Stuart Ritchie: bad science, good science and behavior genetics


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In this episode of Unsupervised Learning Stuart Ritchie joins Razib., Ritchie is the author of Science Fictions: How Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype Undermine the Search for Truth and Intelligence: All that Matters. Ritchie is also a lecturer at King’s College London and the author of the new Substack Science Fictions. Razib and Ritchie first discuss why he has a Substack considering all the different projects he’s already juggling, and what value he sees coming out of it (beyond the remunerative one). They also rewind the clock and discuss Ritchie’s involvement in the replication crisis a decade ago, where he judges we are today in terms of the awareness of pitfalls in science and best practices, and the path forward. Razib also wonders how debunked findings like “implicit bias” still continue to percolate through the popular culture and policy forums despite scant scientific support for their validity.

Eventually Razib and Ritchie pivot to his professional bread and butter, behavior genetics, and the social and scientific debates around its relevance and abuses. Razib wonders if the cultural chasm between behavior genetics and other genetics fields can ever be bridged, while Ritchie makes the case for his chosen field as an important human endeavor. Finally, they discuss the controversy around Kathryn Paige Harden’s book The Genetic Lottery and his defense of her work at his Substack.

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