[quote author=“mckenzievmd”]Of course I agree, and I said specifically, that no question should be deemed unaskable or unanswerable for political or cultural reasons. And I’m not advocating threatening or intimidating anybody, so watch the creation of straw men here. However, scientists can’t pretend science takes place in a social vacuum and that their work has no consequences. If you decide to investigate better ways of deploying biological weapons, you can’t pretend there’s no ethical issue to consider. Obviously an extreme example, but my point is that scientists live in the world and have their own biases and agendas, and research takes place in a social context. The scientific method does a great deal to correct for bias, but there’s nothing wrong with suggesting scientists consider questions of ethics and practical consequences when choosing lines of inquiry to follow. And in a democracy with a multiplicity of points of view, scientists do have to justify their inquiry to anyone they seek funding from, including the general public if they get their resources from the government.
When you are doing applied technology research like trying to find the best weapons of mass destruction, of course that’s going to have very real consequences. Now to a certain extent, scientists can choose their fields of inquiry and which specific questions they want to answer, but they are at the mercy of proto-capitalist competition for grants too. Ideas in chemoistry and physics in the early half of the 20th century led to the atom bomb, but should researchers have thrown down the glove, even if they could foresee the consequences?
[quote author=“mckenzievmd”]You defend the idea that groups and individuals likely vary in basic intellectual ability due, to a significant extent, to inherent genetic factors ( a point which, as I said in the Islamophibia thread I am willing to be educated on if my information is out of date). And yet you haven’t addressed the question of why we should care. What is the value of answering the question? And you seem to feel that it makes no difference if such research, which in the past at least has been poorly conducted and ideologically motivated, leads to great social harm. It’s naive to say that knowledge of any kind is an end in itself that needs no justification to pursue. I support academic freedom, but I think I have historical justification for being anxious about the value and consequences of research that supports social prejudices our society has struggled so hard to diminish.
Heritability of IQ depends on a number of things, including socioeconomic status. An impoverished environment has the effect of restricting inherited individual differences in IQ, which has the statistical effect of reducing the relationship between intelligence and genes. On the other hand, in high SES environments, most of the variation in IQ is due to inherited factors.