It’s always so much fun to see how others see me. A little over a year ago, I had a post published in the Scientific American guest blog called “The Politics of the Null Hypothesis“. It discussed the tendency to default to genetic explanations of differences in IQ and the resistance that is shown to any research findings that demonstrate environmental or transient influences on IQ scores. I also noted in this post how odd this tendency is when all of the direct evidence we have is for environmental or transient influences and the replicated evidence for a genetic influence comes from studies that aren’t well-designed to distinguish between environmental and genetic influences.
As you could probably guess, this post didn’t go over well with everyone. In particular, Bryan Pesta, who has a long history of suggesting I shouldn’t talk about IQ and a brief history of studying racial differences in IQ, took it as another opportunity to tell me I should shut up. He tried to credit me with several statements I hadn’t made, attacked a bunch of irrelevancies, and went with the “How can you question decades of science?!” stance.
That’s become a favorite tactic of Pesta’s since then. “Who are you to question how things are done?” “Ooh, better get that into a peer-review journal right away so you can set the entire scientific world straight!” [I paraphrase.]
Recently, he took this one step further.
I do not consider you qualified to comment on many things scientific. I bet lots that if you were male, there’s no way in hell Scientific American would post your thoughts as written there (nice privilege, btw). These are my opinions only.
Opinions are nifty things and all, but they should generally be influenced by the outside world. We have a word for judgments made before the evidence is reviewed.
Perhaps Pesta should review the comments of one of the researchers I critiqued in the post, who called it “thought-provoking”. Did Paul Thompson take time out of his busy research schedule to pat me on the head just because I’m female?
Perhaps he should alert the organizers of the SkepTech conference, where I will be speaking on this topic in April. I’m sure they’d be embarrassed that their rush to have women speakers, they included someone so naive and obviously unqualified.
Or perhaps Pesta should just ask Bora, who edits the SciAm guest blog. I did.
Huh, turns out that maybe this is just Pesta’s prejudice after all.