I think it’s weird how the United States embarks on an annual glut of consumerism on the day after Thanksgiving, a holiday that celebrates a group of people living under the most primitive possible conditions, existing on the bleeding edge of Malthusian survival while trying to establish an unlikely colony thousands of miles away from anybody else from their native country. It’s even weirder how that “Black Friday” spending spree has spawned at least two other finance-related holidays — “Cyber Monday”, where one basically pays one’s Amazon.com tax for the year, and “Giving Tuesday”, where, if you have any money left, you should consider donating some of it to a worthy charity.
But whatever, that’s the world we’re in, so if you are of the mind to contribute some of your hard-earned money today — or perhaps your not-so-hard-earned-money if you are a Bitcoin millionaire — I would like to direct your attention to the GiveSendGo of Dr. Bryan Pesta. Dr. Pesta is a veteran lecturer and professor of management at Cleveland State University who was unceremoniously fired from his tenured faculty position for having the temerity to co-author a 2019 paper with rogue geneticist Emil Kirkegaard that dealt with intelligence differences between human groups. Briefly, the paper tests the hypothesis that genetics underlie at least some of the variation in g-factor intelligence between human groups (i.e., races, in the classical sense of the word) by looking at how genetic admixture between groups influences g. Most previous work on the topic (e.g., The Bell Curve) compared people according to a single, self-identified racial group, but in this work respondents were allowed to select multiple racial groups. Basically, one would expect that admixed individuals would have intermediate phenotypes compared to the “pure” groups from which they derived, which is exactly what they reported:
They also applied this to gene variants from a GWAS study, and concluded that about 25% of the variation in g could be explained by gene variants that had already been associated with educational attainment. The authors also incorporated metrics in their regression analyses corresponding to responses commonly given against the validity of this sort of analysis — the sort of good-faith analysis that anyone should do, particularly when conducting controversial research — and found that socioeconomic status had a small (compared to genetic background) but significant impact on g, but visible phenotypes like skin and eye color were not significant. In their abstract, the authors make the fairly milquetoast and obvious conclusion:
Results converge on genetics as a potential partial explanation for group mean differences in intelligence.Psych 2019, 1(1), 431-459; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych1010034
For this, Dr. Pesta was fired. From his tenured job! I’m no expert on human genetics so I’m not going to go out into the weeds regarding the technical details of this paper, but it seems to pass the smell test to me — it may turn out to be wrong given future research, but the work appears to have been done in good faith and does not appear to me to have some kind of political goal, other than trying to bring some sort of empirical sanity to our culture’s never-ending obsession with race. But because the paper came to a politically unacceptable conclusion — no matter whether it was true or not — the authors had to be sacked.
It goes without saying that this sort of response is utterly antithetical to the mission of a university. If our institutions don’t exist to seek and provide truth to the best of our capacity, then what good are they? You don’t need a university to spout propaganda — if that’s all you want, why waste the money on the research? Just say what you want and be done with it. If you do want to know the answers to life’s persistent questions, however, you have to be open to the possibility that the answers will not conform exactly to your preconceived notions.
If good-faith research is punished by excommunication from academia, then the whole edifice of modern science is fucked. If you agree with that statement, PLEASE help Dr. Pesta fight for his job by donating to his GiveSendGo: