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      Seen from a historical perspective, the Andrew Sabisky affair is a litmus test of contemporary sensibilities. A recently appointed advisor to the new UK government, which is recruiting candidates outside the usual profile of special advisors, has been criticized for previous comments about racial differences in intelligence, about possible benefits of eugenics and even about sex differences in sports.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-51538493

      The attack followed the standard pattern: dig up previous statements which can be presented in an inflammatory way; then fan those flames by seeking comments from critical others, who choose to pass judgments on the basis of a one sided account; call for the government to join in the condemnation: condemn the government if it does not immediately do so; keep up the pressure until the person concerned, amazed at the way his views got twisted and how many people were baying for his blood, decides to resign and do something else.

      Bad as this is, it is not the worst part of this sorry affair. The most troubling aspect is that a moral consensus is asserted about what can be said and thought, and a restrictive view about public discourse is propagated. For example, if someone tells me that women’s sports are not worth watching I would want to check whether that was true. What are the viewing figures like? How much have they changed over the last decades? Which women athletes are most admired and watched? In fact, it turns out the point being made by Sabisky was that Women’s sports like Disabled sports are protected categories: it would be wrong of the able-bodied to win all the disabled sports, and wrong of men to win all the women’s sports. However, this is a factual point about Sabisky’s actual views, so something of a distraction in this heated debate, which is about emotional postures.

      Equally, as you well know, if I am asked about racial differences in intelligence, I do not duck the question. Differences exist and may have a biological basis, at least in part. Some things might be true even if we don’t like to think about them, and cherished beliefs may be wrong. It depends on the evidence, not on the longing to be right.

      If asked about eugenics, about which I have written little, I would say that it is not a focus of interest for me. Let me repeat an obvious point just for the avoidance of doubt: I am totally opposed to coercion. I am in favour of parents voluntarily following broad “good genes” policies if they want to, by undergoing genetic scanning if they have inherited health problems, for example. I am in favour of those parents choosing to undergo in vitro fertilisation having the right to screen their embryos for all disorders including very low intelligence. I certainly recognise that this is both an ethical and empirical matter, and will try to write more about the issues involved in these decisions.

      Now, what can I tell you about Andrew Sabisky? I knew him as a conference attender, and thought of him primarily as an educational researcher. The first talk I heard him give was on a meta-analyses of early childhood intervention studies, showing that these generally had small effect sizes, and that the outliers with higher effects had got most of the publicity. After that earlier period some years ago, most of what I heard about him through his tweets was on the topic of Christian theology and liturgy. To be frank, I saw him as a thoughtful religious person, not a troublesome priest. I did not classify him as having seditious tendencies, no more than mine anyway.

      Andrew Sabisky is now hate-person-of-the-month. That is bad for him, and I regret it. It is depressing, and a waste of time. These hue-and-cries over unpopular opinions make academe poisonous. Many researchers will now be encouraged to be circumspect about many subjects, including genetic screening, group differences in intelligence, and even the philosophical issues generated by women’s sports. More broadly, they will look over their shoulders for guidance as to which views they should hold, with the clear implication that sociological explanations should always be favoured over biological ones. At a very practical level, it is now even less likely that any advisor will even consider genetic factors in scholastic attainment, particularly when dealing with group differences. This is a scorched-earth policy waged by the sociological orthodoxy at high cost to free enquiry and minority opinion.

      In the broader historical context, the name Sabisky came to prominence in 1683 when Vienna was about to fall to the Ottoman empire led by Mustafa Pasha. King John Sobieski led the defence, which was successful and ended the 300-year struggle between the Holy Roman and Ottoman Empires. That was real history, a turning point for Christian Europe.

      This unseemly screeching of offended high priests is an embarrassment, and their self-righteous banishment of heretics an absurdity. It lowers the standard of debate to the lowest common denominator of banal conformity. Ever the optimist, I think it possible these Inquisitors may be shouting loudly to cover their own rising doubts.

       
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      1. Couldn’t agree more.

        If you have Right leaning opinions on these issues you can probably get away with it if you are extremely careful and offer endless caveats and ensure you are 100% scientifically accurate. There is no room for speculation if your hypothesis is right wing. On the left though, outright IQ denial is perfectly acceptable, you can say anything you want no matter how blunt or wrong, people may correct you but your never at risk of losing your job.

        • Agree: Realist
      2. Anonymous[251] • Disclaimer says:

        The “elites” behind this are sawing off the branch they’re sitting on. A society without free speech can’t efficiently exchange and evaluate information so it becomes uncompetitive.

        • Replies: @dearieme
      3. Fuck Sabrisky – the minute he signed on to be a government advisor, he had no excuse for not knowing what to expect. If you lie down with dogs, you lose the right to whine if you get mange.

        To speak plainly in a bureaucracy is the same as saying “Yes” when a woman asks “Does my bum look big in this?”.

        That single fact by itself means that bureaucrats are 2nd-decile at best. To filter out talent even further (so that the median senior bureacrat is 2nd-quartile at best) is to get rid of anyone who has a history of heterodox opinion. That is now public-sector (and large-enterprise) career death unless you are already a career officeholder.

        That’s partly because of the Peter Principle, but mostly because those places (the public sector and large enterprises) is where HR types exist and proliferate like mould or woodlice.

        This all became obvious a decade before HR-level fuckwits could trawl through your ‘back catalog’ and look for Richelieu’s “six words” – it is the primary reason I abandoned academia in 1999.

        When I think of what people mean when they use the term ‘Karen’, I picture someone with an IQ of 98 who works in HR someplace where she can pretend to be as smart as the talent (HR at law firms and fund managers is outright the worst; academia is a tiny bit better).

        • Replies: @YOY
      4. dearieme says:
        @Anonymous

        “A society without free speech can’t efficiently exchange and evaluate information so it becomes uncompetitive.” Spot on. Though becoming uncompetitive isn’t the only cost of this sort of malevolent hysteria.

      5. dearieme says:

        It was Elizabeth I who said she didn’t want a window into men’s souls. She wanted people to pipe down a bit about their religious differences and learn to rub along together. She even tried to ban vocabulary that raised the emotional temperature – for instance, she said people should stop using “Protestant” and “Papist”.

        The modern anti-science faction, however, would have no time for an Elizabeth – they want the heretics burnt at the stake. What should the heretics do about it?

      6. Are there any trans women pummeling biological women in MMA matches on youtube? A google search for fallon fox tammika berens pulls nothing from my internet connection.

      7. Mr. Sabisky may have been a very intelligent person in regards to IQ, after all one can assume that a person has to have a high IQ to get into Camrbridge and graduate. But he sure didn’t have something called common sense. It takes only around 5 minutes on the internet reading mainstream news publications to realise that there has been a climate of fear created in the West regarding topics like eugenics and race/sex differences in intelligence, so what kind of a bozo posts about these topics using his real name?

        • Replies: @Philip Owen
      8. A question for Mr. Thompson:

        Are there any free online IQ tests you would recommend? Is there any way of obtaining one’s IQ without paying to attend an official Mensa test centre?

      9. I’ve just been No Platformed by the LSE Students Union for wanting to address the Russian Society on engaging Russia through trade. No reason given. No objector identifiers. I am completely inconsequential.

      10. @Just Passing Through

        Some one who believes in being open to debate.

      11. Svevlad says:

        If I was him, I’d double down, publicly insult and berate opponents, until the government fires me, and then immediately defect to another country where my work would be appreciated. Never back down, never cuck. Behave like a barbarian and the spineless scum will immediately cower

        • Agree: mikemikev
      12. “If asked about eugenics, about which I have written little, I would say that it is not a focus of interest for me. Let me repeat an obvious point just for the avoidance of doubt: I am totally opposed to coercion. I am in favour of parents voluntarily following broad “good genes” policies if they want to, by undergoing genetic scanning if they have inherited health problems, for example. I am in favour of those parents choosing to undergo in vitro fertilisation having the right to screen their embryos for all disorders including very low intelligence. I certainly recognise that this is both an ethical and empirical matter, and will try to write more about the issues involved in these decisions.”

        Why do what amounts to throwing a human in the trash because they didn’t score high on PGSs on ‘associated intelligence genes’? You’re against coercion, but that’s what will occur when we allow editing technologies. This is why we should disallow technology like CRISPR, because it’s the backdoor to eugenics.

        The argument:

        Where case (A) is CRISPR modifications; case (U) is eugenics; and (B), (C), … (N) are intermediaries.

        (1) Case (A) is acceptable.
        (2) But cases (B), (C), … (N) … are unacceptable.
        (3) Cases (A) and (U) are assimilable, so they are differences in degree, which fall along a continuum of the same type.
        (4) If case (A) is permitted, then it will lead to a precedent to allow case (U).
        (5) Permitting case (A) will cause cases (B), (C), (N), and … .
        (6) Thus, case (A) should be impermissible.

        https://notpoliticallycorrect.me/2020/02/17/eugenics/

        • Replies: @res
      13. @Philip Owen

        Someone who believes that Western universities are still a place where on goes to listen to free speech and partake in free speech is quite clearly deluded or not very intelligent.

        Internet chatrooms and forums have largely replaced universities as places for talking freely. Although the internet is not comparable to real life as the latter fulfills a deeper desire in us humans to socialise, it nevertheless allows free discussion.

        • Replies: @Philip Owen
      14. @Just passing through

        I was No Platformed by the Students Union at the London School of Economics this week, for reasons not explained. I was due to speak to the Russian Business & Society Club about the trade potential between Russian and the UK.

      15. YOY says:
        @Kratoklastes

        Nope, I don’t get it. In what way was this Sabisky’s fault? Your wrath seems misplaced to me.

      16. Boris Johnson seems a bit disappointing here, from my point of (foreign) view. I mean, how could a man of principles and honor not defend a reader and commenter of/on iSteve and Psychological Commenter?

      17. @Dieter Kief

        Boris Johnson has not been seen in public for 9 days. Also, documents in his red box are being restircted to two pages in length and severely pruned.

        Johnson is of a weight for type 2 diabetes and the associated depression to be a consideration. He might well be having a bout of major goal depression amplified by Type 2. Professionals in the field cannot of course speculate. Then again, flu.

      18. @Philip Owen

        But .. his views were bound (to any neutral observer of UK politics) to be dug up and used against him.

        “Pick the target, freeze it, personalise it, and polarise it.”

        When I started writing pieces for websites quite a long time ago, I had an employer, and a wife and kids to support. It never, ever occurred to me to write under my own name – perhaps because I had been a left-winger in my youth and knew full well how extremely unpleasant they could be with anyone they disagreed with. Look, for example, at what they did to Ray Honeyford.

        https://www.city-journal.org/html/man-who-predicted-race-riots-12249.html

        Maybe Mr Sabisky was just too young. His education will certainly have never introduced him to what happened to Honeyford, or to HJ Eysenck, or to others in positions of influence who expressed the wrong ideas.

        There’s some serious battles taking place at the moment in UK politics. Boris, not exactly bereft of ideas, but bereft of any strategic ideas other than “Boris good”, has chosen intellectual iconoclast Dom Cummings as his chief adviser. Dom has two great recommendations – he helped win the Brexit vote, and as BoJo’s strategist he helped win him a crushing GE victory. But .. governing wisely and winning elections are two different things.

        Now a lot of Tory MPs didn’t really want Brexit, and only a minority of them have been defenestrated. Quite a few didn’t want Boris as leader, and can you blame them. And probably a majority of them aren’t big Cummings fans (he described one MP on his side as “thick as mince” so imagine how he talks about opponents), and are just waiting for a slip. Being court favourite will arouse jealousy even in the absence of ideological differences.

        Plus.. there are the usual opaquely funded think tanks/pressure groups, all aghast that they or their chosen ones aren’t sitting in Dom’s seat.

        And all of the above are frightened that Dom may do something that both is effective and damages their funders. Someone who looks like he may be difficult or impossible to buy is scary.

        All of these groupings know that Boris isn’t renowned for loyalty, and will stick by Dom just as long as sticking by Dom is seen (by Boris) to be good for Boris.

        Their mission, which they have accepted, is to persuade Boris that CUMMINGS MUST GO – a message which the broad Opposition, from the PLP to Guardian commenters, are happy to amplify.

        Sabisky is sadly just collateral damage in this larger war. He was right to resign.

        (Philip – I’m sorry to hear that Russophobia has spread to the LSE. What would Harold Laski say? But they were Communist in his day, of course.)

      19. MEH 0910 says:

        Thread:


        [MORE]

      20. MEH 0910 says:

        It’s clear, too, that Sabisky has spent some years reading and commenting on alt-right websites. In 2014, he commented on an article on the Unz Review, a website popular with alt-right racists and antisemites that has run Holocaust denial and pseudo-race science and hosts a blog by Steve Sailer, the alt-right’s go-to person on race science, who is often credited with coining the term “human biodiversity”.

        James Thompson, of all the writers on the Unz Review, Andrew Sabisky only left comments with you:

        https://www.unz.com/comments/all/?commenterfilter=Andrew+Sabisky

        [MORE]

        • Replies: @res
      21. res says:
        @MEH 0910

        James Thompson, of all the writers on the Unz Review, Andrew Sabisky only left comments with you:

        What makes this guilt by association even more ridiculous is that Dr. Thompson’s blog was not on the Unz Review when Sabisky left his comments.

        • Thanks: MEH 0910
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