Friday, May 17, 2013

Wanting to ban the truth about immigration

SciAm's John Horgan writes:
But another part of me wonders whether research on race and intelligence — given the persistence of racism in the U.S. and elsewhere – should simply be banned. I don’t say this lightly. For the most part, I am a hard-core defender of freedom of speech and science. But research on race and intelligence — no matter what its conclusions are — seems to me to have no redeeming value. ...

Why, given all the world’s problems and needs, would someone choose to investigate this thesis? What good could come of it? Are we really going to base policies on immigration, education and other social programs on allegedly innate racial differences? ...

I’m sympathetic toward the position spelled out by Noam Chomsky in his usual blunt fashion in his 1987 book Language and Problems of Knowledge:

“Surely people differ in their biologically determined qualities. The world would be too horrible to contemplate if they did not. But discovery of a correlation between some of these qualities is of no scientific interest and of no social significance, except to racists, sexists and the like. Those who argue that there is a correlation between race and IQ and those who deny this claim are contributing to racism and other disorders, because what they are saying is based on the assumption that the answer to the question makes a difference; it does not, except to racists, sexists and the like.”
We have an immigration policy that is rapidly changing the racial and religious composition of the USA. We are considering an immigration amnesty that will accelerate those changes. Shouldn't we get some scientific estimates of the likely effects?

Social science is all about correlations, and discussions of race are technically racist in the term refers to making racial distinctions.

Discussions of sex differences are sexist. Yes, obviously. Understanding the nature of such differences is essential to everyday life. What use is it? Better relationships, for one thing.

I mention below that this subject is one of several that are being pushed out of public discourse.

Horgan has written many worthwhile articles, and I have quoted him before, but he recently wrote: How Can We Condemn Boston Murders but Excuse U.S. Bombing of Civilians?. To answer his question, the Boston bombers were committing terrorism against innocent civilians for the purpose of carrying out a Mohammedan jihad against America and gaining martyrdom in heaven. No civilized society can tolerate such attacks. The US only bombs military targets who are at war with us, and only kills civilians by accident. If the public disagreed, then they could have voted Pres. Obama out of office last year. Horgan has a funny idea about what is too rude to discuss.

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