A Letter to Allison Stanger on Charles Murray and Racial IQ Theory

Dear Alison,

I’m very sorry to hear of your injuries, and of course I do not condone violence as a form of protest.  But I’m very disturbed by your treatment of Murray as just another speaker with a difference of opinion that must be respected under free speech law.

those who prevented Charles Murray from speaking must be punished for violating college rules. But what the events at Middlebury made clear is that, regardless of political persuasion, Americans today are deeply susceptible to a renunciation of reason and celebration of ignorance. They know what they know without reading, discussing or engaging those who might disagree with them. People from both sides of the aisle reject calm logic, eager to embrace the alternative news that supports their prejudices.

Murray has never retracted Racial IQ Theory, even though his thesis has been repeatedly discredited.   And Charles Murray is a political scientist, not a social scientist.  The social science guy that was the co-author of the Bell Curve has died.   The social science (as well as statistical science and data science) problem with Murray Racial IQ Theory is that between group variance is smaller than within group variance.  Competently illustrated below by Dr. Taleb, the Black Swan guy.

So inviting Murray to speak as a social scientist, given that he has never retracted his bad science of Murray Racial IQ Theory, is actually giving legitimacy to “alternative facts”.  I have no problem with Murray speaking as a political “scientist”.  His alt-right, white nationalist POLITICAL views are openly embraced by AEI, his sponsors.  But alternative, conservative fake-science cant be allowed on campuses.  Would you support a Republican climate denialist speaking on climate science?  A Republican Creationist lecturing on evolution?  I don’t think the students would.  Its fine for Murray to speak as a republican political activist.  But make that crystal clear–that needs to be separated from his fake science of Racial IQ Theory.

This is going to be a huge problem going forward– the big reveal from the election results is the deep correlation of educational attainment and liberal voting patterns.  Alt-right sites are already proposing some sort of alternative system to public universities, which seems impossible to me– the US university system is the finest in the world.

You are correct that the extreme polarization of the country has led to the politicization of news and the rise of Kellyanne Conway “alternative facts”.  But we can’t allow the rise of “alternative science”.  The Middlebury students have every right to block the promotion of bad science and conservative “alternative science”.

Meanwhile real scientists are still waiting for Murray to retract his discredited theories on race and IQ.

heres wishing you a speedy recovery and continued academic success

best witches,