Talk:Eric Turkheimer

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Bizzare POV[edit]

Eric Turkheimer is a tenured professor at UVa with a numerous peer reviewed publications that appear to use modern scientific methods.

The article claims that he is a pseudoscientist who approvingly cites "racialist" authors.

The article does not appear to offer any actual evidence of pseudoscientific behavior. The criticism seems to be based on his scientific conclusions. Or rather his supposed scientific conclusions. In actuality he seems to repeatedly push back on the conclusions of the very authors he is censured for citing. For example http://people.virginia.edu/~ent3c/papers2/Perspectives%20on%20Psychological%20Science-2016-Turkheimer-24-8.pdf

This article seems to have been written by someone who thinks that all of Behavioral Genetics is bunk. Isn't the point of this site to push back against those who would promote bald assertions over peer reviewed scientific studies that are supported by data?

The very opposite appears to have happened here. Jsolinsky (talk) 21:34, 11 December 2018 (UTC)

What is our purpose here?[edit]

I am here because I think we are arguing in favor of science and empiricism and against pseudoscience.

The science of heredity is extremely well established. Predictions of heritability are falsifiable. Vast numbers of journal pages have been filled demonstrating that just about everything is heritable. It would be a very interesting result if we showed significant human traits that are not heritable.

Indeed, evolution wouldn't work very well if this were not the case.

Prioritizing bald assertions over empirical evidence and peer reviewed journals is ANTI-SCIENCE. Lets get back on track here. Jsolinsky (talk) 22:27, 11 December 2018 (UTC)

Our highly trained and experienced team of experts is waiting for the chance to speed you on your way toward wikipedic excellence.Ariel31459 (talk) 22:59, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm looking forward to it. Perhaps somebody can explain why you allowed the original article to be posted here in the first place. It accuses a scientist of being anti-scientific in a situation where the scientist uses peer reviewed and often empirical scientific research, and the arguments against him consist of name calling and guilt by association. Isn't the point of rational wiki the belief that the scientific method is an ideal way of discovering truth, while blind adherence to doctrine tends to result in the propagation of falsehood? I wouldn't say that its impossible for peer reviewed research to be pseudo scientific, but there should at least be citable evidence of a fallacy and scientific consensus that it is indeed a fallacy before taking such an extreme step. In this case, there is a rather large body of evidence that he is correct (about his actual assertions, not the assertions erroneously attributed to him) and little to the contrary. So what gives? Jsolinsky (talk) 00:08, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
All traits are (genetically) inheritable? Such as religious credulity? Such as personality traits? That explains a lot actually. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 23:26, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Indeed religiosity is genetically heritable: http://www.aging.wisc.edu/midus/findings/pdfs/1268.pdf 98.7.1.133 (talk) 23:47, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
No, it’s not; if born to a religious family, you will be indoctrinated into said family’s religious belief- and people's beliefs can and do change a lot; for example, I was once a Christian (a Methodist in particular), but about 1 and a half years ago, I deconverted (became an atheist). If something can change, then it’s just not hereditary. Stalk meCircularREmail2.gifasoningSee what I'm planning 02:00, 24 December 2018 (UTC)

Folks around here aren't big fans of discussing changes on talk pages[edit]

That's the opposite of what I understood from reading the RationalWiki documentation. Jsolinsky (talk) 00:39, 12 December 2018 (UTC)

Hold on now. Be patient. I don't know a lot about this Turkheimer, but anyone who disagrees with you should be given a chance to make their argument. Certainly the article should reflect what people find disagreeable about the subject.@GrammarCommie "Pseudoscience" is an improper label when referring to work published in reputable scientific journals, is it not?Ariel31459 (talk) 01:16, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
@Ariel31459 It depends on the journal and the work in question, however that isn't why I reverted. I reverted because the discussion is ongoing, and removing most of the sources without even addressing them, all while deliberations are ongoing, is in my opinion, dishonest. It doesn't matter why, it comes off as dishonest. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 01:42, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
I understand about the reversion. The other point, not so much. If the journal is reputable, what does it matter what the article says? This is what reputable means: the contents of the article have been scored as correct by experts in the field. If other experts disagree, then there is a scientific controversy, which is not related to pseudoscience Ariel31459 (talk) 02:25, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
No, that argument is no good. Look at how many articles, say, Michael A. Woodley of Menie, Heiner Rindermann, Dimitri van der Linden, or Jan te Nijenhuis have published in otherwise reputable journals: [1] [2] [3] [4] But all four of those authors are considered pseudoscientists, and their articles mention that. The pseudoscience designation is based on the content of one's work, not where it was published. --CBH (talk) 03:35, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
@CBH No? I beg your pardon. Who is assigning this so-called pseudoscience designation and what are their academic qualifications?Ariel31459 (talk) 19:46, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Look at their articles. I linked to the four articles above. Their status as pseudoscientists is mentioned in the first sentence of all four of them. They've been described that way for months; this designation is utterly controversial. --CBH (talk) 20:00, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
I see. Are you sure you mean "this designation is utterly controversial?" because I agree with that. That is why it is not a valid label. Ariel31459 (talk) 20:12, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
If you disagree with the designation on those other pages, I dare you to challenge it. I guarantee you won't get anywhere, and perhaps that experience will teach you to stop this concern trolling. --CBH (talk) 20:44, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
If you think asking for a scientific justification for the designation of pseudoscience is concern-trolling, then you lack certain scientific ethics. Perhaps you are a Lysenkoist.Ariel31459 (talk) 22:20, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Also, if as I suspect, you are a sock of one of the usual suspects, please grow up.Ariel31459 (talk) 22:36, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Here is what I wrote above on this point: "I wouldn't say that its impossible for peer reviewed research to be pseudo scientific, but there should at least be citable evidence of a fallacy and scientific consensus that it is indeed a fallacy before taking such an extreme step. In this case, there is a rather large body of evidence that he is correct (about his actual assertions, not the assertions erroneously attributed to him) and little to the contrary. So what gives?" Whoever wrote the original article appears to believe that an entire branch of modern science is bullshit, despite hundreds or thousands of peer reviewed articles, and has offered zero scientific reason for disagreeing with these scientists' eminently falsifiable assertions. And to be clear, disagreement is insufficient. Disagreement is part of science. To be called pseudoscience, something ought to demonstrate a willful disregard for the scientific method. What we have here are falsifiable hypotheses, replicable and multiply replicated studies, and at least hundreds of peer reviewed papers featuring empirical data and using modern statistical methods. That is what I call Science, not pseudoscience. Believing that a scientist is wrong is not a sufficient basis for applying such a label (although to be clear, I don't see any clear reason for us to believe that the science is wrong).Jsolinsky (talk) 06:25, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
OK. I'll wait until 24 hours after my first edit. I had been reverting because my changes were removed without anyone addressing the substance here. I look forward to that happening.Jsolinsky (talk) 06:25, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Final comment: Jsolinsky read my comments on edit history. I appreciate what you're doing, but it's pointless raising these concerns because of bad editors and the article creator is a troll. As for "Michael A. Woodley of Menie, Heiner Rindermann, Dimitri van der Linden, or Jan te Nijenhuis" being pseudoscientists -- absolutely yes because they argue "genetic factors are strongly implicated in the average Negro-white intelligence difference" (Jensen, 1969). In contrast Turkheimer argues against this: "There’s still no good reason to believe black-white IQ differences are due to genes", see also this article where Turkheimer is criticizing Charles Murray, describing race and IQ hereditarianism as "junk science". The scientific reality is IQ is a meaningful construct that describes differences in cognitive ability among humans and individual differences in intelligence are moderate-to-high heritable (0.60) but as Turkheimer notes: "There is currently no reason at all to think that any significant portion of the IQ differences among socially defined racial groups is genetic in origin." Why is this great scientist being defamed by RationalWiki? Concerned (talk) 07:15, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
In my mind there are two possible outcomes here. Either the article is going to get fixed, or we are going to have clear evidence that RationalWiki, despite talking a good game, is actually anti-science. I'm fine with either outcome, and slightly curious as to which it will be. Its easy to say you are in favor of science. The test is what you do when the scientific evidence doesn't match your beliefs. Deny the science? or change your beliefs?Jsolinsky (talk) 07:51, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Also, I don't see your comments in edit history. Jsolinsky (talk) 07:56, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
It might be helpful if you provided actual arguments as to why Turkheimer is right and his critics are wrong, rather than making vague declarations about the reputation of RationalWiki. If you're in favour of science, you'll support evaluating evidence and arguments, rather than treating Science and Scientific Method as mythical objects that must be worshipped at all time. --Annanoon (talk) 09:47, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Right about what exactly? He has published hundreds of papers. His CV is here: http://people.virginia.edu/~ent3c/vita1_turkheimer.htm All his publications organized by number of citations are here: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=-3i13u8AAAAJ&hl=en . Which of these publications is pseudoscience and why? When you say his critics, what critics? There are NO citations on the rationalWiki page to any critics. I am aware of non-scientific critiques. Perhaps they belong here, perhaps not. If you were accusing him of being a scientist with views that you disagree with, those critiques might come in handy. But if you are going to accuse somebody with over 13,000 citations of being a pseudoscientist, you ought to include at least a handful of scientific papers that not only say he is wrong about something, but that he deliberately used non-scientific methods to arrive at his results. (And even then, I can show you awful examples of Michael Mann using bad math and non-scientific methods to arrive at results. But it would be absurd to call him a pseudoscientist. To be a pseudoscientist, the non-scientific results should represent a very substantial portion of a person's output. I wouldn't be happy to hear Newton called a pseudoscientist, but I'd have a hard time objecting.) Jsolinsky (talk) 16:12, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Stop bringing up number of citations as a measure of someone's work quality. Arthur Jensen has over 34,000 citations. [5] If you think those citations are to his non-racial work, you're also wrong: his four most-cited works all are explicitly racialist.
Also, stop using multiple accounts/IPs to comment on this page, as it makes the discussion much harder to follow. --CBH (talk) 17:11, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
I only have one account. I forgot to log in once yesterday and left something from 98.7.1.133. There appear to be at least two other (I think three) commenters who share my view that calling respected scientists "pseudoscientists" because they have discovered evidence that contradicts your world view is unacceptable behavior. Jsolinsky (talk) 17:21, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
CBH Are you under the impression that any research into race and intelligence is inherently pseudoscientific? Jsolinsky (talk) 17:27, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
>> CBH Are you under the impression that any research into race and intelligence is inherently pseudoscientific?
That depends on the conclusions drawn. If the research is to show that "race" is a social construct without any biological basis, and that IQ tests measure a variety of learned behaviours based on social class, then it isn't pseudoscience. But if you mean the race "research" of a person such as Jensen, then of course it's racist pseudoscience. If you disagree, I doubt you'll find a single other person at RationalWiki who shares your view. --CBH (talk) 18:30, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Then you would be wrong. There is such a thing as a moron. Genius also exists. They are not social constructs. You and I are not like Einstein, Paul Dirac or Shakespeare, and no cultural advantage could ever have made us like them. I do not feel inferior. Do you? Ariel31459 (talk) 19:58, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Honestly, I know nothing of Jensen. But it is anti-scientific to say that "the validity of experiments depend on their outcomes. Outcomes that support my beliefs are valid, if the outcome of the experiment does not support my belief then it is pseudoscience". Isn't that exactly what you are saying here? Even if everybody who has ever edited at RationalWiki believes something, if empirical evidence contradicts it, then everyone who has ever edited at RationalWiki is wrong. This is the essence of the scientific method. And it is the very question I am exploring. Behavioral Genetics is clearly a field in which the scientific consensus supports positions that are at least uncomfortable for the majority of RationalWiki editors. I want to find out what you do when evidence contradicts your beliefs. Do you change your beliefs, or deny the science? Jsolinsky (talk) 22:44, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Let me give you an analogy to demonstrate why your argument is wrong. You could say, "If the empirical evidence eventually shows that the Earth is flat, then everyone who thinks that it's round is wrong." Or you could say, "If the historical evidence eventually shows that the Holocaust is a zionist hoax, then everyone who thinks it is a real historical event is wrong." Those only are meaningful things to say if you're discussing a parallel universe where these propositions have some remote chance of being correct. In this universe, they both are so utterly preposterous that there is no reason to take them seriously. Arthur Jensen's viewpoint has about the same odds of being correct as the viewpoint that the Earth is flat. He's merely recycled the same centuries-old pre-Adamite racial hierarchy that was used as a justification for slavery and Jim Crow laws. Why should anyone pretend these universally discredited, bigoted beliefs deserve to be taken seriously as a scientific hypothesis? --CBH (talk) 00:24, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
@CBHAs I noted, I know very little about Jensen. Wikipedia says that Jensen "was rated as one of the 50 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century". I find this impossible to square with your claim that he is a pseudoscientist whose work is universally discredited. While it seems clear he was controversial, your notion of universality appears to extend only to people who agree with you, which, as this talk page demonstrates, isn't very universal at all.
If pseudoscience is published in a reputable peer reviewed journal, the scientific way to respond is by publishing a peer reviewed paper that identifies with specificity the flaws in the pseudoscience. If no such paper exists, the the odds are overwhelmingly high that you have made a mistake in labeling the original paper as pseudoscience. If you believe that you have found an exception, you would be well advised to spend your time authoring a paper about it for a peer reviewed publication first, and edit warring on RationalWiki second.
Hopefully, the RationalWiki page on Arthur Jensen has links to peer reviewed papers that say: "this paper by Arthur Jensen is not scientific, and here is why". If not, you have probably labeled him unfairly. Jsolinsky (talk) 03:27, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
Jensen's work only appears "eminent" because so many scholars have debunked him. Eminence is based on the number of times a person's work has been cited, without any regard for whether the citations are approving or critical. Jensen's arguments were dealt with at length by Michael E. Staub in The Mismeasure of Minds. You also should read the list of examples given in our article about him of his association with white supremacist groups. --CBH (talk) 04:26, 13 December 2018 (UTC)

CBH, you wrote (to Ariel) "If you disagree with the designation on those other pages, I dare you to challenge it. I guarantee you won't get anywhere, and perhaps that experience will teach you to stop this concern trolling". I have no desire to concern troll. If the purpose of this site is to promote left wing ideals, then I am in the wrong place, and I will just leave. But if the purpose of this site is to promote the scientific method and disparage those who do not (people who think global warming is a hoax, people who think evolution is just a "theory"), then I very much belong here, and whoever wrote this page about Turkheimer is the person who is concern trolling. Which is it? Jsolinsky (talk) 23:37, 12 December 2018 (UTC)

Comment[edit]

Eric Turkheimer is a *staunch* opponent of racism, biological explanations of intelligence, and hereditarianism. He is a scientist. The first law of behavior genetics -- that all human behavior is heritable -- is derived from decades upon decades of empirical quantitative genetics, which employ the Falconer equation. The quantitative heritability of a trait is a numerical estimate between 0 and 1, and every trait investigated (from IQ to divorce rates) actually falls somewhere between .3 and .7. That Turkheimer's page here suggests otherwise indicates that he is being trolled by his critics. See his blog on "Race and IQ" on Cato Unbound, or perhaps his recent Vox article, "Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ". Quantitative behavioral genetics is not pseudoscience, and Turkheimer is an opponent of hereditarianism and racism. — Unsigned, by: 216.197.79.112 / talk / contribs

I wouldn't be opposed to outright deleting this page. If it is RationalWiki's goal to be seen as a reliable source, then this page has not been a happy episode in its existence. Jsolinsky (talk) 17:09, 12 December 2018 (UTC)

Hilarious quote from elsewhere on RationalWiki claiming that RationalWiki would never be mendacious enough to create this page:[edit]

From the page on Noah Carl:

Carls 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 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).

It looks like Noah Carl was right, and the editors of his page were wrong. Are we ready to fix this yet? Jsolinsky (talk) 17:37, 12 December 2018 (UTC)

Status of discussion[edit]

Clearly CBH supports the page he created. I don't think he can be convinced, and I think this page provides a record demonstrating that his commitment to keeping this page in its current form is at odds with RationalWiki's stated purpose.

I, Ariel31459, Concerned, and possibly 216.197.79.112 appear to believe that the label of pseudoscience is unwarranted.

Noah Carl's RationalWiki page specifically cites Turkheimer as an example of a psychologist who studies human population differences in IQ who is NOT a pseudoscientist.

Does anyone have any specific evidence to offer in favor of this label? (ideally from a peer reviewed journal, since Eric Turkheimer is heavily published and cited in peer reviewed journals).

@GrammarCommie What say you?

Absent specific evidence in favor of the designation, I think it is time to fix this page. Jsolinsky (talk) 07:01, 13 December 2018 (UTC)

That seems to be correct from what I can tell, @Jsolinsky. I would like to hear what GrammarCommie has to say. Bongolian (talk) 07:42, 15 December 2018 (UTC)

Based on his comment here, in which he said "I am very pleased to have come to this realization before I spent any meaningful effort here", Jsolinsky appears to have quit RationalWiki, and Concerned is now blocked for 3 months. As Jsolinsky and Concerned were two of the main people arguing for this article to be whitewashed, I believe there to no longer be a consensus for that change. @Bongolian would it be acceptable for me to undo Jsolinsky's changes now? --CBH (talk) 20:34, 20 December 2018 (UTC)

@CBH Can you give better evidence that Turkheimer is a hereditarian or engages is pseudoscience? What was there before was not very convincing. Bongolian (talk) 20:44, 20 December 2018 (UTC)
Look at his Twitter post here. What kind of person uncritically talks about "high Jewish IQ"? This is a racialist dog whistle, and not a subtle one. Also look at his extensive, and mostly approving, discussion in this paper of hereditarian "research" by Arthur Jensen. --CBH (talk) 21:12, 20 December 2018 (UTC)
I dunno. It's not that clear cut. I'd really like to see an source who does a thorough breakdown of some of the same stuff your version of the article was saying. Like-it-or-not credentialwise and publication process wise, turkheimer is a legitimate academic. And just pointing out that some of what he says is pretty shit(the three laws are dumb, e.g.) is okay, but when I reviewed his publication history I found plenty of non-ideologically locked things that acknowledged the limits of hereditarian analysis, in direct contradiction to what we imply by just citing the dumb laws. I'd like to see an expert in his field commenting on his work. I have some explicit concerns with adoption and twin studies vis-a-vis IQ that hereditarians never seem to answer, but merely publishing in that field of study is not wrong. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 21:20, 20 December 2018 (UTC)
The twitter post you refer to asserts evidence for non-hereditary causes for high Jewish IQ averages. Are you taking the hereditarian position? Also, "almost approving?" I have to ask what "almost approval" means, scientifically.Ariel31459 (talk) 21:26, 20 December 2018 (UTC)
I said "mostly approving" not "almost approving". And the problem with talking about "high Jewish IQ" is that it assumes "Jewish" is a biologically meaningful category (it isn't) and that IQ tests measure a real ability that can be compared between racial categories (they don't and it can't). The way he makes all of these false assumptions, and then excuses himself by saying "genetic determinism not required", is an example of what I meant by "painted-over race science". --CBH (talk) 21:34, 20 December 2018 (UTC)
The replies definetly indicate "#1 with racists" syndrome though. But still, I, personally, want something, anything related to serious academic critique of his work that highlights the same problems. It's too easy to focus on the social media shuffle. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 21:46, 20 December 2018 (UTC)
There is also the view that social media concerns is no way to direct the course of scientific inquiry. Ariel31459 (talk) 22:07, 20 December 2018 (UTC)

He noticed us![edit]

This is him calling the now-deleted article about Kathryn Paige Harden "awful". Jinx (talk) 00:56, 4 February 2019 (UTC)

On Peer-Review and Reputation[edit]

Personally, I don't know anything about Eric Turkeheimer so I hold no opinion about him or his work, but I am seeing this kind of argument showing up repeatedly that is kind of fallacious, to say the least; which seems to avoid any discussion regarding the actual content of said work. Being published in a peer-review journal is a pretty low bar to set for science. Studies arguing in favour of Homeopathy, n-rays, and even studies that suggest that water fluoridation is dangerous have all been published in peer-review journals that doesn't necessarily mean these things or these findings from these studies are therefore scientific.

When determining whether or not something is scientific you need to evaluate methodology, and the larger context in research before reaching said conclusion. Obviously, something that isn't published in a peer-reviewed journal is a red flag that something is bullshit, but merely being published in a peer-review journal doesn't prove the opposite. You need to evaluate the actual content of the research, the larger consensus of the field, the conclusions of other related fields, the logical reasoning employed in the conclusions drawn, and whether or not there is any contradictory evidence present within the field with good methodological standing.

Appealing to a scientist's reputation isn't exactly a good substitute for critical thinking. Folks like Jordan Peterson have a lot of peer-reviewed publications under their belt, but they still peddle a lot of pseudoscientific nonsense. I think the discussions present on this talk page would benefit by actually discussing the content and context of such research rather than just appealing to a researchers reputation, number of publications, and popularity. These are just thinly-veiled appeals to popularity and authority. I don't know what conclusions to draw from reading this talk page since there is so much talking around the facts, than actually discussing them directly. - Only Sort of Dumb 01:53, 4 February 2019 (UTC)