Skip to main content

View Diary: Richwine's Harvard PhD: The Committee and Dean Respond (470 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Here is the scandal (56+ / 0-)

    I do not believe for one minute that the people who signed off on his dissertation read that dissertation with anything close to the level of scrutiny that I would expect having been through the process myself.

    What this says about the dissertation process at Harvard is disturbing.

    •  I think that's the real point. (13+ / 0-)

      They're probably not overtly racist, but the clear racist tone of the dissertation didn't set off any warning bells that more attention was needed. They seem to have bent over backward to avoid looking at the methodology and assumptions that let to the conclusion. They were simply indifferent to the implications.

      Their "explanations" sound like they routinely pass on dissertations by checking boxes on some kind of standard form. Their sloppiness and indifference is almost more blameworthy than overt racism would be. It's easy to decide whether bias was at work here: What would have happened to the thesis if Richwine's "sound work" had concluded that Hispanics are smarter than "native whites"? To me, there's not the slightest doubt that we'd be seeing a whole other story, sound work or not.

    •  Once you reach a certain level you're a sacred cow (2+ / 0-)

      and some (by no means all) just coast along. Your equally privileged circle of peers protect you and underlings handle most of the grunt work.
      For the same reason, you dont really expect Harvard will do anything about Niall Ferguson, do you?

    •  Ding ding ding (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CharlesInCharge, Bozmo2

      Precisely right, good sir, and that is the real scandal.

      "Hispanic" is also . . . Wait for it! . . . Not a "racial" category!  It isn't a genetic or naturalistic basis for describing a "population."  People who are "Hispanic" might have more white European ancestry than many "Native born white" Americans (to use Richwine's truly unfortunate term, because where I'm concerned "Native" means something else entirely, and it ain't "white," but varying shades of red and brown.  All of this "race" and iq bullshit uses "phenotype" as a shorthand marker for "race," and that's what's wrong with all of it too.  The problems with "IQ" are intertwined with the problematic history of inventing the idea of "racial" population groups.  

      Since all humans can mate with each other, there is no basis for supposing genetics is destiny for traits such as intelligence at a population level.  In fact, for the good of humanity you'd want (probably, and in any case we ate getting)  a nice light brown planet where we distribute the full range of intelligences and other adaptations developed by ancestral populations for particular ecological niches evenly through the species over time.

      The entire "race and IQ" argument as commonly argued on the Internet (and apparently in Harvard's school of policy and government, because I can assure you Richwine would have been laughed out of the psychology or biology or anthropology departments as a first-year MA student even if he could have gotten into one of those real PhD programs) is, simply, based in the most pseudoscientific remnants of 19th century social Darwinist racist thought. The very idea that there are "races" with distinct "intelligences" is utter complete tripe.  It's bullshit.  Full stop.  IQ may measure something, but it has nothing to do with phenotypic variation between ancestral human populations.  Sheesh. How many more times does this need to be said for, you know, Harvard faculty members to know the facts!?

      Just wow. Stephen Gould and Franz Boas are groaning from the grave.

      “I wore black because ... it's still my symbol of rebellion -- against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others' ideas.” -- Johnny Cash

      by RocketJSquirrel on Sat May 11, 2013 at 11:30:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reading his dissertation now (4+ / 0-)

        Already clear that he models the social dynamics so narrowly and artificially that he gets the results he wants by exclusion of correlate factors.

        Generational equalization of IQ scores between immigrant and native-born populations (leaving aside spurious factors like "race" considered as phenotypic average, 19th century nonsense) is clearly affected  by segregation, lower community health and literacy rates that result from poverty and segregation, and linguistic obstacles to assimilation. This crap was said about the Irish and Italians and Jews and Chinese before.  And of course native-born African Americans are affected by these same segregationist social dynamics.

        Eliminate segregation, poverty, and racism in education and employment and you will see IQ equalization. Healthy communities assimilate to the national norm and always have.  IQ does not measure a neurobiological condition, but a developmental process in which brain and environment are co-equal dimensions of intelligence.

        Much simpler and more robust explanation of "the data."

        Where's my Harvard PhD?

        “I wore black because ... it's still my symbol of rebellion -- against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others' ideas.” -- Johnny Cash

        by RocketJSquirrel on Sat May 11, 2013 at 11:57:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site