« Making Sense with Sam Harris

#123 — Identity & Honesty

2018-04-09 | 🔗

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Ezra Klein, Editor-at-Large for Vox Media, about racism, identity politics, intellectual honesty, and the controversy over his podcast with Charles Murray (Making Sense #73). 

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
My conversation with Ezra Klein of VOX media. I think I'm going to resist the temptation to add any editorial comments here. My previous episode extreme housekeeping addition had my full reaction to all of the controversy that preceded this podcast, at the beginning. Here I go timeline of events with Ezra. Everyone will be up to speed I think the conversation speaks for itself if you listen to the whole thing, you will definitely know what I think about it. By the end, I think it he does have educational value. I certainly hope it does as to what lessons can be drawn from it. I will let you decide all I can say is that I'm actually I did my best here. This was a sincere effort to ok and you can judge the effect.
And now I bring you okay, So, for better or worse, we're finally doing a podcast together for finally doing it. So here's what I would suggest- and I want to see if this is amenable to you-. So I heard the the housekeeping episode this week. I thought it would make sense for me to just give a couple minutes. You know short kind of like opening things, getting try to sort of frame where I am on this. I think I may be a way to frame it a little productively and then I'm happy to in return. For that give you the last word on the podcast, if that, if that feels right to you I had a couple of ideas, and so let me just out there and there so first. I think we should The ground rules explicit so that our listeners understand what's happening here, so it my understanding. Is that we'll both then the audio unedited and it's fine to cut. Mouth noises and other glitches. But if we take a bathroom break, will cut that stuff and we can have
sidebar conversations that we both agree or off the record, but basically know me meaningful four words will be cut from the exchange rate. We agree with that yeah and I had I'm happy to do this after you start, or it makes some sense. I think to do it before you. Add what you just suggested. I thought I should summarize how we got here and just kind of go through the chronology, so that people who are just hearing this for the first time understand about the Jane and who Maria's and all that, I assume I mean look- you we can do- is how we in different ways, but my assumption was you you tend to have. As I understand it, you know. Interest redo stuff like that. I probably will too yeah, but I think it would be good to avoid the perception that are account of how we got here is totally divergent. I think maybe I should we have an account which you then can say: ok, yeah, that's the sequence of events, as I understand it too and sure the
here's my only hesitation on this, and I don't have a huge problem with it. If, if you feel strongly about it, we can do it, I, I would worry about us ending up burning a lot of, time going back and forth, like how an email is described or something. So if you would just want to very neutral account of it, that's fine with me, but I wouldn't want to um end up with a long chronology argument, yeah so I'll do that and then you'll jump in at the end of that and nothing right give me your current tag and obviously I'll be describing this account from chronology from my point of view but I'll flag. The places where I think we have a different interpretation of what happened and but I think, the six sort of events is totally objective here. So I had to have a list of the order of things. Almost exactly a year ago, Charles Murray on my podcast and Murray is many of our listeners will know is, author of the notorious book, the Bell Curve- and it has a chat- run raisin iq and differences.
Between racial measures of iq. That was extreme, controversial summaries of person who still gets protested on college campuses more than twenty years later, and Well, I have very little interest in IQ and actually zero Kristen, racial differences in iq. I invited Maria my podcast because he had recently been DE platforms at Middlebury College and he and his we're actually assaulted, as they left the auditorium. And in my view, that this seemed yet another instance of a kind of moral panic that we were seen on college campuses and it because to take an interest in Murray that I hadn't We had so I had never read the Bell curve because I thought it must be just racist trash, because I assume that where there was you know all that smoke there must be fire and I hadn't paid attention to Murray, and so when I did read the book and it's more research on him. I came to think that he was probably
the most unfairly maligned person in my lifetime doesn't really run the risk of being much of an exaggeration there and the most controversial passages in the book. Struck me as utterly mainstream with respect to the science. At this point the remains at the time he wrote them and they're even more mainstream today, so I pursue Eve day problem here of free speech, and a man's shunning, and I was very worried. I thought culpable because I have participated in that in some I had nor him. As I said, I hadn't read his book. I had to decline, at least one occasion where I could have joined a project that he was associated with and I declined because he was associated with it, because I, perceived him to be radioactive, so I felt a moral obligation, I have my my podcast and in the process
As of defending him again, the charge of racism and in order to show that he had been mistreated for decades. We had to talk about the science of IQ and the way genes and environment almost certainly contribute to it and again iq is not one of my concerns and racial differences in IQ is absolutely not one of my concerns, but a person having his reputation destroyed for honestly discussing data that deeply concerns me. So I did that podcast again exactly a year ago and VOX then published an article that was highly critical of that podcast. And was written by Eric Turkheimer and Catherine Harden and Richard Nisbett, and article, in my view, got more less everything wrong. Okay,
read to me like a piece of political propaganda: hey SAM again, yeah, I'm just it's so hearing this. I'm totally happy to have you do this on yours, our, I think this is a long kind of, and I totally like from what perspective thing on it, but but just just imagine what it will be like for people coming to the broadcast, not not knowing why we're having this conversation, that's fine! I just think that if we want to do it that way, let's just do a shorter version of this. You know just like like. I would suggest something more, you know not, and and and on expand on you, how you want. Look like look more on your podcast. So you want to, you know, keep the platform to Middlebury. You wanted to defect. You want to defend him. We publish the article was highly critical of you. You know I, I guess you call propaganda if you are
but obviously the more you lean on this some more. This is going to become what we talk about. It will just take a long time, so it's like we've had a back and forth published emails like I'm totally happy to have you summarize it, but I don't want to spend like. I don't want to feel, like I'm sitting here for ten minutes, I have to go into a point by point. I think that's not gonna be productive. No! No. I mean I I think in my mind, I'm setting you up to say what you, you said you wanted to say, which is what your current take is on the situation. So. I will be brief, so I reach to by email. I felt this article was totally unfair. It accused us of peddling junk science and sued ants and pseudo racial as speculation and trafficking in dangerous ideas and a memory got the worst of it, but at minimum I'm painted as a total ignoramus right It was one line which said you know if you know, while I have a phd in neuroscience, I appear to be totally ignorant of fat that are well known to everyone in the field of intelligence studies, and I think that you should quote the line if you want to go to
okay, so the quote it. I don't think that's what the line said. The quote is this: is the exact quote There'S- appeared to be ignorant of facts or well known to everyone in the field of intelligence studies. Right now, that's since been quietly removed from the article, but it was there and it's archived that's what I was reacting to and I sent you an email where I was pretty pissed, because again I felt I was. Totally unfairly and, as was marie- and I was especially pissed- you declined to publish an article that came was on unbidden. That came to you wanted, and it was unbidden by me or Murray from Richard hair who's, the editor in chief of the journal intelligence? far more mainstream voice on this issue, then there's turkheimer or harden, and he came to our defense he. You know that would have done a lot to correct the record, but you declined to publish that and so we went round and round by email, and I got
increasingly exasperated over just how I perceive you in the email exchange and what are some talk was doing this podcast again but then I pulled the plug on that, because I thought it would be totally unproductive. At the end of the email exchange. I said if you continue slander me. I will publish this email exchange because I felt that people should understand the actual MAC Story here and how this happened, and why am I doing a podcast with you and you did actually publish one more article from Turk timer that took a shot at us, but basically we went silence for a year about As far as I know, and then what there was an article published in the New York Times. By David Wright, a geneticist at Harvard which made some the same noises that Murray and I had made and more re retweeted, it saying well, this sounds familiar and then retweeted it taking snide dig at you saying Michael, I hope, Ezra Klein's on the case. Racialist pseudoscience, never sleeps
Then you responded writing yet another article about me and Murray and I fell. This article was just as unfair as anything that had preceded it. In particular, I felt You had summarized our email exchange in a way that was self serving and that I didn't agree with, and so that prompted me to publish the email and I will be the first to admit- and I think you will agree with this at that backfired on me, the public perception of my publishing those emails, was that it was not a good look for me at all, and most people came to those emails, cold start I was inexplicably angry and that you seem very open to dialogue and it just you know, had to do a lot of work to understand why I was pissed and most people, didn't do that work saying that everyone who did the work, who listen to the podcast and read all the articles, which take my side of it. But anyone who didn't do the work thought that I?
was somehow the aggressor there. In particular, the fact that I was declining to do a podcast with you was held very much against me ' and that caused me to change my mind about this whole thing, because I realize okay, this is not. I can't be perceived as someone who won't take, legitimate criticism of his views, and so I went out on social media just to see if in People really wanted us to attempt this and after forty five two thousand people got back and it was, I think, was seventy six percent said. Yes, I decided that I was up podcast with you and you had already said you were up for a podcast with me, and so here we are and I again, I'm meant much of as described from my point of view, but I think the time line is is accurate. This is not my ideal, but I'm actually I prefer we get into it. The only thing I would say here that you should just change all been there, so I don't do it on your behalf. Is that
you didn't email me? What happened is that this piece published out, I tweeted it out. You tweeted a public challenged me to come on your show. That's true your produce sir emailed emailed me to come on your show. I emailed your producer and said: hey like. Can you connect me to SAM? We should talk about this and then our email exchange began. That's true. The first contact was on twitter here, which is not a big deal. I just want to. I just want to note that totally true, but here's what I'd ask let's jump into it. I mean, let's just start with you, why what don't I get in a? Why, criticism of me and Marie valid and just give me your take on all of us all right. Well, I appreciate summary, obviously I'm sure we'll get into this stuff. I have disagreements with which articles are fair and which aren't, but I don't think that that is where I want to begin this. I'm sure we'll go through that. I want to try to frame what I want to do here today, because I think people can go through. They can read the original box,
goals all be linked in my show. I I assume symbol be Linkedin yours, you can read our emails to each other. They can read my ical. They can listen to a podcast. If you would like to be a SAM Harrison as recline complete us to be the the option is very much there so I listen to your house keeping up so the other day where it so I think I have some sense, SAM of of where you are coming into the US and- and I want to give you a sense of where I am in in the hopes- it'll be productive, so something said over and and hope her over again to me at this point. Is it to you from the beginning. I've been here about faith. The problem is that I've come to this coming to. Lander you to destroy your reputation to silence you, Hey. I really I take that as a signal. Failure on my part, I have not been able to pursue. Do you and- and maybe I will be today- that I really disagree with you strongly
I think some of the things you're trafficking in are not just wrong, but there harmful, but I do some good faith and and I'm here, because I want to persuade you in your podcast with Marie the way I see what's going on here from from my perspective one of the tricky things here is that I was not that involved in the original box. Art of I was editor in chief at the time, but I did in a sign or at it that I stand by it things you published when your editor in chief Altima. We are on you and I actually think it's a good piece, but I there are times when I can only speak from my perspective, not from the perspective of of of other people who were at other things, but the way I read the conversation you had with Marie, and I think you just wrote this in your opening here. You begin that conversation by really framing it around your shared experience, responding to
too politically correct criticism. You say, and I'm quoting you here in the intervening years, so the intervening years since Murray published the Bell curve that you ventured into I ventured into my own controversial areas. As a speaker and writer, I experienced many historical attacks against me in my work. I started thinking about your ace your case being Murray's case a little again without ever having read you and I began to suspect that you were one of the canaries in the coal mine never recognized as such, see you say explicitly in the opening to the podcast did in the treatment of Marie. You saw the seeds of later treatment of you. I spent a lot of time thinking about this, because something that that that I've been trying to do here see this from your perspective. Here is my view. I think you have you. You clearly have a deep empathy for Charles Marie side of this conversation be because you see yourself in it. I don't think you have as
even empathy for the other side of this conversation with the people being told once again that they are genetically an environmentally and at any rate in Butte, obli, less intelligent, and that our social policy should reflect that, and I think part of the options of that empathy is, it doesn't threaten you. I don't. I don't think you see a threat to you in that in the way you see a threat, you what's happened in Murray in some cases, I'm not even quite sure. You heard what Murray saying on social policy either in the Bell curve and a lot of his later work or on the podcast, and I think that led to a blind spot in this. It's worth discussing, I, like your podcast. I think you have a big plus
format, a big audience and I think it's bad for the world if Murray's take on this gets recast here as political bravery or impartial or non controversial. So what I want to do here, it's not really convinced that! I'm right, I don't think I'm going to do that and it's not to convince you to like me. I don't think I'm going to do that either. I get that. What I want to convince you of is that there's a side of this. You should become more curious about that. You should be doing shows with people like Ibram Kendi, whose author of stamp from the beginning, which is a book on racist ideas in America, which won the National Book Award a couple years back people who really Eddie how race and these ideas interact with american life and policy. I think the fact that we are two white guys talking about how growing up non white in America affects your life and cognitive development is a problem here
just as it was a problem in the Murray conversation, I want to persuade you that that some of the things that the so called social justice warriors are worried about our worth worrying about and if the excesses of activists, what will very real and problematic they're, not as big a deal as a things, are really trying to fight and to draw attention to them about the birth there and and and and that yeah yeah, that's a great start. So I guess it is to respond to their. I guess the the first thing I want to say is that there are two things. I regret here, both in our exchange and in my podcast with Marie, and so it's put those out first. I think the first is that I was, as you said, very quick to attribute malice and bad faith to you in the mail exchange, and it's quite double I did this when it wasn't warranted. The reality
the background here, which you alluded to is that I am so battle scarred at this point and I've dealt with so many people who are willing to just lie about my views and who will just play. The evasion game endlessly, and I've got people who edit the car to my podcast, to make it sound like I've said the opposite of what I've said and then like Glenn Greenwald and raise Aussillon four these videos con. Just lean knowing their misrepresented. Maybe there's been so much pushback about this have been so much correction at this point possibility that it's not conscious the chance the zero right. So I'm dealing with people on a daily basis who are happy to smear me. Dishonestly only to see what will stick and, in fact, when I your emails? The tipping
for me was to see the Glenn Greenwald raise our and you, in a single hour on Twitter, had all hit me with stuff that I perceived to be totally dishonest, so my fuse is pretty short. I am the first with that, and if I treated you unfairly, attributing bad faith when you were just lead My sincere conviction that I had made an error or that you arguing for something that was so important, and then I I'm that's. You know that is on me now. That said, I think Your argument is where even wear it pretends to be factual wherever you think it is factual. It is highly biased by political considerations, and these are pull considerations that I share the fact that you think I don't have empathy for people who suffer just the starkest inequalities of wealth and politic.
And look it's telling and it's untrue. It's even untrue of Murray and the fact that you're conflating the social policies? He endorses like the fact that he's against affirmative action and he's for universal basic income, and I know you don't happen to agree with those policies. You think that would be disastrous, there's a good faith. The argument to be had on both sides of that conversation. That conversation is quite distinct from the science. And even that conversation about social policy can be had without any allegation that a person is racist or that a person lacks empathy, for people who are at the bottom of society. So one distinction I want to make an the other thing that I regret, which I think is this is is the thing you were taking me to task for, and I understand it, but I do regret that in the preface to my podcast with Murray, I didn't add,
Full discussion of racism in America and the reason why I didn't, or certain which is one reason why it didn't is that I had maybe two months before that done a pod with Glenn Lowry, the economist at Brown and who happens to be black and Glenn is fantastic. He's got his own pod has the Klan show which everyone should watch but Glenn was on my podcast, and we were talking about race and violence in America, and I preface the conversation, with a fairly long statement about the reality of white privilege in the past horrors of racism, and when I got to the end of it, Glenn pretty much chastised me for thinking that it was nessus for me to say something like that, just because I'm white right the fact that any Conversation about race and violence, especially coming from a white guy, like me has to be bracketed. With some elaborate virtue, signalling on that point, so he basically said I mean these aren't his words, but this was his attitude. Basically,
obviously since you're, not a racist asshole. It can go with saying that you understand slavery, was bad and that Jim Crow was bad and that you totally support civil rights, and so his take. On my saying that it was not at all surprised given who clan is, but the fact that he viewed it as fairly pathetic that I felt to do that and that it could just go without saying I remembered and obviously Point is well taken. I mean two white guys talking about different Is in IQ across raises, or across populations I mean, if ever the time to signal that you understand that racism is still a problem in the world. That's it right and while we did say some things, I think, should still have been fully exculpatory me for anyone paying attention. I think it should be obvious with a modicum of charity extended to us that marie- and I are not racist-
what we were saying was not coming from a place of racial animus, but I mean that is the back story For why I didn't have some kind of elaborate framing of the conversation I want to be this is good, because I think this gets much closer to the meat of where we actually disagree and something I want to be clear about it. Is what I think was wrong in that podcast is not that you didn't virtue signal, it's not that, didn't come out and say: hey, listen just before I start this up but now I'm not a racist and by I'm I'm here to say, your race is done with a qr. We have not called you on accident, that's a different set of things and we should talk later. I think I should. I should be good conversation for us to have about poop, literally just what racism is, how we use that word in this conversation, but my criticism of your podcast
and by the way, my criticism, also of Murray and And- and this is useful because I can work backwards through answer here- is not that you didn't excuse yourself. It said in a conversation about an outcome of America life right: how do African, Americans and whites score an iq test in America to day what happens when somebody sits down and takes a test to day? That is an outcome of the american experiment, an experiment. We were running this country for hundreds of years. You did not. Discuss actually how race and racism ACT upon that outcome. You did not because I mean amazingly to me: you all didn't talk, slavery or segregation once and what I'm saying, here is not the you lack empathy, although I am saying in a different state space, I don't. I think you have
a like in a a sense of what Marie's going through. That is different from your sense of what other people who are hurt in this conversation go through. I do believe that, but was it comes to the way you actually conducted the conversation, I'm arguing that you lacked a sense of history that you didn't deal in a serious way with the history of this conversation. A conversation has been going on literally since the dawn of the country, a conversation that has been Brong in virtually every person in every iteration we've had in America before the other thing. I want to say about this, and this gets very importantly to Charles Murray's work, you're a neuroscientist, and so I get that you look at Murray and You look at the Bell curve and what you see are the tables in the end of season and the kind of scientific version of Charles Murray, I'm a policy journalist, my back It is. I've lived in Washington DC. I cover politics, Charles Murray, not just
to me. What he literally is is a what we call policy entrepreneur he's somebody who his entire career has been spent at Washington. Think tanks he's at the American at Institute where I have a lot of friends- and I respect that organization quite a bit and he argues in different ways and throughout his in his entire body of work for policy outcomes. His book before the Bell curve is called losing ground. It's a book about why we should do of the great society programs on by the way when he was selling that book. You said a lot of whites think the racist, and this is a book that tells them they aren't any came out with the bell curve and and we'll go through this and I'll put this back to you. But the bell. Curve's final chapter, he says: what do I do any of us what it what I talk about, and it was him in return steam. Obviously the call-
that book do, and he says the reason I did it is because we in America it need to re, embrace a politics of difference. We need to understand that we are cognitively different from each other, not just by race but but but other folks, but but but by race as well, and that understanding that changes what we should do in social policy. He literally says in and again I can quote this too if you'd like he says, for one thing: We have all these low cognitive capacity, women, giving birth and by having the social supports for poor children in this country, we are subsidizing them to give birth, and what we need to do is take those cities away, so these women, who, according to his book a disproportionately african American, their poor children, do not get as much federal support when they're born, and so they are disincentivized to have as many children. He also says that we have all these folks were, are Spanic coming up the border at our immigration policy is let
too many low iq people and while not quite as prescriptive in that part, is pretty clear that he wants us to change our immigration policy. Okay, in order to resist this genic pressure. So I'm just going to finish this up the other thing you brought is Ubi work this is what the reason I bring this up. Is it the reason I think Charles Murray's work is problematic? Is it he uses the arguments about IQ and a lot of other arguments. He makes about other things to push these points into the public debate, where he is very, very, very influential is not by any means of silence to actor in Washington. He gives congressional testimony. He won the Bradley Prize in twenty sixteen and got a two hundred and fifty thousand dollars check for it. His book on you by it is completely of a piece with this. I reviewed that book when it came out it's an interesting book. People should read But it is a way of cutting social spending according to Murray's own numbers. He says it would cut social spending buy a trillion dollars in twenty twenty. To give you a sense of scale. Obamacare cost two trillion dollars over ten years, so
this is another book in a different way. That is a huge argument for cutting social spending, which in part, he justifies by saying we are trying to redress racial, quality based on an idea that is a product of american history when in fact it is some nation of an eight and environmental, but at any rate it is not something we're going to be able to change, and so we should stop trying or at least stop trying in the way. We have been ok as room again conflate his views on social policy, with an honest discussion of lyrical science. Those are conversations you can agree about the data or disagree in a good faith way about the data and have a separate conversation about what to do in response to the data and then disagree in a good faith way about that. Now, I'm not defending Marie's of what the social policy should be. I'm open minded about universal basic income, I think there can be a good faith. Debate about many of these topics, it's a complete
we separate conversation, and I total Please share your concern about racism and inequality again. I have no interest in using science to establish differences between races, but the problem is- and I have publicly criticize people who do have an interest in using science. That way, and one of my critical questions of Murray was why pay attention to any of this stuff? And I publicly that I didn't think his answer was on that. And I'm not interested in paying attention to this stuff, and yet I have to in order to to have conversations like this, but the problem is that, Data on population differences, welcome to can to emerge whether we're looking for it or not, and the idea that one should lie about these data or pretend to be convinced by. And arguments that are politically correct or worse, that okay, to mow line people or even destroy their reputations, if they won't pretend to be convinced by bad argue
That's a disaster! Morally and politically and intellectually, that is disaster and that's where we are right. That's my criticism of what you have done at VOX and what Turkheimer Nisbet and hard and have done and the truth, for whatever reason, okay, however noble it is in your head, you've been extraordinarily unfair to me and mark, and that no actually to Murray I want to give you a couple of examples here. I think we have to go into this issue of you claim? You didn't call us racist right, you didn't use the word racist, I'll grant you that you use the word racialist right, which you know most people will read as racist, but if you, even if that is an adequate way to split the difference, everything else you said imputed if not and other racial bias and a commitment to some kind of white superiority,
you say again and again that here's a quote from your article, the subtitle of the article. When I you, I called the podcast with Marie forbidden knowledge. You said it isn't, for knowledge, it's America's most ancient justification for bigotry and racial inequality right, we're, shilling, bigotry and racial inequality, and then you convict Mari against the a quota have been engaged in a decades long focus on the intellectual inferiority of african Americans. Now, honestly, that is a smear? Memory has not been focused on African Americans. Been waging a decades long battle to survive. I've been scapegoated by people insinuate that he's a racist and the name sure of that battle is to continually try to it. You have to keep touching this issue to get the slime off of you. But as you know, the Bell curve was not focused on raise, there's just one,
chapter on race and the truth is that- and you- you almost alluded to this in what you just said. The truth is that Murray is just. It is worried about unearned crew, as you are he's just worried about a different kind of privilege, but you could call it iq, privilege, right and the Bell curve is an eight hundred page lament on this type of privilege and again has nothing in principle to do with race. Marie is just as worried about the law, the white people on the left side of the I q distribution as black people or Latinos, or anyone else, and you could have said will be just as true to describe him as having involved in a decades long focus on the you already of Asians over white people. Okay, because that's also part of the story and you know you might ask yourself why you didn't do that, but I want to read a quote from Murray on my podcast, because this I mean this is
again, if you I not at all arguing for his social policies. I just want us to be fair to the man and This is a quote if there's one thing that right in the bell curve, did it sensitized me to the extent to which high iq is pure luck it now of us earn our I, whether it's by nature or nurture aren't the ones who did the nurturing hard work and and all those other qualities are great, but we can't take credit for iq. We live in a society that is tailor made for people with high Iqs the people who, The short end of the stick in that lottery deserve our admiration and our support. If they're doing everything right and says it, into the quote. He is worried about a world where success is determined by a narrow range of abilities, and these all whether they come from nature or nurture are distributed unequally, that's guaranteed to be
We just know that they can't possibly be equal. Among individuals and across groups when you're talking about the averages in groups and he's totally committed as I am again. I don't how many times you have to reiterate this in podcast to make it stick, but the line here is that everyone has to be treated as an individual, but we have to get past thinking about groups there's the more variance within a group, then between groups and everyone has to be in it on their own merits and he's totally clear about that. So the paint him as callous and as racist and it's essentially a white supremacist you're talking he's he's fixated the inferiority of blacks on your account. It is irresponsible and unethical, and that that's the the kind of wrong that I was trying to address by giving him a platform on my podcast and that is what produced much outrage in me in our email exchange. When I hear this, I actually
really wonder how much I want to be careful here. I know Charles when I wrote my very first piece as a journalist in Washington is a peace about poverty. I interviewed him for I've reviewed as books. I've talked with him. My wife is reading a book about you, be I actually he's quoted in the book. I do not watch house right, silenced and he's a lovely guy into personally? There's, no doubt about that. In the quote, you read from him about luck. I want to put a pin in because there's a whole conversation I want to have with you about that quote. If Charles Murray, followed without court implies, I think things will look very different with him and and with my view of his career, but I do think I need I need. Go through some. What you said here so first, I don't know how much you understand Charles Murray's career. As I said, his first book is losing ground. It's a book about the great. So
in the interest of time and and basic human Saturday here as right now, but I'm I'm I'm worried that what you're going to do is actually is all the stuff you're gonna covers actually relevant because one hey SAM I've, let you of what you had to say: I'm gonna, I'm just going to I'm just going to keep going. Okay. This that's fine, but I just want to prevent you and listener frustration here, because if you go on for ten minutes, the only say one again, his soul. Koala Caesar, not social policies, I'm advocating we're going to don't worry we're going to we're going to go through all this, and I don't mean this to be sharp, but you don't give short answers yourself, so you know we're just going to have to indulge the other one here sure it's ok, so the first book is losing ground. It's about dissolving the welfare state and again he says in the about that book,
otherwise think their racist, I'm going to show them they're. Not next book is a bell curve way. Murray often defends the bell curve is by saying hey look. It only have this one chapter on race and iq and he's completely or actually a couple chapters, but he's completely right about that. The chapter that is mentioned they're, not the bulk of the book, but I'm actually a publisher of peace, is an I work with a lot of authors on book excerpts. The fear around the bell curve is not around the book which it's along book. Most people haven't read it. It's that the part of the book that he had accepted on the new republic on the cover of the New Republic under Andrew Sullivan, the cover of the new republic. It just says in big letters, race Thank you. The reason that is the part people focus on is that they pulled the most controversial part of the book and made it a huge deal. I know that authors when they don't want their most controversial part to be cut to define the work they don't let you accept so so one I don't think Merry's when MR his next
because honestly weirder, I don't know if you've ever read or even that are that familiar with human achievement. The body on the record here. I've read the Bell curve and I've read coming apart and that's all all in and and coming apart, an interesting book too and coming apart, is just spells out. His concern about the cognitive stratification of society to human achievement is a book where Maria this is comes right. After the Bell curve, and when I describe this book, I almost feel like people. People are not going to believe me, but but go look. It up. Murray wants to quantify the human achievements of different races and the way he does that is. He looks in a bunch of encyclopedias and he really counts up the amount of space given to the accomplishments of artists and philosophers and scientists from from from different, places, and he uses that to say European American Europeans white Europeans have done the most to push forward human achievement.
One criticism that I and other people have of Marie is: he often looks set indicators that reflect inequality and uses them to justify inequality that that book is like one of the most massive correlation causation. There's I I can possibly imagine now. The next thing you say is that I'm in doing this, I'm conflating two things. I'm conflating just a calm discussion. You two had about the science with the social policy agenda. I want to read you actually what was said in your discussion with Marie about this, because this is actually why I am interested in when you were talking with Marie one thing. I think to your credit. Is he repeatedly asked
hey, why do this at all? Why have this whole discussion about race and I q? What what are we doing here? So you say why seek data on racial differences at all? What is the purpose of doing this and Marie responds, and I'm again I'm quoting because we now have social policy embedded in employment policy in academic policy, which is based on the premise that every equal above the neck, whether it is men or women or whether it is ethnicities and when you have that in headed into law. You have a variety of bad things happen, and then you ask it again. You say, needless to say, I'm sure we can find hate, supremacist organizations who love the fact that the Bell curve was published and admonished remembers to read it at the first opportunity. Why look at this? How does this whole Society, give more information about racial difference and Marie again, I'm not going to read the whole thing cuz. I think that would be dull gives a long answer affirmative action in white is bad, so I am not the one conflating this number one
I am listening to the conversation you had, I'm listening, I'm a close reader of Murray's work and the reason I care about this stuff is because I care what the actual social policy outcome is read. Then you don't know what I mean by complete. Let me just I have to clarify them. This is a confusion. You can respond to everything when I'm done. I promise I'll shut up and let you talk the final thing that you did in your answer to me here? We, you said again and again, people pretend to believe politically correct ideas. People pretending to believe that evidence a couple things on that. I don't doubt your sincerity in this, but I can assure you that bed and Paige Harden and Eric Turkheimer and me. We actually believe what we believe and one of things it has honestly been frustrating to me in dealing with you is you have a kind of a very sensitive to where you feel that somebody has insulted you, but not a sensitive ear to yourself during this discussion.
You've called me and and not through implication, not do something where you're reading between the lines. You've called me: a slander, a liar, intellectually dishonest about faith, actor cynically motivated by profit, defamatory libelous, I'm you've called the Tyr, climber and and his bed and and Page Harding to call them friends. You've said just here that are part of a politically correct moral panic. I do think that you need to do. A little bit more here to credit. The idea that there just is disagreement here and it's a disagreement in part, because people are looking at different parts of this with different emphasis, but also disagreement, because people look at this issue and see different things. I often hear you on your podcast talk about how it's important to try to to try to extend the idea of sincerity and- and one thing that is annoying- is that you know among One thing that one thing that I have not done is assume that you don't believe what you believe everybody here is trying to have an argument about something that is important.
In Murray's words is about how we end up in the roof, they should feed into how we order society what we do to redress racial difference, and it's such a high stakes, conversations also one for people to Disagree. Okay, so untangling a bit of confusion here. This is two topics here that I should address. I think have to talk about what it means to insinuate that so much racist, but the conflation issue. I guess that you hate him social policies I get that you see that he thinks his? social policies are justified by what he thinks is empirically true in the world of data and facts and human difference. So there's a can action right and you're, worried that if one the data seriously in the way that he takes it seriously if one endorses his interpretation of the data from psychology or cycle metrics or behave. Genetics, that will lead to social,
MRS did you find abhorrent or do you think will produce a massive amount of inequality or suffering or something wrong, and I get that, but the conflation is is talking about data is one thing talking about What should be done in light of the fact that you acknowledge to be true or likely to be true is another, and there can be good faith disagreements in both of those stations, those conversations are not inextricably linked, I am noticing here is an I called a moral panic is that there are people who think that if we don't make certain ideas, certain facts taboo to discuss. If we don't impose a massive reputational cost in discussing these things then terrible. Things will happen at the level of social policy that the only way to protect our politics is.
Be again. This is a loaded term, but this is what it is from my view scientifically is to be intellectually dishonest, to be led by confirmation bias, confirmation, This is a real thing and this is the situation. I think we're in everything said about the politics. And the historical wrongs of racism which you wrote about a lot in your last piece totally agree with okay and probably more aligned with you politically than I am with Murray, which is say that I share your biases I share the bias that is leading you to frame the matter. The way your framing it again, I should should have spelled this out in the begin. My podcast with Murray, and I didn't for reasons I described, I don't think it a bit of difference, but I still should have done it and I think we've been called Anna dine. The way that this bit at all called are talking about individual differences and a dime, but I think every You say about the history of racism is true. I think you
who will be on the right side of a good debate about social policy and your concerns here are totally understandable. I get all of that. So this goes to the charge of bad faith. Again which, in this conversation, I admitted, might an unfair right. You might not be Glenn Greenwald Character. I read you to be at a certain point in that email exchange so, let's just assume, as You say that you feel intellectually scrupulous and ethically righteous okay. I know what it's like to feel that and you feel this way because you are concerned about racism, you're horrified by the history of racism, and you feel the kinds of social policies that Murray favors would be disastrous. And again I'm not arguing for those social policies, but your butt I here your connection to the political outcomes. When you're talking about the empirical science
causing you to make journalistic errors is causing his intercom and Turkheimer to make errors of scientific reasoning, and these are these errors in your last piece? You have this whole section on the Flynn effect and how the Flynn Effect should be read as accounting for the black white it purely environmental terms. Well even Flynn rejects that interpretation of when affect me had originally hoped. He publicly hoped that his effect would for that, but now he has a knowledge. The the data don't suggest that and there are many other areas of this kind that you and MS and Turkheimer are making. When you criticize me and Murray, and you criticize Murray for errors that he didn't make. And in order for you to imagine that I'm equally biased, 'cause. You must imagine bias on my side. Why am I getting it so wrong right? Why am I at the same facts that Nisbet Carmen and hardener looking at and I am getting it absolutely wrong. You To imagine that I have an
cool in opposite passion that I feel equally righteous, but it's in in the opposite direction. I would to be a grand dragon of the KKK to feel an equal and opposite bias on these data. And you've already said you don't think I'm a racist but What would be would have to be true of me to be is buying as you are again, understandably given the history of racism on these data and it's just not the what you have in me is someone who shares most of your political concerns and yet, is unwilling to get a loaded word lie about. What is and is not a good reading of empirical data. What is and is not a good argument about Jeanette it's an environment and the and and what is reasonable, to presume based on what we already know and get problem is, is that even if we
never look for these things, again, even if we follow this, boo and a sign that it's just there's no ethical reason to ever look at population differences. We will be the ambushed by these data they're, just spring out of our study of intelligence, Genere, or human genetics generically. It happened on other topics already, and people try to quiet about it because again airman, journalistically and politically is so charged criticism of you has been from day, one that you are contributing to that political chart and it's totally unnecessary because the Ical answer is so clear. The political answer is, we have to be committed. To racial equality and everyone, getting all the opportunities in life for happiness, self actualization that they can use
and we're nowhere near achieving that kind of society, and The real racists are the people who are not committed to those goals, there's so much there. I actually really appreciate that answer, because I think it I think it helps open this up. Let me say a couple things here: what is it one of my macro, one of the things I've come to think about you that I actually did not come into this believing is you are very quick to see a lot of psychological tendencies, cognitive, fallacy's, etc in others that you don't see applying to yourself or people you've sort of written into your tribe. So you say words in in there, like confirmation, bias, etc to Maine about Murray, about how we're looking at Murray and my whole the whole thing. I just told you is that Charles,
he's a guy who works, the conservative think tanks, whose first book was about how to get why we should get rid of the welfare state who is his whole life's work, is about breaking down social policy so, to the extent that I have any by sees a flow backwards from political commitments. So does he wear all with my busted, so we're I'm going to go through that? Don't worry! I promise you will get your bias very quickly. I do want to note you, you mentioned James Flynn here to prepare for this conversation I called Flynn the other day. I spoke to him on Monday, his read of the evidence right now- and this is me quoting him- he says I think it is- probable than not that the IQ difference between black and white Americans is environmental as a social science. I cannot be sure if they have a genetic advantage or disadvantage, so I'm just that is what James Flynn thinks. As of Monday
so then do you ask me, and- and I think this is a great- this is a good question, because I think this gets tough to the core of the s and it gets to where I tried to open this up into you, your view of this to is that to say that you have a bias in. It is to say in your terms that you, like the grand dragon of the KKK, the the version of a bias that could be influencing what you see here is a core form of racism. It's actually not my view of you, but I do think you. I do think you have a bias. I think you have a huge since the hippity. Let's put it that way, and you have a lot of difficulty, extending at assumption of good faith to anyone who disagrees with you on an issue that you code as identity politics,
and there's a place actually where I think you got into this in it in a pretty interesting way. I went back and I read your discussion with Glenn Lowry, at the beginning, when you're talking about why you chose to have gone on the show you say my goal was to find an african american intellectual who could really get into the details with me. But whom I also trust. It have a truly rational conversation that wouldn't be. How many did by identity politics to you engaging identity. Politics discredits your you to participate in a in a rational conversation and do something. As far as I can tell you, you do not see yourself as doing so so here's my question for you on that specific quote: what does it mean to you particular you're, talking about something like X. I have your ideas contaminated by identity, politics. Mean by identity politics. Is that your reasoning, on the basis of skin color or religion or gender, or some particular trait, which
You have by accident. You fell into I've been through no problem of reasoning on your own. You convinced to be white or black and to reason from that place as though, because you're you, because you have this in color. You have certain thing: true and very likely income nickel to other people who don't share your identity, You know. I view this as the most uh no the game of dungeons and dragons ever people have these various stories victimology that you do the arithmetic one way. One group Trump's another another way it gets reversed, and this strikes me as a moral and political, an intellectual dead end, because the things that are really true, the things that will really move- the dial, with respect to human well being and again, my career? I view my career as being totally committed to
amplifying good ideas and criticizing bad ideas in so far as they relate to the most important swings of human well being so my concern is: how can the future be better than the past? How can we to a world where we cancel the worst effects of bad luck, given that some people are hugely lucky and some people, How can we cancel it with respect of wealth and health and everything else and how get to a world where the maximum number of people thrive, I've, identity politics as among the worst pieces of software. You can be running to try to get there. I want to get to a world where it's Martin, the king's claim about the attentive your character, rather than the color of your skin right out is the goal, and if you want to reverse engineer that goal giving primacy identity is
of the worst things you can do, that's how I would frame so so. That's super helpful for me. Here's my criticism of you now I don't think you realize that the identity politics offers operating operating. You you all of the time strong. So when you, when you look at literature on the the conversation about race in America, you often see the discussion broken into racists and anti racists. That's something that that you'll read often in this debate. I think there's something else practically lately, which you might call Auntie, Auntie race, which is folks who are fundamentally more concerned or fundamentally primarily, concerned with the overreach of what you would call the anti racists and actually that's where I think you are, and one of the things that that I I hearing you is that whenever something gets near, the question of political correctness that the canary in the coal mine for the way you yourself have been treated you get very
very, very strident they're in bad faith, they're not being able to speak rationally they're not being able to have a conversation that is actually going forward on a sound evidentiary basis. I think that I I don't think that your self reflective enough about- and I call this guy. I know I know that I stayed, better than you statements, but I do want to push this idea. You do for you to refer you to think about. It is that there are things that are threats to you. There are things that are threats to your tribe to your future, to your career and those threats are very salient, so you see what happened to Charles Murray criticism. He gets an that sets off every alarm bell in your head and you bring him on the shell and like we're going to fix this, I'm going to show that they can't do this to you and you look around can you say: Ezra you shouldn't take away all social all efforts to redress racial inequality, but that's a bias here.
You're. Just so you know you're just being led around by by your political opinions, were I am standing outside the debate acting rationally and to me that's actually not what's happening at all. I think that you're not here, I think, you're missing a lot because you Our very radically increasing the salience of things that threaten your identity, your tribe, without not the crazy thing to do in the world. It's not a terrible thing to do. We all do it without meeting or maybe even without realizing, that's what you're doing. I think that there is a lot of discussion like this in the public sphere, just generally. At the moment there are a lot of white commentators of which I'm also one who look at what's happening on some campuses or look at what happens on what are mods or whatever and they see a threat to them and the concern about political crap. It goes way way way way up and then the ability to hear what the folks who are
making the arguments actually say, dissolved the ability to hear what the so called social Justice warriors are actually worried about dissolves, and I think that's a really big blind spot here. I think it's making it hard for you to see when people have good faith, disagreement with you, and I also think it's making it harder for you to see how to some of the different concerns that are operating in this conversation, you're you're, so concerned about Murray, and what has happened when I can use extremely accessible. That's used in that. That's a point. Confusion when that you're, not I mean in your whole, Show SAM. You had a hundred twenty some episodes, and, if I am, I could miss counted this I I totally take out as a possibility here, it's amazing you would think this is relevant. But, yes, you could give me the numbers. I think you've got to african Americans as guests. I think you need to explore the expiry of race in America. More and not just they see that as identity politics see that as information that is important to talking about some of the things you want to talk about, but also to hearing from some of the people,
who you've now written out of the conversation to hear this is uh. Kind of thing that I would be tempted to score as bad faith. Docked in someone else, but actually I think this is a point of fusion, but it is nonetheless confusion here so but you're accusation that I'm reasoning on the basis of my tribe here is just false. This is cool game. I play this. Is my main focus in concert. In my worldview and how in conversations with other people, when I'm talking about things that are true. That stand chance of being universal. They stand a chance, scaling. These are the the things that are not subordinate to a person's identity. Other things that will be true by accident of birth, because you happen to have been born in India and are hindu. I mean The problem I have with the religious sectarianism,
is the problem. I have with nationalism or any other kind of tribalism that can't possibly scale global civilization, that's truly cosmopolitan where, when your reasoning among strangers, you have to convey verge on solutions to problems that work in depere of who you happen to be. I mean this is why you know John Rawls Veil of ignorance, thought experiment was so brilliant design, a just society. A great heuristic is to of the society, you would want not knowing who you're going to be in it. That's the perfect. Now, if the vision of the logic of identity politics. You have to figure out what would be good for everyone before you realize what the color of your skin is an reason why I'm defending Murray, to the degree that I have been is not because I have this Sympathy with him because he's a white guy like me, I defend
muslim reformers who are not white and ex Muslims who are not white. I spent way more time sending Ayaan Hirsi Ali, then Charles Murray and she's, the victim of the same kind of leftist stupidity. Frankly, her demonization has the exact same structure that Marie's does and I spend an enormous investment of time and money frankly defending ion, so your charge is false. With respect to my motivations and there's something there's so many layers of confusion here, and this is just and I Not just yours is everybody, so there's got to be a majority of both our audiences, but say something about this: no mission of what's at stake here because use in your recent piece. You talk about a Murrays folk on the inferiority of blacks, intellectual inferiority. Maybe you also- just inferiority of blacks are inferior as well. Go back, go back and look at the piece, but there's no
ocean of infant. No one talks about inferiority who's actually having a dispassionate argument on this topic of IQ testing. It absolutely does not map on, but I can only say I'm not going to pretend to be a mind reader, but it certainly doesn't map onto my view of this situation. I mean, for instance, I would bet my life my iq, is lower than John VON Neumann's was. That answers of that being true or one hundred percent for that course. This is mere speculation, but the the speculation, that you could bet the fate of the world on the despite Horkheimer says in his article on his tweets. You can make very. High probability speculations. So do you think, I'm in fear to John one woman. Do you think I think I'm inferior to John one one so two things here so one when I talk about immerses specifically, I do use a talk, show very art. I got the peace out in front of me. I do think
one hundred percent without doubt that when we have an american life over over and over again said that African Americans are intellectually less capable than whites. That is been yes That is a way of saying that they are inferior and it has been a way of treating them as if they are in fear. It's has been way of justifying social outcomes Unbelievably unequal and unfair been going on until I mean they're going on in the present day. You know something that You said in here, so I think it's important, because what I actually why you called the confusion, I don't I still not clear on which part is actually confused. What I would argue about this is recognizing there are folks who it is easier for us to hear from it and and harder is part of gathering the information,
in about the world for us to understand what is true so during our email exchange. Let me use this as an example. You wrote to me again, quoting here. If James Flynn is right of Flint is right, then the mean I qs of african american children who are second and third generation. Upper middle class should have converged with those of the children of upper middle class whites. But as far as I understand they haven't, I think that sentence right. There That is not having enough experience or having thought hard enough for dug into the literature. I mean there different ways of learning about the world, of course, but about people whose experience different things now- give one example here that actually said to you in these emails, I'm african working families making one hundred thousand dollars a year live in neighborhoods with the same income composition as white families, making thirty thousand dollars a year to say that you have an african american family that is middle class or upper middle class, and that their experiences now so similar to that of whites that somehow
environmental atmosphere around them has equalized. I think that is something that is being missed it. The land rover, was doing this. The way you love I'll just finish on this point, the way you leverage, identity politics here is away if not forcing yourself to see some of that? Ok, but this is something you've done by implication more or Every time you've touch this topic you tested that Murray is try. To establish that the differences between the mean qs in various groups, are genetic he's not he's simply suggested that There's good reason to believe that genes and environment both play a part that is uh assumption for basically everything we care about physically and mentally that is as safe an assumption in behavioral genetics can be made, and it isn't it and that Turkheimer Nisbet, don't want to make for Peyton Lee
political reasons. I would argue, but I can't tell you about Every single scientist I spoke to before I did my pie, yes, with Murray who's close to these data scientists, who don't want to publicly defend him, because they don't want to have to have conversations like this agreed what had been done to him was absolutely disgraceful and that his reading of the science is fine. Right and Richard Hair, who came to our defense again unbidden, put his rep. Station on the line. To argue for that, my experience as a person who was getting ready to have a conversation with Murray wondering whether or not he should do it wondering whether or not this is just. Maybe this guy is a racist who is distorted the science my experience was encountering scientists who were basically in hiding on this topic, scientist whose name This would be well known to you right people who have stellar reputations. You don't want to go near this for all the trouble it causes them
just to give you another sense of the of the of the picture above the context in which were having this conversation, if you are a box article, the original box article, landed on the hate watch page at the then poverty law center website in stream that talks about NEO, Nazi hate groups and Atlanta bomber right. There's me in Murray that's not an accident. That's not a gratuitous misreading of the article. That is. The taboo I'm talking about. We are now purveyors of hate. Let's take this off of race and IQ for a sex This is something that would have been probably First is radioactive and it just happened to break the other way and sort of nobody notice, but you probably recall. I think it's three years ago and it was four years ago- and it was two thousand and fourteen where reports about neanderthal DNA and it was learned that it's actually, I think it's David Reich, whose
op ed in the New York Times, kicked off our latest skirmish things based on his work. It was found that most human beings are walking around with two around two point: seven percent neanderthal DNA, but it was found that the only people who don't have neander- Dna are black people right, people who directly to send with some isolation from Africa from the rest of the Human and so at the time I tweet it rises. Now, two thousand and fourteen I tweeted attention, all racists, you were right. Whites are special, we're part, neanderthal, blacks are just human, ok and it as you know it trolling of the world's racist right now. The fact that I tweeted that should give you He was a journalist, some indication of what I think about white supremacy, but what if the data had broken the other way. What if the only people on earth who were part Neanderthal were black.
What would have happened? anyone who reported those data, what would would that have been an example of trap looking in the most deeply harmful tropes, I mean it is just pure good luck. It broke the other way, and yet this is the kind of thing that will keep coming at us- and this is this- is the problem that you, here to be unprepared for, and it's a problem that you, in the face of which you appear to be willing to These people who are who are not speaking with real integrity about data, because it serves political ends and you appear to be willing to help destroy. Reputations, who take the other side of these converse and the problem is this we know that we discover things about populations that can appear invidious and appear politically inconvenient, and we
No, when we will discover that we know that there is enough variation, both genetically and environmentally, that if we looked at differences among the Inuit and the Koreans, and- people from Latin America we're going to find differences. Again. These differences don't always make white people look good. The asian Q Data is the reverse of the black white difference, thus far psycho metrically. And no one is worried about asian privilege. Right I mean we got Asian suing Harvard University today, because they're being excluded from Harvard and that's the other side of this affirmative action and we have to figure out some way to solve this and the political response the basic political response in the policy response is open to good faith debate, but the basic one has the non identity politics, but a commitment to basic fairness
for all individuals, no matter what nominal group they seem to be. Apart of because again, these groups are poorly defined. Most of these, define based on people's self identification, you could find on genetic analysis that they don't even come from where they thought they came from right Every you define a group. You will find differences and to treat those differences as in principle, radio act. That is just. It is a bad strategy going forward. It will produce. Medical harm, it will produce intellectual harm and it is what explains the fact that I have people's or people scientists in my inbox, who have total taken my side in this, but who are two raid to say so publicly and the reason why they should be afraid is proven by the fact
I'm now on the southern Poverty LAW center website as a hate monger. So a couple things here so when I want to go back to something you say in here, but I just want to call out, but you keep doing this thing where you say: oh they're, all these p, who disagree with me and they disagree because you're not willing to read the data with integrity. I am not you're, not reading the data with integrity. You keep telling others that and- and I I and I- and I told you the moment- I think it was a line test and a junk scientist over. I what I think the the the scientists called the is bed and Paige Harden Turkheimer said that they believe Marie's interpretation of this ultimately is pseudoscience way, is way way way out front of the data. In fact, by the way, the right piece right, timers apologize for that. What do you do? I said that Tyr that apologize for that he had he Although I spoke with him yesterday, he hold
awesome views on this, but he feels that that wasn't helpful to debate, which is nice of him he may be. You know it's good to keep the debates temperature down, but that doesn't change his view. Ok, but if it's not, if it's not junk science, then it's a disagreement about the actual science. I think the term I think you're going to have to start camera thanks on this. I think you're. I think you're misreading him at any rate, I I think it would be not useful for us to spend time on that. They David rush in the very article that you sent to his view on this is that whatever we think now is going to be proven wrong that whatever confidence we have now is going to be shown to be incorrect, that that the ideas and the information coming down. The pike are going to surprise us. So the argument of Tyr Calmer page hard in his bed in the piece that bit in again people should go to the show to be these pieces, is that Who knows? Maybe sometime in the future, will find this, but right now there is no reason to believe it now. One thing you said that
I say it, wanna know what I don't know what it is in this case, but they did it is that the that there is a negative I q difference. It is in part genetic for african Americans. That is, that is the act now. One thing that you see I see so I keep saying Murray calls. Is genetic Does he's pretty clear to Jack components? Are you in the piece I can? I can quote it back, but it's completely true that he's he says I don't know what the The numbers are what is interesting about the movement remakes, and this is the thing I caught in my piece- and it talked about a bit- is that what Murray is intent on showing? Is it genetic or environmental? It's it can't be changed it so beautiful. He says there is this notion, and this was in your podcast there's. This notion that have traits are genetically determined, that's bad and if they're environmentally determined that's good, because we can do something about them if their environmental there's one lesson that learn from the last seventy years of social policy. Is it changing environments in ways that produce measurable results is really really hard? We actually don't, how to do it, no matter how much money we spend. If you go read,
the original and the second box pieces there primarily about this claim, they're, primarily about the claim that we cannot change these outcomes. Primarily about the claim that you know what, if you move people into say, the the correct form into adoption is a high income families. Maybe twelve to eighteen point. I q odd change. There is tons and tons. We have evidence now we're getting into my world again in the realm of social policy, of not just effects from social policy on one generation but multi generational effects from things like Medicaid and so on, and so one place where I think this is important. Is that a lot of the debate here in the lower some people? care about. It is that if you're saying things are immutable, often people say they're, mutable, Kuzo Genetic Murray actually says are mutable really, no matter what, if you say there, and you that's actually away, and this is what Marie does again explicitly and repeatedly, both on your show and in other places is say, Ezra mutable. That really means that this is not kind of on us. This is not on us
America or America broadly, and we don't have to kind of feel so bad. We can embrace the politics of difference. We can begin removing some of these social supports, Don't need to have as much affirmative action. Don't need this employment nondiscrimination stuff. We can cut the size of this social welfare state. He wants to do things that stop pushing people up as much and then of, and this is where this is always gone in american history- then when people don't advance folks will look at that and say: hey look. There are not advance not closing the gap quickly enough. That just goes to show the problem is innate now. This is something brought up earlier when you brought up that quote from worry about luck, and I think it's an important conversation. I think follow Maria them on. If you, if you were doing it without the political commitments he brings to it, it actually takes you to a very radical and interesting place. If you say that our iq is genetic
our mental, but at any rate it's not our fault 'cause. We don't choose either one of those and there's not much. We can do about it and not just story q, but something you said is that a lot of traits come down like this, a big five all the traits determination I mean look, you can you? Can you can connect genetic inheritance to divorce right? It's got. I think it's a point to our point, four correlation. So if you begin to believe that actually begin to ask the question of should do we do deserve. We have, should society be vastly more redistributive than it actually is? Should we be much less it within this construct that what we're getting we're getting because of hard work and it nation and intelligence and and in the application of our talents- and in fact we need to move to something that could I'm not I'm, not I'm not literally advocate yes, but more in the range of full socialism. What I think is so interesting about the way he takes this debate, and I recognize this is not something somewhere. You took that bad, I'm just. I do think this is a useful thing to talk about
is that if you really did believe things were immutable, if you really I believe that this was our inheritance, both environmental and genetic, and we can't do much about it, but I think the locations of that are radical and the implications aren't that you take away help from people. It's that you say pretty much what all of us have. This is primarily illegitimate. We didn't do anything to earn it. I just happened to be born with you know the collection of talent that got me where I am and as such, what we should spread around in society is much more vast. Funnily enough, I don't ever see people take that attitude on this again the history of these ideas in America is a tend to be used to justify the status quo, not edit, more generous versions of the status quo, but but I do think, that's interesting and I I understand, why people don't take that leap. I I think the implication of this is it's locked and, if if you want to believe that in again I don't believe they're immutable. I don't think that's what the evidence shows, but if you do believe their luck, I don't think it takes you where he went in your conversation.
Ok. Well, there is some more confusion here, I'm sorry but your representation, The state of the science, is very news Betty and that's not an accident and then one wonders why you wouldn't publish the side of a good faith, scientific debate. Specially when you have someone like me complaining about the harms, tatian. Only the comment. With publishing only one side of it. You want a quick answer on why we didn't publish higher sure so when you so during this is an and people heard. Your explanation beginning, but we publish a box piece. The box authors were getting a lot of criticism from you and others, which is you know it's reasonable to debate during this. You were emailing me and you publicly challenge me to debate. Emailed me number,
Nobody, not there's no guaranteed response from somebody's hand, picked expert. In a I mean, that's not having your time's up. That page works for the Washington Post or anything, but it's a reasonable asked to make. If you would come to me- and you had said, hey look, I don't think this piece was fair to me. I think you know this guy higher wants to write something with that. Take a look at it. I I have been opened, but what you did was you came to me and he said, let's debate and I had agreed to do it and not only that I'd agreed to release the debate to box. So people are going to hear you defend your position. Now you were backing off of that and demanding. Instead, that I published a hand picked expert and that's just not the way, this there's wasn't hand picked this I came out of the blue. I didn't even know who he was at that point, so it well somebody you preferred who had your views. I thought that I was giving you the opportunity to respond. That you wanted, and now you are privately trying to pull that back and do something different and that to me was just actually bad faith. Okay, what what? What what you should understand for the record? Okay, what you should understand I've I've said this man.
The times is that the opportunity to respond is no opportunity. At all. This is the opportunity to continually to be slimed by association with is seemingly radioactive ideas is the opportunity to seem to care about racial difference, even though You don't just in an effort to prove So you were not guilty of a racially biased misreading of the empirical data. It's not opportunity that I want is on opportunity that that I'm happy to take in this conversation because merely talking about again will just take it back to something as superficial as the neanderthal Data right had that broken the other way and the factual claim to is that black people are part neanderthal in white people. Aren't it's the opposite, but had it gone the other way you look like a racist asshole even attention to that
there's no way to talk about it, given all of the associations with race and Nando and all the rest and what I'm saying is that we have to grow up. We have to treat our audiences like adults not like dangerous children who will plunge into some toxic politics. If you talk about the science in a disinterested and dispassionate way, and we have to stop- sliming people with the worst motives when they find themselves in the possession these kinds of facts or even when they argue for social policies that you don't agree with now again I'm not defending Murray Social policies. I don't happen. With socialism, because I think it's just it doesn't face with human selfish, in the right way, so as to leverage you've human energy in the right way, so as to produce good to I think we know that socialism doesn't work, but I am very sympathetic
with some engineering of a tide that lifts all boats- and I don't know if that's universal basic income Some other way to redistribute much more than we do and as get into a world of more and more abundance. I think that has to be the solution. I've written a lot about wealth inequality and I've worried about wealth inequality. Google take my first article on the topic, is titled, How rich is too rich and you can go down the rabbit hole after that. But this. This is something that I spent some time on and so my views on free will you'll know I think. It's all luck, even if these things about us are changeable, and I don't agree that the Yes, it's hard to change your iq. We don't know of an environmental intervention that Hi changes, people's IQ Murray is right about that. Not saying that we know that the differences between various groups in iq
golden attic, or even mostly genetic, but it's certainly prove to assume the genes are involved for basically every difference, we're going to and that is a an argument. Yeah I can have with Turkheimer it's a losing argument, because everybody thinks this is toxic to even talk about, but I don't think Turkheimer's being honest about the sign is there an? There? Is no scientists, I've spoken with innocent our conversation, who thinks he's being honest with the science again- these are names that would be well known to you, but who don't want to touch this with a ten foot pole, SAM said already in this in this answer that you know the thing you can't do in this disk and this line people's motivations,
say, and and again I really urge people to go. Read these pieces. Nobody tried to sign renovations is that you were wrong and that she said you know this is really wrong it. It's Dana. You said our conversation was of a piece with the worst crimes is social crimes in american history. I said, and I I will say, and I the only the onus was on us to prove we're. Not I mean that was the implication of what our camera can. I ask why didn't say about not nobody ever said not to let him use the word out offer this one back. Something you brought up a couple times is something I wrote in my piece and I am actually very happy to talk about this. I say that the belief that African Americans are genetically less intelligent than whites and then also inferior and, if you're, in other ways, which I'm not saying you guys said, is our oldest most ancient just to be. And for racial equality and bigotry. Do you disagree with that when you look at american history, when you look at what we said at the dawn of this country and all the way, through all the way, through the nineteen fifties and sixties? When I say that I am I wrong
in a sense, you're wrong. I do agree with the spirit of it. Then I think you could say the Bible is just as much of justification. The notion of the race of harm came under a curse and that these races were separately have a separate, theological stature. You had Bible thump in racist maniacs, defending slavery and without any reference to science, that's a great America. Tradition. I think tribalism is at the bottom of it and perceiving other people who look different and sound different from yourself as ineradicable. Different. I think that is a problem. We must outgrow, and I fully I agree with the social concern.
Is that follow from noticing how far we have to go in outgrowing it. I think something here is that one of the things I detect in this conversation this maybe gets to something we discussed that we would talk about later, and it's maybe we've hit that point. I something I detect here is the idea that, and I want to think about it- phrases carefully. 'cause, I want to do it without making sense of is that I d is, can only be fit into the S lineage if they are being said with racial animus. If they're being said by someone who doesn't like the people they're talking about- and I think it's an important thing when you study History of racism in this country is that it has always had a scientific rapper. It has always been Dotson something people thought they were doing, because they were hateful, something they thought they were doing, because it was true because I I quoted in my piece, Thomas Jefferson,
who brilliant man like a brilliant genteel man, one of the one of the great but a slaveholder, a slaveholder, and not just a slider, but particularly vicious one. But one of the reasons I quoted him is that, at the end of the Bell curve, one thing Murray does is endorsed the idea. That a correct understanding of stratified cognitive capacity which operates racially and and in other ways, should make its re embrace what he calls it a jeffersonian politics of difference. He he he quotes Jefferson. Talking about how important it is to understand that the people in society are fit for different uses are fit for different places, and I think now we look back at Jeff and say that's ridiculous. What you're talking about it, that is, it is grotesque. But when Jefferson was doing it, he felt himself being genteel when he was saying that you know, african Americans cannot compose thoughts above the level of plain narration. We now look at that and say the country that James Ball, the created James Baldwin. You think you think
but you know Meryan and I'm not accusing withholding holding Jefferson's views on race. He clearly doesn't, but he then you know in a very different way. It comes out and says, look like we just need to accept that people are different as Thomas Jefferson taught us, and do you do out that people are different. I mean I just said that I'm not as smart as John VON Neumann. Do you think, maybe secretly smartest on one arm, I doubt that we have given the experiment we have run in this country, given the centuries of slavery and said nation and oppression given locking people out of jobs out of good schools, building wealth out of going to into into top professions out of being part of the social networks that help you advance. The amount of islands and terror and trauma that we've inflicted on African Americans in this country. I absolutely doubt I I truly core of my being doubt that we are at a place where any of us should have confidence. Saying that
The difference is, we see in individuals now reflect intrinsic group capacity. I think that every other point that everybody, but anyone, but even Murray, wouldn't say that that it every point in american history. We have said that that is exactly what Marie says that it every other point in american history there's confusion. Everything intrusion I mean we, you can you you'll, be able to you'll be able to try to sort it out in my next photo every point in american history. We have made that argument. We now look back, and I mean this is not going way back right. Segregation. My mom was alive in segregation. Charles Murray was are alive during segregation were talking. I think it's within the week of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination. I mean this is not ancient history. It is recent history I think we look back and we say man, they really had it wrong and- and you put it back at me, something that I think it's either. I say it or the box office, and I don't remember, but that yeah, if you're, having a version of this conversation again, it is incumbent on you to say why you're so sure it will be different. This time
and Murray does say you know what he thinks, that some combination of genetic and basically immutable environmental characteristics make it. So we can't do much about this and they just are big differences between the groups, and it's going to remain that way in american politics needs to rearrange itself around that reality and yeah. I I strong, we disagree and I disagree because of american history, and that is why my fundamental criticism of that conversation with that you needed The more you needed to deal more with the history of this conversation and the history of this country. But even in this conversation you are unwilling to differentiate scientific fact and scientific data and reasonable extrapolations based on data from past injustices in american history. These are. These are totally separate things. Now we
agree on what a reasonable extrapolation from the data is. What we can't disagree about is that the signs of that conversation about scientific data appear to be given a very different moral treatment by you right so Turkheimer. Nisbet are well respected. Scholars murray- and I are people who need to be conjoined with this horrid history Our conversation is described as disastrous and dangerous and horrific, and hiking in the most harmful tropes where we land on the hate speech, page of not even speech, just the hate page, of the southern Poverty LAW center and where I have scientists who are effectively in hiding telling me were right about the scientists. Conversation. That's that is just the status quo here I'm saying that's dysfunctional and I'm saying
it is unethical right. That's one point that is a completely separate problem. From the problem of racism and the problem of race. Quality and you feel that somehow this status quo problem of just how hard it is to talk about these things is justified. As of how bad racial inequality has been in the past, when they would call, is it it's, I do think it's a support to save us. I have not criticized you and I continue to not for having the conversation. I've criticized you for having the conversation without dealing with and ex and and separating it out and thinking through. The context and the weight of american history on it, not the weight of american history, the eight of american history on the way the weight of american history is completely only relevant to the would be around on getting that even you will it is environmental, yes, but that that part of the conversation has been had. You don't have to talk.
Slavery you don't have to talk about the specific injustices in the past to have uh. Station about the environmental factors that vary likely keep people back and I completely agree with you that it is right to worry. That the environment for blacks or for any other group. That seems not to be thriving, one metric or another, the envoy almost certainly plays a role in the environment. We just know that the environment plays a role across the board in. April Genetics as no one who is arguing that any of these traits forget about intelligence anything we care about is one hundred percent heritable, it's just that nothing complex is percent heritable and again I have zero interest in a stab differences among races and my reading of Murray and he get. He said this on my podcast several times his.
Focus is not on groups, focuses on individuals, it's just a fact that individuals, fine themselves with what cognitive toolkit they have. However, they got it based. Genes and environment and we have a society is massively rewarding specific tools, No one on Murray side of this debate is saying that call social self worth is indexed by IQ, scores no one is saying that is the point I was trying to make. When I said. Look, and am I inferior to John VON neumann- I don't think so, and I don't think you think so right so what's at stake here. Not a person's intrinsic worth and using words like inferior, completely loads, the dice here I mean that that is a highly charged moralistic. Insertion which just does not map onto any sane person. Thinking about this, yes, it mapped onto Tom,
Jefferson's thinking about this. But to summarize what I'm doing with slaveholders of our distant past and talk now these things as though it's a single set of ideas. It's just Lee, unfair. Let me let me ask you what has the consequence that I've described why he? Let me try to think about how to phrase this question. You say that it is unfair journalistically to put you conversation within the lineage of the conversation going,
all the way back in american history and all the way, as you say, pre american history. In fact, in my peace I quote Voltaire and human others that each point european descended white men a scientific mind. Looked around them looked at the society, they saw looked at the outcomes people had in society, they sell looked at the science pulled from those outcomes right and it was called science back then too and said you know what what we're seeing here is the result of innate differences between the races and but it's something, I'm just going to say. We have not even talked through questions of like, but even beans, to talk about racism, that has changed over time, but I'll just bracket that and at each point that has been you know, it's been justified in different ways with different kinds of science, but you know now we look back and we say home at they did not
So what they were talking about. That was ridiculous. I mean look at what was going on in their society, but they, you know they look then they ran their studies and they ran the numbers and they said you know, there's just a difference here. There's a difference here and that is Things are turning out the way they are. I Tell me why tell me why it is unfair to put Ezra I'm pointing out that the bios just put your conversation in that linneage, why the burden of proof is not actually on you to say, here's why it is different. This time here is why we are at a point either in american history or science or whatever, where that That is no longer like. We are certain that nobody in fifty years is going to look back at us and say that because scientifically what? the scientists who are on my side of this argument, think and if they include James Flynn and many others, they say. That's we are here not quite but okay. Well, I just quoted him too. I just put again. I just spoke in two days what it now, but it was, it was still. It was still a misleading summary of
He said. I know I know what what he's on right. Okay, I say again, I just spoke to me. He and and you're interpreting it in a way that you know I'm not into dancing just said to me two days ago. It is, it is, can I guess the evidence at their ready to not understand what you said this advantage for African Americans. It is entirely possible that the ten point iq difference we see, reflects a twelve point, environmental difference and a negative two genetic difference, I sure sure many things are possible, but we're trying judge and what is plausable to say and more important I am worried about the social penalty for talking about these things because again it will come back. Was on things that we don't expect like. The neanderthal thing right, like that comes out of left field they gone another way? All of a sudden we can Talk about neanderthal dna anymore and there's no point in having our politics behind hostage to these kind of tripwire effects, where you say something that seems
Ethically invidious merely talking about the data, as they are mean and less every population of human beings has exactly the same mean and the same variance for every trait care about. We are gay need to be Blue cited by these differences. It seemed important to people who care about differences among groups- end game here is to not care about differences, among groups, treat individuals as individuals and to realize that that yes, people have different sets of gifts, an competence is, but we can. People. Whatever advantages we can, and we should. But we're moving into a future. Where will be? change. These things about ourselves in very intrusive ways will be able to change. Our jeans will be able to change. The jeans of our kids will be able to put technology directly into our brains,
and not everyone will have access to this technology at the same time, and this will open a door to another aspect of inequality that could be hugely consequential. This is all stuff We have to get ready for, but the to be ready is for good, wooden intellectually honest people to be willing to talk about the facts of biology and very these things. We understand about things like intelligence with outlook site of our political and ethical commitments to one another and those commitments just have to be to make the world better and to treat everyone fairly and to treat ones political opponents fairly and there's a real shortage of people. Who can do this right now as written your, style of dealing with this is part of that problem
It is why again I mean you you haven't commented on this I'll. Give you another example, because you you don't like the examples. I've given to me: I've, given you southern poverty law center. If, given the fact that I I've got, scientists contacting me who won't go on the record to fully support May and Marie, but I'm taking Andrew Sullivan, I think, he's a mutual friend of ours and he certainly a friend of mine. He came to mind Murray's defense, I assume you don't think Andrews are racist. He me Lee for coming out, down on our side of this particular Contra Tom is being slimed as a racist now okay, that is the environment in which we're having this, and that's why I'm calling that's what I call a moral panic. It's not good and again we're going to be Chinua Lee played by new data and the basic principle here scientifically which kammerzell id- and you seem to want into a lighted, You seem to be happy that he allowed it. Is that yes, it.
Safe to say that there are genetic is among genetically isolated populations. I your point about the conceptual coherence of race is well taken, but it there is based on the ancestry of all seven billion human beings that currently exist there are differences, among groups. I in the fact that you can look at someone. In fact, you can look at me and know that I'm not korean, just by looking at me is a sign of my, ancestry, the fact that you can make a best guess as to where someone's ancestors came from is a sign weather looking for differences among groups or not will be surprised, buy things. Yes, it's true that, as Turkheimer said sorry is Reich said we may have things completely backwards will find out that certain types are the opposite of being true, but we might
I doubt that certain stereotypes are true. I mean the Turkheimer used an example in one of his pieces. I think it was a second one where he said what, if, someone does a genetic analysis of materialism find a multivariate genes that CO vary with a person's materialism, and we find that jeans, are over expressed among Jews? What, then, right? Now he put he put this though, like this is going to be so radioactive that you know it's just going to, me over for bowl. Anyone over who's know didn't care about the black white data but we'll all the sudden care about the jewish data, I mean, that's, that's a per legitimate question, I'm not suggesting anyone study that and I will again I would worry about the thinks of anyone who wants to be in the wilderness of all possible things to study, wanted devote his or her life to studying that. But that's the kind of thing could just emerge from you know, the study of hoarding behavior, someone who studies the psychological problem of hoarding and they the genetics of it and then they just happened,
discover that the gin It's are represented. Differently in different populations and Ashkenazi Jews, of which you know, half of my ancestry is, more of this, the hoarding jeans than other people. Do we deal with that like adults? or do we vilify person who merely spoke about the data. That's the that's the bright line, I'm trying to get you to acknowledge, so I think This is actually good place to. As you said, you mention games. I think this is a good place to get the and game and I'll. Let this be my my final comment, something that you and there is you can look at you and know Korean. This is where you get into the question of race, being a social category that does have, in some cases, biological markers, but on which we are now overlaying early genetic science. It's often not true, of course, for people who are african
you can look at someone there and you know maybe they're actually from the Caribbean or maybe they're, half half white, or maybe all kinds of things happen three years ago, I'm not white. Now I am, you, don't seem to see a lot of saying hey like let's, let's resuscitate the mid twentieth century versions of white racists. Instead, we sort of grouped double. You know what we now think of as people together and then you know they're are Hispanics, which are another strangely constructed category over here and so in in of how all this helps us have a more sophisticated discussion. I discussion that makes us more ready to. Absorb these findings as they come down the line. I actually don't really under and and and- and I I don't think I ever have that- I you know- if you want to have discussions about very precise population categories, I think that should come up with good language for doing that, and I think that if you read a lot of these studies, people do that isn't what your conversation was about. At some,
conversation in in this country is generally been about a minute again. I think if you we need someone like Farai connection, not try to pronounce his name or or talk to folks in this field they are precise, in a way that american politics often isn't like. You talked about the stakes of this conversation and there are steaks to it. Some of them are policy steaks. Those are the ones Charles Murray is fundamental, interested in once that when you ask him why hot, why you should have this conversation, he kept bringing up their stakes in how, treat each other and whether what kind of groups we see in each other- and I think, using these conversations to become more precise, as opposed to less precise using these conversations to begin to question social, categories that we built for political purposes in this country? As suppose, to validate them in strange ways that don't have consistency across them. I think, is uh. I think we
doing a better job on that in all this, what I would say and I'll let this be my final point. I appreciate the time you've given to this conversation today is, I think, that to have this precision well to be ready for what may or may not come down the pike to be able to talk about this. As you say, like adults, I think that you would be doing your audience service to let go of some of the feelings. You have about what you call identity politics and what you see in others, with identity politics and have more conversations about race in America and the way it is built and the way it is seen and the way it acts on peoples, life chances. I think that there is room to have conversations about genetic findings, but they because we are mapping those conversations on to social, political realities, having more conversations where we
deliver more new and more under were you yourself get more understanding of the social political realities? I feel uncomfortable being the person on the other side of the chair here. I don't think. I'm not an expert on race and iq, but I'm also not someone who, I think is the right spoke person for the experience of other races in this country, and I don't think that is me falling into a trap of identity, Paul I think that is me being honest about what are the limits. Of my own perception and there's a lot I can learn. But you know this is you know, I'm a political journalist and I've only learned so much. I continue to think that the way you handle the conversation with Murray, framing it as a question of political correctness did too much to ignore what this conversation has meant to people for whom the danger is not the charm
You will be. You know- and I think this was bad d platform to and even to have his shop and assaulted at Middlebury or what is more, been more normal in his career, be extremely successful but but but widely criticized. I think that a conversation with a broader range of experts would give you more sture and more empathy for the people whom this conversation- and Precision and the way it gets leveraged in american life really hurts them all in by noting what you said about Andrew Sullivan enter is a friend of mine and I do not think is a race. Staff and I take as I take his honesty seriously, and I appreciate the conversations he wants to have. I think he is I think that was one of the more misguided pieces. I've seen the fund, Central argument of that piece was that in to have a better conversation about race. We need to have a conversation,
Maria some. We need have a conversation that front load the idea, There are intrinsic differences between these groups and that that, will somehow heal our racial conversation. When I would say to you what I would say to him is our history, as a country shows the exact precise that at will. Not I don't think anyone. I really don't think Murray would say that focusing on Intranet benefits ends, but don't read Andrew says a way out of of it and then did you brought up and just be some just noting that and- and so I think it would be good I know a a interested. The focusing on the entrance there are differences between groups is already. Let me hold you on the whole rationalization for once divider and I'll just call up the hazard. If you don't mind. The headline Avengers Pieces didn't dying, genetics isn't shutting down racism. It's feeling, I think, I think that if you look at the way, ok stop stop. Stop that so
summarize that, as focusing on intrinsic differences in my thinking, if you feed that piece, that is exactly what that piece. Does the imp, Nation of being honest about genetics is not that we focus on the intrinsic differences between groups. The first again every. Individual has their own genetics right and you could sample groups on the basis of really dumb ideas and find different means, and they would either be Harley, genetic or entirely environmental or a mix of both depending on how you would pick groups and what you were studying and it's just the reality is that we are going to be running into differences among groups, no matter how you do it says in the peace and I'll just quote it and any guy I want to. I want to let this
I do want to let the the down. At the same time, if we assume genetics plays no role, he's talking here about intelligence and base our policy prescriptions and something untrue now he's saying that we're pretty sure genetics does play a role in group intelligence differences. We are likely overshoot and over promise and social policy and see our rhetoric on race become ever more extreme in device. We may even embrace racial discrimination as an affirmative action that fuels deeper provides. What I keep seeing in this conversation is white. Conservative men We want to say that we are at a point where we can say with reasonable confidence that they are intrinsic intellectual differences between the groups that are at least partly genetic, that that is a reason to look at the in equities. The racial inequality is in american society and say: hey look. That is not just the consequences of our history. That is just something that is. Unique to us and we should not be over reaching out. No I'm I'm not even clear you have. I heard from a fully fair point. I would criticize you for not call
get out more. But you are right. You have not said that, but but I've been talking about, I've been been careful. Who I say, I'm hearing that from and that that will somehow lead to a better conversation. I think a conversation that who did more african american voices and more people who have specialization, history of race in America, in history of these ideas in America and the history of how these ideas and social policy in America interact would lead to a better more fruitful more as you put it, adult and also more constructive debate. Ok, ok! Well I I realize we're getting to the end of our studio time here and as much as I think we probably use more time a. I think it's probably good that we don't have the choice to grab more time. I can't shake the feeling that our audience will feel that we have been talking past one another impressively here, because I do
feel that and I feel like I know why, but you know spelling that out, so somewhat invidious and we don't really have time to clean up the mess? But I think you won't acknowledge how toxic the status quo is and how unnecessary the status quo I apologize. I didn't. I didn't respond to that you're right. Let me let me give you my quick response on that. You said a couple of times that There are scientists in your inbox Box refused to be named, but who agree with you and that there is a link One of the box pieces on was at the southern poverty law. Center's hate site was that it was yeah the I have not focused on this As you know, it's something you say in your converse. She with Marie there are tons and tons of fun. Leave a serious racists who find a lot of soccer in Murray right. I'm not, I'm not grouping with them they, but they they. They love what he says they you, you say yourself. You know
I'm sure all these hate, supremacist groups are ecstatic about the bell curve. Why should we even be talking about it not not really responded to. That is I'm here to defend what I think of to tell you what I think to talk about the pc published it box. It is my judgment, I'm not going to make you answer for everyone who you did on your show, but who has a but who has a more sinister view, the the person you did have on your show. I think that in this conversation there is there are a lot of folks who take it in directions. I wouldn't I think, that's true. Basically, in every political conversation, I've ever seen and been part of a whenever I open my twitter feed, which lately I I'm not to give them a book. Leave you know mentions. Are are always if you go into them should show, which is why I don't do it anymore. I just don't find out that compel I think that we are having a debate. I don't think
anybody has been silenced the platform from the beginning. I've been willing to have this discussion with you in public and put it out on box and put it out on your side as well. I think a lot of what we just have had from the beginning here is a debate. It's a debate that you felt has been in bad faith and be done by people on our side. You don't have integrity, but obviously that is not my view and that this is just how this goes and Charles Murray stills great job and makes a ton of money and goes on speaking tours and all the rest of it, and you have a popular podcast with nine thousand patrons supporters and I have you know, I'm the editor, and I I just don't think that we are the losers in this. I think that that that again comes back to my thing, I I think somehow you are very sensitive to the possible cost of a of a of a backlash, for on what you would call political correctness and a lot less sensitive, which is what I keep coming back to to the cost this idea has actually had for after Americans, in this country throughout american history and the cost, by the way that Charles Murray, wants it to have. No,
So it's not this idea. Genetics is not this idea, I'm not in there's nothing. I've said here the discounts, the history of race. SAM and pseudo science and the fact that is quite possible to be a racist scientist. That is true in every generation, but sign data can't be racist it is whatever the date is you presumably assuming it was. It was collected adequately, but does not? scene. I've said that me. Yes, there were the see doctors right. They were real doctors, they were real nazis, they were doing real, unethical things and parrot Basically, they probably found some true things in their diabolical experiments right. So it's you can separate these different variables and my experience in talking to you is that you want to run it all together and give it this moral valence, which is I have argued and will continue to argue highly counter, and my sensitivity is not to the personal
light against Murray or me. My sensitivity is to the concert, Winchell, intellectual dishonesty and when I say intellectual dishonesty, I don't mean that everyone is consciously that, although there are people who are consciously line and consciously actually evidence that Stephen Jay Gould when he wrote the Mismeasure of man was, just line and was a true bad actor here and actually faked data. Not a crazy allegation given the evidence, but Clearly, there are people who are massively biased when they have this conversation. And your notion that your ability to have this conversation is subordinated to the color of our skin, doesn't make any sense to me. We could. We could have been talking about Anti Semitism right and we have the same conversation. Some of the switches is, would be flipped because of the diff histories of Jews and African Americans, but much of it would be the same as a like. You know we we're both jewish. We standing to talk about the history of the way, You have been treated and the future of how they
be treated in coming years, and presumably, We both would acknowledge that Anti Semitism as a problem, but both, I think, would acknowledge that there are places where you could detect it, where it in fact doesn't exist to get to give you a crazy example you and- and this actually strikes a tangent, we've been talking about in terms of population. Prince is an there. In many cases, impressively genetic underpinnings. So this actually in Reich's recent book of which that Op Ed was a crib finalists in the hundred meter dash in the Olympics, the male finalists, every single finalist, since one thousand nine hundred and eighty has been of West african descent right. That does not appear to be an accident and it doesn't matter what country they came from and it does not appear to be best explained by environment- and this very similar story, that they can be told about EAST Africans with respect to the marathon there's this shocking disparity in out in this particular type athletic ability. That is,
segregated in this way, based on population ancestry. It happens to be great ability, and you know it's all good for those printers right, but imagine if you and I as Jews, to to worry that maybe some underlying anti Semitism that kept Jews out of the finals of the hundred meter dash in the Olympics. Do you think there did on earth who thinks that I would doubt it. But it's it's certainly possible to thing right, and this is what it. What is the analogy or drawing exactly here? This is to rehabilitate the statement that Andrew made his peace that you cast off as being somehow ethically or politically deranged the idea that standing- the facts of genetics in this case inoculate us against false charges of bigotry. Like the scene, bigotry where it doesn't exist right
This case, if we is as two just to make sure I understand what you're saying here, are you comparing the idea that there are not Jews in the finals of the New York City or bust? marathon, whatever to The idea to the conversation about whether African Americans, after what is going on in this country's history, our scoring worth an I q, I I'm I'm trying to sharp yeah I just want to I I want to make yeah. It sounds like you want to give some politically correct slam dunk you know you you, you call it politically correct, but I'm actually you're you're bringing up in this conversation. I didn't make you do this. Just as I'm not maybe talk about race and I killed no, you didn't I, I yeah it's a point that clarifies I'm trying to sharpen up Andrews point that you seem to not see the point of. Is it if you go looking for big free. As your explanation for every difference. You see you can read about this in Reich's book and if you have populations that have their means slightly different
clearly you know. We, we, eighty percent of a standard, deviation difference your going to see massive difference in tail end of the distribution where you could have a hundred fold. Friends in the numbers of individuals excel at the ninety nine point: ninety nine percent level right. This is just something we'll see by virtue of statistics and for that is the kind of thing a shifting of the mean in a specific ability. You know relevant to track and field in this case could, explain why you there's massive over representation of West Africans in the one hundred meter final, it would be possible to so paranoid about Anti Semitism and to be disinterested about a by logical understanding of human difference or to think that any biological understanding human difference is so in. Klay toxic- that you can't be discussed so that two Jews like us could be worried that anti
Emmett is the explanation for why Jews aren't represented there and I take Andrew to be saying there, but that would be nuts. Frankly, I think we both know in our gut. It would be nuts and yet, in danger of doing that elsewhere, and I think this is Maurice concern again, I don't agree with his social policies. And frankly, I don't know what the right answer is on some of these questions of social policy, but his concern, as he stated to me on the podcast. Is that he's worried about attribute names of racism where race, doesn't in fact exist and that we are ill prepared to study an correct for the console, it's of human difference and I can tell you we were going to get rid of human difference until we've all just uploaded ourselves into the matrix. There will be differences, we're continually trying to correct for an, all we have is
sexual honesty and ethical goodwill as tools to do that, and what you were adding to that equation is really an indissoluble kind of tribalism which I've you keep calling identity, politics, and it's showing its dysfunction even in in this conversation in the way. You're thinking about this in the kinds of things you've published in the consequences to me and Marie and Andrew Sullivan and others for you having published it, and that is what I've been complaining about. I do think this is a good place to close, because I I do think this is our bedrock disagreement. I think you look at me. You look at the folks, you you see as engaging identity, politics, which is something other people do, but not you NEC tribalism. U c you out on my on my on my part of social justice warrior tribalism. Sort or another someone who's. You know
looking for evidence of of of racism and bigotry, I look at our society and I see society that even now on every study we basically run shows huge huge, huge, our racial bias. I mean I look at a study done just a couple years ago showing that if you send employers of resume and everything is equal, except for the name. One name is african American coded and another name is european coated. You get fifty percent, your call backs african markets, I look evidence of that when African Americans go into the hospital they do not get treatment for pain at the rates as White Americans, because doctors do not believe that they they they think of a thing to try to scam the drugs or something I see us as a society. It is not a hundred years or a thousand years or ten thousand years away from a long, long, long legacy of not just racism, but violence and oppression of the worst
kind of society where we did things it the even now to just go through them it. It kills you, but that was like fifty years ago and some of it still goes on today- and I look at that as a society like that where you're having these conversations between white men wear the implication of these conversation, is it. The white majority is going to have to give you a lot more to bring about the equality that we like to believe that America is committed to. That is going to enact a profound tribalism not majority doesn't mean it's not tribal among the minorities or anyone else. But it's going to it's going to enact a profound tribalism on majority and when Charles Murray is asked, why is talking about this and he says, I don't like affirmative action and when and Sullivan and the segment just gave you is this is why should we talk about this? He says because I don't like affirmative action My make everything worse, yeah, that's that's the society I see. Does
couldn't be talked out of. It doesn't mean that if we get evidence in twenty five or fifty years that you know of genetic, Discoveries we've not had yet that I couldn't change my view, but right now, when I get that evidence in an old I'll. Tell you, SAM, like I do so with integrity in trying to think through the right answer. Just as I imagine you do, whatever you believe about Mame, I I just put my understanding of where the blind spots are likely to be differently than you do and, you know, and I think that's where to leave it. I think I think that I think that is fundamentally our dividing line. You look at you, look at people in this debate and you say they're looking, for examples of racism. They don't want to believe this other stuff, that's just science! I look at that, and I say it's not actually the site is not showing that yet and we have a society that is still this way way way way way, far away from where, I'd be, and I
I don't know I I just I see this differently than you do that I will eat you, but not in precisely the way you think you do. I mean I I'm in the once again in having the bewildering experience of agreeing with virtually everything you said there and it has base clean, no relevance to what I view as our underlying disagreement. So you have the people experience because you don't you don't realize when you keep saying that everybody else is thinking tribally but you're, not that that is our disagreement. Well, no because I know, I'm not that hard assignments in that back, because I share your political biases there, like I would line up with you complete. If I gave into my bias my social bias. Tell you what a relief it would be to could not eyes, Nisbet and horkheimer our reasoning better than anyone else in this field, tell you what a relief it would be to realize that
needs book. This measure of man here was really right on the money, because the thing that you said when you brought up- and I I feel like now- we're just get back to the beginning- and we should let this go and I'll. Let you know, as were you this, but right at the beginning of of all this with merry. You said you, get Murray. And you see what happens to you. You were completely straightforward about that that you look at what happens to him. You see what happens to you. I think the really I think, the result try by the release the fifty years experience of talking about ideas and how we all have a lot of different identities for part of at all times. You know I I have all kinds of identities that you can call forward. All of them can bias be simultaneously, and the questions, of course are are which Don made in and how am I able to counterbalance them through through through my process of information gathering and to cation that information? But I think that your core identity, This is someone who feels you get treated unfairly by
Klay correct mobs, and for that, but that's that's! That is not. I don't know who that is. That is what it is. My experience at a wobbly at election try to talk. That is what folks from the dominant group get to do. Thank to say my thing is in identity politics only yours is. I will tell you SAM when, when people who do not look, like you hear you telling them that this is just identity politics, they don't think he's right, that is just identity politics. They think this is my experience and you don't understand it. You just said it's your experience and they don't understand you think that's Glenn Lowry's view of it or I on Hirsi Ali's view of it or marginalizes view of it. I think that you said publicly that you will not have a conversation with Thomas the coats, because you think you just place identity politics. I think that you people yeah. I think you like yes, yes, this reason why I didn't want to have a conversation with you honestly, because I think that it doesn't become fruitful and that's what we're having this a post mortem on our collision, and I think it was you
what to do, and I can only hope, our audience sorted out for them. Cells in ways that will be accurate and and useful. I I think that's a good place for us both to end yeah, but my experience is again one of you saying things that you're quite convinced are relevant to this debate and it just becomes a yet another example of conflating Two totally conversations that should be separate and the fact Do you think? I'm denying that racism is still a problem in the It's that you're, not understanding how the science gets done and how the science needs to be talked about to be science again, SAM I know part of me. It is waiting for racial differentiation by science. I I I hear I am just saying that we are going to be ambushed by data that will have a political charge and we have to be in a position to talk about it without demonizing people.
That's not my identity, politics talking. That is just human being. Who is worried about the future talking? I know I can only hope our audience source that out and thank you for everyone's time. I appreciate the time is all if you find this podcast valuable. There are many ways you can support it. You can review it on Itunes or Stitcher or wherever you happen to listen to it you can share it on social media, with your friends. Blog about it or discuss it on your own podcast or you can support directly and you can do this subscribing through my website at SAM dot. Org find subscriber only content close, my ask me anything episodes. You also get access to advance tickets to my live events as well. Streaming video of some of these events and you also get to hear the bonus questions from any of these interviews, these things and more you'll find on my website at samharris dot org. Thank you. Support of the show. It's listen
Transcript generated on 2019-11-14.