Thursday, November 02, 2017

Nothing New Under the Sun

I am skimming Arthur Jensen's Bias in Mental Testing looking for an anecdote*. (I haven't found it. I think it must be in some other book.) I am impressed by his clarity of expression. Here's what "impressed" me in a slightly different meaning of the term:  He spends a few pages describing both the criticism and the critics of his evidence and assertions. He clearly acknowledges some points that deserve discussion, if he could only find more than a few people who would actually do that. For the rest, they keep producing the same easily-refuted complaints, with the same insults, the same bad logic, the same sophistry. He wrote the book in 1980, and it is clear that he was already tired of the same-old, same-old from his own school days. He displays an insight into the critics that I imagine they found uncomfortable as well.

What impressed me is that these are the same arguments I see on Quora now, almost 40 years later, and the motivations of these new critics seem unchanged as well.

*It's about African tribesmen - who knows now, maybe it was PNG - and the skills needed for tracking not necessarily being g-related, but who they would turn to if the signs were confused or ambiguous being g-related, in case that rings a bell for any of you.

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