#212- July 29, 2020 A Conversation with Kathryn Paige Harden

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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29 July 2020 20:02
 

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Kathryn Paige Harden about the public controversy over group differences in traits like intelligence and ongoing research in behavioral genetics. They discuss Harden’s criticism of the Making Sense episode featuring Charles Murray, the mingling of scientific thinking with politics and social activism, cancel culture, environmental and genetic contributions to individual and group differences, intellectual honesty, and other topics.

#212- July 29, 2020 A Conversation with Kathryn Paige Harden


This thread is for listeners’ comments

 
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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30 July 2020 11:06
 

I think that one phrase could have cleared up so much of this discussion:

“All other things being equal…”


It seems to me that the real debate is not about the influence of Genetics on Intelligence, but on whether groups who present consistently a minority when it comes to high positions in politics, commerce, science have already reached a level of equality of opportunities that constitute a de facto “all other things being equal” of no significant environmental differences.

Those who tend towards the racist spectrum claim that Blacks not only have the same chances, but, because of Affirmative Action and pressure from the liberal media, have better chances to succeed than the average White; and therefore what is holding them back must be genetic character defects in intelligence etc.

Sam managed to dominate the discussion easily, and I hope this brings him a bit of closure about the whole Murray affair.
But it probably will just open old wounds.

 
 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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30 July 2020 12:19
 

Is this worth listening to?

I’m asking in term of (a spin on?)  Sam’s point of view that while these kinds of questions are technically valid scientific questions, in practice there is little value in spending a lot of time and effort digging into this problem domain.
.

 
ASubtleKnife
 
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ASubtleKnife
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30 July 2020 13:12
 

The ‘default assumption’ that when traits are heritable they are at least in part genetic - seems fine and good to me even about IQ and inteligence. But when discussing race in America there needs to be an additional ‘default assumption’; That America is at least in part racist.

We know America was racist a few decades ago, we know most of those people are still alive, we know many programs were initiated as a cover for racist practices to continue (the war on drugs, primary school funding, etc) that still continue today. Personally I view America as racist until proven otherwise.

We know an IQ score can be influenced by things that aren’t genetic: taking the test multiple times, having a single 1 hour lecture about the test and good strategies for thinking through those types of questions, second guess bias, and (gee golly wouldn’t you know it) school resources.

It’s no surprise to me that Sam won’t correlate these points, but I’ve been hoping for a guest to take Sam to task on this for a while, and to be as stubborn on this disagreement as Sam can be when one side has anecdotes and the other side has scientific studies to back it up.

 
DEGENERATEON
 
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DEGENERATEON
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30 July 2020 13:21
 
mapadofu - 30 July 2020 12:19 PM

Is this worth listening to?

I’m asking in term of (a spin on?)  Sam’s point of view that while these kinds of questions are technically valid scientific questions, in practice there is little value in spending a lot of time and effort digging into this problem domain.
.

If you want a short version that highlights an example and sums up some of the conversation - start listening at 1:45:00.

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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04 August 2020 00:47
 

This Bell Curves Matter business still has legs and probably always will.

Any academic or anyone who has managed to read Mr. Murray’s book must, as pointed out, land on the unforgivable choice between black inferiority or white racism. Now that white racism no longer serves as sufficient evidence of white superiority, racism has a social black mark that shows that whites can be just as inferior as anybody else.

One of the morals of the Murray misadventure is that differences in human characteristics, even when they’re in your face, will never pan out as a scientific excuse for the way we treat each other. The only use for any black and white distinction is choosing sides.

The second moral of the tale is where are we hiding the real reason for the curve and how did the way we treated each other create it? The reason is hiding somewhere academics will never find it. They express frustration at the way others are communicating and the apparent lack of thinking behind it. They lament that it is often done with greater skill and effectiveness than doing it the hard way. Until someone considers that a clue instead of just a problem, the explanation will remain hidden.

 
 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
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04 August 2020 09:19
 

On page 200 of The Bell Curve, Murray cites data that doesn’t exist.  We know it doesn’t exist because on page 194, he tells us it doesn’t exist.  What step in scientific investigation do we get to make up data?

There are scientists who are studying actual data about education, intelligence, race, and life outcomes.  I’d think we’d want to start with them, and not someone like Murray who is willing to make up data to justify their hypothesis.

 
LadyJane
 
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LadyJane
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04 August 2020 10:39
 

The obsession Sam Harris has with his own persecution complex is something he shares with Bill Maher who seems to have one of his own.  It overshadows their work and hinders their ability to sound smart and funny.  And many of their less talented followers just reverberate that parroted whine without ever understanding why.  The internet allows everyone the opportunity to be heard but it doesn’t absolve us of all responsibility for the risks we take.  That’s the part they gloss over.  Some people deserve to have the soapbox kicked out from beneath them.