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London Conference on Intelligence

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UCL has launched an investigation into how a senior academic was able to secretly host an annual conference on eugenics and intelligence that heard from white supremacists and was attended by Toby Young.
—Ellie Bothwell[1]

London Conference on Intelligence were a series of controversial pseudoscientific[2] conferences held annually at University College London (UCL) from 2014-2017, attended by far-right speakers, including white supremacists.[3][4][5][6]

The conferences were secretive since Toby Young was invited to attend as an observer, but was told to not to tell anyone, especially not the media. However, Toby Young did not keep quiet and wrote about attending the UCL conference in December 2017.[7] In January 2018,[8][9][10] there was news exposure of the conferences and UCL set up an inquiry and published a statement noting that none of the conferences were approved by the university.

Breach of room bookings[edit]

The UCL conferences potentially breached room bookings policy because the university had not been informed of the speakers or content in advance, so there was no background check of any the individuals who attended, with the exception of Dr. James Thompson, an honorary UCL senior lecturer:

UCL is investigating a potential breach of its room bookings process for events after being alerted to conferences on intelligence hosted by an honorary senior lecturer at UCL. Our records indicate the university was not informed in advance about the speakers and content of the conference series, as it should have been for the event to be allowed to go ahead. The conferences were booked and paid for as an external event and without our officials being told of the details. They were therefore not approved or endorsed by UCL.
—UCL statement on the London Conference on Intelligence, 10 January 2018[11]

Dr. Thompson had organised the UCL conferences for two years (2015-2016) and was involved with advertising the first conference in 2014 on the website The Unz Review,[12] but it remains unclear who was the organiser for the 2014 and 2017 conferences, although Thompson attended all of them. Emil Kirkegaard designed the 2015 conference website.[13]


Private Eye published the first article ("Toby Young Breeds Contempt") that exposed the UCL conferences were attended by white supremacists and sexists.

The sequence of events that led newspapers and the media to discover the London Conference on Intelligence:

  • Toby Young at the beginning of January 2018 made news headlines for sending sexist and other inappropriate tweets.[14][15] On 9 January 2018, he resigned his position on the Office for Students regulator for making the offensive comments and apologized.[16][17][18]
  • Immediately after resigning, journalists looked into Young's Twitter history and discovered he had mentioned in December 2017 his attendance to the London Conference on Intelligence, that he was told to keep silent about: "[I was] asked not to share the information with anyone else..."[19]
  • On 10 January 2018, the magazine Private EyeWikipedia published an article[20] that mentions: "What he [Young] kept to himself was why the conference he attended was so secretive" and names a few of the white supremacists, eugenicists, and sexists (including Richard Lynn) who were speakers at the UCL conferences.
  • After the publication of the Private Eye article, London Student the same day published a more detailed exposure of the far-right extremists and racists who had attended the conferences.[21] London Student informed UCL, and the university responded that they were investigating.[22]
  • On 11 January 2018, mainstream newspapers and other news sources reported the story; some of these credit Private Eye and to a lesser extent London Student.[23][24][25][26][27]

List of conference speakers and papers[edit]

Around 20 speakers attended each conference to present talks based on papers they had written or co-written in advance. Based on two of the conference publications 2015-2016 that list paper abstracts, a journalist writing for London Student[28] calculated that over 80% of speakers have published papers in the Mankind Quarterly, a pseudoscholarly racist journal. Its publisher, Ulster Institute for Social Research was founded by Richard Lynn, a white supremacist who has far-right political views and is a eugenicist; UISR has received grants from the Pioneer FundWikipedia — a hate-group set up by Nazi-sympathisers.[29][30] Papers presented at UCL conferences also included sexism.

London Conference on Intelligence, 2014[edit]

No publication with paper abstracts is available for the first conference, although James Thompson lists the following on The Unz Review:

  • Science and Its Discontents by Gerhard Meisenberg
  • The General Factor of Personality (GFP): Its Current Status and its Presumed Relation with Life history Strategy by Dimitri van der Linden
  • Increasing simple reaction times demonstrate decreasing genetic intelligence in Scotland and Sweden by Guy Madison
  • Immigration in Denmark and Norway by Emil Kirkegaard
  • Learning Without Questioning – Why Asians do not win Nobel prizes by Kenya Kura

London Conference on Intelligence, 2015[edit]

London Conference on Intelligence, 2016[edit]

  • Welcome and Introduction by James Thompson
  • Sex differences in PISA: Some counterintuitive results by Gerhard Meisenberg and Michael A. Woodley of Menie
  • Total fertility rates, Big G and the cognitive metagene: A cross-country moderation analysis by Michael A. Woodley of Menie, Davide Piffer & Mateo A. Peñaherrera
  • Differential Demographic analysis of the destabilisation of Europe by Helmuth Nyborg
  • Evidence of dysgenic fertility in China by Mingrui Wang & John Fuerst
  • Evolutionary indicators for explaining cross-country differences in cognitive ability by Heiner Rindermann
  • Positive effects of intergroup competition upon in-group collectivism by Heitor B. F. Fernandes, Kenya Kura & Aurelio J. Figueredo
  • Sex differences in intelligence by Richard Lynn
  • The Swedish Scholastic Assessment Test by Guy Madison
  • Demographic, economic, and genetic factors related to national differences in ethnocentric attitudes by Edward Dutton, Guy Madison & Richard Lynn
  • ICAR5: a 5-item public domain cognitive test by Julius Daugbjerg Bjerrekær
  • Biogeographic Ancestry and Socioeconomic Outcomes in the Americas: a Meta-analysis by Emil Kirkegaard & John Fuerst
  • Publication bias: An exploratory meta-analysis by Jan te Nijenhuis & Xavier Macdaniel
  • Functional architecture of visual emotion recognition ability: A latent variable approach by Gary Lewis
  • The Welfare Trait: how state benefits affect personality by Adam Perkins
  • Population genetics in intelligence research: How much can it help to retrace the evolution of intelligence? by David Becker & Heiner Rindermann
  • Structural Equation Modeling by Fróði Debes, Arne Ludvig, Mariann Ellendersen, Katrin Reinert, Anna Sofía Veyhe, Pál Weihe & Philippe Granjean
  • Openness to Experience Predicts Leftism in the Right Tail of Intelligence by Noah Carl
  • Sex differences in brain size do translate into difference in general intelligence by Dimitri van der Linden & Curtis S. Dunkel
  • The Co-Occurrence Nexus Hypothesis by Aurelio J. Figueredo, Michael A. Woodley of Menie, Heitor B. F. Fernandes, Mateo Peñaherrera Aguirre & Candace Jasmine Black


University College London[edit]

On 10 January 2018, UCL "suspended approval for any further conferences of this nature by the honorary lecturer and speakers pending our investigation into the case".

On 18 January 2018, UCL updated their statement concerning the London Conference on Intelligence:

UCL does not and has not endorsed the London Conference on Intelligence and formally complained to Youtube that the use of UCL’s logo with videos posted by the conference organisers constituted a trademark infringement. There is no record of a request for the conference, and the logo being used is a doctored version which is in breach of UCL brand guidelines, including terms and conditions. The videos are no longer publicly available on the conference’s Youtube channel. After requests from the university, the organiser said he would remove the entire channel from Youtube.[31]

There was an ongoing inquiry that "aims to complete its investigations as soon as possible, hopefully within weeks". However, their report was not published until February 2020 and many were disappointed with it because it did not investigate the London Conference on Intelligence meetings on eugenics.[32]

UCL protest against London Conference on Intelligence.

Protests and petitions[edit]

On 15 January 2018, Union UCL BME Students' Network organised a protest: "Decolonise: White Supremacists & Eugenicists out NOW".[33]

A related protest on the same day, "No to neo-Nazi eugenics at UCL"[34][35] was supported by Unite Against Fascism[36] and Socialist Worker.Wikipedia[37]

UCL Student Union have created an online petition to ban future London Conference on Intelligence at UCL.[38]

Toby Young[edit]

Young has since published a statement distancing himself from the London Conference on Intelligence he had attended:

Yes, I went to the 2017 London Conference on Intelligence – I popped in for a few hours on a Saturday and sat at the back. I did not present a paper or give a lecture or appear on a platform or anything remotely like that. I had not met any of the other people in the lecture room before, save for Dr Thompson, and was unfamiliar with their work. I was completely ignorant of what had been discussed at the same event in previous years. All I knew was that some of them occupied the weird and whacky outer fringe of the world of genetics.

My reason for attending was because I had been asked – as a journalist – to give a lecture by the International Society of Intelligence Researchers at the University of Montreal later in the year and I was planning to talk about the history of controversies provoked by intelligence researchers. I thought the UCL conference would provide me with some anecdotal material for the lecture – and it did. To repeat, I was there as a journalist researching a talk I had to give a few months later and which was subsequently published.[39]

He concludes by describing speakers at the conference he met as "right-wing fruitcakes":

Just because I sat at the back in a lecture room at UCL one afternoon, scribbling away in my reporter’s notepad, while some right-wing fruitcakes held forth about ‘dysgenics’ does not make me a Nazi.

Young himself is a hard right-wing conservative and has caused controversy for sending sexist tweets.[40][41] London School of Economics academic Simon Hix has defended Young: "By all means criticise [Young] for his insulting, misogynist and childish tweeting, and his friendship with Boris and Conservative chums. But the guy is not a neo-Nazi eugenicist."[42]

Emil O. W. Kirkegaard[edit]

On 10 January 2018, Emil Kirkegaard appeared on white supremacist Tara McCarthy's YouTube channel to discuss the furore over the London Conference on Intelligence.[43]

McCarthy named the video "SJWs Declare WAR On Science!"[44]

Institute for Creation Research[edit]

For more information, see: Creationism

Creationists such as the Institute for Creation Research have condemned the conferences for promoting eugenics and racism, which they claim is the result of scientific Darwinism.[45] In reality, creationist nutjobs and far-right eugenicists/proponents of social Darwinism (not to be confused with scientific Darwinism), are opposite sides of the same coin.

White nationalists[edit]

Woodley et al. 2018[edit]

15 speakers who had attended the conferences cowrote a response in Intelligence complaining of "sensationalized" and "erroneous" media coverage.[49] They point out only 2.7% of talks were about eugenics. However, a fairly large percentage (38.7%) were on race and intelligence. Furthermore, they fail to rebut the accurate description of the conferences as far-right, racist, sexist, and/or white supremacist since many speakers who attended hold some of these extreme views, e.g. Richard Lynn, Helmuth Nyborg,Wikipedia Emil Kirkegaard, James Thompson, Adam Perkins, and Edward Dutton; additionally, Paul Irwing, a co-author of Woodley et al., is an infamous sexist who argues that women score on average 5 points lower than men in IQ tests and have higher conscientiousness and reading accuracy.[50] Irwing's studies haven't been replicated, and have been criticized as pseudoscience; any difference between sexes in IQ scores is actually negligible (by <0.5 IQ point).[51]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. UCL launches investigation into secret eugenics conference. Times Higher Education. 11 Jan 2018.
  2. University College London launches 'eugenics' probe after controversial conference secretly held on campus. The Independent. 11 Jan 2018:
    Science writer, geneticist and broadcaster Adam Rutherford told the London Student that, based on the titles and abstracts from the material presented at the UCL conference, the views being discussed appeared to be a “pseudoscientific front for bog-standard, old-school racism".
  3. UCL launches 'eugenics' probe after it emerges academic held controversial conference for three years on campus. The Telegraph.
  4. University to investigate secret eugenics conference on campus attended by Toby Young. International Business Times.
  5. University investigates ‘racist’ eugenics conference held on campus since 2014. The Metro.
  6. UCL to investigate eugenics conference secretly held on campus. The Guardian.
  7. Screenshot; Young's "My 2017 Constance Holden Memorial Address on Liberal Creationism" mentions his invite to the London Conference on Intelligence, 2017:
    I discovered just how cautious scholars in this field can be when I was invited to attend a two-day conference on intelligence at University College London by the academic and journalist James Thompson earlier this year. Attendees were only told the venue at the last minute – an anonymous antechamber at the end of a long corridor called ‘Lecture Room 22’ – and asked not to share the information with anyone else. One of those present, on discovering I was a journalist, pleaded with me not to write about the fact that he was there – he didn’t want his colleagues to find out.
  8. University College London under fire over its conferences on ‘eugenics’. The Times. 11 Jan 2018.
  9. Top University Investigates After Academic Hosts "Secret Eugenics Conferences". IFL Science. 11 Jan 2018.
  10. University probes eugenics conference with links to white supremacists. The Jewish Chronicle. 10 Jan 2018.
  11. UCL statement on the London Conference on Intelligence. 10 January 2018.
  12. London Conference on Intelligence 2014. UNZ Review. 20 Apr 2014.
  13. London Conference on Intelligence, 2015 (screenshot).
  14. Toby Young deletes thousands of tweets amid row over his universities regulator appointment. The Independent. 3 Jan 2018.
  15. Toby Young regrets 'politically incorrect' comments. BBC News. 3 Jan 2018.
  16. Toby Young resigns from the Office for Students after backlash. The Guardian. 9 Jan 2018.
  17. Toby Young: Why I’m resigning from the Office for Students. The Spectator. 9 Jan 2018.
  18. Toby Young resigns from university regulator. BBC News. 9 January 2018.
  19. Screenshot; Young's "My 2017 Constance Holden Memorial Address on Liberal Creationism" mentions his invite to the London Conference on Intelligence, 2017.
  20. Private Eye: White House Book Fury (No. 1461). Toby Young Breeds Contempt. p. 11; the article was published on 10 Jan 2018 (screenshot) despite the magazine cover mistake (12 Jan 2018).
  21. Exposed: London’s eugenics conference and its neo-Nazi links. London Student. 10 Jan 2018.
  22. UCL launches investigation into Nazi-linked eugenics conference. London Student. 10 Jan 2018.
  23. University College London under fire over its conferences on ‘eugenics’. The Times. 11 Jan 2018:
    However London Student, a campaigning newspaper, called the event a “eugenics conference” dominated by “a secretive group of white supremacists” after it was reported by Private Eye, the satirical magazine.
  24. The Waugh Zone. Huffington Post. 11 Jan 2018:
    But student journalists may have discovered another reason why Michael Gove and Boris Johnson's pal decided to step down: he had attended a secret conference on eugenics at UCL last year. Private Eye and London Student have the details.
  25. "Young: Dumb & Full Of Cum - How Toby Shot His Wad, And Liberalism Won". Quietus. 11 Jan 2018:
    UPDATE. David Bennun writes, on January 11 2018: This article was written and published just before and I and tQ's editors became aware of Private Eye's story about how Young had attended and endorsed a secretive 2017 conference at UCL, one of a series where papers had previously been presented in favour of practising racial and class-based eugenics, and promoting the notion of lower innate female intelligence; and where speakers included an extremist American white nationalist and an advocate of paedophilia. In light of which, the thought that he should ever have had any involvement with education in any form whatsoever is alarming; and which reminds us of the concerns of those who feared the Free School programme might open a door into British state education for the beliefs of malign cranks.
  26. Toby Young spoke alongside Nazi who argues raping unconscious children is fine. Evolve Politics:
    It is fast becoming clear that Toby Young’s controversialist career is far darker than first appeared, with Private Eye drawing attention to his attendance of a secret eugenics conference alongside white supremacists and advocates of paedophilia.
  27. Toby Young - The REAL Reason He Went. Zelo-street.blogspot:
    What Tobes knew, but many of his cheerleaders clearly did not, was that the contents of the latest Private Eye magazine (#1461, on sale at all good news outlets for just £2.00, and the story is on Page 11) would become known as Tuesday wore on. Those contents include the observation “Last year Young was invited by psychologist James Thompson to attend a secretive conference at UCL called the London Conference on Intelligence”.
  28. Exposed: London’s eugenics conference and its neo-Nazi links. London Student. 10 Jan 2018.
  29. Lombardo, Paul A. (2001). "The American breed: Nazi eugenics and the origins of the Pioneer Fund." Alb. L. Rev. 65: 743-830.
  30. Tucker, William H. (2002). "A closer look at the Pioneer Fund: Response to Rushton." Alb. L. Rev. 66: 1145.
  31. UCL statement on the London Conference on Intelligence
  32. UCL eugenics inquiry did not go far enough, committee say
  33. Screenshot.
  34. Screenshot.
  35. Shame on UCL: Protesters demand answers over secret eugenics conference. The Tab. 15 Jan 2018.
  36. Demonstrate No to neo-Nazi eugenics at UCL, London.
  37. Students protest at University College London over racist eugenics conference. Socialist Worker. 15 Jan 2018.
  38. Statement and petition on "London Conference on Intelligence".
  39. Toby Young Once More Unto the Breach. The Spectator. 11 January 2018.
  40. All the sexist tweets deleted by Toby Young, the guy chosen by the government to advise on universities. Business Insider UK. 3 Jan 2018.
  41. Nine Of The Worst Things Toby Young Has Said. Huffington Post. 9 Jan 2018.
  42. LSE professor argues Toby Young faces “witch hunt”. The Beaver. 16 Jan 2018.
  43. Interview with me about the recent furor about the London conference (screenshot).
  44. SJWs Declare WAR On Science!. YouTube (online video); the video is also uploaded to BitChute.
  45. Secret Eugenics Conference Has Dark Darwinian Roots. Institute for Creation Research.
  46. Then They Came For The London Conference on Intelligence–And Science, And Free Speech.
  47. SJWs Attack UCL Neo-Nazi Cabal (screenshot).
  51. Negligible Sex Differences in General