| The colorful pseudoscience|
|Hating thy neighbour|
|Divide and conquer|
“”Academic scrutiny of Noah Carl's [OpenPsych] papers clearly reveals selective use of data and unsound statistical methods which have been used to legitimise racist stereotypes about groups.
|—Clement Mouhot, Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge University|
Noah Carl is a sociologist who outside of his respectable sociology work, publishes racialism pseudoscience and Islamophobic papers at OpenPsych. For this reason he has been described as living a "double life". After the latter was exposed in December 2018, hundreds of academics signed a letter calling for Cambridge University to reconsider the award of his fellowship and to stop employing him as a postdoctoral researcher.
Carl controversially attended the London Conference on Intelligence and his papers published in the OpenPsych pseudojournals are now extensively quoted with approval by far-right groups and the conspiracy theorist website InfoWars:
Noah Carl, a postdoctoral researcher in the social sciences at Nuffield College, who has spoken twice at the London Conference on Intelligence. Carl has also written several papers for Emil Kirkegaard’s OpenPsych, which include two looking at whether larger Muslim populations make Islamist terrorism more likely, and one suggesting that British stereotypes towards immigrants are “largely accurate”.
One external reviewer responded to the last paper by stating that: “It is never OK to publish research this bad, even in an inconsequential online journal.” Nevertheless, the paper was featured by conservative US website The Daily Caller, under a picture of Nigel Farage’s “Breaking Point” poster. The far right European Free West Media cited the paper to claim that “criminal elements are represented by certain ethnic groups”, and on the blog of a far-right French presidential candidate under the headline “Study validates prejudices”. It even ended up on InfoWars, one of the most popular news websites in the USA, and can be found circulating on far-right corners of Reddit. The fact that Carl is linked to Oxford University was mentioned frequently in the coverage, providing legitimacy to the political opinions presented.
In 2018, Carl published a paper defending race and intelligence research, arguing: "it cannot simply be taken for granted that, when in doubt, stifling debate around taboo topics is the ethical thing to do." The paper is now quoted by racists including child-rape apologist Emil Kirkegaard, who co-founded OpenPsych. Carl has a profile on the OpenPsych forum and has published five pseudoscience papers through the pseudojournals.
One of Carl's controversial papers on immigrants tries to justify opposition to immigration by linking "immigrants of different nationalities […] with the log of immigrant arrests rates" i.e. criminality. However, it has been criticized for serious methodological flaws, with one academic writing: "this particular research offers no insight on the matter [of whether immigrant groups' criminality is related to opposition to such groups] either way", and "research this bad should never be published in any form".
Carl was born and grew up in Cambridge, England. He has a BA in Human Sciences, an MSc in Sociology and PhD in Sociology from the University of Oxford; he is listed as a research fellow at St Edmund's College, Cambridge and was formerly affiliated with Oxford University's Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College, until September 2018. His work appears on the UK in a Changing Europe website, who publish research on Brexit, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
In November 2018 Nuffield College were informed about Noah Carl using his university email on his OpenPsych papers; they told him to remove the email. Carl has since changed his email at Opensych to another email adress.
Carl is right-wing, who "likes" Nigel Farage, Enoch Powell, Boris Johnson, Roger Scruton and Jacob Rees-Mogg on his Facebook page as well as Quillette and Charles Murray; he also "likes" conservative organisations including The American Conservative and Oxford University Conservative Association. Carl has also published an article in The Times supporting Rees-Mogg. Additionally he's published an article in The Conservative, sponsored by the Alliance of the Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE). Despite publishing articles in conservative journals and newspapers and "liking" Farage, Rees-Mogg etc., while also associating himself with far-right individuals at OpenPsych, Carl denies being right-wing.Do You Believe That?
Carl has published several papers in OpenPsych and is a referee/peer for one of their journals, Open Quantitative Sociology & Political Science.
Take his [Noah Carl's] attempt to deal with the causes of racist stereotypes – a difficult topic in need of thorough, thoughtful debate. Following an observational study with a sample size of 23 nationalities, he argued that racist stereotypes are “reasonably accurate”. The only person to review this article outside of OpenPsych concluded by stating: “It is never OK to publish research this bad.”
Or take his two attempts to deal with the connection between Muslim immigration and terrorism – an inflammatory topic when dealt with even by the most conscientious of researchers. Among the sources Carl used for his data was TheReligionOfPeace.com, an Islamophobic conspiracy website that was cited four times in the manifesto of Anders Breivik, a Norwegian far-right terrorist. Unsurprisingly, the data uses a broad criteria, which includes domestic violence and robbery.
OpenPsych is a pseudoscience factory-farm, and Noah Carl is its prize hen. He is its second most prolific contributor, a member of the review team and its only Russell Group academic. Half of Carl’s OpenPsych reviews have come from just two people, one of whom, Emil Kirkegaard, has no educational qualifications beyond a Bachelor’s degree in linguistics, according to his own LinkedIn page. Kirkegaard also happens to be the founder of OpenPsych.
Kirkegaard is a maverick when it comes to scientific ethics. In 2016, he and Julius Bjerrekær (OpenPsych’s third most prolific author, behind Kirkegaard and Carl) were responsible for what one social scientist described as “without a doubt one of the most grossly unprofessional, unethical and reprehensible data releases I have ever seen.” The two had leaked the private data of 70,000 OKCupid users, including their personal sexual preferences.
That Noah Carl’s articles never got close to serious scrutiny didn’t stop them from spreading online. One of the studies on Muslims ended up on a far-right website under the headline: “Research: The Causes of Islamic Violence Uncovered!” The study on immigration was summarised by far-right Free West Media as showing that “criminal elements are represented by certain ethnicities.” InfoWars chose the headline: “These immigrants commit more crime in the UK and Britons want their numbers reduced,” while a French far-right politician went for the more succinct “Study Validates Prejudices.” In most cases, Noah Carl’s then position at Oxford University was quoted approvingly.
This is not unusual for OpenPsych papers – in fact, it’s the norm. OpenPsych is not simply a few undergraduates who skipped their methods classes, but a central node in a dense network of race scientists who work to provide legitimacy and propaganda for the far-right.
Many of Carl’s articles have been published on the OpenPsych website set up by Kirkegaard to circumvent the peer review system. Its editors and referees are almost all associated with the far-right and often do not even have qualifications in the fields they are responsible for overseeing. Over half of the articles on the site are authored or co-authored by Kirkegaard.
The co-founder of OpenPsych is Davide Piffer—another pseudo-scientific researcher who once claimed to have psychic powers—who is based at the Ulster Institute for Social Research (UISR), established by Richard Lynn. UISR is backed by Lynn’s Pioneer Fund and publishes the equally irreputable Mankind Quarterly, which regularly prints Kirkegaard’s writings. What we have here is a network of right-wing ideologues, who set up what have rightly been called “pseudo journals” through which they publish and “review” one another’s tracts.
In one OpenPsych paper, Carl argues the larger amount of Muslims in a population, significantly increases Islamist terrorism across Western countries: "percentage of Muslims in the population had a relatively strong association with the ﬁrst, third and fourth measures of terrorist threat." Carl ignores Muslims are not a monolithic group; some Islamic schools of thought and movements are pacifists e.g. Sufism and the Ahmadiyya. Secondly, the paper itself relies on a right-wing Islamophobic website for data; according to Media Bias Fact Check TheReligionOfPeace.com is "a website that promotes anti-Muslim propaganda... has a right-wing bias or is otherwise questionable by our methodology." The paper was also reviewed by Kirkegaard, a hardcore Islamophobe who argues to ban Muslim immigration because is "self-destructive", and John Fuerst, a white nationalist.
Carl published a paper arguing public beliefs or stereotypes about immigrant groups in UK, and their anti-immigration attitudes, are "reasonably accurate" concerning criminality:
The present study has shown that, in the UK, net opposition to immigrants of diﬀerent nationalities correlates strongly with the log of immigrant arrests rates and the log of their arrest rates for violent crime. This is particularly noteworthy given that Britons reportedly think that an immigrant’s criminal history should be one of the most important characteristics when considering whether he or she should be allowed into the country.
This study has been criticized for methodological flaws. Not surprisingly, it found its way onto many right-wing and far-right websites, used as an argument to justify xenophobic and racist opposition to immigrant groups, including InfoWars, The Daily Caller, Free West Media, James Thompson's blog at The Unz Review and Metapedia.
Another problem with the study is Carl's claim that "Britons reportedly think that an immigrant’s criminal history should be one of the most important characteristics when considering whether he or she should be allowed into the country" citing only one YouGov poll (n = 1,668) as evidence, when there are other polls and surveys that seemingly contradict this.
Additionally, it should be noted that Emil Kirkegaard and Heiner Rindermann reviewed Carl's paper. Both Kirkegaard and Rindermann are known to hold anti-Muslim immigration views. For example, Kirkegaard argues to ban Muslims from entering Europe, because of their religious beliefs, while also supporting Trumps' travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries; Rindermann spoke at a Property and Freedom Society conference, delivering an anti-immigration talk: "Cognitive and Cultural 'Enrichment' of Europe by Immigration".
Carl has reviewed an Islamophobic paper by Kirkegaard that argues crime committed by immigrants in Germany (2012-2015) is correlated "with national IQs (.46) and Islam prevalence in the home country (.35)." So basically, Kirkegaard and Carl, who are both right-wing Islamophobes, review each other's pseudoscience papers that bash Muslims.
London Conference on Intelligence papers
Does intelligence explain the over representation of liberals and leftists in American academia?
Speaker: Noah Carl
It is well known that individuals with so-called liberal or leftist views are over represented in American academia. By bringing together data on American academics, the general population and a high-IQ population, the present study investigates how much of this overrepresentation can be explained by intelligence. It finds that intelligence can account for most or all of the disparity between academics and the general population on the issues of abortion, homosexuality and traditional gender roles. By contrast, it finds that intelligence cannot account for any of the disparity between academics and the general population on the issue of income inequality. But for methodological reasons, this finding is tentative. Furthermore, the paper finds that intelligence accounts for less than half of the disparity between academics and the general population on liberal versus conservative ideology, and on Democrat versus Republican identity. Overall, the findings of this study suggest that intelligence explains some but not all of the overrepresentation of liberals and leftists in American academia.
Openness to Experience Predicts Leftism in the Right Tail of Intelligence
Speaker: Noah Carl
Individuals with liberal or leftist views are overrepresented in academia in both the UK and the US. One possible explanation is that cognitively elite individuals who identify as liberal or leftist tend to score high on the personality trait openness to experience, which predisposes them toward intellectually stimulating careers, such as academia. In two separate studies, one based on British data and one based on American data, this paper provides the first direct test of this hypothesis. It finds that: intelligence cannot explain any of the overrepresentation of leftist views in academia in the UK; openness to experience consistently predicts leftism in the right tail of intelligence in both the UK and US; openness to experience does not consistently predict social liberalism in the right tail of intelligence in either the UK or the US. Overall, intelligence and openness to experience interact to explain part of the overrepresentation of leftist views in academia. Candidate explanations for the remaining overrepresentation are briefly reviewed.
Some Comments on the RationalWiki Page About Me
Carl isn't a fan of RationalWiki and has written a response to this page. Carl claims that "RationalWiki seems to follow a rather simple rule, namely that if you are interested in population differences in cognitive ability, then you are––ipso facto––a 'pseudoscientist." This simply isn't true; for example, RationalWiki doesn't consider Eric Turkheimer, Richard E. Nisbett and many other psychologists who study human population differences in IQ to be pseudoscientists. RationalWiki only considers psychologists who are proponents of hereditarianism to be pseudoscientists (Turkheimer and Nisbett are outspoken critics of hereditarianism). Carl quotes the psychologist James Flynn who is a critic of hereditarianism, but atypically doesn't consider hereditarianism to be a pseudoscience; Flynn however is 84 years old and has a history of making controversial statements and saying "he [is] too old to worry about offending anyone".
- It might be a pseudo science, but students take the threat of eugenics seriously. NewStatesman. 19 Feb 2018.
- https://openpsych.net/paper/57 (email@example.com)
- Some Comments on the RationalWiki Page About me
- Can intelligence explain the overrepresentation of liberals and leftists in American academia?, Intelligence, Vol. 53, pp. 181-193