Thursday, March 8, 2018

more on Murray: individual vs. group differences-- and the real racists, even by their own definitions

More on Murray and his co-authored book, The Bell Curve. I've written about this at length: the reactions to him at Middlebury; excerpts from the work itself (for the folks who, reasonably, don't want to read the tome-- and for folks who want to be reasonable in trying to critique it); semi-"academic" responses to TBC; and an excellent interview with Sam Harris

This is from an exchange I had this AM on the topic-- centered on confusion about individual and group differences:
The differences in intelligence between any two individuals is roughly half. What do you think the percentage is? (You didn't answer the question in my last post.) From there, some careful attempts at aggregation are possible, but this requires measurement at the group level, which MH also discuss.

MH are also quite careful-- repeatedly, insistently-- to distinguish between groups and individuals. For an individual of race X or Y, we can say *nothing* with confidence in this realm, since there are so many variables in play and the statistical relationships are so messy.

Groups are where we see the political and public policy ramifications-- MH's chief interest. Murray, as a Libertarian, wants to spend little energy there-- an area where he is ironically and clearly less "racist" than his critics. Most of his critics want to spend a ton of energy there-- given their political penchants (e.g., identity politics) and their often race-based and heavily-race-correlated policy RX's (e.g., affirmative action, welfare policy).

So, we end up with a delicious irony: Murray is ideologically disposed to focus on individuals, where race differences don't matter. Fans of govt activism (including most of his critics) and others are ideologically disposed to think foremost about groups-- where race differences do matter. But given their allergies, they ignore and shout down the scientific evidences about groups.


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