Andrew Sullivan and the IQ follies (short version)

The IQ and race mess is a gift that keeps on giving – but I wish Andrew Sullivan would stop teaching the controversy. Links like these to a fanzine level interview (in a self described “engaging lifestyle magazine,” forsooth!) on IQ and heritability don’t help much. (And yes, James Flynn, the subject of the piece to which Sullivan links, is a respected researcher. But so is Eric Turkheimer, who shows what an intellectually rigorous whack at Flynn looks like here.)

On its own terms, The Sullivan-linked piece is an example of wholly uncritical journalism — “critics” are set up for Flynn to swat away, and there is no way within the piece to get a sense of how much of what is claimed there is plausible, and how much bollocks.

If Sullivan wanted actually to advance public understanding in this area he could, just once, please, link to someone who actually knows something about the actual methods of intelligence testing, and their shortcomings. This would be a good start.

But as it stands, Sullivan’s (and others’) faux-naive habit of posting links to crappy stuff is not bold contrarianism — no matter how much one protests all they’re doing is allowing their readers to judge for themselves. Rather, posts like the one that got me started on this rant more closely approximate what a well known media company calls a “fair and balanced” approach to the news.

Update: Edited to make the prose a little better.

Explore posts in the same categories: IQ Follies

2 Comments on “Andrew Sullivan and the IQ follies (short version)”

  1. Richard Levenson Says:

    This is your first comment.

  2. Richard Levenson Says:

    My previous comment is awaiting moderation. I thought it was moderate enough.

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