I probably wouldn't have written about all of this if the journal Evolutionary Psychology hadn't decided that it is a good idea to make its homepage an outlet for an open letter to the general public signed by 68 researchers which informs us that "Kanazawa's research should not be taken as representative of the evolutionary behavioural science community." It's an interesting document for students of rhethoric because the authors want to give lip service to the idea that researchers "who publish work that may be unpopular with some sections of the media or general public should not be condemned on those grounds", but at the same time want to condemn Kanazawa. They exploit the fact that Kanazawa's work has attracted more than the typical amount of criticism in academic journals, as it is often, um, low in rigor - I called him "The Malcolm Gladwell of Evolutionary Psychology" on this blog not so long ago, and if you prefer the opionion of someone more respectable, Andrew Gelman declared in public that he'd read another paper by Kanazawa "only if you'd pay me a lot. I'll do lots of things for free, but reading anything more by this dude isn't one of them!". So their main excuse is that Kanazawa's work isn't good enough; moreover, malice on Kanazawa's part is implied. This aspect finds its climax in the hurt feelings section of the letter:
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.Bastard! Had his papers rejected, and instead of being thankful for the detailed critiques he received, he went and submitted the papers, virtually unaltered, at another journal. It's unheard of in the worlds of scientific publishing!
It seems to me that there is one resource that our enemies have in abundance but we don’t: hate.. . . and then went off the rails:
This has never been the case in our previous wars. We have always hated our enemies purely and intensely. They were “Japs,” they were “Krauts,” they were “Gooks.” And we didn’t think twice about dropping bombs on them, to kill them and their wives and children. (As many commentators have pointed out, the distinction between combatants and civilians does not make sense in World War III, and the Geneva Convention -- an agreement among nations -- is no longer applicable, because our enemies are not nation states.) Hatred of enemies has always been a proximate emotional motive for war throughout human evolutionary history. Until now.So, I guess it's fair to say he is indeed a bastard. But here's the thing that's interesting sociologically. You can find a number of critical comments around the web concerning the bloodlust displayed in the paragraphs above, but resolutions to get him fired? Colleagues stabbing him in the back? No. Apparently, calling for the death of millions of innocents is not nearly as bad as stating, on the basis of data, that black women are, on average, unattractive.
Here’s a little thought experiment. Imagine that, on September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers came down, the President of the United States was not George W. Bush, but Ann Coulter. What would have happened then? On September 12, President Coulter would have ordered the US military forces to drop 35 nuclear bombs throughout the Middle East, killing all of our actual and potential enemy combatants, and their wives and children. On September 13, the war would have been over and won, without a single American life lost.
Yes, we need a woman in the White House, but not the one who’s running.
So now you know how to get your priorities straight.