Scientists protest death of evidence on Parliament Hill

Canadian scientists marched on Parliament Hill this past Tuesday to protest the ongoing campaign by the Harper government to squelch any and all science whose results go against party lines on topics like (and especially) the environment.

Evoking images of the Grim Reaper, protesters held a mock funeral procession through the streets of Ottawa before ending up at the House of Commons.

They chanted: No Science, No Evidence, No Truth, No Democracy.

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Scientists protest death of evidence on Parliament Hill

The Problem with Privilege (or: Evidential Skepticism)

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, so to catch you all up, here are my prior entries in the series.

From Buy one today! (If you're privileged.)

The Problem with Privilege (or: you got sexism in my skepticism!)
The Problem with Privilege (or: no, you’re not a racist misogynist ass, calm down)
The Problem with Privilege (or: missing the point, sometimes spectacularly)
The Problem with Privilege (or: after this, can we get back to the actual issues?)
The Problem with Privilege: Manifesto for Change
The Problem with Privilege (or: cheap shots, epithets and baseless accusations for everyone!)
The Problem with Privilege: some correct assertions, with caveats

It appears that many of the bloggers now on FtB, once from various corners of the intertubes, are embroiled once again in the total catastrophic meltdown of reason that is discussing the nexus of sexism and skepticism.

The focus this time? The same as every other time — how Rebecca Watson can’t be trusted at her word, and how one must be skeptical — SKEPTICAL, I SAY — of anything she says because she’s making the obviously extraordinary claim that someone asserted his privilege to flirt over her request to not be treated that way. I mean, who’s going to believe THAT tall tale, right?

Stephanie Zvan challenges the Elevator Guy Apologists to try assuming Watson isn’t lying, and see what you think about EG’s actions thereafter. A number of folks dance around the challenge but ultimately refuse to participate. Some idiots took the opportunity over at Xblog to turn a post promoting Dawkins’ new book Magic of Reality into another thread about how poorly we’ve been treating Dawkins over his dismissive and sneering post regarding Rebecca Watson. And Ophelia Benson posted an evisceration of the meme that a man “cannot know” that a woman is interested until he cold-propositions her as a perfect stranger in an elevator at 4am.

What do these threads have in common in what’s driving their commentariat? Well, aside from having two trolls (Justicar and DavidByron, both making flat unevidenced assertions and ignoring all counterpoints to their chosen points of view) in common, the posts’ comments also run the gamut of questioning every aspect of Rebecca Watson’s story and present every conceivable method of character assassination of Rebecca Watson herself.

But isn’t that how skepticism works?

Continue reading “The Problem with Privilege (or: Evidential Skepticism)”

The Problem with Privilege (or: Evidential Skepticism)

Climate noise amplification

Ever notice that once in a while, when observing scientific matters, you have a signal to noise problem that’s really difficult to overcome?

I’m not talking about the actual problems of signal-to-noise in building studies, especially out of short and uncorrelated pieces of data. I’m talking about the amplification that goes on in the denialist quarters of the blogosphere, picking up on phrasings or terms of trade that happen to be easy to misconstrue into a soundbite “club” to beat layfolk over the head with. This happens in pretty much every field of study, but never to the extent or effectiveness seen in the field of climatology.

Take, for instance, Phil Jones’ interview with the BBC, from which an intentional misunderstanding of the concept of statistical significance by a question sent in by a climate skeptic entrapped Jones into saying something technically correct but easily misconstrued.
Continue reading “Climate noise amplification”

Climate noise amplification

Kirkby on cosmic rays and climate change

I’m posting this specifically for Klem, if he’s still reading. He asked that the cosmic ray forcing hypothesis be convincingly rebutted before he’d start taking the science proving climate change seriously. Well, since the hypothesis is predicated on Jasper Kirkby’s work, perhaps his words will help tip the scales. Kirkby built a damn fine experiment to try to measure how cosmic rays help create ionizing particles. Too bad it’s been misconstrued as feeding the denialists’ anti-reality predilections.

“People are far too polarized”, he says. No kidding. They’re polarized enough to completely get the results wrong. Climate Crock of the Week explains the study and how it pretty much shows that cosmic rays don’t account for the amount of forcing we see.

Kirkby on cosmic rays and climate change

Mann vindicated yet again; no tampering with hockey stick graph

The NSF Inspector General closed out the investigation of Michael Mann, central focus of the ClimateGate manufactroversy, after finding no malfeasance. This brings the total “vindications” up to at least seven. From the report:

As part of our investigation, we attempted to determine if data fabrication or falsification may have occurred and interviewed the subject, critics, and disciplinary experts in coming to our conclusions. As a result of our interviews we concluded:

1. The subject did not directly receive NSF research funding as a Principal Investigator until late 2001 or 2002.
2. The Subject’s data is documented and available to researchers.
3. There are several concerns raised about the quality of the statistical analysis techniques that were used in the Subject’s research.
4. There is no specific evidence that the Subject falsified or fabricated any data and no evidence that his actions amounted to research misconduct.
5. There was concern about how extensively the Subject’s research had influenced the debate in the overall research field.


To recommend a finding of research misconduct, the preponderance of the evidence must show that with culpable intent the Subject committed an act that meets the definition of research misconduct (in this case, data fabrication or data falsification).

The research in question was originally completed over 10 years ago. Although the Subject’s data is still available and still the focus of significant critical examination, no direct evidence has been presented that indicates the Subject fabricated the raw data he used for his research or falsified his results.

Climate denialists will, completely within their character parameters, not give a shit. They’re not in the business of “facts”, they’re selling a fully antiscientific conspiracy theory that only grows stronger in the face of facts to the contrary. The next sentence of the report goes on to suggest that the only debate in the matter is whether the statistical methods used were appropriate, which is a wildly different conversation from the one we were having up until now. But the denialists are, frankly, famous for latching onto a single, easily misunderstood sentence.

From The Backfire Effect:

The backfire effect is constantly shaping your beliefs and memory, keeping you consistently leaning one way or the other through a process psychologists call biased assimilation. Decades of research into a variety of cognitive biases shows you tend to see the world through thick, horn-rimmed glasses forged of belief and smudged with attitudes and ideologies.

That about sums it up.

The most horrible part about this is, while we do have facts to back up our claims, we are vulnerable to the same “you’re just experiencing the Backfire Effect” accusation — in much the same way as people who understand that the Earth is round might be vulnerable to such accusations from a flat-Earther. I mean, we’re also vulnerable to accusations of being polka-dotted unicorns with a penchant for human flesh, while we’re itemizing things that people could accuse us of if facts are thrown right out the window. But we’re vulnerable all the same, and I expect the first antiscience troll (who will no doubt show up first over at Greg Laden’s) will accuse us of being mired in our ideologies and accusations of malfeasance by some ever-widening conspiracy.

Only, it’s far more galling when, despite the lack of evidence for these accusations of malfeasance, they just keep on coming, repeated ad nauseam, because “malfeasance” is almost transparently the modus operandi of the folks who’d rather destroy the planet to make a buck. Attack your opponents’ strength, and all that. Explains why when we point out denialists’ weakness in whom they’re supporting (the oil industry), they counter by questioning the money-making intentions of people who write books about this stuff. They attack our strength in our lacking money as a motivating factor, by claiming we’re just trying to make a quick buck. Somehow. As though the pay scales between book authorship or scientific study grants, and owning a fucking oil company, are even remotely competitive.

This is the vector that this fight will take. We must expect that we are no longer able to simply sway people with mere facts; not when the lies are shouted from the rooftops and the truth merely whispered apologetically under the din of the denialists. We need to change our tactic — to not allow them to shout us down, to refuse to allow the media to bury the “corrections” to their anti-science hitpieces in the middle of their obits page. We need to hold the information gatekeepers responsible for the misinformation and the lies that are propagated. Our species’ future is at stake.

Mann vindicated yet again; no tampering with hockey stick graph

How we know things in science, and how we can know things about abiogenesis

Nicked from on the Miller-Urey experiments. That's the actual equipment used

On this blog post over at Greg Laden’s, I’ve made a damn fine effort (if I do say so myself) at explaining the process of scientific inquiry to a pair of commenters who’ve taken issue with the idea that anyone could know anything about the event of abiogenesis — the “Origin of Life”, when the fuzzy boundary between chemicals and life was first breached — that happened on this planet. I’ve agreed with them on a number of points, including Anthony’s main thesis, that there was exactly one way that this universe’s past has unfolded, exactly one “truth” to any event in history, and that as a result, figuring out that exact truth is nearly impossible short of having been there to witness it yourself. He accuses the current scientific establishment of “decadence” (belittling our blog friend DuWayne in the process), and of “ideological materialism” wherein the elite of the scientific world are beholden to assume materialism lest their entire epistemology crumbles beneath them.

Luckily, science doesn’t work that way or we’d have stopped investigating this universe long ago.

The scientific method can be implemented to attempt to model events that it cannot prove with 100% certainty happened in exactly one way. By learning about the past, through the physical and inferential evidence we have available to us, we can develop hypotheses which are testable today. If our hypotheses about the past are correct, we can then correctly predict the results of these experiments, and if the experiments are carefully enough crafted, they can disprove the hypotheses and force us to start over. In the specific case of the abiogenesis event that occurred on this planet, we might never know the exact formula that resulted in our exact lineage. This should not stop us from taking the evidence we have available to us, the direct and inferential physical evidence that shows how this planet was very likely composed chemically in the early pre-biotic environment, and extrapolating from that knowledge that perhaps self-arranging lipids and amino acids might have formed.

The Miller-Urey experiment in 1953 took some of our best guesses about the pre-biotic environment and attempted to verify the Oparin-Haldane hypothesis that it would allow for amino acids to self-arrange. When the experiment was complete, they were proven correct. Amino acids — the building blocks to life itself — formed spontaneously, without direction, in an environment that was like science’s contemporary understanding of the early Earth. If this experiment had failed, it would have put a nail in the coffin of the abiogenesis theory, though not the last one, certainly. The fact that it succeeded suggests one of two things: 1) amino acids might spontaneously emerge in a number of environments, or 2) we got lucky and hit upon the correct way to create amino acids but did not replicate the early Earth, thus disproving abiogenesis. The former is far more likely, for obvious reasons — not ideology, but pure math. If there are a near infinite set of environments that the planet could have had, then there are a near infinite set of environments to test. The problem comes down to one of narrowing — if we know the early Earth had to have ammonia (to provide the organic compounds necessary), then we’ve excised all models that do not include ammonia. Scientists later discovered a photochemical reaction of nitrogen that would provide this ur-Earth with the necessary ammonia. Meanwhile, we narrow our options down significantly with each new piece of evidence.

The fact that better evidence turned up suggesting that the early environment was actually significantly different from the conditions replicated in the Miller-Urey experiment should thus hardly come as a surprise, though the actual early environment is still hotly debated among scientists. Miller tried again in 1983 with the newer data, but came up empty — hardly any amino acids to be found. However, Professor Jeffrey Bada repeated the experiment with an even better approximation of the early environment, e.g. that Miller’s second test had omitted iron and carbonate, and amino acids were once more formed spontaneously through nothing more than pure chemical interactions in the simulated environment. And that certainly isn’t the only such related test.

Two different environments, both resulting in amino acids. Certainly the later test benefits from the extra evidence collected about the early Earth, but getting amino acids in multiple different environments bodes well for our ability to show that every step in the grand staircase toward biology is plausible. We know that the lipid bilayer necessary to create a cell membrane can self-arrange as an emergent property of the lipid’s intrinsic hydrophobia (fear of water) on one side, hydrophilia on the other. They’ll form up all by themselves without prompting, given the right environment. So will RNA nucleotides, meaning if the RNA-world hypothesis is correct, we’re well within our rights to suggest that the hypothesis is the one that best fits the available evidence and make further predictions and experiments from there.

None of this is, you’ll notice, an attempt at building a narrative of “how things definitely happened”. People will often demand such a thing, knowing that they cannot themselves replicate experiment results, nor comprehend their interconnectedness with other such experiments if they’re even aware of these other experiments, nor suss out how all the pieces of the puzzle ultimately fit together. I understand this drive — the drive to build a narrative that is easily digested — because every human being has it. It is that drive that frees up one’s mind to contemplate other things, like immediate survival concerns or reproduction or the pursuit of leisure. It is that drive that one combats when arguing with people who cling tenaciously to their received dogmas. The temptation is great to replace one dogmatic narrative with another. But the scientific worldview demands that we understand that our understanding of this universe may never reach 100% certainty about any single topic or event, but as we slowly polish and chip away at the theories we have built, we can bring them to within impressive degrees of certainty that put any former, more dogmatic, effort at explaining the universe to shame.

The level of certainty that Andrew believes we are expressing about the study of abiogenesis is galling, and his repeated insistence that scientists are engaging in myth-making betrays his lack of understanding of the process. That we don’t know a great many things about the actual abiogenesis event on this planet means nothing, ultimately, in the study of how it might have happened. It is like asking that we know everything about the daily life of the very first ape to climb down out of the trees, or else the theory of evolution is about building a just-so narrative. I’m personally content to allow the process of scientific investigation to grind down all the possibilities until there are but a few left, and we can choose which one fits all the evidence best, until such time that new evidence overturns the model and we are forced to revisit.

That’s how science works, you see. And science does indeed work.

(To within a reasonable degree of confidence.)

How we know things in science, and how we can know things about abiogenesis

How we know all life shares a common origin

According to Anthony McCarthy over at Greg’s blog, extrapolating from this information to determine something about how life began on this planet is purely ideological mythmaking. Never mind that every species on the planet shares the same metabolism, by the same enzymes, which must be coded for by the same combinations of chemicals, and these chemicals must come into being by the same chemical processes. Or that as you work your way backward you can determine the lipids and amino acids that must have been how this particular origin of life happened, and that you can replicate in a laboratory the spontaneous generation of these lipids and amino acids from the pure chemicals in varying environments that are similar to, if not identical to, the best models we have of the composition of the early Earth. Meaning we have pretty much every step in the chain replicated plausibly, so even if we don’t know the exact events, we can with a fairly high degree of confidence claim that we actually know a good deal about how life probably emerged here.

Oh, he also doesn’t believe in emergence, meaning he’s never seen a fractal or snowflake under a microscope. And loves to scoff at the idea that we’re skeptics, just because we’re convinced by the evidence presented. I’ve given up on him, now that he’s decided to “copy [my words] as the most irrational series of assertions by the self-identified champions of science and reason [he’s] had the dubious privilege of reading.”

How we know all life shares a common origin

RCimT: Climate round-up

Apropos of the topic of discussion for today’s radio show, here’s a roundup of some links related to climate change, plus some other related sciencey bits that I otherwise just wanted to get out of my tabs. Enjoy!

Here’s how climate change was subsumed into the “culture war”. Good overview of how we got to the point where science and anti-science polarized along political lines, and how it’ll backfire on the pro-money and anti-science crowd.

Knowing that bots and hired trolls have all but filled the discourse on other matters, Googling for related topics and astroturfing dissent as though they were legitimately grass-roots, it’s no surprise that climate denialists are employing these same tactics to muddy the discourse.

Some new study came out claiming some ridiculous things about the science proving anthropogenic global warming, and the media is touting this study as “blowing a hole” in the science, calling those people that understand and accept the evidence “alarmists” in the process. Phil Plait rips ’em a new one over this mendacity, and in the process, Learns to Stop Worrying and Love the Ad Hominem in the process. Though I’d argue that since he’s also showing why they’re wrong, what he’s doing is simply including a personal attack in the conclusion. You’ll want to click pretty much every one of the links in his post, as the actual debunking mostly happens off-blog.

Like at RealClimate, for example. If you don’t want to go through the links above, at least check that one out.

John Abraham, one of the participants in the Atheists Talk radio show today, had another radio spot recently about climate change that you should check out.

The Koch Brothers, apparently movers-and-shakers in the conservative world, are making a concerted effort to stamp out a wind power generation project in New Jersey. And, of course, disguising it as a grassroots movement.

Mike Haubrich, host of the Atheists Talk show, has a good piece on “Hide the Decline”, those unfortunate terms of trade in the “Climategate” emails. Those emails led to a million false allegations against climate scientists and climate science as a whole due to a simple misunderstanding and a willful ignorance of the truth, even after having it explained a million and one (for good measure) times.

And now that the raw data from the “Climategate” study has been released, and STILL they can’t find any actual wrongdoing or manipulation in the scientists’ processes, I’m sure that’ll evaporate finally! Right?

If we could find some way to keep space debris from smashing it to bits, I’m now convinced space solar is the best path out of this era of fossil fuels and into the next, of renewable resources. Building the arrays and keeping them safe from space junk would be expensive, but no more expensive than, say, three ongoing wars, or the Bush-era tax cuts.

Enjoy the radio show! I’ll be listening live myself, if I can get the stupid feed to work properly this time around. Last time the streaming was glitchy as hell. Here’s to hoping it’s sorted now.

RCimT: Climate round-up

Sagan never said this about climate change, which BTW is STILL HAPPENING.

When science says something potentially damaging to your bottom line, and all the evidence points to the inevitable conclusion that yes, that potentially damaging thing is real and really damaging both to your bottom line and to the fate of human civilization, what’s your first reaction? Naturally, lie like crazy for half a century until your lies pick up enough steam to dupe enough people that you can get away with all sorts of lies, big and small, to protect said bottom line. Yes, at the expense of human civilization. I mean, it’s perfectly okay, since climate change won’t kill everyone until long (or possibly shortly) after you’ve enjoyed the lap of luxury through your declining years!

This is exactly what the Big Lie that scientists “predicted an ice age in the 1970s” was. And given the scope of that big lie, it’s honestly no surprise that the good folks at the Washington Examiner borrowed Sagan’s authority to suggest that this big lie was in fact the truth. And by “borrow” I mean “defecate on”.

While I can’t prove a negative, I would be very skeptical of it unless they’ve got some period documentation. Sagan was at any rate one of the first to worry about global warming. He was a principal architect of the current understanding of Venus, showing that the carbon dioxide in its atmosphere caused it to be much hotter than astronomers of the time had imagined. In my Sagan biography I write (p. 45):

“One day in Berkeley, Carl told Ronald Blum (he had moved west, too) that he was worried about the carbon dioxide in the air. The burning of fuel was creating more carbon dioxide. This would increase the earth’s greenhouse effect and warm the globe with disastrous consequences. At the time, that was an incredible if not crazy thing to say. It could not have been later than 1963.”

This was based on an interview with Ronald Blum, a college friend.

Science historian Spencer Weart also said he had never heard the claim that Sagan called for increased CO2 emissions:

No, I never heard that Carl Sagan, or indeed anyone in the 1970s, endorsed the idea of producing CO2 to forestall an ice age. It’s true that the idea of using CO2 in this way was circulated already early in the 20th century, but anything along those lines would have been speculation about a distant future–few expected a real ice age would come except over the course of centuries or, more likely, millennia.

Not only does the Washington Examiner op-ed revise 1970s history, it also takes liberties with more recent news. The op-ed, titled “Ice age threat should freeze EPA global warming regs,” says astrophysicists recently predicted that because of low sunspot activity, “we may be heading into the next ice age.”

But the scientists who conducted that solar research had a different take: “We are NOT predicting a mini-ice age. We are predicting the behavior of the solar cycle. In my opinion, it is a huge leap from that to an abrupt global cooling, since the connections between solar activity and climate are still very poorly understood.”

Media Matters has more.

There was never a prediction of a global ice age. There were a few non-scientific magazines like Time that got science wrong (as though that doesn’t happen to this very day!), but there was most certainly not any consensus amongst any scientists that we were heading into an ice age, nor would Carl Sagan suggest releasing CO2 to combat a problem that the best science of the day said we weren’t experiencing. That anthropogenic global warming is happening has pretty much been shown to be true since 1956. This is a damnable lie, and anyone in the media willing to lie to further their cause should be fired immediately.

I know, awful naive of me. But then, what do I know? I’m just a “Self appointed web based blogger of nonsense, tosser!”. Which I think means I appointed myself to blog, as well as masturbate to nonsensical pictures.

Mike Haubrich and Greg Laden are going to talk to Kevin Zelnio and John Abraham this Sunday on Minneapolis’ Atheists Talk Radio (that’s right, the radio show I was on once! Good memory, faithful reader!) about climate change. If you’d like, ask them some questions ahead of time.

Sagan never said this about climate change, which BTW is STILL HAPPENING.

Fellow racists come to the defense of Kanazawa

Or: wherein Stephanie Zvan shows us little folks exactly how we can step in and bloody the nose of a bloody bigot with a PhD.

This man has a thing or two to say about attractiveness. Hello ladies. (from the good doctor's personal website)

In case you haven’t heard of this ongoing debacle, Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa recently published a rather controversial article claiming that black women are objectively less attractive. This study was published in Intelligence, a journal well-known for its persistent use of IQ as a valid measure of intelligence despite the academic dissent that IQ does not measure any one single thing and therefore can’t be used as a metric to study anything but the weak causal relationship IQ scores have with actual intelligence. When Dr. Kanazawa was presented with a good deal of dissent about the methods by which he produced the study, he went on to blog on Psychology Today about the study’s validity, claiming some interesting just-so hypotheses to explain why his results were correct, rather than engaging with the criticisms. The blog post was almost immediately retracted and Psychology Today apologized for the distress it caused.

This touched off a firestorm, mostly in that Kanazawa evidently has a history of not engaging with critiques of his papers contemporaneously. A number of scientists rallied to his defense, claiming that Kanazawa was “Sinned Against, Not Sinning”. There’s just one problem with the defense rallied: the defenders claimed that any critiques must needs be made in the journals themselves, and once past peer review, the paper is beyond reproach.

Oh, sorry. There’s just TWO problems with the defense. Stephanie Zvan points out the other with much relish (and you people had better bloody click through to that link!):

There are legitimate discussions to be had on the role of peer-review feedback in shaping the final published product. However, having that discussion and recasting a complaint about Kanazawa’s resistance to incorporating feedback are two very different things. Also, given what the criticism of Kanazawa actually was (that he doesn’t interact with feedback prior to publication) it seems a little odd to note that he incorporates feedback into later work. If the criticism is important enough to be dealt with, wouldn’t he produce stronger papers by dealing with it up front?

But back to the letter. There are a few short paragraphs providing information about two times Kanazawa later responded to criticism, followed by this closing:

Finally, we believe that the proper place to make criticisms of academic papers is in the journals in which they were published, not in letters to the press where they cannot be adequately answered.

Sorry, Stephanie, I have to interject to say: are you fucking kidding?

Okay, go ahead.

This–this!–is what makes this letter so entertaining. Even forgetting that Kanazawa brought himself and his work into the general public eye by writing a blog post about his “findings,” this is the richest vein of irony I’ve mined in some time. You see, while the idea that scientific ideas and their validity should be hashed out in journals is relatively common among scientists, it’s pretty rare among the signatories to this letter.

Oh. Wait. Turns out she wasn’t kidding, they actually said that. Stephanie even got published in The Journal of Are You Fucking Kidding, as though to underscore my disbelief.

She goes on to list an easy pickings set of links that show times when each signatory to the defense letter actually blogged about science in public, in direct contrast with their professed beliefs. I personally see no harm in blogging about science, engaging with your audience (and in many cases, with audiences that aren’t actually normally “yours” to begin with). It gives you perspective you might not otherwise be exposed to, and can oftentimes provide a baffle against the temptation to insulate yourself into an echo chamber. What I DO see harm in, is in ignoring valid criticisms outright, especially when they’re coming from people with as good of credentials (or better). Simply ignoring criticisms and carrying on as though your work is totally valid and the points they’ve made so utterly incompetent as to not merit consideration is galling. It’s the type of thing you see when someone has an unfalsifiable belief and they move the goal posts right in front of you when you provide them with evidence that they’re wrong.

Engaging with your critics and surmounting their criticisms is a fundamental part of the scientific process, and I can’t help but think that your science would come out all the better for it if people point out the flaws and you amend your work to compensate. You know, amend your CURRENT work. Not simply “incorporating the dissent” into future works. Especially when those future works are also apologetic to a cause you’re evidently trying to advance, despite precious little valid data to back you up.

Stephanie’s list of links also has a bit of a secondary trend, which I’m sure is not accidental. Each of the blog posts she links to seems to have a fairly controversial bent, regarding all manner of things from eugenics to speeches in front of White Nationalist conventions to the “perils of diversity” to defense of sweatshops. The common theme to all of them appears to be a generalized defense of racism. Considering Kanazawa’s paper, considering Kanazawa’s already controversial history, and considering the vast criticism leveled against his academic practices, the defense paper’s purpose is all too transparent: protect one of your own.

One question that Stephanie raised piqued my interest: “Someone for whom impact factor is a big deal will have to do the research on whether the letter writers are correct [in asserting Kanazawa’s been published by many high-impact journals], but I would love to see the results.” As she and I both point out, Intelligence is fairly high-impact, but also high-controversy — it caters almost exclusively to people who believe IQ is actually worth something. It will therefore be cited very heavily by scientists who believe likewise. This may or may not be a self-feeding subculture of scientists, who may or may not be engaging in an amount of cherry-picking, bias, or other scientific fallacies that depend on people desperately wanting to be right even at the cost of parsimony with reality. It is akin to scientists in the Creation Science field, wherein people presume Goddidit and the science must flow from that initial premise or it is out of orthodoxy with their subculture.

I’m working on finding impact studies for each of these journals in which Kanazawa was published. I found an Excel spreadsheet of journals from 2007 with their Thomson Reuters impact factors, but his papers span from 1992 through 2011, and it would be unfair to provide a snapshot view of the impact of these journals in only 2007.

If I can’t find anything more recent (e.g., if nobody provides me with a login for the current Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports tool), I’ll put together a follow-up blog post with the numbers from 2007, with a scale as to where they fall in the “impact factor” for that trade. I might also have to eliminate some of the top journals in the field, as a number of them appear to act as aggregators and get disproportionately high journal impact which would skew the point I intend to make: that the journals Kanazawa is published in, are not in fact “high-impact” by any reasonable standard as implied by his defenders.

Fellow racists come to the defense of Kanazawa