Noah Carl Controversy: FAQ

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2022-06-24 00:00:08

I will be responding to this statement in due course. But for the moment, I am still receiving legal advice. Needless to say, my interpretation of events differs from that of the College.

2. Last December, 586 academics signed an open letter accusing you of “racist pseudoscience”. That many academics can’t all be wrong, can they?

Given that the open letter demonstrated a basic lack of understanding of the relevant science, it would seem that 586 academics can indeed all be wrong. For example, as Jeff McMahan pointed out in his comments for the first Quillette Editorial:

One passage in the open letter demands that the various institutions cited “issue a public statement dissociating themselves from research that seeks to establish correlations between race, genes, intelligence and criminality in order to explain one by the other.” This seems to imply that it is illegitimate to seek to explain any one of the four characteristics by reference to any one of the others, and thus that no aspect of intelligence can be explained by an individual’s genes. I would not trust the competence of anyone who endorses a claim that has that implication to judge the work of a candidate for a research fellowship.

And Professor McMahan is absolutely correct: the signatories of the open letter were calling for St Edmund’s College to “issue a public statement dissociating themselves” from research backed by overwhelming scientific evidence. In fact, the contribution of genes to variation in human intelligence has been widely accepted by psychologists since at least 1996, when the report ‘Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns’ was published by the American Psychological Association (APA). This report, co-authored by Ulric Neisser and his colleagues in the aftermath of The Bell Curve debate, concluded that “a sizable part of the variation in intelligence test scores is associated with genetic differences among individuals”. Evidence for a genetic contribution to variation in human intelligence has only strengthened since the publication of the APA report.

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