Williams College: Our Students Are Children, And We Must Protect Them

There are legitimate reasons to question to the project of "Uncomfortable Learning," a movement to bring speakers with controversial views to the Williams College campus to challenge students to question their beliefs and assumptions. The most serious problem is one of framing. Our culture already has a very strong appetite for shouting matches, horse races, and ginned-up controversy. We have a weakness for people throwing chairs at each other on Jerry Springer's stage and a disinclination towards complex ideas explained at length. Rhetorically speaking, we don't like to eat our vegetables unless someone pours nacho cheese over them for us. A movement like "Uncomfortably Speaking" risks turning that weakness into a purported virtue. Ideas don't have more value the more controversial they are; they have value despite their controversial nature. The proposition that kittens should be strangled in the public square is more provocative and controversial than the proposition that all kittens should be spayed, but that does not mean that kitten-strangling is more worthy of debate or more productive of serious thought. Picking speakers because they are controversial — rather than whether or not they are controversial — risks mistaking trolling for intellectual courage, polemicists for philosophers, entertainers for thinkers.

But there are also wholly illegitimate reasons to question Uncomfortable Learning. Williams College, predictably, has seized upon such a reason to cancel a speech by John Derbyshire, who had been invited by students to speak as part of Uncomfortable Learning. Williams College President Adam Falk explained that Williams wasn't merely disinviting Derbyshire (for the college itself didn't invite him in the first place), it was refusing to allow students to invite him on the premises:

The college didn’t invite Derbyshire, but I have made it clear to the students who did that the college will not provide a platform for him.

Academic officialdom has rhetorical frameworks as rigid as a haiku. Just as one must always preface an attempted polite breakup by explaining how great the other person is and how wonderful your time together has been, a discussion of some speech being acceptable must always begin with an unconvincing gesture towards free speech, the awkward and self-conscious genuflection of the nominal Catholic who goes to mass every third or fourth Easter:

Free speech is a value I hold in extremely high regard. The college has a very long history of encouraging the expression of a range of viewpoints and giving voice to widely differing opinions.

Next comes the pretense to principle — the claim that the decision is based on something other than subjective and arbitrary:

There’s a line somewhere, but in our history of hosting events and speeches of all kinds, we hadn’t yet found it. We’ve found the line. Derbyshire, in my opinion, is on the other side of it. Many of his expressions clearly constitute hate speech, and we will not promote such speech on this campus or in our community.

That's not a line, except in the sense of "the line is wherever I choose to draw it." "Hate speech" is whatever you want it to be; it is not a legally defined category in America. The line between hate speech and not-hate-speech is drawn by power, not analytical rigor. Could John Derbyshire be regarded as someone who indulges in hate speech under many popular subjective definitions of the term? Sure he could. But that's not what President Falk was saying. He was claiming there is a neutral and principled test. There isn't.

President Falk went on to explain that he stands in loco parentis to the nominal adults at one of America's most elite liberal arts colleges:

But at times it’s our role as educators and administrators to step in and make decisions that are in the best interest of students and our community. This is one of those times.

President Falk's position seems to be that Williams College students can't be counted upon to deal with John Derbyshire's views themselves — whether by ignoring him as a puerile race-grumbler unworthy of their time, or by refuting him and his fans. Maybe he's right.

I probably wouldn't bother to attend Derbyshire's speech, myself. If I wanted to read warmed-over turn-of-the-twentieth-century junk-science self-satisfied "race realism" smugly presented as something new and daring, I'd go on Twitter and bait Trump supporters. Derbyshire strikes me as an excellent illustration of my opening point: being contrarian and controversial is not the same as having something worthwhile to say. Derb is the just the reactionary-curmudgeon version of the performance artist who strips down and smears chocolate and bean sprouts over her body: lots of belabored attention-seeking transgression and not much substance, and swiftly tedious. I question the seriousness of the people who thought he would provoke worthwhile academic debate. Williams College and its President Adam Falk had an excellent opportunity to make that point. They could have challenged the Uncomfortable Learning people to articulate what exactly separates Derbyshire from your idiot cousin you sends you the Obama-is-a-Kenyan emails or from cranks on Reddit, other than an English accent and a thin veneer of literary tradition. Instead, they chose to proclaim that Williams College students are weak children who require protection.

That's pretty insulting, if you ask me. But I didn't go to Williams.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

Comments

  1. omar says

    The hypocrisy (about "free speech") and the other incoherences in Falk's position are obvious, but (since this is bound to come up), does anyone know what the record of "non–mainstream-liberal" institutions is in this matter? Are there institutions where a student invitation to, say Beyonce, would trigger a ban? I am just curious.. you can replace Beyonce with the Black Panthers or the "revolutionary communist party" or whatever; i realize that in terms of distance from the mainstream norm, she is not at all like Derbyshire, though in terms of having a racialized worldview, she may well be in the same league as Derb, with opposite valence of course.

  2. Castaigne says

    The proposition that kittens should be strangled in the public square is more provocative and controversial than the proposition that all kittens should be spayed, but that does not mean that kitten-strangling is more worthy of debate or more productive of serious thought.

    I've always disagreed with this idea.

    That's primarily because I apply Occam's Razor to everything. "All things being equal" and then I add "And all things ARE equal". If a speech is allowed to be spoken, it is only right all speech be treated absolutely equally and absolutely seriously. If this means that all speech is treated too lightly or all speech is treated too seriously, so be it. The important thing is that it is all treated the same in a standardized, homogenized process in which metrics are applied in the same way each time.

    So I would say that the proposition that kittens should be strangled in the public square be debated with the same gravity, same time, and same due consideration as the latter proposition. That they should be treated as having the same moral equivalency, for to say one proposition is more moral than another is to say that the speech is unequal, and thus, unfree. Absolute free speech is treating all speech exactly the same, without exception.

    Picking speakers because they are controversial — rather than whether or not they are controversial — risks mistaking trolling for intellectual courage, polemicists for philosophers, entertainers for thinkers.

    But why should we recognize a difference? If we hold to free speech, then we hold to ALL free speech – thus all speech is equivalent.

    Williams College President Adam Falk explained that Williams wasn't merely disinviting Derbyshire (for the college itself didn't invite him in the first place), it was refusing to allow students to invite him on the premises

    Williams College, never heard of it. Looking it up, it's a private liberal arts college.

    Well, that answers that question. A private college is no different than a private home or a CEO's corporation. A private institution has the right to decline to provide a platform for whomever it desires, based on whatever whim propels it.

    So I'm not understanding here. Are you saying private entities should be forced to provide platforms to all comers, regardless of what the private entities want? I only know of one thing that has that power: public government

    That's not a line, except in the sense of "the line is wherever I choose to draw it."

    Nothing wrong with that. "Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." and all that. Private entities gonna private.

    Derbyshire strikes me as an excellent illustration of my opening point: being contrarian and controversial is not the same as having something worthwhile to say.

    Again, if we're allowed to speak, we must treat that speech the same as all other speech. Therefore, if he is speaking, it is as worthwhile as everything else.

    But really, if you are correct, there's no other good solution but to send in some Federal bully-boys all nacked out in tacticool, put the boot on Falk's neck, and make him provide a platform for Derbyshire in the name of free speech. This solves the free speech issue, and under the principles of Occam's Razor and "the ends justify the means", is perfectly acceptable. Free speech will then win out.

  3. Dedicating Ruckus says

    As ever, you make a useful point about the legitimacy of the so-called principled distinction that's used to enable only speech the establishment approves of. But….

    As anyone who's actually read him knows (surely a qualification for expressing any opinion on the matter), Derbyshire does actually put forward substantive points and defend them. It's possible his points are are incorrect, thus his defense invalid. But few are willing to engage with him and attempt demonstrating this. Instead of engaging his points, President Falk attempts to silence him. And instead of engaging his points, or making no comment should you not wish to take the time to do so, you mock him without any reference to his words.

    Your approach at least lacks the pernicious externalities of President Falk's, but in terms of intellectual integrity they are entirely comparable.

  4. Stu says

    "strips down and smears chocolate and bean sprouts over her body"

    And I really didn't have a plan for this weekend, until now.

  5. Dedicating Ruckus says

    @Ken: So, when called on engaging in content-free mockery, you respond by mocking without any reference to the content.

    It's entirely legitimate to say "I don't wish to engage this point". As a matter of integrity, though, I would be very uncomfortable mocking someone for their presumptive incorrectness, when unable or unwilling to demonstrate that incorrectness rigorously.

  6. ketchup says

    Castaigne's post is not even self-consistent. One cannot disagree with Ken's point while at the same time agreeing with one's own point if one is treating all speech as ABSOLUTELY equivalent.
    Maybe Castaigne disagrees with his own post as much as he disagrees with Ken's.

  7. says

    Dedicating Ruckus, I apologize for not devoting sufficient integrity to the proposition that some humans are inherently biologically and socially inferior to others. You'll be happier someplace with people with more integrity, won't you?

  8. desconhecido says

    Dear Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, or other Ruckus or Ruckuses

    In his article, Ken provided a link to a Derbyshire post titled "The Talk: Nonblack Version." That post justifies all of Mr White's mockery, and much more. Who but an oozing, puss-filled fistula on the anus of the lunatic fringe of the right wing of American politics could write that to which Derbyshire has affixed his name?

  9. Castaigne says

    @Ken White:

    I really can't tell if you are simply trolling at this point, and can't be bothered to parse it out.

    I'm being serious. It's very simple if you start with two premises:
    1) The ends justify the means.
    2) All things are equal and so should be treated the same way. What's good for the goose is good for the gander and all that. (Essentially, a ceteris paribus assumption.)

  10. Dedicating Ruckus says

    @desconhecido: Decrying and insulting someone without engaging with their ideas is no more intellectually honest than mocking them without engaging with their ideas.

  11. AH says

    @Ken White: I wouldn't put too much into it. It's based around a fallacious argument that all opinions are equal. While all opinions have an equal right to be spoken and even believed by those who hold them, they do not have equal merit and all individuals have an equal right to disregard them. Those which have been well and thoughtfully considered may merit a thoughtful response, others which have not been do not merit such effort.

    I, of course, leave sorting which is which as an exercise to the reader.

  12. Jordan says

    Are you saying private entities should be forced to provide platforms to all comers, regardless of what the private entities want?

    Don't be that guy. Why must you be that guy?

  13. desconhecido says

    You are suggesting that Derbyshire's gormless ranting demonstrates ideas that are worthy of being engaged. That is wrong. His "ideas" deserve no engagement.

  14. Dedicating Ruckus says

    "The ideas deserve no engagement" is something that is not true of any ideas, anywhere, ever. In order to demonstrate this rigorously, you would need to…wait for it…engage with the ideas. Otherwise, you're simply demanding that everyone accept your moral outrage as self-evidently right and pay no attention to any counterargument.

  15. PJ says

    @Dedicating Ruckus

    Identifying these ideas as "race realism" counts as "engaging with them." It engages with them long enough to categorize them into a box labelled "Racism disguised as pseudoscience," and permits anyone interested or confused to look up that term and make their own decision.

    You can disagree with this engagement; you can call it incomplete or unfair, disingenuous or incorrect; but to call it non-engagement smacks of intellectual dishonesty.

  16. Castaigne says

    @AH:

    It's based around a fallacious argument that all opinions are equal.

    It's not fallacious. Opinions are subjective, not objective; they are not facts. You can only measure objective facts; that is how you discriminate, how you assign value. Since you cannot measure opinions, yes, they're all equal.

    (Although if you come up with an objective way to measure opinions, and a measurement unit for them, let me know.)

    ===

    @Jordan:

    Don't be that guy. Why must you be that guy?

    The issue of no-platforming is a significant one in free speech these days, if Reddit is to be believed. I really can't come up with a more practical solution to force platforming. If you can offer an alternative, be my guest.

  17. En Passant says

    omar says February 19, 2016 at 10:08 am:

    The hypocrisy (about "free speech") and the other incoherences in Falk's position are obvious, but (since this is bound to come up), does anyone know what the record of "non–mainstream-liberal" institutions is in this matter?

    My single observation is far from sufficient to define a continuous "record", but here it is.

    Back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, circa 1966-67, I attended a public speech delivered in the auditorium of a University of California campus by (cough!) George (hark!) Lincoln (patooie!) Rockwell.

    There were a few informational protestors (as if anybody needed information about him at the time). As far as I know nobody in the full auditorium was a follower or sympathizer. To the audience's credit, they mostly sat in silence as he droned for an hour or so tediously explaining his psychotic political ideology.

    The audience deserves credit, because it was very difficult not to guffaw when he opened by demonstrating his "proof" that an international Jewish conspiracy had taken over the Coca Cola Bottling Company. Yes, you read that right. That was his opener.

    It's worth noting here that Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove was at the time a fairly recent movie, and "You'll have to answer to the Coca-Cola company" was still a good laugh line.

    There was considerable laughter at the end, when he warned that he would soon unleash what he called his "Hells Angel Panzer Divisions". He gave the classic stiff armed "Heil Hitler" salute, clicked his heels, and left the stage.

    I don't recall who sponsored him as speaker, but I'm fairly certain they were not sympathizers. I've occasionally speculated that his sponsors were students hoping to get credit for a class in abnormal psychology.

  18. PJ says

    @Castaigne

    I feel like you're confusing "all speech deserves equal protection under the law" with "all speech is of equal value."

    To wit:

    If I yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, I have informed my fellow movie patrons that the room is on fire. I have given them timely and valuable data, which they can use to make important decisions regarding whether or not to remain inside the burning building.

    If I simply stand up and do my best impression of my six-month-old son's inchoate babbling, I am not providing any valuable information.

    By your logic, universities should be inviting my son to come and give a talk.

  19. Castaigne says

    @Ken White:

    "Why will you not engage me in an intellectual discussion of whether your children are inherently inferior? How rude and close-minded!"

    And now all I can see in my head is sea lion barking this at you.

  20. desconhecido says

    There is no good reason to engage the "ideas" of crackpots, loons, mentally defective racists and other who have run out of feck. There is no good reason to engage with creationists, 911 truthers, Trump Suckers, and those whose arguments can be summarized as "God hates black people and so do I and both God and I hate you for not hating them too."

    edit:

    Some crackpots, loons, and racists sometimes have something interesting or worthwhile to say about something. Derbyshire, for example, may have an actual idea which can reasonably be engaged, though it seems unlikely. 911 truthers, not so much.

  21. says

    @Castaigne:

    Imagine three propositions: "The government is controlled by the very rich through broken campaign financing laws." "The government is controlled by special interest groups through liberal institutions like unions and grievance organizations." "The government is controlled by lizard people."

    I understand the argument that each of these propositions should be explored with equal seriousness. But it's not an argument I agree with.

  22. Castaigne says

    @PJ:

    I feel like you're confusing "all speech deserves equal protection under the law" with "all speech is of equal value."

    No, not confusion. Conflation.

    If I simply stand up and do my best impression of my six-month-old son's inchoate babbling, I am not providing any valuable information.

    I would contend that whether or not your babbling impression was "valuable information" would depend entirely on what the hearer's opinion of "valuable" was. Since this will be completely individual, we cannot assign it an objective condition of "not valuable", since this would be a statement that everyone, absolutely, without exception, would find your babbling impression "not valuable".

    And if any one person found it to be valuable, then that objective definition would be proven false.

    By your logic, universities should be inviting my son to come and give a talk.

    Sure. Your son's speech is no more or less important or valuable than anyone else's that is able to speak.

  23. Castaigne says

    @Ken White:

    I understand the argument that each of these propositions should be explored with equal seriousness. But it's not an argument I agree with.

    See, you do parse it. Not as tired as you thought. ;)
    We'll just have to agree to disagree then. I would say that once a hierarchy of seriousness is attached to each proposition, then said hierarchy makes the speech "unfree". Naturally, I think you would disagree with that statement.

  24. says

    I would say that once a hierarchy of seriousness is attached to each proposition, then said hierarchy makes the speech "unfree".

    Only if by "free speech" you mean some imagined positive right for people to listen to you and take you seriously, as opposed to a negative right not to be punished for the speech.

    The positive right necessarily collapses on itself: if your freedom requires me to take you seriously, then I am not free.

  25. PJ says

    @Castaigne:
    The basic problem here is a practical one: the reason we do not engage with all opinions is that we do not have time. There are 350 million Americans. Each one has his or her own opinion on each issue. If we gave each one merely ten seconds to present his or her opinion, we'd be at it for more than a century.

    Lacking the ability to give a platform to everyone, we have two choices:
    -allow and consider opinions totally at random, or
    -come up with some method, however imperfect, for ranking and prioritizing opinions.

    In a democracy, this is easy. The most "valuable" opinions are the ones held by the most people.

    No, we can't measure opinions according to their "correctness" because that's impossible to measure.

    Yes, this opens us up to the problem that popularity is entirely divorced from "correctness," and therefore we lose any inherent "correctness" that exists in fringe opinions.

    But it is democratic, and to a certain extent it is even "fair."

  26. desconhecido says

    "The government is controlled by lizard people."

    Damn, that's awesome. Think I'm going to go eat some paste.

  27. Zach says

    "I probably wouldn't bother to attend Derbyshire's speech, myself." Eh, your loss. He's a brighter guy than you, Ken, though that's almost universally true of mathematicians vs. lawyers. What's boggling, though, is that he's a way better writer than you, too; not common with math guys, though they do tend to have ordered thinking.

    Oh no. That's crimethink. I've said a certain type of person has a certain tendency! OH NO OH NO OH NO OH NO. To the camps with me!!!

    What's most interesting to me about Derb is that he sticks honestly to an opinion that he knows will get him pilloried. Ken, you hold some of the least daring opinions about anything of any fairly prominent writer today.

    And yet here I am reading your dumb blog; I guess I'm just more open-minded and willing to listen to warmed-over 90s-guy junk science posing as, I don't know, tolerance or something.

  28. Dedicating Ruckus says

    @PJ:

    I would argue that scanning over an argument until you can categorize it as "enemy", and only then commencing the content-free mockery and moral outcry, still does not constitute any real engagement with it.

    If you want to attack something in an honest fashion, the correct procedure is to read the argument, determine its premises, structure and conclusion, and then decide whether you wish to dispute the premises (providing evidence), deny its cogency (providing analysis) or possibly some other response. This all requires effort, and honest reading, and some charity toward the author. If you don't want to engage in that effort, that is also fine; however, it is here I would argue that intellectual integrity requires you to remain silent, or at least not crow too loudly over a victory you've not in fact earned.

    @desconhecido:

    Repeatedly reiterating your content-free moral outrage doesn't make it any less pointless.

  29. says

    I would say that once a hierarchy of seriousness is attached to each proposition, then said hierarchy makes the speech "unfree"

    It was when Castaigne explained the tyranny of hierarchical judgment that I realized that in my preference for "2001: A Space Odyssey" over "Family Matters," I had enslaved Steve Urkel to the pitiless whims of a mad computer.

  30. Dalton Ames says

    @Castaigne

    You wrote:

    "…for to say one proposition is more moral than another is to say that the speech is unequal, and thus, unfree. Absolute free speech is treating all speech exactly the same, without exception."

    Thank you- inspiring stuff. I want you to know that, from now on, I will treat your speech the exact same way I would treat a coherent and logical statement that is based in reality.

    I also plan to apologize to a bunch of youtube commenters.

  31. PJ says

    @Zach
    Mathematicians are "brighter" than lawyers? It's hilariously reductive to claim that there's one measure of someone's mental faculties (and by implication, the wisdom of their opinions) and that one profession can simply be higher up that scale than another.

    Ask a brain surgeon to do your taxes for you. After all, he's so bright it ought to be easy for him.

    or maybe – just maybe – knowing a random forest from a convolutional neural network doesn't automatically qualify someone to speak about biology or policy.

  32. Michael Heaney says

    I don't think this is an accurate description of what's taking place, at all. This is neither a free speech issue nor is it a protect the children issue.

    1. Why is it not a free speech issue? Two reasons. First, nothing is preventing Derbyshire from speaking on campus. He's still able to step onto the campus, attend meetings for various groups, speak in the general public, etc. They are simply not facilitating him. And this is important; most venues that invite contribution, from television shows and channel to newspapers to college lecture programs, do not have the resources, means, time or, most importantly, obligation to cater to every person that would like to indulge. The History Channel has no obligation to host a segment on your amateur porn productions. It does not serve their purpose, it does not promote their agenda. This is not "stifling free speech" this is simply working within the confines of time and agenda. It's unbelievably common in practice, I have no idea why you think this example of it deserves some exception in which it's now an attack on free speech.

    2. Why this isn't an attempt to "protect the children." Once again, nobody is denying these students access to Derbyshire or his works. A student organization could still invite him to come and speak gratis if he so desired. This is an act disassociating the administration from him, that is all. And that's perfectly legitimate, the campus is under no obligation to blindly pander to every single person who wants to express their ideas, overly zealous misappropriations of what "freedom of expression," is notwithstanding.

    Further, I think the whole article sort of ignores your initial point; some conversations, some controversies, don't enjoy the merits of good ideas. Do we really need to have a debate over whether or not Derbyshire is a worthwhile voice to promote or ignore? I don't think so. Why do you? I think that falls into the kitten-strangling category. As a conversation, it's done. As a controversy, it's pointless.

    So I think the proper, accurate description of the events above is this, "An administration, in keeping with unbelievably common and justifiable traditions of picking and choosing voices and ideas they wanted to be fiscally and ideologically associated with, not to mention the naturally imposed constraints of time, have declared that they will not be devoting time, money, space or support to a particular person they don't want to be associated with. This action, by the way is quite obviously not a violation of anyone's rights regarding freedom of speech as virtually no such venue has ever been, "absolutely open to all voices and all ideas no matter what," nor has Derbyshire's voice been silenced, either potentially on or off of campus. This act is in no way an attempt to shelter students who are still free to associate with both Derbyshire and his ideas at their leisure, but only a statement regarding the decisions made about and regarding the administration."

    I'm pretty sure that's what's actually happening here.

  33. The Baker says

    "The government is controlled by lizard people."

    — Damn, that's awesome. Think I'm going to go eat some paste.

    Trump is a lizard person …. or maybe several?

  34. says

    Ken, you hold some of the least daring opinions about anything of any fairly prominent writer today.

    I should definitely frame my opinions to make them more daring to earn the respect of serious thinkers like you.

  35. Sad Panda says

    Hearing people argue for positive rights makes me puke. And I demand and require that Castaigne come clean up the mess.

  36. says

    Why is it not a free speech issue? Two reasons. First, nothing is preventing Derbyshire from speaking on campus.

    I didn't frame it as a "free speech" issue. That framing (which leads to diversions into public v. private, etc.) isn't particularly helpful.

    Also, it's not clear to me that Williams would let him speak on campus for free. The President's words seem awfully broad to me. If he only means "we won't let student or university funds be used to pay for him to speak," then he's an awfully sloppy writer.

    Further, I think the whole article sort of ignores your initial point; some conversations, some controversies, don't enjoy the merits of good ideas. Do we really need to have a debate over whether or not Derbyshire is a worthwhile voice to promote or ignore? I don't think so. Why do you? I think that falls into the kitten-strangling category. As a conversation, it's done. As a controversy, it's pointless.

    I don't find him worthwhile. But my reaction to not finding him worthwhile is that I won't go listen to him. If other people find him worthwhile — they are contrarians, they get erections from descriptions of ethnic skull morphology, whatever — I don't feel inclined to take steps to prevent them from inviting him and listening to him. Nobody's forcing me to attend. (Well, granted, some people are irate that I don't — some people always get incensed when I don't fluff the people whose speech I defend — but these are not people to be taken seriously either.)

  37. ShelbyC says

    It's almost certain that our understanding of many issues involving race is hampered by an unwillingness to accept non-PC ideas. Unfortunately it's also hampered by idiots spouting racist crap. I don't have the energy to figure out which this is, but it would be nice if people had the opportunity.

  38. says

    Further, I think the whole article sort of ignores your initial point; some conversations, some controversies, don't enjoy the merits of good ideas. Do we really need to have a debate over whether or not Derbyshire is a worthwhile voice to promote or ignore? I don't think so. Why do you? I think that falls into the kitten-strangling category. As a conversation, it's done. As a controversy, it's pointless.

    Also, Michael, here's what I'm encouraging in that opening paragraph:

    Student: I know! Let's invite John Derbyshire!
    Other Student: Why not just invite White Pride? The dude's a junk-science race-lunatic. Are we looking for controversial ideas with merit, or just trolls?
    [argument ensues]
    [organization debates whether Derbyshire is worthwhile in addition to controversial or not]
    [Decision ensues, students act]

    You, on the other hand, seem to advocate the administration deciding for the students.

  39. Williebob says

    @Castaigne,

    I think I understand your point, but I think you got it backwards.
    This post would have taken a different tack entirely if President Falk had issued a less weaselly statement than to suggest a quasi-legal "line" on speech, would it not? A more honest President at a private school might instead issue a statement arguing for a disinvite, and opening the debate up with the students who might want to hear Derbyshire or argue with him in person. Collective shrug or lively debate, either way would have served the students better than misleading them about free speech (intentionally or not).
    Rather than let your mind jump straight to "only government can make people equal", consider the possibility that a robust and free press serves a critical function for providing the information we need to grow as a society. I don't see Ken White suggesting the state take away a private school's right to decide who isn't welcome on campus. Opinions about Williams College are fair game, however, and those can be quite powerful.

  40. Jordan says

    I really can't come up with a more practical solution to force platforming.

    Boy, there's a shocker.

  41. says

    Derb is an absolutely great guy and it's an outrage Pres. Falk is arbitrarily not allowing him on campus. Thanks for bringing attention to this, Ken.

  42. Michael Heaney says

    "You, on the other hand, seem to advocate the administration deciding for the students."

    What? I suppose I am, but it hardly seems to be an advocacy that would warrant any mention, surprise or controversy. That is a large portion of what college administrations do. That's like saying, "You seem to be advocating that Congress draft laws for the citizenry."

  43. Michael Heaney says

    "I didn't frame it as a "free speech" issue. That framing (which leads to diversions into public v. private, etc.) isn't particularly helpful."

    Apologies! I thought bringing up the free speech aspect of the college's public declaration and pronouncing it an unconvincing gesture was an allusion to a freedom of speech issue in the decision.

    "I don't find him worthwhile. But my reaction to not finding him worthwhile is that I won't go listen to him."

    Which is fine for you because you're not responsible for providing scheduling, time, resources and a specific platform for such speakers. The University on the other hand does have this responsibility, which means they're involvement, should it be responsible and coherent, be more than just "not attending if they don't like it." They have an actual job to do and part of that involves deciding who does and doesn't utilize the time and resources they have to offer.

  44. says

    I may be playing into Castaigne's hierarchies of seriousness, and so apologize, but I did find Derbyshire's popular mathematics book Prime Obsession, about prime numbers and the then-unproven Riemann hypothesis, a damned fine introduction to a bafflingly complex problem for the lay reader.

  45. Dalton Ames says

    @Michael

    "They have an actual job to do and part of that involves deciding who does and doesn't utilize the time and resources they have to offer."

    I think that in most cases, that's probably correct. But in this case, the university had purportedly ceded that responsibility to a student-run group called Uncomfortable Learning:

    "Uncomfortable Learning is a student-run, alumni-funded organization that aims to encourage students to understand and engage with often provocative and uncomfortable viewpoints that oppose perceived popular opinions at the College."

    That student group selected Derbyshire, causing the administration to immediately regret ceding responsibilities to the student-run group, which had unwittingly invited someone to speak who might make them feel bad. The admins promptly took charge in a totally not-condescending manner.

    "We respect [our students’] ideas…. we encourage individual choice and decision-making… But at times it’s our role as educators and administrators to step in and make decisions that are in the best interest of students and our community. This is one of those times."

  46. MS says

    @Michael Heaney

    Which is fine for you because you're not responsible for providing scheduling, time, resources and a specific platform for such speakers. The University on the other hand does have this responsibility, which means they're involvement, should it be responsible and coherent, be more than just "not attending if they don't like it." They have an actual job to do and part of that involves deciding who does and doesn't utilize the time and resources they have to offer.

    That really isn't the job of Williams College. There's no central organization or office that plans every single event on campus, or even most of them. There's no office or individual charged with approving every speaker that comes through; President Falk even states in his letter to the campus that this act, prohibiting a speaker invited by a student group from speaking on campus, is, to his knowledge, unprecedented in this history of the College. And Uncomfortable Learning has funding that comes from outside the college. Aside from funding, the only institutional support that Williams College provides to student events are classroom space, which is trivially available.

    Agree or disagree with the decision, you can't plausibly make the claim that this decision is simply business as usual for the organization. Nothing about the structure or organization of Williams College required President Falk to make this call; he chose to do so on his own volition.

  47. AH says

    "2. Why this isn't an attempt to "protect the children." Once again, nobody is denying these students access to Derbyshire or his works. A student organization could still invite him to come and speak gratis if he so desired. This is an act disassociating the administration from him, that is all. And that's perfectly legitimate, the campus is under no obligation to blindly pander to every single person who wants to express their ideas, overly zealous misappropriations of what "freedom of expression," is notwithstanding."

    Every source I found (in my admittedly short search) says the "uncomfortable learning" is a student project/organization. So yes, the administration is denying these students the chance to expose them self to a more diverse set of opinions (as to the value of this opinion, I won't comment, but the solution to THAT problem isn't censorship, but contrarian speech.)

  48. Tim! says

    @ketchup

    "The government is controlled by lizard people."

    How long until this shows up in a Trump speech?

    Not long after he wins the election, God forbid.

  49. ZK says

    The most amusing part of this whole thing is the implication that some people actually think that the government isn't controlled by lizard people.

  50. says

    @Dedicating Ruckus:

    It's entirely legitimate to say "I don't wish to engage this point". As a matter of integrity, though, I would be very uncomfortable mocking someone for their presumptive incorrectness, when unable or unwilling to demonstrate that incorrectness rigorously.

    This is, frankly, absurd.

    If some ding-dong in an Internet comments section says the moon landing was faked, 9/11 was an inside job, or the Earth is 6,000 years old, people are right to mock him for saying stupid shit and are not under any obligation to waste their valuable time explaining, point-by-point, why it is stupid shit.

    People say things that are deserving of mockery literally all the time. Treating intellectually unserious garbage as if it were a reasonable premise deserving of point-by-point refutation with sources and citations elevates it in a way that it does not deserve.

    That said, guys like Bill Nye have spent an awful lot of time seriously debating unserious claims like young-Earth creationism. There are arguments in favor of taking the time to rebut ideas that are (or should be) self-evidently ridiculous; in Nye's case I think they mostly boil down to introducing new ideas to people in the audience, who never would have considered them if he hadn't agreed to debate people like Ken Ham.

  51. Dedicating Ruckus says

    "If some ding-dong in an Internet comments section says the moon landing was faked, 9/11 was an inside job, or the Earth is 6,000 years old, people are right to mock him for saying stupid shit and are not under any obligation to waste their valuable time explaining, point-by-point, why it is stupid shit."

    This seems dangerous to me, because we have reached a point in our society where people's fundamental assumptions are at such variance that it is entirely possible for a single assertion to scan as so obvious it barely needs saying to one group, and ding-dong fruitbat insane to another. The fact that this is possible clearly shows that any individual's intuitive sense of "that's insane" (or, equally, "that's morally reprehensible") is not necessarily reliable as a guide to reality. Thus, if you give yourself a license to treat propositions which just seem insane as if they have actually been thoroughly disproven, you enshrine your unexamined assumptions as sovereign and render them immune to any actual examination.

    This might still be tolerable, if we still had something like a societal consensus. Unfortunately, we don't. Thus, when you enshrine the unexamined assumptions of you and your own tribe, you alienate everyone who disagrees with you. This leads to the standard Internet phenomenon of the echo chamber, in which the polarizing assumption tends to in fact be amplified by the social dynamics within a group self-selected for agreeing with it. The result is further divergence in fundamental assumptions, further alienation from those who disagree, and greater division on the whole.

    Unfortunately, we still all have to live in the same country. The Internet is cheap, but peaceful coexistence becomes rapidly more difficult when irreconcilable ideologies must compete for space, time and adherents with which to implement their programs in reality. The potential consequences of these groups having such incompatible basic assumptions, and having learned by long habituation to vituperate and dehumanize anyone who questions those assumptions, are not difficult to imagine.

    I don't believe there really is a happy ending possible for the US as a country, this late. But if there is, it lies with the competing factions beginning to reconcile their assumptions and worldviews, using reality as a basis. Utterly necessary for this is the basic willingness to examine what others say in good faith, without simply seeing the gang signs of "enemy" and vituperating it for that reason alone. If you aren't willing to put in the work for this — a wholly reasonable position — you at least should be willing to avoid making the problem worse, by buying in to the explicit or implicit premise "anyone who disagrees with my tribe is crazy".

  52. says

    Yes, we totally need to avoid polarization, division, vituperation, dehumanization, and tribalism by being more open to arguments that some people are inherently biologically and socially inferior.

  53. says

    If I took drink every time a Popehat commentator genuinely or trollingly seemed to not comprehend the difference between having the right to do something and having it be the right thing to do, I'd be dead of alcohol poisoning by the end of the first hour after a new post went up.

  54. says

    The most amusing part of this whole thing is the implication that some people actually think that the government isn't controlled by lizard people.

    If it was, I assure you, Firefly would have run for seven seasons.

  55. PonyAdvocate says

    @Patrick Non-White

    the then-unproven Riemann hypothesis

    As far as I know, the Riemann hypothesis remains an open question. I realize that "then-unproven" implies neither "now-proved" nor "now-disproved", but your phrasing indicates you might believe the problem is now solved. You may be thinking instead of the Poincaré conjecture, the last big math problem to be solved (by Grigori Perelman) that got a lot of attention in the mainstream press. Or you may be thinking of some results in 2013 about the gaps between prime numbers that got some serious attention in the mathematics community, although I don't remember there being much about this in the mainstream press.

    I bring this up only so that, if you are in fact confusing some of these results, you may spare yourself some embarrassment the next time you're at a cocktail party where the conversation is witty banter about the zeta function. ;-)

  56. desconhecido says

    "This might still be tolerable, if we still had something like a societal consensus. Unfortunately, we don't. Thus, when you enshrine the unexamined assumptions of you and your own tribe, you alienate everyone who disagrees with you. This leads to the standard Internet phenomenon of the echo chamber, in which the polarizing assumption tends to in fact be amplified by the social dynamics within a group self-selected for agreeing with it. The result is further divergence in fundamental assumptions, further alienation from those who disagree, and greater division on the whole."

    Now you're going after Derbyshire? Is that supposed to be irony? World famous philosopher Ray Wylie Hubbard once said that the problem with irony is that not everyone gets it.

    If you want a good analysis of why Derbyshire's "Talk" is basically Earl Butz ("I'll tell you what the coloreds want. It's three things: first, a tight pussy; second, loose shoes; and third, a warm place to shit.") shoved through a "Bell Curve" filter, follow this link from Derbyshire. There we find a brief summary of Derbyshire's argument: "What it all boils down to is, it sucks to have to share your superior country with an inferior race. "

  57. Dan Davis says

    Derbyshire the Prophet, from La Wik

    In an August 2012 article, Derbyshire summed up his view of American society by saying that it is "slipping into totalitarianism: into a state of affairs where to hold certain opinions is to be excluded from normal society

  58. James says

    @ketchup

    "The government is controlled by lizard people."

    How long until this shows up in a Trump speech?

    I am certain it already has.

  59. Anglave says

    Ken,

    I love you. The aplomb with which you handle yourself in these comments makes me want to have your lizard babies.

  60. Dictatortot says

    It's saddening because Derbyshire wasn't always this way … or if he was, he hid it better. There was a time when he was one of the most readable, insightful, and witty voices out there. Right-wing, sure, sometimes provocative, but recognizably within the ordinary spectrum of serious political thought. Then something or other happened. It wouldn't be the first time that later in life, a keen & sound intellect had fallen victim to crankery or worse, like some wasting cancer of the soul. One thinks of poor Joseph Sobran–hell, or Tolstoy if you like.

  61. Doctor X says

    Freedom of speech does not mean obligation to be heard or taken seriously.

    Further, there becomes a point when some speech is held only because the holder refuses to do his research, and the audience has better things to do. Holding the Earth is flat or 6,000 years old, or the Holocaust is a hoax, all the way to "the IRS is UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!!" constitute speech that results from something other than knowledge and responsible research.

    This is a blog written by primarily lawyers and read by, it seems, many lawyers. So if I post a comment that encourages readers not to pay their taxes because "THE IRS IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!1!" or claim that if a defendant "exercises his right to remain silent" by never, ever speaking, he cannot enter a plea which means he cannot be tried . . . I am to expect to be taken seriously? No, I am spouting willfully ignorant bullshit.

    Why those claims are bullshit may be readily discovered if I simply use this Gift of Al Gore to do some simple research. That Ken White and other lawyers have "better things to do" than do that homework for me does not make my claim not bullshit.

    "arguments that some people are inherently biologically and socially inferior." are such bullshit.

  62. PJ says

    "…into a state of affairs where to hold certain opinions is to be excluded from normal society"

    So he's always been an idiot, is that what you're saying?

    That "state of affairs" has been true since early humans developed language.

    A favorable opinion of communism could get you "excluded from normal society" in the 50's

    A favorable opinion of, say, bestiality will certainly get you "excluded from normal society"

    A US senator was beaten savagely on the floor of the senate in 1856 for his opinion of slavery – and his attacker became a hero in his home state for doing it.

    Claiming that we're "slipping into" that state of affairs is just a naked grasp at victimhood.

    At best, the closest rephrasing that's actually accurate would be something like "this country is slipping into a period when MY opinions are the ones that will be excluded from normal society – and that makes me angry!"

  63. Michael Heaney says

    @ Dalton Ames and @ MS

    The thing is that I do think I can say that this is within both the responsibility and purview of the administration. Student organizations on a vast majority of campuses still answer, ultimately, to the administration and the administration does and, again, in almost all cases, always reserve the right to, as Dalton suggests, take away authority they've granted if they feel it was being misused.

    Students, up to and including the student political body, are not sovereign entities or equal branches of government and oversight. They are barely more than projects and hobbies. It's no different than an administration kicking a Fraternity off of campus for misbehavior.

  64. Matthew Cline says

    In an August 2012 article, Derbyshire summed up his view of American society by saying that it is "slipping into totalitarianism: into a state of affairs where to hold certain opinions is to be excluded from normal society

    Ostracism/shunning is totalitarianism?

  65. Brian Z says

    @Dedicating Ruckus

    … it is entirely possible for a single assertion to scan as so obvious it barely needs saying to one group, and ding-dong fruitbat insane to another. The fact that this is possible clearly shows that any individual's intuitive sense of "that's insane" (or, equally, "that's morally reprehensible") is not necessarily reliable as a guide to reality. Thus, if you give yourself a license to treat propositions which just seem insane as if they have actually been thoroughly disproven, you enshrine your unexamined assumptions as sovereign and render them immune to any actual examination.

    So don't give yourself that license — at least not in full. You've articulately described what others have called the echo chamber, but point-by-point refutation of any craziness encountered in life (or God forbid, the Internet) cannot be the answer because it is impractical.

    In order to escape the dynamics of the echo chamber and maintain some semblance of integrity, you need only (1) occasionally be willing to grapple with ideas odious or foreign, and (2) possess the humility to admit that your extrapolations based on incomplete data can be wrong from time to time.

    I'll freely admit that I haven't deeply explored the works of Derbyshire. I'll admit to placing him in my "ignore pile" based on others' summaries of his work. I acknowledge that I might be missing out. I reserve my right to change my opinion should I look into the issue in the future. And I'm unlikely to revise my timetable for "looking into things myself" based on the insistence (or demand) of a random stranger.

  66. Marta says

    "Uncomfortable Learning"?

    It's maybe possible to learn something from "women should not have the right to vote" John Derbyshire, but I'm wondering–my comfort levels notwithstanding–what that could possibly be?

    I'm also wondering, if I'm in the business of providing education, what it does to my brand if my business provides a forum (however trivially) for someone whose product is sideways from my business's goals and objectives. I mean, how does it look in my expensive, glossy brochure if there's a paragraph that goes "Come to Williams College, where women can have a great time learning that there's some debate about whether or not they should have the right to vote!" Do you think the parents of potential students think, "hmm. That sounds great. I wonder if my daughter qualifies for financial aid?"

  67. pjcamp says

    Jeez, Ken, NOTHING in the law has an objective test. That's why you guys write opinions, not papers, and you can't get 9 fogies to agree on anything at all. That doesn't single out hate speech as a uniquely obnoxious category.

  68. jay-w says

    Yes, we totally need to avoid polarization, division, vituperation, dehumanization, and tribalism by being more open to arguments that some people are inherently biologically and socially inferior.

    The word "people" in that sentence is totally ambiguous. Does "people" mean "individuals" or does it mean "groups"?

    Every time I walk down the street, I see some individuals who are biologically and socially inferior(superior) to some other individuals. If you haven't had the same experience, you must be living in an ant colony or a pod-people clone farm or something.

    On the other hand, if "people" means "groups," then you have created a straw-man because not even the most rabid segregationist today would claim that every single member of ethnic group "A" is 'biologically and socially inferior' to every single member of group "B."

    What some 'race realists' do claim is that there might be small-but-significant differences in the way that mental and psychological characteristic are distributed within different ethnic groups — in addition to the obvious physical differences. In other words: that each group has its own unique statistical distribution with its own mean and its own standard deviation. But that hypothesis says nothing whatsoever about any specific individual.

  69. DanA says

    I really wish you people would stop with the lizard people comments, it is highly inappropriate.

    L*zard is their word, be respectful and call them Squamate Americans instead.

  70. Toom1275 says

    "Hate Speech" : First amendment :: "Assault weapon" : Second Amendment. It's an unpleasant-sounding term that has no definition outside whatever the person using it imagines it to be to attack what they personally don't like.

  71. says

    Half a cheer to Ken White for prefering that Derb’s views — no matter how objectionable to himself — be heard rather than silenced. Three boos to Ken White for blatantly misrepresenting those views! Ken suggests that Derb has claimed that “some people are inherently biologically and socially inferior” (my direct quote of Ken paraphrasing Derb). Challenge to Ken: find a direct quote from Derb that supports characterization.

    Oh, and to commenter “puss-filled fistula” @desconhecido. First, might want to check your anatomy. Did you really mean fistula and not pustule? More to the point, let’s bite the bullet. Let’s go look at that Derb piece in takimag you linked to, the one that got him fired from NR.

    The paragraphs are helpfully numbered 1-15; which one do you find the most objectionable, outrageous, factually incorrect? Is it (9), where Derbyshire estimates that around 5% of American blacks are “ferociously hostile” toward whites? That might seem a bit over the top, but let’s click on that link Derb provides there. Why, it’s a clip of Dr. Kamau Kambon advocating the extermination of all white people(!) on C-span(!!) to audience applause(!!!). Allright then, Derb may be off by a percentage point in either direction, but I can’t dispute the general sentiment.

    In fact, try as I might, I can’t find a single thing I disagree with or even am offended by in this article. Believe me — I tried! As a product of the American education system and a respected tenured professor, it would assuage my conformist instincts to find something in Derbyshire’s piece I could distance myself from. Sorry, I can’t.

    Oh, and another thing for @Ken. You want me to “articulate what exactly separates Derbyshire from your idiot cousin you sends you the Obama-is-a-Kenyan emails”? Easy. Aside from speaking in complete, flowing sentences — and occasionally using a word that’ll send you to the dictionary — John Derbyshire is obsessively, scrupulously, fastidiously careful with his facts and sources. I don’t believe he’s ever made a major factual blunder in all of his literary career, and the minor errors he’s quick to acknowledge and correct. I don’t have an idiot cousin who does that, do you?

  72. says

    Is it (9), where Derbyshire estimates that around 5% of American blacks are “ferociously hostile” toward whites? That might seem a bit over the top, but let’s click on that link Derb provides there. Why, it’s a clip of Dr. Kamau Kambon advocating the extermination of all white people(!) on C-span(!!) to audience applause(!!!). Allright then, Derb may be off by a percentage point in either direction, but I can’t dispute the general sentiment.

    ohn Derbyshire is obsessively, scrupulously, fastidiously careful with his facts and sources.

    Hilariously typical. The overblown pretensions to intellectual rigor swiftly revealing numbers and notions pulled out of the ass.

  73. says

    All right then, what percentage of American blacks would *you* estimate to be “ferociously hostile” toward whites? Zero? 48.7? Any reasonable estimate from personal experience will do. Note that his 5% was presented as a rough, subjective estimate — not an official, sourced statistic, of which he quotes plenty.
    Who are all those people applauding on C-span when Dr. Kamau suggests with a straight face to kill all whites? Does that count as ferocious hatred?

    And needless to say, my challenge to provide direct quote from Derb where he claims something to the extent of “some people are inherently biologically and socially inferior” went unanswered.

  74. says

    But this is the point. Derbyshire doesn't sell himself — and you didn't try to sell him — as a stylist. He brags about being an empiricist, and you carry his water. So what's empirical about that number? How does the video link constitute empiricism? How is it any different than me saying "15% of Americans are intractably racist" with a link to a Klan video?

    And seriously — you build this guy up as accurate and careful and reliable, and when someone asks how he came up with a very specific number, your response is "well, you prove it's some other number"? That' scruples? That's fastidiousness? Please.

    Don't put on the mantle of rigor unless you want to defend it.

  75. says

    I don't carry water for anyone; I have tenure. But since you obsess over this particular 5% figure — while studiously ignoring my challenge to produce a Derb quote where he claims any group is racially inferior — I don't mind indulging you a bit.

    That link doesn't prove anything, though hopefully it should prompt a thoughtful person such as yourself to, y'know think. Who's in that C-span audience? Who is applauding? Is that hate-speech? Incitement to murder? What percentage of American blacks can you honestly imagine walking out indignantly out of that event? What percent would applaud?

    That 5% is a figure of speech, as is any figure quoted without a source and admittedly based on a rough estimate from personal experience. If he had written
    "A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites" and omitted that "in my experience" inclusion, would that have totally disarmed your objections to him? Because you're staking the house on that 5%.

  76. says

    "Obsessing over it" is a rhetorical device like "hysterical."

    It's one of the most prominent and pungent claims in the article, and is calculated to be. It's in the article of someone who sells himself as an empiricist. YOU sell him as rigorous.

    I point it out because I've noticed a trend — fans of "race realists" tend to talk big about rigor, but use a whole lot of "rhetorical devices."

    Ultimately, though, there are a few things going on. One is that I have a deep skepticism of a field with a history of junk science used for political purposes. (It always amuses me that the people who rapturously embrace "race science" are often the same people who are skeptical about the politics of, say, global warming science.) But more to the point, I find people who are preoccupied with "race science" to be deeply creepy.

    Say that there is some significant variation in "IQ" based on "race" that's not actually about environment or resources or culture. I'm trying to thing about what that would change in the way I treat human beings. Clearly Deb has ideas about how it should change the way you deal with them. But I don't see it — legally, morally, or philosophically. When people are preoccupied with the concept, I suspect — not unreasonably — that they are casting about looking for junk science reasons to justify treating people differently based on race, as we traditionally have. It's like the periodic "'science' shows conservatives are less intelligent/adaptive/brave than liberals" 'studies' that come out. They seem only nominally about scientific inquiry, and more about two purposes: (1) smarmily demeaning the enemy, and (2) offering junk science as a justification for discrimination.

    Or let me use an analogy. Say that you are very interested in advocating the proposition that the age of consent should be 12. You bring it up a lot when the subject of tweens comes up. You inject it into discussions of educational policy. You cite statistics about tween brain development and argue that 12 is a relatively high age in human history. You talk about how people who don't agree with you are close-minded.

    Completely aside from my evaluation of your science, I'm not going to let you baby-sit my 12-year-old daughter.

  77. says

    Rhetorical devices?! How about smearing your opponent with a non sequitur pedophile analogy?

    Did you read that article entirely? That 5% claim is by far not the most controversial, offensive, or "pungent" claim. Look, by your logic, anytime a mathematician used vague, imprecise reasoning — with full acknowledgement that it's vague and imprecise — it would call into question his rigorous claims. Derb makes both rigorous claims and vague ones. I sell him as rigorous based on those claims he states rigorously, and backs up with sources. This dead horse is starting to stink, shall we quit flogging it and move to something less, ahem, pungent?

    I also notice that you're avoiding engaging any specific points. You've of course failed to find any direct quote of Derb claiming any group to be racially inferior, yet you lack the… what's that word… honesty? intellectual rigor? to walk back your claim. Instead, you move on to generalities. Let's not talk about Derb, let's talk about "race realists" — that nebulous glob of people (surely including your bucktoothed birther cousin) which (as Derb readily admits in print!) contains its share of kooks. Except we weren't talking about the general cohort of "race realists", we were talking about Derb — before you tried to steer the discussion towards more favorable turf, that is.

    I also find it rather amusing that you for some reason threw climate science into the mix — seeing as Derb has taken much flack from the right for saying he believes the scientific concensus on AGW*. He's also an atheist and can probably articulate evolutionary principles (not to mention hold his own in undergraduate math) better than you can. But this isn't about you, it's about Derb (and sorry for the cheap rhetorical device, consider it payback for the pedophilia smear).

    All snarkiness aside, you strike me as an honest man who can handle a bit of candor. I suspect you haven't actually read much of Derbyshire's writings, otherwise you wouldn't have written, "Clearly Derb has ideas about how it should change the way you deal with them." This is in the context of different human populations having different average characteristics. The keyword here is "average", which is a concept I understand and Derbyshire understands and I sincerely hope you also understand (if not, my apologies for having wasted both of our time). Derbyshire has gone on record, repeatedly and unequivocally, stating that all individual human beings should be treated as just that. I stress *individuals* vs. the aggregate.*

    Derbyshire will be just as polite and courteous as you will to any stranger he meets, of any race or gender. As for his "racist" fear of black mobs… What percentage of the households in your neighborhood are black, Ken? How does it compare to the percentage of blacks in the US population? Could it be that you're guilty of some of that Derb-style racism, in actions if not in words?

    * links available upon request

  78. says

    Rhetorical devices?! How about smearing your opponent with a non sequitur pedophile analogy?

    It's not a non-sequitur. It's an analogy of why I find Derb and you fucking creepy and worry about what you'd do if given the power. I worry about what kind of rights my children would have in a nation run to Derb's or your specifications. I CERTAINLY worry about the safety of my children in a nation run to the specifications of the overt bigots squatting cheerfully on your coattails, cheering for Derb.

    You've of course failed to find any direct quote of Derb claiming any group to be racially inferior, yet you lack the… what's that word… honesty? intellectual rigor? to walk back your claim. Instead, you move on to generalities.

    That's because it's going to be so tedious. I'm going to point to what he says about IQ, and point to how he seats it next to exhortations to avoid other racial groups. I'm going to point to how he says you should avoid groups and just cultivate fake cover friendships. You're going to parse those and say he never says "inferior." It's tiresome.

    Ultimately, though he has articulated it at great length, I find his "this is sheer intellectual curiosity and it's completely coincidental that it's of great interest and use to white supremacists and often funded by white supremacist organizations" to be completely incredible. That's especially because of the contexts in which he employs it — for instance, in the classic "how dare black people tell their children to be careful about getting shot, here's the things you should know about how dangerous black people are" essay.

    He's also an atheist and can probably articulate evolutionary principles (not to mention hold his own in undergraduate math) better than you can.

    Now there's a low bar.

    I didn't say that Derb himself questions AGW, but that I observed that many of the publications he favors and his hangers-on do.

    Let's not talk about Derb, let's talk about "race realists" — that nebulous glob of people (surely including your bucktoothed birther cousin) which (as Derb readily admits in print!) contains its share of kooks.

    It's rendered less nebulous by Derb's decision to legitimize it with his support and society (see, e.g., American Renaissance).

    "Clearly Derb has ideas about how it should change the way you deal with them." This is in the context of different human populations having different average characteristics. The keyword here is "average", which is a concept I understand and Derbyshire understands and I sincerely hope you also understand (if not, my apologies for having wasted both of our time). Derbyshire has gone on record, repeatedly and unequivocally, stating that all individual human beings should be treated as just that. I stress *individuals* vs. the aggregate.*

    Yet Derb explicitly employs his allegedly scientific notions of racial differences to policy and geopolitics:

    Quoth Derb:

    Leaving aside the intended malice, I actually think “White Supremacist” is not bad semantically. White supremacy, in the sense of a society in which key decisions are made by white Europeans, is one of the better arrangements History has come up with.

    Derbyshire will be just as polite and courteous as you will to any stranger he meets, of any race or gender.

    I accept that, should he meet a black person despite his efforts to avoid them, he may deploy formal courtesy to their face despite advising his children to view them with suspicion and avoid them.

    What percentage of the households in your neighborhood are black, Ken? How does it compare to the percentage of blacks in the US population? Could it be that you're guilty of some of that Derb-style racism, in actions if not in words?

    Ah, yes, the "if you really believed in racial equality you'd move to someplace that precisely reflected the national ethnic percentages" argument. Like most people, my choice of where to live reflects a combination of familiarity, tradition, access to work, cost, and access to friends and recreation. However, I did not choose to live here because of the racial makeup of the city council or county supervisors. This would be an excellent criticism if I said things like "you can tell people are racist because they choose to live in the suburbs" or something. But I don't, because that's stupid.

  79. says

    It's too bad that you find me "fucking creepy". I, for one, do not find you creepy (fucking or otherwise) — on the contrary, I'm grateful for the opportunity engage in some verbal sparring with a worthy opponent. You have (so far) lived up to your committment to free speech, though not everything I said has been kind to you personally (I imagine you've seen much, much worse though). I also imagine we're both rather busy (I know I am — that stack of exams ain't going away on its own), so I see this current bout winding down, but, as a famous Austrian actor once said, I'll be back.

    I do wonder, though, how you managed to know so much about what sort of a nation I'd design to my specifications. As far as I know, our only contact has been the exchange in this comment thread. So: from my defense of John Derbyshire as a political commentator you can extrapolate an entire world-view? I am in awe of your powers; in the future, I'll just communicate in half-grunts and let you infer the rest. Sapienti sat*

    * oh, all right — control-F it:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Latin_phrases_(S)

  80. says

    I do wonder, though, how you managed to know so much about what sort of a nation I'd design to my specifications.

    In fact, try as I might, I can’t find a single thing I disagree with or even am offended by in this article.

  81. jay-w says

    Say that there is some significant variation in "IQ" based on "race" that's not actually about environment or resources or culture. I'm trying to thing about what that would change in the way I treat human beings.

    It probably wouldn't (and definitely shouldn't!) change the way you treat individual human beings, but it might change the way that you treat collective groups of human beings. It might have a significant impact on your attitudes toward affirmative action (for example) or "disparate impact" jurisprudence.

    For example (and these are purely hypothetical numbers that I just pulled out of my hat): Suppose that Koreans have a group average IQ of 110 and Guatemalans have an average IQ of 90. If that is the case, then there are going to be a whole lot more Korean math professors at CalTech than Guatemalan math professors — and you wouldn't have to resort to wild theories about institutionalized anti-Guatemalan racism to explain it.

  82. says

    I know I said I'd go away for a while, but I finished grading those exams. Let me try again. You admitted that Dr. Kamau creeps you out: "Of course [he does]. Are his ideas well-represented by any presidential contenders?"

    At that point, I should have reminded you about our current President's association with notorious terrorist Bill Ayers and notorious hate-filled bigot Jeremiah "God Damn America" Wright. The latter has sung praises of Louis Farrakhan, another delightful fellow. Are you fucking creeped out by Obama, @Ken?

  83. says

    Are you fucking creeped out by Obama, @Ken?

    Yes. But primarily because he's solidified the military and security state — drone strikes, reduced due process, etc.

  84. says

    It probably wouldn't (and definitely shouldn't!) change the way you treat individual human beings, but it might change the way that you treat collective groups of human beings. It might have a significant impact on your attitudes toward affirmative action (for example) or "disparate impact" jurisprudence.

    Yes, I'm familiar with this argument. Yet — as Derb's speech-to-kids suggests — race realist policy interests seem to go far, far beyond the relatively narrow fields of affirmative action (which is problematic whether or not you're a race realist, as any Asian kid applying to college can tell you) or disparate impact jurisprudence (which is far less common than it was in the 70s and 80s).

  85. Sinij says

    I am saddened to see Ken subscribes to blank slate ideology. Is it too far of a stretch for you to consider that if some Kenyan tribe produces the world's best runners, there might be more to this, and not just running?

  86. says

    I am saddened to see Ken subscribes to blank slate ideology.

    I don't know what "blank slate ideology" is, but if it's an ingrained suspicion about purported inherent differences in intelligence and a general opposition to elaborate justifications for treating people differently based on their ethnicity, then it's damned odd that it saddens you that I subscribe to it.

  87. jay-w says

    Yet — as Derb's speech-to-kids suggests — race realist policy interests seem to go far, far beyond the relatively narrow fields of affirmative action … or disparate impact jurisprudence …"

    Well, that's what happens when an entire field of inquiry is declared off-limits in respectable conversation. The ideas don't cease to exist; they go off and fester in dark places. Any mainstream academic who tried to undertake a serious study of the mental and psychological differences (if any) between different ethnic groups would have his career destroyed by the SJW's before he managed to acquire a single datapoint. Hence, the entire field is left wide open for hacks and quacks and people with axes to grind.

    There is so much fascinating science that is not being addressed. If it is really true that the human brain is somehow magically exempt from the laws of evolution that govern every other bodily organ and every other living thing on the planet, then I would certainly like to know why.

  88. Doctor X says

    If non-lawyers should not expound up the law, then non-biologists should not expound upon human evolution, particularly given the very short–on an evolutionary scale–time span between now and the development of what is called race. It requires a singular inattention to neurological development.

    The funny thing about science is if evidence exists, it is easy to find, it is reproducible, and people will find it. For more than a century, scientists have searched for these differences, particularly in countries where "SJWs" did not exist, and have yet found no evidence for "mental and psychological differences (if any) between different ethnic groups."

  89. Sinij says

    No Ken, it is irrational fear of acknowledging genetic biodiversity out of misguided fear of being seen as a racist. Knowledge is knowledge, and it is how you apply it that determines the rest. Refusing to acknowledge, or even going as far as book-burning the facts is absolutely pointless – knowledge is intention-neutral.

    Some people are lucky to be fast runners, some are lucky to be artistic, some are lucky to be good at abstract thoughts. Hardly anyone lucky to be good at everything, and very few are unfortunate to be comparatively bad at everything. We need to stop peddling "you can be good at anything" BS, it only applicable to statistically insignificant number of people. Sooner you can find what you are good at, sooner you can become productive.

    We have no problems using the fact that some breeds of cows are much better at producing milk than others, why the same won't be true for humans? Genetics work the same way for homo sapiens. If, for example, we know that Ashkenazi jews make good scientists, why not focus our educational system on helping them become scientists? Wealth and class already do this to some extent, but it is far from efficient.

    Now, feel free to resume your regularly-scheduled programming of calling anyone simply acknowledging differences a car-carrying KKK member. After all, life is so much simpler when you can pretend everything is black and white.

  90. says

    Hi it's me again. Just wanted to alert you to Derb's most recent racist screed, in The New Criterion, of all places:
    http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Stuff-happens-8329
    (by a strange coincidence, my inbred cousin also published in that issue — did yours too?).

    So I'd like some input from @Ken. Shall we alert the editorial board of The New Criterion that a vile racist is besmirching their pages and good name? Or are they a lost cause, to be blacklisted as hateful White Supremacists, together with the AmRen folks?

    PS Do read that piece, it's not long and delightful. Sample quote:
    "Ridley … steer[s] well clear of topics regarded as controversial by leftish social scientists (excuse the pleonasm). He does, however, show a flash of heterodox ankle when discussing human intelligence." It's gems like this that I love old Derb for. My cousin Billy Bob would surely have been a superior master of the pen, had he not shot some of his fingers off.

  91. Castaigne says

    @Ken White:

    Only if by "free speech" you mean some imagined positive right for people to listen to you and take you seriously, as opposed to a negative right not to be punished for the speech.

    I'm seeing "free speech" as a separate item from the speaker. You are not required to take the speaker seriously; just the speech. The speaker is just a vehicle for the speech, infinitely and completely replaceable. So it does not matter who the speaker is, so long as the speech itself is taken seriously.

    ===

    @PJ:

    Lacking the ability to give a platform to everyone, we have two choices:
    -allow and consider opinions totally at random, or
    -come up with some method, however imperfect, for ranking and prioritizing opinions.

    Practically speaking, I agree. I personally would look for a technological solution to the problem, but computers aren't really up to the challenge yet.

    ===

    @Dalton Ames:

    I also plan to apologize to a bunch of youtube commenters.

    And seriously, so you should.

    ===

    @Williebob:

    A more honest President at a private school might instead issue a statement arguing for a disinvite, and opening the debate up with the students who might want to hear Derbyshire or argue with him in person.

    I guess, if the Boss is inclined to debate things. Perhaps this is just me, but I don't expect the Boss to debate anything. The Boss commands, the subordinates obey. So it is entirely unsurprising to me that there was no invitation to debate; I wouldn't expect one.

    that a robust and free press serves a critical function for providing the information we need to grow as a society.

    OK, great. Yes, I accept that supposition.
    …and what of it? At the current state of things, the press itself decides what is "robust and free". So, if this is what they decide to do…

    ===

    @Jordan:

    Boy, there's a shocker.

    Do you have a more practical solution to force platforming that does not involve force?

    ===

    @Lizard:

    If I took drink every time a Popehat commentator genuinely or trollingly seemed to not comprehend the difference between having the right to do something and having it be the right thing to do

    I refuse to take a public stance on "the right thing to do" as that would morally obligate me to enforce what I think is "right" on the public. So, one is only left with "Is this legal for me to do?" – and that has to be sufficient.

  92. jay-w says

    given the very short … time span between now and the development of what is called race. It requires a singular inattention to neurological development.

    The best available scientific evidence is that "what is called race" developed over the last 50,000 years after a relatively small group of humans migrated out of central Africa and rapidly diverged all over Eurasia and the Western hemisphere.

    That 50,000 year interval was sufficient to allow for the evolution of very significant changes in many of their bodily functions/organs, not just skin color, hair texture & distribution, but also the ability to metabolize lactose, genetic adaptation to extreme high altitude by Quechua Indians & Tibetans, resistance to various diseases, changes in average height, athletic ability, etc., etc., etc.

    If you want to claim that the brain is uniquely resistant to the effects of natural selection compared to other organs, that's fine. But you need to offer some proof — especially in view of the fact that the personalities and mental functioning (and hence the brains) of other mammals, dogs in particular, have undergone a huge amount of divergence between breeds within a much shorter time-frame.

  93. Doctor X says

    To one who does not bother to direct comments:

    "If you want to claim that the brain is uniquely resistant to the effects of natural selection compared to other organs, that's fine."

    leaving aside the inappropriate analogies made particularly with regards to single gene traits, simply show what has been requested:

    Evidence for "mental and psychological differences (if any) between different ethnic groups."

    Otherwise, this is simply me appealing to Ken: "What? You mean in all of those books behind you you can say law doesn't change?" to support my belief that if a defendant never, ever speaks, he can never, ever be convicted.

    Or to paraphrase Feynman as posted in a more recent article by His White Kennis: if it does not fit the evidence than the theory, no matter how beautiful, no matter how much fallacy you throw, is wrong.

  94. Malakyp says

    All opinions are not equal, and I don't have to provide a failsafe qualitative measurement to justify such a statement, because there are two reasons that support it, each of which could–in a theoretical sense–be analyzed qualitatively.

    First, most opinions are not "pure" statements of opinion. They include and are predicated upon statements of fact, or at least statements which are presented as if they are factual. The accuracy of the underlying factual statements is a measure of the value of the opinion; to wit, opinions that require contrafactual premises are less valuable than those which have a working correspondence to the physical world. "The world is controlled by lizard people" requires the assumption into evidence that there are, first and foremost, lizard people, before addressing the opinion that they have an influence disproportionate with their population and social value. There is no such evidence; thus, the opinion is weaker than a form-similar claim that "The world is controlled by the moneyed elite."

    Second, even if we assume, for the sake of argument, that all opinions are worthy of equal consideration de novo, many opinions and categories of opinions, have been given the appropriate social and intellectual consideration. "Individuals with sufficiently dark skin color are property, not people," is an opinion which has been given considerable social examination, and found not only wanting, but abjectly repellent. That doesn't mean that those who would espouse it lose the right to do so; that's the essence of the First Amendment. But it does mean that when selecting ideas to be presented in a forum, perhaps especially in an educational sense, there is less (if any) need to have it presented in the company of other ideas–either new ones, or those which have more robustly withstood the judgment of peers.

    Even if you believe opinions all begin equal, they most assuredly do not stay that way.

  95. Doctor X says

    @Malakyp

    Exactly! Thus my "opinion" that the IRS is "unconstitutional" or by merely refusing to plead a defendant cannot be tried. Both are not simply based on delusion and ignorance, they are opinions that are contrary to facts.

    Continuing the absurd analogy a bit, suppose I claim that evidence exists for either of my opinions. Where is it? Can I cite a case, a single case, where either approach survived? Now turning to biology, such a case would be a "fact" easy to find and verify. If my opinions were valid, lawyers here could point to any number of cases where such approaches not only worked, but were upheld, or even a conviction overturned based on reasoning similar to my opinion. Obviously, such a search will be in vain. I suppose I could then scream–ALLCAPS CANNOT BE REFUTTED!–that it is "fear" that prevents "you all" from searching for the evidence that proves my opinions valid.

    You stumble over biological facts. You cannot avoid them. Just as I cannot avoid the case law, statutory law, et cetera that proves my opinions to be, well, bullshit.

    So where are the biological facts, or perhaps better stated, the observations that require us to search for inherent mental and intellectual differences between different ethnic groups? As I blathered previously, many have tried for over a century to find them.

    Where are they?

    Same place as the "facts" that I base my legal opinions upon: in willfully ignorant prejudice.

    Now, as you suggest, while I have a "right to my opinion" others have a right to tear it apart even conclude it is not worth further attention.

  96. Nullifidian says

    If, for example, we know that Ashkenazi jews make good scientists, why not focus our educational system on helping them become scientists?

    Sample lesson:

    Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm really awfuly glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse.

  97. Sinij says

    @Nullifidian

    Yes, reaching such outcome is a concern. What would you suggest instead, should we just abandon all hope and surrender to inevitable arrival of Idiocracy?

  98. Shtetl G says

    Only if by "free speech" you mean some imagined positive right for people to listen to you and take you seriously, as opposed to a negative right not to be punished for the speech.

    The positive right necessarily collapses on itself: if your freedom requires me to take you seriously, then I am not free.

    My favorite part of a weird comment thread and an excellent illustration of the difference between positive and negative rights.

  99. Doctor X says

    @Sinij

    What would you suggest instead, should we just abandon all hope and surrender to inevitable arrival of Idiocracy?

    I will take Tertium Non Datur Fallacy for $1000, Alex!

  100. Sinij says

    If you were born more than 50 years ago, maybe you'd have known about reversal in Flynn effect in developed nations. Instead, we will just blame increased genetic load in the population.

  101. Doctor X says

    Had you bothered to study the subject you would know that it does not support your prejudice.

    We will just recognize your ignorance as willful.

  102. Doctor X says

    I merely point out the truth of your fallacies, son. For example, you have just engaged in a tu quoque fallacy in your feeble yet ultimately vain furtherance of your argumentum ad vertatem obfuscandam tactic.

    I am awesome in that way.

    Cease making fallacies and they shall ceasing being exposed. Or, at least, consider more interesting fallacies like argumentum ad judicem given this is a law blog of sorts.

    Or, better yet, cease trying to justify your prejudice.

  103. Dragoness Eclectic says

    The government is controlled by lizard people

    Hmm, low appetite (government cafeteria food. 'nuff said), somnolent except when distracted by moving objects, torporous when cold, slow metabolism in general, unblinking stare for long periods (at the computer)….

    Well, I work in government and that describes me pretty well. No scales, though.

  104. Sinij says

    @Doctor X

    Well, as long as you believe yourself to be awesome, whom I am to disagree?

    At the same time, I'd you rather take a break from your sweet dreams and attempt to address any points raised in this discussion. For example, you completely failed to substantiate your position that human genetics operate in completely different way than in any other mammal on Earth.

    Onus probandi

  105. End Echo Chambers says

    If you had bothered to read up on "onus probandi" you would note that it's the first person to make these allegations that has to prove them. You were the first to make the allegations, ergo the onus is on YOU.

    And if you note that Ken "was the first and I'm just responding to him", I'd note that he's responding to Derbyshire, and as a supporter of him I'm sure you'd be a staunch defender of his arguments, no?

  106. desconheido says

    "For example, you completely failed to substantiate your position that human genetics operate in completely different way than in any other mammal on Earth."

    Who holds that position? Is this one of those red herring things or is it a straw man sort of thing? Never could keep my phalluses straight.

    So far as I can tell, your position is that we should "focus our educational system" on creating more Jewish scientists (Jews being bearers of the science gene and all) because there is a suboptimal number of them. That idea seems to me to be at least minimally enfraughtened and if you want anyone to address it with any seriousness you should clearly state your proposition and the evidence supporting it. You haven't done that, instead opting for a strategy of making vague statements based on ignorance — a lack of understanding of biology and genetics and how, when, and where, modern man has developed.

    As the Doctor said, if you have evidence for "mental and psychological differences (if any) between different ethnic groups" show it. So far your evidence appears to be claiming that some dairy cows produce more milk than others (probably true) and therefore we have a dearth of Jewish scientists and we need to do something to get more. Let me know if you need this translated to German. I can't do that, but could use the laugh.

  107. Doctor X says

    I have no beliefs; nevertheless, I find it best not to fly in the face of public opinion.

    When you finish your temper-tantrum, get your sippy-cup, and I send Your Mom™ around to tuck you into your crib, perhaps you will find evidence to justify the prejudice you have so fair failed to defend.

    Thus, between tossing your toys from the pram and demanding we put on Frozen yet again, you could only bleat another argumentum ad veritatem obfuscandam. An older child who has achieved a reading comprehension that has yet to ravage you yet the ape creatures of the Indus have mastered, would know I never made such a fatuous claim. Instead, I rather asked that you provide evidence for the difference you and others of a like willful ignorant prejudice claim to exist.

    I know . . . I know . . . you cannot, you know you cannot, we know you cannot.

  108. andrews says

    A private institution has the right to decline to provide a platform for whomever it desires, based on whatever whim propels it.

    Of course it does. I think most of us would disapprove of compelling Williams College and its feckless leadership to provide a forum for anyone whom they dislike.

    Here in the private sector, the rest of us are free to point, laugh, and jeer at Williams College, perhaps describing its leadership in deservedly unflattering terms. And the school is free to respond to that criticism, telling us how responsibly it is coddling its special snowflakes.

    Boring end result: the answer to Williams College's presidential speech is more speech, including the original article and many of the comments above.

  109. Rapster says

    I had never heard of Derbyshire before, but find his race politics disturbing and unsettling. Still, based on some comments here I sought out his work and tripped across his book Prime Obsession. It has some of the most delightful, witty, illuminating, and helpful writing I've ever encountered. If he comes to town I'd probably go hear him talk, though I'd sit by the door in case he launched into race issues.

  110. R. says

    If I wanted to read warmed-over turn-of-the-twentieth-century junk-science self-satisfied "race realism" smugly presented as something new and daring

    You're going to eat a lot of crow once the genetics of human intelligence are untangled and it becomes literally impossible to keep denying that ancestry matters.

    That might happen in under a decade.

    I understand that as an American you are invested into maintaining the facade of believing the wisdom that all human populations are essentially the same despite (in some cases) tens of thousands of years of separate evolution. Look at what happened to James Watson..

  111. Doctor X says

    You racists have been eating said crow for over a century, son.

    It has nothing to do with your grand argumentum ad ignorantiam: if such differences you so desperately want to exist existed, they would be manifest. THEN perhaps "the genetics of human intelligence" would become relevant to explain them.

    But you have nothing and are, ultimately, nothing.

  112. R. says

    It has nothing to do with your grand argumentum ad ignorantiam: if such differences you so desperately want to exist existed, they would be manifest.

    @Dr.X.

    If race is just BS, and poverty is what makes people stoopid, then why are SAT scores of children of the poorest whites about the same as those of children of wealthy blacks?

    See chart here: http://www.jbhe.com/latest/index012209_p.html

    Also, differences not manifest? :D .. You have to be joking. Every culture-blind test shows gaps.

  113. Doctor X says

    This is the problem when dealing with racists. Since they cannot find evidence to justify their prejudices they make up strawman arguments such as this:

    "If race is just BS, and poverty is what makes people stoopid [Sic–Ed.],"

    No one made either of those claims. I could write paragraphs on what is wrong with those claims he tries to smear on others.

    Nevertheless, I will remind he, as have others, failed to provide evidence for what Ken White asked for, which I will type slowly:

    So where are the biological facts, or perhaps better stated, the observations that require us to search for inherent mental and intellectual differences between different ethnic groups? As I blathered previously, many have tried for over a century to find them.

    Where are they?

    Still waiting. . . .

    Bigots have been keeping us waiting for over a century.

  114. Sinij says

    " if you have evidence for "mental and psychological differences (if any) between different ethnic groups" show it. "

    The evidence is there, but there almost zero chance it will be looked at. Instead, frothing and acquisitions of racism will ensue.

    Look up any number of papers on Ashkenzai Jews or just look how many Nobels went to Jewish scientists. Interestingly, how is non-Jew like me advocating pro-Jew views makes one racist?

  115. Sinij says

    @Doctor X

    Is racist in Doctor X's own language stands for 'person I disagree with'? Because you clearly don't understand what that word means in English.

  116. desconhecido says

    "Because you clearly don't understand what that word means in English."

    Are you acquisitioning Dr X of having poor English language skills?

  117. desconhecido says

    "just look how many Nobels went to Jewish scientists."

    Lots of Jews have won Nobel prizes. Are you arguing that this is good evidence for the assertion that Jews are genetically more intelligent than members of some other ethnic group? South Koreans are taller than North Koreans. What does this tell you about genetic differences between the two groups?

    "Interestingly, how is non-Jew like me advocating pro-Jew views makes one racist?"

    Interesting another argument you seem be make to silly. Racist one makes by argument reason of and for attitudes, not by status Jew.

  118. Doctor X says

    A racist is merely upset he must suffer the consequences of being a racist.

    His inability to provide the required evidence continues to remain noticed.

    Weak is this one.

  119. sinij says

    I could link to a number of papers by Jensen, like his 1998 "The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability", or Rushton's 1995 "Race, evolution, and behavior: a life history perspective", or Kevin Mitchell essay "The genetics of stupidity"… but you will just hand wave all of this and/or apply impossible standard of proof. All while continuing making counter-claims, without any proof, that humanity is somehow exempted from selective pressures applied to any other organism. Because the life could be fair only if this is true. Because you don't want to ever consider that you might have succeeded because you were born with inherited advantage.

    If you are willing to broaden your horizons, read Nicholas Wade "A Troublesome Inheritance" book.

  120. Doctor X says

    Yet you do not; nevertheless, Jensen does not provide the evidence required. Ruston? Are you serious? You cite a psychologist untrained in evolutionary biology? Widely recognized as a racist?

    I am not surprised a racist cites racists.

    Nevertheless, it does not take much effort to tear a racist crank apart, but since I am awesome, you may start your homework with:

    [Not allowing the link so nilevalleypeoples. blogspot. c o m /2010/09/ blog- post. html with removal of spaces.–Ed.]

    No, son, it is not "broad horizons" but a narrow and willfully ignorant mind that holds to racism.

    You fail again. You can either grow up and shed your need to "feel special" or you can continue to fail.

  121. desconhecido says

    Rushton has always been one of my favorites. He's the guy who proved that IQ tests measure penis length.

  122. Doctor X says

    I will note, en passant that unless one can provide such evidence he remains as worthy of attention as a 9/11 or Sandy Hook "Tw00fer," a Holocaust Denier, a Creationist, a Flat-Earther, a Pony Fancier, a Sovereign Citizen, a chemtrailer, a Jets fan, or even Kanye West.

    The due diligence expended by your average IQ lame, tap-dancing oyster could use This Miracle from Al Gore to discover why all of those are as laughable as his racism. There becomes a point where the ignorance is willful and, given his citation of cranks and racists, I fear he passed that point far too long ago.

    Thus, he becomes boring. At least Flat-Earthers have an ethos. . . .

  123. Doctor X says

    "Rushton has always been one of my favorites. He's the guy who proved that IQ tests measure penis length."

    Now that is comedy!

  124. Rich Rostrom says

    When it is a sine qua non of respectability to speak and behave as though the Emperor is gorgeously appareled, no matter what, it will fall to unsavory cranks and louts and hustlers to point out Imperial nudity.

    Vide the current appeal of Donald Trump.

    The respectable people may of course enforce their consensus anyway. Williams College will be steadfast, I'm sure. Until the Emperor freezes to death.

  125. Sinij says

    @Doctor X

    For all your love of calling out fallacies, you certainly like to partake in ad hominem the most. Please by all means point out what is wrong with my reasoning or sources. Unlike you, I am open to changing my mind. I will even go as far as reading cited papers.

    Perhaps you can calm down and stop shouting "Racist! Burn him, he is a racist!" long enough to answer couple questions?

    Q1. Do you agree that races evolved to show superficial differences (e.g. skin tone, hair color) ?
    Q2. Do you agree that races evolved physiological differences (e.g. running endurance, predisposition for sarcoidosis, adaptations for high altitude) ?
    Q3. Do you agree that other species (e.g. bovine breeds) shown difference in physiological traits?
    Q4. Do you agree that other species (e.g. dog breeds) shown difference in mental traits?
    Q5. Do you agree that human intelligence follows normal distribution? That is, some humans are smarter than others?
    Q6. Do you agree that some human phenotypes, like pygmies, have dissimilar mean and standard distribution for intelligence when compared to US or EU general population? Why or why not?

  126. Doctor X says

    Non sequitur, son.

    Nevertheless, a fallacy is not a fallacy if it is true and relevant: You are a racist. You expose racist views. You quote and appeal to racists.

    I have merely recognized what you are; if you are unhappy you should avail yourself of the remedies kindly suggested and obtain an education and maturity.

    Your questions expose you as not having read the replies, the link given to you, or the basics of human biology. You remain the 9/11 "Tw00fer" bleating about how "jet fuel can't melt steel!!11!" without understanding the basics.

    Again, either demonstrate what has been asked forfrom which you keep fleeing and vainly attempting to distract attention from–or run along to Stormfront or other places that celebrate ignorance.

    And snort Ken White's taint.

  127. sinij says

    Have you heard about 'false dilemma'? It is type of thinking that lead to Bush's infamous "You're either with us, or against us". The fault in this way of thinking is that it ignores many other in-between possibilities and confuses definitions by over-generalizing opposing 'against us' group.

    I understand you strongly feel about social justice, but painting anyone who disagrees with your absolutist views as a member of Stormfront is not going to convince anyone who isn't already a true believer. What do you expect going to happen? Do you actually expect that if only you shout Racist! harder, if only you act more condescending, if only you fail to engage arguments and not the person one more time I would actually change my mind? Please explain your magical thinking to me.

    Here is how I see this. I don't think you are at all interested in discussing anything related to genetics and race. Instead, you are working your hardest to avoid any kind of debate. It is apparent that you are simply virtue-signalling your peers. That is, you are lashing at a straw man to prove to others that you are not a racist. Congratulations, you completely vanquished the straw man.

  128. James says

    Williams is a private college however…

    The 5th Circuit Court attempted to address this issue (Brooks vs Auburn 1969 http://openjurist.org/412/f2d/1171/brooks-v-auburn-university). The right in question is not the (positive) right of Derbyshire to be hosted to speak at Williams College. The right in question is the right of some identifiable members of Williams College to bring a speaker to Williams College. The court defines this as the right to hear. Another interpretation is the right to speak via proxy speaker. In this case the administration is selectively censoring some members of Williams College. This is similar to restricting what films a student group could show on campus based on the content of the film. Private school and all that it does not violate the First Amendment but may violate contractual statements made by the college.

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