exists, but a structural lack of opportunity exists that must be rectified by authories to force "equal opportunity".
3. Or dissimilar outcomes are caused by laziness of the less sucessful groups. (i.e. Since all races are equal in every respect, black dominance in sprint events is a reflection of white and Asian laziness at wanting to train and run fast. Since clearly they have opportunity at sneakers, and are the oppressor groups not victim groups - so no one is blocking them from sprinting success on a par with blacks)

Moira Breen said...

Tim: A problem with the resulting conclusions is that a white guy with a tested IQ of 85 is barely able to function in society. A black guy with tested IQ of 85 functions quite well. Therefore, SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THE TEST.

Two different people with the same IQ may have other positive attributes (agreeableness, extroversion, good work ethic, etc.) that allows one to function better than the other, but nobody with an IQ of 85 is going to be able to function in any cognitively demanding job that confers prestige and good money, which is where people are going to notice "disparate impact". And IQ does, as a matter of fact, predict the likelihood of success there - someone with an IQ of 100 is not going to possess some special, unquantifiable attribute that will allow him to hack a med school program that other average IQ people overwhelmingly aren't up to. It is improbable that anybody, of any race, with an IQ of 100 has the level of intelligence necessary for being a competent doctor. There is only SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE TEST if it's assigning a number to basic human worth, rather than accurately predicting the cognitive capacity necessary for x, y, and z.

Unfortuantely, low IQ is correlated with negative traits like poor impulse control, lack of future-time orientation, etc. On the other hand, judging form our current crop of "elites" (probably more explicitly and heavily selected for IQ than any group in the past), it seems that high IQ may also be positively correlated with all kinds of negative traits - like narcissism and psychotic levels of status anxiety, which predispose them toward group-think and gullibility in the face of "extraordinary elite delusions". All of this may in turn be associated with the pathological pussiness that causes sufferers to grovel like worms when the Inquisition comes 'round to hammer them for exhibiting the curiosity and observational powers of normal people.

Maguro said...

@edutcher - The idea of work ethic, praise for education, etc., should not be excluded. Jews and Asians are supposed to be smarter, but they don't care who jumps higher or is better looking. It's how smart are you, how hard do you work?

That may have a lot to do with it
.

I agree, all those cultural things have an effect. But you certainly can't rule out genetics as a possible cause, based on the evidence available today. That's all I'm saying.

Balfegor said...

Re: Moira Breen:

Two different people with the same IQ may have other positive attributes (agreeableness, extroversion, good work ethic, etc.) that allows one to function better than the other, but nobody with an IQ of 85 is going to be able to function in any cognitively demanding job that confers prestige and good money, which is where people are going to notice "disparate impact".

I think you may be missing the problem here. An IQ of 85 was at one point used as a cut-off for "retardation," probably because Whites with an IQ of 85 were noticeably disabled, in a way that comported with notions of what it meant to be retarded in the mid 20th century. But 85 is around the average African-American IQ, and the average African-American certainly isn't retarded. The cutoff point was later lowered to around 70, which is fine as a cutoff for Americans, but the average IQ in sub-Saharan Africa is 70, and again, it's not like average Sub-Saharan Africans are retarded either. Put simply, there's clearly something going on in cross-population IQ comparisons that leaves one to suspect that IQ may be inadequate as a meaure of intelligence.

Cedarford said...

Scott - "And in any case, even if you could prove that race X is statistically stupider than race Y (assuming you could base your study on a racially pure sample, which would be impossible), there would be no point to such an observation, other than to engage in racial triumphalism."

Incorrect.

Because the assumption that all races and ethicities are equal in every attribute and skill means disparate results in success must be "corrected" by social justice mechanisms.
If you subscribe to the fantasy that conferring temporary advantage leads to permanent equality and that regulators must be in place to assess all possible discrimination and penalize accordingly..you really warp society in a quest to achieve the unachievable.
Returning to the black sprinter example:
1. A society dedicated to redressing unequal outcomes and achieve true justice would have legal powers monitoring white and Asian sprint progress. Even to the exclusion of other desirable goals whites and Asians are trying to achieve - since these antidiscrimination officials with government power would only focus on the "sprinting problem". Where whites running enough after school in Grade 5? Did Asians spend too much time studying math and not enough honing leg muscles by playing basketball? How can Asians best be persuaded to get off their lazy asses and do less homework and hit the basketball courts?
2. Inspectors would have to be employed to see if roads and tracks whites and Asians used were inferior to blacks. And inspectors would need to monitor the quality of sneaker the white or Asian wore, to see if that was inferior to blacks.
3. And many inquiries done on the white and Asian home to see what factors were there preventing encouragement of sons and daughters to run fast.
4. And while all that corrective work to ensure sprint equality was underway, all races would have to set up with whites 5% further down the track and Asians 7% at race start to ensure an acceptable racially balanced outcome at race finish.
(And since there was "OBVIOUSLY" no difference between short burst speed between races, as soon as whites and Asians got past societal disadvantages, even their own laziness - then the start handicapping would end. And we would be assured it would only take 20 years for such affirmative action to achieve results and the practice be ended.)

Roger J. said...

Very interesting thread. The measurement of IQ as a proxy for intelligence is in itself a major issue--I suspect not many people understand factor analysis and all IQ measures rely on the fact that IQ is a factor and not a variable. Arthur Jenson (and others such as Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murphy, and Phillip Rushton) have done extensive research on measures of IQ. Another issue as pointed out in the thread is that variability (based on variance around the mean) are important statistical concepts, that again, not many people understand. This whole debate, it seems to me, is rooted in a rather profound ignorance of the statistical concepts that are an integral part of science.

At this point, I do not think there is any real agreement about what constitutes "intelligence." IQ is a factor; Arthur Jensen roots his work in such things as synapses speed and other physiological measures; Phillip Rushston is a bit over the top (IMO), but he uses physiological measures as well. Hernnstein and Murray used the Army battery of testing. It is the measures used that should be debated.

I am confident that the genomic reseach being done will some day provide more definitive evidence.

At this point, however, it seems that IQ is (statistically speaking) a factor and not a variable. You cannot treat factors and variables the same.

Roger J. said...

To clarify the difference between a factor and a variable: A variable is discrete thing that can be measured; a factor can be made up of several variables not all of which can be known. Factor analysis, and covariance structural modelling are ways to get at understanding what a factor may be, but these are only statistical operations. Statistically, we cannot know the entire structure of a factor.

DADvocate said...

I don't think the threads here are the go-to source for the defintive answers to all your questions about genetics.

In the comments to that post I linked to a respected university concerning that subject. Perhaps you should expend more effort than it takes to make snarky comments.

Equality of opportunity would not result in equality of outcome.

Was I arguing against this? No. Indeed, affirmative action has prolonged and imbedded that belief in many people, including some who benefit from affirmative action, that certain groups, in the "aggregate", can't compete and succeed on a level playing field.

BTW - I know many people more successfully financially and in their careers than myself who score lower on IQ tests than I do. Our present IQ tests are skewed towards academic potential ignoring social, interpersonal and emotional qualities as well as being "good with your hands."

Cedarford said...

Shanna said...
Was Bach less intelligent than Newton?


No. Music, particularly composition, is full of math.


Shanna, we are talking Isaac Fucking Newton, here!

Being a shipping and recieving clerk on a military base is a job that is full of math too.

That does not mean the clerk is on a par of intelligence with Isaac Fucking Newton!

DADvocate said...

It's time to bring up Harrison Bergeron, whom was probably patterned after me. ;-)

Freeman Hunt said...

"I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that conservatives are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent"

I'm sure that if Grace had written that, the dean would have championed the conservative students. Fair's fair. The dean's job is to champion any group that anyone says anything rude and derogatory about. Right?

former law student said...

low IQ is correlated with negative traits like poor impulse control

So Grace's inability to consider the consequences of her ill-thought out remark -- assuming black people's genes (1) were different from other people's genes, and (2) caused them to be less intelligent -- demonstrated her low IQ, because she was unable to control the impulse to send it out in email form.

If we are going to study the genetic component of intelligence, we might want to look at genes belonging to some real smart people and some real dumb people. Just a thought.

Roger J. said...

C4: agree generally with the thrust of your commnent however the difference between your shipping clerk and Newton and Bach is the creativity factor. You cannot listen to the Mass in B Minor, nor read the principia and not fail to comprehend the creative genius of either Newton or Bach.

Theo Boehm said...

Was Bach less intelligent than Newton?

No.

Have Newton, or anyone else, sit at the piano (it WAS a piano that Fredrick the Great owned in 1748), and be played a theme designed by Bach's own son to be impossible to use in counterpoint. Then have Newton improvise a perfectly correct, 3-voice fugue, interspersed by episodes in the latest trendy gallant style, the whole thing lasting at least 13 minutes, while causing the members of the best orchestra in Europe, then present, to be "seized with astonishment," as the newspaper report had it.

And have Mr. Newton, or anyone else, do this at the age of 63, right after a two-days' carriage ride with no sleep.

Bach did this, all the while giving back to Fredrick the Great much better than he got, whether Fredrick realized it or not.

You've got LOTS of levels of intelligence operating there, at least the equal to that of a nasty, self-promoting greedhead with a knack for abstraction.

former law student said...

affirmative action has prolonged and imbedded that belief in many people, including some who benefit from affirmative action, that certain groups, in the "aggregate", can't compete and succeed on a level playing field.

Affirmative action reflects the understanding that the only way to find out if certain groups can compete and succeed is to get them off the bench and send them onto the playing field.

MikeR said...

Though "The Bell Curve" did talk a little about various races and IQ, the bulk of the book addressed something that several commenter here have denied: The thing we call "IQ", that is, whatever IQ tests measure, is important. It maybe be hard or impossible to define what it really means, but it is the best single predictor known of success in virtually any profession.

Freeman Hunt said...

But what has everyone learned?

That Minow is a racist who thinks black people are weak and need her special protection from a student's emails.

Think about it. She never would have acted that way about another group. With any other group, she would have expected other students who disagreed to argue against whatever was said about that group. But apparently she thinks black people are weak or are her pets to care for like a master does his dog.

Even further, perhaps deep down Minow agrees with Grace, and so she does not believe that an effective defense could be made, and so she ends the discussion.

Soft bigotry of low expectations yet again.

Roger J. said...

count me in with Theo; Johann Sebastian Bach was a towering genius who applied, whether he was aware of it or not, mathematics to music but with a creative flair that remains unsurpassed. Newton just came up with calculus (along with Liebnitz)

Maguro said...

Affirmative action reflects the understanding that the only way to find out if certain groups can compete and succeed is to get them off the bench and send them onto the playing field.

Why not just open the playing field to everyone, regardless of sex or color, and let each individual succeed or fail according his or her own merits as an individual?

campy said...

It's time to bring up Harrison Bergeron, whom was probably patterned after me. ;-)

Tip: If you want to look intelligent, don't use whom where who is called for.

Freeman Hunt said...

Education: You debate, and when you propose an idea that is wrong in some way, others show you your error by their arguments.

Indoctrination: The group labels certain ideas as "right" and others as "wrong." You are taught which labels goes with which ideas.

Higher education seems to be trending strongly toward the second thing.

MadisonMan said...

Don't they ever see reruns of old Saturday Night Live Episodes at Harvard?

Cedarford said...

DADvocate -

BTW - I know many people more successfully financially and in their careers than myself who score lower on IQ tests than I do. Our present IQ tests are skewed towards academic potential ignoring social, interpersonal and emotional qualities as well as being "good with your hands."

There are a lot of jobs were IQ is not relevant at all in light of other skills needed. There are other jobs were IQ is a factor, anyone in a certain range has a good shot at outcome equal to smarter or dumber people in that range and other skills like creativity, street smarts, hard work, whathaveyou factor in. And others where high IQ is essential or jobs were very high IQ makes for a very bad job fit.

While Nobel Laureate James Watson co-discoverer of DNA famously said he had an average IQ so IQ is not predictive of success - he has an IQ he says of 115. And when asked if he would have been able to get university scholarship, a PhD and move on to research if he had an IQ of 86, said "no way".

For training large groups in universal skills, even the most liberal of teachers will say a class where everyone is 110-120 in IQ will be collectively far easier to teach algebra than a class of 70-80 IQ students.
And if there is any actual liberal Army drill instructor in existance, even they will say that no matter what "interpersonal skills, emotional qualities, and good hands" a recruit has no shot at being a general infantryman with an IQ of 80 or below without being a massive detriment to the organization and mission so such applicants are screened out.

Duscany said...

Hoosier Daddy: "You know, that Hahvad president who said women don't have the intellectual chops to excel in the hard sciences."

I suspect you may know that Summers only suggested lack of high end math aptitude as one possible explanation for the small numbers of women found at the highest levels in mathematics. He also mentioned several other possible explanations: discrimination, lack of encouragement or the demands of raising small children. He concluded by saying more study needed to be done about the reasons for the gap.

Frankly what Summers said was the mildest sort of remark and something that anyone should be able to say anytime at a college campus where intellectual rigor is supposedly revered. Yet one female faculty member listening to Summers's came down so badly with the vapors she had to rush out of the room lest she faint or throw up.

There are some things, it appears, that you just aren't allowed to think about (and certainly not voice in public).

DADvocate said...

Affirmative action reflects the understanding that the only way to find out if certain groups can compete and succeed is to get them off the bench and send them onto the playing field.

No. Affirmative action established a different set of rules based on gender, race, national origin, etc. As I was candidly told by a woman in personnel at a federal agency after I earned my M.S., I didn't have a chance of being hired because I was white and male. That's not finding out if certain groups can compete. That's giving them the game winning edge.

This is the first time I've ever heard this justification for affirmative action. But, your statement supports my statement. If you truly believed these groups could compete and win on the playing field, you wouldn't need affirmative action, only equal opportunity. The kind where everyone truly has equal opportunity, not quotas based on race, gender, etc.

Freeman Hunt said...

Also, in considering how this functioned as a teaching moment, what is Grace likely to think now? Is she likely to believe that she was wrong?

Of course not. She is probably even more certain of herself because she's been left with the impression that her idea was unspeakable. And if unspeakable, she's likely to think it must have been impossible to argue against.

So rather than countering her, Minow has probably engendered in Grace a sort of secret smugness, thinking that she is the sole possessor of some unspeakable truth.

Balfegor said...

Newton just came up with calculus (along with Liebnitz)

Oh, I think you're slighting him there. His key advances in alchemy, building on the earlier work of Theophrastus von Hohenheim and John Dee, underpin the modern world!

lucid said...

The liberals on this thread all seem to be full of soft-minded, fuzzy blather.

Truly, liberal orthodoxies are for the intellectually lazy and unimaginative.

Kirby Olson said...

The Christian idea is that everyone was made in the image of God, and that we are all identical, therefore, and thus, equal, or the same.

At least in terms of our souls.

Darwin and the scientists chased the soul out of the discussion, and said that we are more or less fit, and this will determine our ability to make it or not in evolution.

It seems that at Harvard you must think like a Christian and believe in absolute and radical equality, and not believe at all in Darwin or in the notion of evolution, and that each person is different.

I know not what to make of this!

I personally prefer the Creationist viewpoint, but you'd think at Harvard they would be all over Darwin and the difference option, since it's supposedly such an elite, secular institution. Who knew that on this topic they would go after the everybody is the same, and thus equal.

How do they then defend the idea that they are an elite institution and some people are more equal than others?

I sense a tiny problem.

William said...

It is speculated to Bach was autistic. This is germane to the discussion because it just shows you how non-predictive any terms of mental ability are to real life outcomes....The libs preach tolerance as the supreme high good. Shouldn't tolerance be extended to someone who makes a speculative statement in a private e-mail? I am sure that the Harvard law students are more intelligent than I, but I do not think that they are more tolerant.

peter hoh said...

There is no such thing as a private email. I try to remind my kids of this, but I'm not certain that they really understand this.

Lem said...

"Let X equal the quantity of all quantities of X. Let X equal the cold. It is cold in December. The months of cold equal November through February. There are four months of cold, and four of heat, leaving four months of indeterminate temperature. In February it snows. In March the Lake is a lake of ice. In September the students come back and the bookstores are full. Let X equal the month of full bookstores. The number of books approaches infinity as the number of months of cold approaches four. I will never be as cold now as I will in the future. The future of cold is infinite. The future of heat is the future of cold. The bookstores are infinite and so are never full except in September...”

Proof (2005)

William said...

Newton was smarter than everybody. He had money invested in the South Sea Bubble. He realized that the South Sea Bubble was just that, a bubble. He took his money out. The bubble continued to rise. He felt that he was missing out on a good thing and put his money back in. The bubble collapsed, and he lost everything. Being smarter than everybody in some regards does not preclude the possibility of being as stupid as everybody in other instances.

Scott said...

**Yawn**

This is what I've learned so far:

**Racists can be amazingly pedantic.

**Snottyness does not indicate intelligence:

-- Something may in fact be true but not measurable. Do you believe that God exists?

-- Psychometric tools for measuring intelligence are one-dimensional. They are useful in some narrow contexts, but using them as a basis for broad social policy is stupid; primarily because it encourages (invariably white) researchers, with their pet theories about race and intelligence, to crawl out of the woodwork and create divisions in our society.

"Scientists" and religionists -- again, invariably white -- have been claiming since the 1700s that there is some scientific or religious "proof" that black people are inferior to white people. Given this history (which you can't deny if you're intellectually honest), an obsession with psychometrics as a way to "prove" that an average black person is dumber than an average white person, and that there is a genetic reason for it, is an unhealthy fetish that only serves to denegrate humankind as a whole. Since only white "scientists" seem to be obsessed with such studies, such declarations of racial superiority clearly have a component of triumphalism, even if such triumphalism is denied and wrapped in altruistic "scientific" justifications.

Lem said...

It is not what you can prove that matters.. it is rather whether you can disprove the opposite... as externalities may allow, of course.

Balfegor said...

Since only white "scientists" seem to be obsessed with such studies, such declarations of racial superiority clearly have a component of triumphalism, even if such triumphalism is denied and wrapped in altruistic "scientific" justifications.

I don't think it's the case that only Whites are interested in the subject. Lahm, for example, is Asian. More generally, of course, since Asian populations typically beat White populations in average IQ, I suppose you could still argue that interest in this particular scientific inquiry is also matter of racial triumphalism, but in the context of East Asian racial triumphalism, touting superior average IQs is pretty small potatoes.

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