Friday 23 November 2018

Evans: the Unwelcome Revival of “Race Science”.

This post is about an oldie but goodie, of which I only learned last week.

The Unwelcome Revival of ‘Race Science’”, by Gavin Evans appeared last March. Unfortunately, he published it in The Guardian. To recognise his article forces me to acknowledge something positive in that filthy rag, traditionally considered “the foul prostitute and dirty parasite of the worst portion of the mill-owners”.

I’m no expert in evolutionary biology or psychology, but I think those in similar position would benefit from reading Evans’ piece. It deals with the biggest names associated to “race science” and their arguments. The article seems well researched and thoughtful.

It’s because I think highly of that article that I must point to its weaknesses, which subtract from its virtues. Charitably, one can say Evans was dealing only with “race science” and that’s why similar attitudes, which many in the centre-right and centre-left (of the anti-Marxist variety) entertain go unmentioned: they aren’t founded on “race science”.

That omission, however, leaves readers with the erroneous impression that bigotry is a preserve of the alt-right.

Friday 16 November 2018

Gelman and the Economists.

Andrew Gelman, professor of statistics, believes that “a quick rule of thumb is that when (1) someone seems to be acting like a jerk, an economist will defend the behavior as being the essence of morality, but when (2) someone seems to be doing something nice, an economist will raise the bar and argue that he’s not being nice at all”.

I think he is right. Readers should pay attention.