Saturday, December 08, 2007

II - Why Has David Mills Internalized Racist Pseudo-Science?

If as your post on the subject suggests David, The Bell Curve and selective breeding are the sole basis for your uncritical acceptance of genetic determinism of IQ in humans - you have disclosed specific logical fallacies coupled with basic scientific ignorance as the foundation of your beliefs on this subject. Perhaps there's more to it than that - but thus far - those are the basis which you've cited.

Broadly speaking, in the former case you've made a fallacious appeal to authority coupled with basic scientific ignorance that not even Murray or Herrnstein endeavored;
The authors were reported throughout the popular press as arguing that these IQ differences are genetic, although they state no position on the issue in the book, and write in the introduction to Chapter 13 that "The debate about whether and how much genes and environment have to do with ethnic differences remains unresolved."
- and in the latter case fallacious question begging coupled with basic scientific ignorance . (restated in more popularly accessible terms here)

There are tons of reasons why Murray and Herrnstein refused to subject the polemical thesis of The Bell Curve to peer review. It was a masterpiece of deceptive conservative propaganda intended to provoke controversy and fool the gullible. As such, it was wildly successful and it even appears to have worked like a charm on you;
Jump to "The Bell Curve." Like a lot of thoughtful people, I followed that controversy closely. Particularly the many rebuttal essays published in Commentary and The New Republic.

It was the unpersuasiveness of those rebuttals which impacted me. I was like, "Shit... they didn't knock it down at all." I was rooting for them to. But they didn't.
Specifically speaking, I believe you've suffered an a priori entanglement in the projective snare of the three lies you posted - underscoring the fixity of your poorly informed and politically motivated beliefs concerning the subject;
And so I asked Nulan: Did those childhood tests measure something real... and worth measuring? He buck-danced around that one like Sandman Sims, refusing to give the simple and obvious answer: YES.

And still, even Gould (
whose resume of the history of psychometrics has been well studied by Nulan)

So, at least in Gould's case, we've narrowed down the area of interest: figuring out just how major or minor is the acknowledged influence of genetics on intelligence.
Craig Nulan won't grant even that much.
I didn't buck dance, I answered your question very precisely then, which answer I will now repeat;
After the middle of the 19th century, industrialization in America and western Europe forced a growing demand for universal public schooling as the means by which children could be taught the skills and values desired by industry. It was in this industrially oriented educational climate that the French minister of education Alfred Binet, director of the psychology laboratory at the Sorbonne, developed a testing procedure capable of identifying students in need of special schooling. The task as defined was essentially a technical one, and Binet approached it in a straightforward practical fashion. He amassed hundreds of questions drawn from the school curriculum and covering a broad range of difficulty.

His basic idea was to design a test which could be given to children of varying ages and on which children at a given age or grade level would do either well or poorly - depending on whether they were already doing well or poorly in school. Preliminary versions of the test were given to small groups of children whose scores were compared with their teachers ratings of classroom performance. In the process, items were added or deleted in order to bring about the closest possible correspondence between test performance and educational age norms.

In its final form, Binet's test provided an index of scholastic performance based on the prevailing standard of scholastic success. In other words, scores on his test generally correlated with the ratings assigned by French teachers in the classrooms of his day. By using teachers judgements of classroom performance as the standard by which his test was validated, Binet established a practical basis for its use as a predictor of success in the school system. Because his aim had been to identify children who required special schooling, he did not require, nor did he assert, a theory or definition of intelligence. Moreover, he did not make a distinction between acquired or congenital feeblemindedness and he never argued that poor performance on his test was a sign of innate mental inferiority. On the contrary, he sternly rebuked his contemporaries who contended that intelligence is a fixed quantity that cannot be augmented.
Genetics doesn't have a causal or correlative effect on scholastic performance based on the prevailing standard of scholastic success. Which is what IQ tests measure.

Education - OTOH - has a decisive effect. With that answer, all further controversy should have ceased - but because of your unshakeable conviction that IQ is innate and measurable - you proceeded into a series of factual errors -All of Nulan's polemical eggs appear to rest in a basket of denialism...
denying that intelligence is heritable;

denying that intelligence can be measured via testing;

denying even the possibility that different human sub-groups might have unequal cognitive aptitudes.
Social heritability - YES - Genetic heritability - NO

Scholastic aptitude as a function of curricular competency can be measured, but that's not intelligence

Human sub-groups? Are these breeds of human David?

In the course of nearly 1000 words of bloviation in which you claim to be a good faith seeker after objective truth - you even managed two ad hominem attacks on me;
Having traded a few comments with this charmer at BlackProf.com and The Assault on Black Folks' Sanity, I'm fairly certain that Mr. Nulan isn't interested in a good-faith dialogue on this wickedly complicated subject.

Nulan's preferred style of disputation seems to be
the "ad hominy" attack (i.e., throwing personal insults around like hot grits)
Let the record show, I deeply dislike anti-Black propagandists. I am prone to viscerally respond to sources of anti-Black propaganda whenever and wherever I encounter them. Why do you suppose your reflexive and uncritical screeds on Black crime at Blackprof.com triggered my gag reflex concerning your ideological orientation? My boy Cobb is a conservative and staunchly pro-American commentator, and we stridently disagree all the time - but never once in all the years we've sparred politically have I seen him get the racial dimension of crime all twisted up the way you seem to have gotten it twisted David. If I couple your expressed views on crime with your expressed views on intelligence, you read exactly like a dyed-in-the-wool racist. This puts a completely unexpected spin on your nom de plume "undercover black man" don't it?