PSA to Sam Harris

Sam Harris is more or less exactly the sort of ideal opponent outlined in this blog’s inaugural post. In a recent (highly recommended!) chat with Gad Saad, the two discuss, among other topics, the merits of academic research concerning population-wide differences in human IQ. Saad adopted an ars-gratia-artis stance, while Harris questioned the motivation and societal benefits of such research.

Now PTT’s judgement falls squarely in the pursue-knowledge-wherever-it-leads camp, but it so happens that HBD research, and IQ disparities in particular, are of immense and immediate social import. The point is so embarrassingly obvious that I am at a loss to explain how it could have eluded the two impressive thinkers. Anyhow, the glaring omission calls for a PTT Public Service Announcement:

Research into IQ disparities is extremely relevant to the legal theory of disparate impact, whereby a policy is judged by outcome-based racial quotas, even if no discriminatory intent is alleged. Certainly the validity of this legal theory is at least partly contingent on the relevant IQ distributions, as well as other attributes, such as propensity for violence.

PTT would even be willing to cut a deal with the disparate impact adherents. We would be willing to compromise our freedom of association absolutism in exchange for outcome-based quotas that are required to be in line with on the most up-to-date HBD research. For example, if a position calls for an IQ level of over 140, then relative proportions of accepted applicants should be measured against the over-140-IQ — rather than the general — population. Engage in all the bean-counting you want, but respect Science!

[To be clear: we are principally against any sort of bean-counting or other restrictions on freedom of association. The compromise above is offered in mala fide, with the full expectation that the other side won’t take it.]

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