Steve Sailer is not being mainstreamed but seems no longer to be taboo. Charles Murray–suspect in some quarters but respected nonetheless–refers to him regularly and fairly on Twitter.
Murray following Sailer doesn’t go down well in all quarters. An illustrative tweet from no one of particular note:
The main reason I unfollowed Charles Murray, who is no Nazi, is b/c he follows Sailer and RTs him. Bad company to keep.
Still it is of interest that Sailer is no longer anathema.
And now Sailer and Nassim Nicholas Taleb are in conversation on Twitter. In fact they seem to be in some kind of Twitter spat.
Taleb does not suffer fools gladly but he is also the proverbial hammer to whom everything seems to be a nail. Fools everywhere. Is Sailer the fool Taleb suggests?
The dust up is over race and difference, natch. Taleb criticizes Sailer’s use of sports to highlight racial differences, pointing out that such analyses highlights extremes.
It has no impact when someone is crossing the street. Noise dominates outside of extremes.
Check out the back and forth on Twitter if you like.
In the meantime two questions for Taleb:
- Even if you consider high level competitive sports to be a trivial matter relative to differences at the extreme (and Sailer disagrees with this) are there not many other areas where differences at the extremes might present non-trivial issues worth noting?
- Relative to the noise in the middle: sure, walking down the street who is to say? And if we lived in a world where each regarded the other as an individual noise would tamp down the importance of difference between individuals. But we do not live in that world. We live in a world in which group identity is a fact that must be dealt with. This has consequences “in the middle” on things like who gets to be a firefighter and how to consider disparate treatment of school misbehavior.
Taleb seems to be saying Sailer is fetishizing the extremes but it appears he may be fetishizing the noise.