73 karmaJoined Oct 2022



It was always my intention to avoid criticism and merely put questions to FP. It is difficult to defend myself here without now straying into criticism, which I am also disinclined towards (particularly publicly for the reasons you state), and because it would seem particularly unfair given Johannes' sincere engagement with those questions. 

I therefore make note of a few things that were relevant to my decision:
 - It has been ~nine months since the grant was made. 
 - The grant was for a large amount of money. 
 - Near zero information is publicly available regarding the decision making for the grant, or for the grantee. 
 - In comparison to the HLI case, the post was made on the basis of a lack of information, not on the basis of detailed information made publicly available.
 - In comparison to the HLI case, the post took the form of a request for further information, rather than a criticism of publicly available information. 

Obviously, the timing of the researcher responsible being on leave was unanticipated and unfortunate. Happy to take on board criticism/feedback regarding whether questions should be put privately first/notice should be given (particularly from Johannes), but I'll also just note that, obviously, I'm just some guy. The administrative burden of having to follow up with an org seems greater than should be required (though perhaps it should be preferred) for mere questions about funding decisions on a public forum, in my view. 

Along the lines of Ben's comment, this seems like it would be a disincentive for questions to be asked regarding these decisions, and my personal view is that many more questions should be asked. Not because there are necessarily any issues, but because facing questions and giving transparent answers increases credibility, and makes the org stronger and more effective. 


This is an awesome response, thank you Johannes - especially while you're on leave! I hope it didn't take eat too much into your time off. 

Obviously, there are inevitably follow up questions/other queries that come to mind, but your answer is an exceptionally thorough and concise account of your reasoning, that massively increases my confidence (coming from a place of naivety) in this grant and your decision process in general. 

It makes me wonder if there might be some middle ground where such an account could be provided, in the interim before publishing a more extensive analysis, when grants are made - especially since you seem to have been able to put this together (I hope) relatively quickly. Take this as a humble passing thought, however, you, of course have a much better understanding of the relevant constraints/considerations. 

Thanks again for giving such a great answer so quickly, and enjoy the rest of your time off! 

I take your word for it that you're naïve about Lynn's work on race and IQ. I don't fully buy into the idea that defensive writing  is bad per se, but I won't litigate that here. I don't think the central errors I was criticising are relevant to this. Briefly:

  1.  If you're going to present data, you should critically engage with the source of that data. Correlation with another source without critically engaging with that source either is meaningless. For instance, that website states: "Often surprisingly but scientifically proven, a warmer climate badly affects the intelligence quotient."  This is not an honest interpretation of the literature nor a coherent account of the scientific method. 
  2. Presenting data without any context around that data strikes me as a strange choice at best. I don't really believe that you think there is no interesting conclusions that might be drawn: why else did you post it? Surely you think there is something interesting to be said about it? Data itself is inherently meaningless, but from its interpretation we can make interesting observations. I therefore think you should at least present relevant context around data, and state why you think it is interesting, so discussion can proceed. The alternative, especially around such a controversial topic, is the result here: confused commenters trying to tease out why you would post this data but not seem inclined to share what conclusions you are drawing from it. 

To be totally clear, I believe you that you don't find this interesting for issues relating to race, I just don't think given that debate informs an understanding of both the data and its context, that it should be ignored.  Unfortunately, information doesn't exist in a vacuum. 

Can you say a little bit more about the point you are trying to make here? This could be an interesting, or on the other hand trivial, finding for a number of reasons, but I'm curious as to why you don't speculate on these reasons at all. I'm not sure this correlation is particularly compelling without discussion of why it exists. 

Given you favourably cite Lynn, perhaps it is the case you believe in his conclusions regarding race itself determining IQ, and think this explains (at least part) of the effect. Perhaps you don't believe this. I think it behoves you, given the controversy regarding this work, to state your commitment (or lack thereof) to these ideas since your data source involves work conducted, arguably, to motivate this hypothesis. 

Regardless, I think without further context it's very hard to interpret this evidence as favouring any particular theory: whether it be regarding race, education, culture, nutrition or any number of other factors. 

It's also unclear to me why one would be interested in associating total IQ with GDP rather than average IQ with GDP per capita. Perhaps you could say something about that, if you've had any thoughts?