From: Dr Frank Ellis
To: Times Higher Education
Date: 4th June 2011, A.D.
Re: My Response to the Open Letter Published in the Times Higher Education 2ndJune 2011 signed by Alvergne et al in which Dr Satoshi Kanazawa is attacked for allegedly Sub-standard Research.
The signatories to this circular-letter to the Times Higher Education make much of the fact that Dr Kanazawa refuses to address criticism of his work and that he will not engage with his critics. There are two problems here. First, why is Dr Kanazawa expected to become involved in lengthy and time-consuming correspondence with people who object to his published work? If he wishes to do so that is a matter for him. If, however, he decides that his time can be more profitably spent by doing his research, rather than talking about it that is also a matter for him. I should also point out that when I challenged Bhikhu Parekh to provide sources for his claim, made in The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain: Report of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain (2000) that ‘Race, as is now widely acknowledged, is a social and political construct, not a biological or genetic fact. It cannot be used scientifically to account for the wide range of differences among peoples’ (Parekh, para 5.10, p.63), he just ignored me.
Second, the signatories begin their letter by referring to hostile comments made about Dr Kanazawa’s article (‘Why are Black Women Less Physically Attractive than other Women?’) in various fora. At no stage do they address the assertions and arguments of the article. Even if Dr Kanazawa’s question reflects some racial bias against blacks that itself does not automatically disqualify the search for an answer to a question that arises from bias against blacks. All research begins with a bias: the bias of interest. In any case, I thought that the pursuit of knowledge and ideas for its own sake was one of the founding principles of a university and other institutions of higher learning. Or am I to understand that this principle must be jettisoned when dealing with race?
Moreover, how can it be the case that Dr Kanazawa ‘rarely engages with his scientific critics’ if he submits articles for publication in journals? In the politically correct world of what purports to be higher education any researcher who submits an article in which he uses low mean black IQ to explain black failure is most emphatically engaging with his scientific critics: he serves notice that he rejects the current explanations for black failure (white racism, the legacy of colonialism and so on). Nor does Dr Kanazawa sin against academic convention, as asserted, when he has not published ‘corrections to the papers for which doubt has been cast on his conclusions’. In the academic world today, one which is dominated by various multiracial/multicultural orthodoxies, any researcher who concludes that low mean IQ can explain a great of black failure will have his conclusions subjected to ‘doubt’. Doubt does not constitute evidence of hard error. In fact ‘doubt’ is too polite a word. Any academic who rejects the cosy, sentimental assumptions of the left regarding race and racism can expect to be subjected to vicious ad hominem attacks. I experienced such attacks at Leeds University in 2006. Members of the faculty who agreed with me in private nevertheless maintained a cowardly public silence.
An answer to the question posed by Dr Kanazawa on the lack of black female attractiveness may have implications for understanding the weak family structures of blacks, their greater sexual promiscuity (the implications for the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases are obvious) and the high levels of black on white rape. Far more threateningly, the premise of Dr Kanazawa’s question implicitly posits the view that skin colour or any other visible racial characteristic is or may be a primary criterion in any hierarchy of racial beauty. In other words, Dr Kanazawa’s article is a direct challenge to the fallacious view that race is a social and political construct and that desirable qualities, such as sexual attractiveness and high IQ are uniformly and equally distributed among and between populations or that these evolutionary valuable assets should be so distributed. Is it this that provokes the hatred of what the signatories call ‘the evolutionary behavioural science community’ instead of a reasoned response? By ignoring the challenge thrown down by Dr Kanazawa the signatories to this letter are guilty of the very thing of which they accuse Dr Kanazawa: silence in the face of his trenchant criticism. They remain silent because they are frightened of race (as a genetic and biological reality) and they know that if they argue for or against Dr Kanazawa’s assertions they enter into the forbidden realm that race is in fact a genetic and biological reality.
The signatories then warn: ‘we feel compelled to state publicly that Kanazawa’s research should not be taken as representative of the evolutionary behavioural science community’. Well, I am compelled to state publicly that many scientific discoveries, inventions, technological advances and intellectual shifts in the status quo were not representative of any established community or group when they were first made. Innovation, discovery and invention are by their very nature outside the known and the expected and typically the work of individuals who are, happily for them, not part of any collective or ‘community’. Discoveries great and small, shock, offend or inspire awe, precisely because they are unknown, unexpected and often challenge reputations and powerful vested interests: they dislocate our expectations of the world about us. Socrates, Plato, Pythagoras, Heraclitus Kepler, Galileo, Darwin, Mendel, Leibnitz, Heisenberg, Einstein, Nietzsche, Rand, Solzhenitsyn, and the greatest mind of them all - Sir Isaac Newton – exemplify the historical trend, the path away from obscurantism towards knowledge and this elusive thing called Truth.
The signatories make much of the fact that the London School of Economics (LSE) will host a debate under the heading of ‘Is Evolutionary Psychology Racist?’ In the West, anything that challenges or undermines multiculturalism is deemed to be racist. For example, the following assertions are deemed to be racist in British universities: (i). race is a genetic and biological reality; (ii). all races and cultures are not equal; and (iii). mean black IQ is lower that mean white IQ (in the case of Sub-Saharan blacks, significantly lower), and this discrepancy has major consequences for real-existing multiculturalism in First-World states with large non-white populations.
The signatories to this letter betray their politically-correct credentials and their agenda when they write that a great deal of the research in the field of evolutionary psychology is ‘nuanced’ and ‘culturally-sensitive’. In plain English, if one regards low mean black IQ as a powerful and consistent explanation of black failure worldwide one is not demonstrating a ‘nuanced’ or ‘culturally-sensitive’ interpretation of the data if one makes those points. Ad hoc, ‘culturally- sensitive’ explanations have to be provided – colonialism, white racism, capitalism, multinationals, or in the case of Macpherson, institutional racism – anything will suffice, provided that it is not directly attributable to blacks and the way they behave.
When it comes to peer-reviewed articles in journals the critics of Dr Kanazawa want it both ways. Articles by Dr Kanazawa in peer-reviewed journals are deemed to be suspect yet articles in peer-reviewed journals which attack Dr Kanazawa are somehow above reproach. In fact the signatories admit as much when they write: ‘The peer review process is not perfect and appears to have failed when dealing with Kanazawa’s poor quality work’. Did anyone review the letter to the Times Higher Education attacking Dr Kanazawa?
The attacks on Dr Kanazawa reveal something of a war between journals. So: ‘Those of us who have reviewed his papers have had experiences where we have rejected papers of his for certain journals on scientific grounds, only to see the papers appear virtually unaltered in print in other journals, despite the detailed critiques of the papers given to Kanazawa by the reviewers and editors of the journals that rejected his papers’. Could it be that the scientific grounds alone, on which the signatories claim the reviewers rejected Dr Kanazawa’s articles, were not accepted by the editors of the journals in which the original unaltered articles were eventually published? One editor of a journal rejects an article for publication; another accepts the article. That an article is rejected by one journal (with reasons for rejection) does not mean that the author of the rejected article has to make changes before he submits the article to another journal. I thought diversity of scientific opinion was supposed to be a good thing. I hope that the editors of the journals in which Dr Kanazawa’s work has been published, editors who are now being criticised, will respond robustly to these accusations of academic incompetence.
It is a rule that the author of an article should not know the names of those who review his article; yet here we have signatories to an open letter to the Times Higher Education who claim to have reviewed Dr Kanazawa’s articles and found them to be inadequate on scientific grounds alone (of course) and are now openly violating the ethical code which requires that their assessment of an academic’s work be kept private. They publicly violate the ethical code required in the peer-review process by informing the world that they had earlier found Dr Kanazawa’s articles to be inadequate on scientific grounds (of course), and now, having violated that ethical code to attack Dr Kanazawa, they exploit the anonymity of the code so as to hide among a list of names. Who are these people that claimed to have reviewed Dr Kanazawa’s work? Why do they hide among others, protected by ‘we’? This blatant violation of the ethical code that governs peer review and which now serves as the basis for mounting these scurrilous attacks on Dr Kanazawa may well be actionable.
Highlighted here is that the whole process of peer review is wide open to abuse, and will be abused in areas such as global warming, race and IQ and sex differences. Another massive potential for abuse arises from the fact that nepotism and cliques are rife. If there is money, status and media adulation to be derived from telling the world that black failure is not due to low mean IQ but is caused by white racism then those who dissent from these evasions can expect to be ostracised and denied publication in the relevant journals. They also run the risk of losing their posts. The signatories to this letter know these outcomes full well. In the USA and in the UK there are countless examples of academics’ being harassed and threatened with loss of employment for attacking the cult of multiculturalism.
That the signatories to the letter attacking Kanazawa signal their support for academic freedom is, in this instance, cynical and tactically opportunistic on two counts. First, they write: ‘Academics who publish work that may be unpopular with some sections of the media or general public should not be condemned on those grounds’. The trouble with this is that it rather conveniently arrogates a special status to academic opinion, the much-vaunted peer-review process, as being decisive in rejecting Dr Kanazawa’s work. This process is massively flawed and wide open to abuse. Second, in writing this letter to the Times Higher Education the authors are manifestly reacting to the attention of the electronic and broadcast media, ignorant student activists, black special-interest groups and some members of the general public. The masses, as it were, having created an atmosphere of outrage against Dr Kanazawa, have prepared the way for the authors who now judge that the time is right for them to inflict the coup de grâce on the hapless and isolated Dr Kanazawa.
The timing of the letter to the Times Higher Education in which Dr Kanazawa is attacked in this way is also rather convenient. Dr Kanazawa is, we are informed, currently the subject of an internal LSE investigation. The letter to the Times Higher Education, alongside the provisional findings of the investigation, could be used by some in the LSE as justification for suspending Dr Kanazawa pending an internal inquiry. Suspension at this stage would create the impression among the gullible that Dr Kanazawa is not being suspended for challenging the anti-intellectual orthodoxies mandated by political correctness in British universities - and so there can be no question that academic freedom and the institution of free speech are being violated – but because he has transgressed the conventions and codes of rigorous scientific method, as defined by the signatories to the letter to the Times Higher Education. According to this view he would be an impostor who should be expelled from ‘the evolutionary behavioural science community’ and lose his post at LSE. The LSE must not permit itself to be influenced by external rivalries and feuds.
I have no doubt that should Dr Kanazawa be suspended the delay between his suspension and any internal hearing will be used to examine all his published work with a view to citing any errors against him in the hearing. His work will be subjected to a level of scrutiny and criticism beyond that used in peer-review and will also be expected to meet higher standards of evidence than that used in the original peer-review process. Were this to happen it would amount to an academic version of double jeopardy and would represent a clear violation of due process. The signatories to this letter and other critics should ask themselves whether their own published work would survive full, open, heightened and post-publication scrutiny.
None of these attacks would have been made on Dr Kanazawa were he black or brown. Black or brown academics are able to make nonsensical, bizarre and often virulently anti-white racist statements without any sanction at all yet whites (and now Japanese) can expect to be chastised for anything that violates multicultural orthodoxy and especially for dissenting from the view that all races and cultures are the same. The evidence for a double standard here, a clear and obvious violation of scientific method, never mind the hypocrisy, is overwhelming and well documented.
As I have indicated in an earlier email to Professor Rees, the director of LSE, if Dr Kanazawa is suspended pending an internal hearing, others and I will offer our services and expertise as witnesses for the defence.