It's such a pity to see these ideologues push a whole generation of young, dedicated researchers out of academia. I know quite a few bright and hard-working people who did their PhD and then immediately left the uni system because they couldn't stand the political climate (even though where I live it's still much less extreme than in the US and the UK).

The next generation of professors will (for the most part) be made up of extremists, opportunists, and spineless people...

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There's a grave oversight in the research for this episode. If you click through James Sweet's official university web page to his personal site, there's a list of his former Ph.D. students, including (drum roll!) one "Jessica Krug." What a spectacular crossover! Oddly - so oddly! - she's listed without any current title or link, leaving open the mystery of "where is she now?"

We'll be awaiting an abject apology from everyone except Moose for missing that, er, nugget.

For anyone who missed the Krug story, it's in Episode 28, "Dolezal II: Even Dolezaller."


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The Google tells me I’m the first coming up with this word (which I find hard to believe because it seems so obvious), so I am putting it out into the universe:

Apgrovelgy - n. a carefully scripted apology, issued when the speaker has done nothing wrong, but wishes to signal their (or his/her/zir) complete capitulation to the dominant view and enthusiastic mental self-neutering.

As in: “James Sweet published a thoughtful article on the state of the discipline of history, the result being a lunatic Twitter shitstorm and then his inevitable self-effacing apgrovelgy.”

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When I was in grad school around a decade ago, I had a prof who would rake me over the coals for anything remotely close to "presentism" in my writing. She was both extremely progressive, like almost everyone else in my field, and completely opposed to assuming that you can read the past through the categories of the present. I learned an enormous amount from her.

Now all the values are flipped around, in history and many other fields.

I agree with Jesse and Katie that these academic fights aren't about the substance of any one issue; they're about (1) taking down a bigwig online and (2) taking the morally correct side in the latest culture war, facts be damned.

I hate this stuff. But it is cathartic to hear it discussed by sane people and know that I'm not alone in being disgusted with these inane spats.

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There needs to be a college course in telling people to fuck off when they’re mad at you for no reason.

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Let us please abolish/demolish Twitter.

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Hat tip to the 5th Column - a key facet of the student loan debate being completely ignored: thousands of lower class/working class kids take out loans but never finish college. So they end up saddled with debt but still lower/working class.

Nobody talks about this group as the media caricatures student borrowers as Harvard grads lighting cigars with dollar bills.

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A horrible dad joke to remember Rowling's name:

- "Did you hear Harry Potter's favorite way to go down a hill is walking?"

- "Oh, no I didn't, that's fascinating."

- "J/k, rolling!"

My apologies.

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I feel like I have to defend the job interviews at academic conferences.

Sure it's cheaper to do an interview over Zoom, but this is only really accepted since Covid hit. What you should be comparing it to is having to travel to different universities all over the country to interview there in person if you want to get a job.

Compared to that, traveling to one conference and scheduling a bunch of interviews with different universities while you're there is much cheaper and costs less time.

Also, I know you likely have a bunch of disagreements with Charles Murray, but just asserting that he doesn't want to help people with low IQs seems to be severely misrepresenting his views. As you criticize that in others, you should also avoid doing that.

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I believe the three Ss of Podcasting are Safety, Shittalking and Sanctimony

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I think one of the things that’s really complicated is that heritability is not a very straightforward type of factor. It doesn’t mean like if your parents have a lower IQ, so will you. It speaks to likelihood and vulnerability in ways that are complex. I did some studying about it in my doctorate program and I still find it somewhat confusing. It’s not something that people can explain easily on Twitter so it makes it hard to actually have a discussion about this. That’s the unfortunate thing about Twitter and all these very fast social media pile-ons. People don’t always understand what they’re critiquing and if you pointed out they get all pissed off because there’s an idea that everyone’s an expert or no one is.

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Ugh Heritability is such an annoying and oft misunderstood concept I sometimes wonder if we as scientists should toss it in the trash. I spend about 80% of the time teaching it addressing what it does NOT mean and only about 15% describing what it actually is for and why it's useful to study.

A trait being heritable does not mean it is genetically caused. It is a measure of what proportion of variation in a phenotype correlates with variation in genotype. This can be direct or indirect interaction, meaning that an environmental mediator can explain some or even all of the correlation. For example illness due to lactose consumption is highly heritable, but you can cure it by avoiding milk. If you do that, then it's no longer heritable because there's no longer variation in the phenotype.

The same can be said for race and IQ or any other performance measure. If you get rid of the racism based on the phenotype (skin color, ancestry) then you may very well find that "black people" perform better in IQ than "white people", that they perform worse, or that they perform the same. If I was to GUESS I would guess that those with African ancestry will have a greater variation in IQ (simply because most genetic variation present in humans exists in populations of African descent), but that the mean most likely wouldn't be different, and most of the variation in IQ/performance is based on large effects like Developmental disorders.

However, we will never know as long as race is salient in society so it's a dumb argument to have, and trying to pretend that IQ isn't heritable like confused progressives sometimes do is missing the boat and providing ammunition to actual racists. IQ can even be 100% heritable within populations (it's not of course) and yet all mean differences between populations may be due to the environment, as long as there are mean differences in the environment between groups.

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Aug 28, 2022·edited Aug 28, 2022

I'm at 34:00 and I think I see where this is going: Someone painted a T-rex with dreadlocks.

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It's very clear that the entire field of Paleo Art is cultural appropriation from an oppressed clade of beings that suffered literal genocide at the hands of a hegemonic asteroid. For shame.

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I got my ticket. I live in St. Louis and I put a password in the customer note box stating that if I can't make it and a friend goes in my place, to ask them to give the password "Jesse Sucks, Katie Forever" to prove their legitimacy.

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At the risk of sounding more like the "I have more of a comment than a question" guy at a conference:

Earlier this year I read Empires of the Sea by Roger Crowley (a British historian who's basically the guy for books about Mediterranean history 1400-1600, and to a lesser extent European maritime history of the same era). Overall a really informative book about the Muslim Ottoman-Catholic European conflicts of the 1500s, culminating in a description of the Battle of Lepanto. One of the points made in the book was that the Ottomans routinely kidnapped and enslaved Christians, and a turning point at Lepanto was the Christian galley slaves rebelling against the Ottoman overlords.

In setting this up, Crowley had a line in to the effect of "yes at this time the Christians were engaged in the slave trade, but the Ottomans were worse" which read so wrong to me that I had to put the book down for a while. I get that in trying to keep the story focused on the battles in the Mediterranean, he didn't have page space to devote to how Spain and Portugal were kicking the Atlantic slave trade into high gear, but that flippant line was almost the inverse of what was Jesse and Katie were saying about the 1619's Project's portrayal of the slave trade - focused on one horrific facet of a much bigger horrific whole, but in doing so distorted how uniquely evil any one entity was.

I don't think Crowley is unique in that all historians, when writing books, have a specific story they are trying to tell and will reduce focus on facts that do not serve the telling. He was trying to tell the story of the Goliath-esque Ottoman Empire, petty and unreliable Christian kingdoms in Europe who couldn't get their acts together all century, and the plucky outnumbered Christian orders (Knights Hospitaller, etc.), who fended off imminent Ottoman conquests long enough for the decisive apocalyptic Battle of Lepanto which froze further Ottoman expansion into the Mediterranean. It's a good book, offensively flippant comments about the Atlantic slave trade notwithstanding, but it's necessarily incomplete and someone who wants to fully understand that time period would need to read books that illuminate the factors Crowley glided over. That academic historians today would encourage only engaging in incomplete perspectives on history so long as they are currently considered "correct" impoverishes everyone who actually wants to understand how the past formed and informs where we are today.

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