Thursday, June 25, 2020

Wall Street Journal on the Twitter Mob Attack and MSU Moral Panic


I've added some comments in [ ..brackets.. ] to the article excerpt below. More background.
WSJ: ‘We are scientists, seeking truth,” Michigan State University physicist Stephen Hsu wrote in a 2018 blog post. “We are not slaves to ideological conformity.” That might have been too optimistic. Last week MSU’s president, Samuel L. Stanley Jr., yielded to a pressure campaign, based in part on that post, and asked Mr. Hsu to resign as senior vice president for research and innovation.

The trouble began June 10, when MSU’s Graduate Employees Union composed a lengthy Twitter thread denouncing Mr. Hsu as, among other things, “a vocal scientific racist and eugenicist.” The union claimed Mr. Hsu believes “in innate biological differences between human populations, especially regarding intelligence.”

[ This is obviously a very serious accusation. It is contradicted by PUBLIC REMARKS I have made in multiple interviews over the years, as well as in blog posts. ]

Mr. Hsu says these accusations “were made in bad faith.” Take that 2018 blog post, which responded to New York Times articles that, in his words, linked “genetic science to racism and white supremacy.” In it, he wrote: “All good people abhor racism. I believe that each person should be treated as an individual, independent of ancestry or ethnic background. . . . However, this ethical position is not predicated on the absence of average differences between groups. I believe that basic human rights and human dignity derive from our shared humanity, not from uniformity in ability or genetic makeup.” Mr. Hsu doesn’t work in this field but rejects the idea that scientists should categorically exclude the possibility of average genetic differences among groups.

[ To be precise, in THAT BLOG POST I am defending researchers in genomics, at universities like Oxford, Harvard, and Columbia (see papers cited there), who study signals of recent natural selection from computational analysis of many human genomes. In 2018 the New York Times had attempted to create a moral panic, labeling them as "racists" ... Again, this is not my area of science -- I am defending the right of others to do their research. ]
In a 2011 post, Mr. Hsu argued that standardized tests are predictive of the quality of graduate-school candidates. The post mentioned nothing about race, but the union imputed to him a belief “that lack of Black & Hispanic representation in higher ed reflects lower ability, despite evidence these tests negatively impact diversity.”

[ The reporter is correct: RACE IS NEVER MENTIONED IN THAT BLOG POST. It merely reviews published results from very large studies, showing the predictive power of standardized tests in graduate and professional school outcomes. These results have nothing to do with race. For example, professors on admissions committees might be interested in whether undergraduate GPA or GRE score are better predictors of success. This kind of analysis is necessary to answer that question. 
However, this topic is heavily politicized and very few people, even professors, are familiar with the scientific results. But experts in psychometrics and personnel selection all know that these tests have real world utility. ]

The union also faulted him for having “directed funding to research downplaying racism in bias in police shootings.” The MSU professor who conducted that work, psychologist Joe Cesario, tells me that “we had no idea what the data was going to be, what the outcome was going to be, before we did this study.” Mr. Cesario has collected evidence from a simulator and from real-world interactions between police and citizens. He concluded that “the nature of the interaction really matters the most, and officers were not more likely to be ready to shoot upon encountering a black versus white citizen.”

[ Several years ago Cesario was granted a rare opportunity to study police shootings and officer behavior in simulators in a large city. My office provided him with a small amount of funding to create realistic simulator video of police stops and other situations. This is an important topic to study if we want to understand and improve policing. ]
A June 3 op-ed in these pages cited Mr. Cesario’s work, and the MSU communications team highlighted the mention in the June 9 edition of their email newsletter, InsideMSU. The next day, the Graduate Employees Union denounced Mr. Hsu. By June 11, editors of the newsletter had apologized “for including the item and for the harm it caused.” Hundreds of MSU students and employees signed petitions calling for Mr. Hsu to be fired from the administration.

[ NO, YOU ARE NOT MISTAKEN: THIS IS ORWELLIAN. YES THIS REALLY HAPPENED TO A PROMINENT RESEARCHER ON OUR CAMPUS WHO IS DOING VERY IMPORTANT WORK. YES, THEY APOLOGIZED FOR CALLING ATTENTION TO HIS WORK. YES, IT IS CHILLING. ]

Mr. Hsu says he felt compelled to step down because he served at the pleasure of the president. But he thinks Mr. Stanley handled the matter badly. “The first action of the university should be to investigate, find the truth, and defend the person if the claims are false.” Mr. Hsu says MSU undertook no such investigation.

[ I am among a shrinking subset of the faculty that believes the pursuit of truth should be the core value of a university.
Almost 2000 PEOPLE SIGNED THE PETITION supporting me, including hundreds of professors from MSU and around the world. Many letters from prominent scientists were sent to the president -- my guess is about 30, SOME OF WHICH ARE PUBLIC. MSU conducted no investigation of the facts. ]
...

... “I don’t personally believe that kind of enforcing a higher conduct to administrators will necessarily chill faculty,” Mr. Bird says.

Mr. Cesario disagrees. It’s “bad or worse that they are doing this to an administrator,” he says. “If anybody should be allowed to explore all topics, speak on all topics, and go where the data leads them, it’s administrators.” He expects the activists who won Mr. Hsu’s dismissal won’t stop “pushing for a narrowing of what kinds of topics people can talk about, or what kinds of conclusions people can come to.” The number of administrators willing to defend scientific inquiry, Mr. Cesario adds, is “now down by one.”

Media coverage:

A Twitter Mob Takes Down an Administrator at Michigan State (Wall Street Journal June 25)

Scholar forced to resign over study that found police shootings not biased against blacks (The College Fix)

On Steve Hsu and the Campaign to Thwart Free Inquiry (Quillette)

Michigan State University VP of Research Ousted (Reason Magazine, Eugene Volokh, UCLA)

Research isn’t advocacy (NY Post Editorial Board)

Podcast interview on Tom Woods show (July 2)

College professor forced to resign for citing study that found police shootings not biased against blacks (Law Enforcement Today, July 5)

"Racist" College Researcher Ousted After Sharing Study Showing No Racial Bias In Police Shootings (ZeroHedge, July 6)

Twitter mob: College researcher forced to resign after study finding no racial bias in police shootings (Reclaim the Net, July 8)

Horowitz: Asian-American researcher fired from Michigan State administration for advancing facts about police shootings (The Blaze, July 8)

I Cited Their Study, So They Disavowed It: If scientists retract research that challenges reigning orthodoxies, politics will drive scholarship (Wall Street Journal July 8)

Conservative author cites research on police shootings and race. Researchers ask for its retraction in response (The College Fix, July 8)

Academics Seek to Retract Study Disproving Racist Police Shootings After Conservative Cites It (Hans Bader, CNSNews, July 9)

The Ideological Corruption of Science (theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss in the Wall Street Journal, July 12)

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education: "chilling academic freedom" (Peter Bonilla, July 22)


Here is a Reddit comment that succinctly summarizes the story:
I'd recommend directly reading the Twitter accusations as well as the actual blog posts in question and Hsu's rebuttal. There's nothing like reading the primary sources for yourself. The most precise secondary source on this is probably WSJ.

You can see for yourself that none of the blog posts in question are studies done by Hsu himself. They are discussions of actual research papers published by other scientists in top-tier journals (Cell, Nature, Science, etc.). I've followed Hsu's blog for years, and he is always very careful to make clear that he doesn't think current research clearly supports genetic IQ differences. He is being targeted here just because he doesn't categorically rule out the possibility of genetic differences between populations and kowtow to the wokeness overlords. Some prominent psychologists and geneticists who signed his support letter include Steven Pinker, Robert Plomin, Robert Gordon, Linda Gottfredson, Jonathan Haidt, Lee Jussim... these are just a few I caught quickly scrolling through. Hsu is well within the mainstream and the controversy is pretty manufactured IMO.

The article and accusations makes it sound like Hsu's reactions to the George Floyd murder was to fund research that finds no racial disparities in police killing, which is incorrect. He was the Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation at MSU and one of his responsibilities is to allocate funding to different research projects. He allocated funding to this professor (Joe Cesario) before knowing what kind of conclusions his study would find later. This funding was decided a few years ago and the research concluded last year, well before the George Floyd incident. You can read a letter co-written by Joe Cesario here. The lab's research is actually really cool - they build a shooting simulator and subject an entire police department (few hundred officers at Milwaukee PD I believe) to different tests, and measure response times and decisions to shoot, etc. For more info you can read his papers or the NSF award abstract here.

I consider this a great loss, because he was one of the most highly positioned Asian-American academics and he was not shy about representing us and criticizing excessive affirmative action policies (although he favors having some mild preferences). A few years back, he and others made a very strong push for election to Harvard's alumni board of overseers on a slate for increasing admissions transparency. If he had succeeded, he would have done more for equality for Asians in this country than anyone else in recent memory. His efforts led to others taking up the mantle in the recent Harvard affirmative action case. It's perhaps because of this that he started to have a target on his back.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Resignation

President Stanley asked me this afternoon for my resignation. I do not agree with his decision, as serious issues of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Inquiry are at stake. I fear for the reputation of Michigan State University.

However, as I serve at the pleasure of the President, I have agreed to resign. I look forward to rejoining the ranks of the faculty here.

It has been a great honor working with colleagues in the administration at MSU through some rather tumultuous times.

To my team in SVPRI, we can be proud of what we accomplished for this university in the last 8 years. It is a much better university than the one I joined in 2012.

I want to thank all the individuals who signed our petition and who submitted letters of support. The fight to defend Academic Freedom on campus is only beginning.

Sincerely,
Stephen Hsu

##########################################

Update June 27: Wall Street Journal on the Twitter Mob Attack and MSU Moral Panic.

I wrote this quick summary for the many journalists that have contacted me over the weekend.

1. This started as a twitter mob attack, with very serious claims: that I am a Racist, Sexist, Eugenicist, etc.

2. These claims are false. Among the public letters, by professors at many different universities, there is extensive analysis of the GEU tweet thread showing that the claims are not only misleading, but false.

https://sites.google.com/view/petition-letter-stephen-hsu/home

3. The GEU alleged that I am a racist because I interviewed MSU Psychology professor Joe Cesario, who studies police shootings. But Cesario's work (along with similar work by others, such as Roland Fryer at Harvard) is essential to understanding deadly force and how to improve policing.

4. Over just a few days, 1700+ individuals from around the world signed the support petition, including noted figures such as: Steven Pinker (Harvard), Jeffrey Flier (former dean, Harvard Medical School), Sam Altman (OpenAI CEO), Robert Plomin (leading behavior geneticist, King's College London), J. Michael Bailey (leading behavior geneticist, Northwestern University), Scott Aaronson (leading theoretical computer scientist), Erik Brynjolfsson (MIT professor and AI expert). Among the signatories are hundreds of professors from MSU and around the world, and an even larger number of PhD degree holders.

5. Regarding my work as Vice President for Research, the numbers speak for themselves. MSU went from roughly $500M in annual research expenditures to about $700M during my tenure. We have often been ranked #1 in the Big Ten for research growth. I participated in the recruitment of numerous prominent female and minority professors, in fields like Precision Medicine, Genomics, Chemistry, and many others. Until this Twitter attack there has been not even a single allegation (over 8 years) of bias or discrimination on my part in faculty promotion and tenure or recruitment. The number of individual cases I have been involved in over 8 years is well over 1000.

6. Many professors and non-academics who supported me were afraid to sign our petition -- they did not want to be subject to mob attack. We received many communications expressing this sentiment.

7. The victory of the twitter mob will likely have a chilling effect on academic freedom on campus.


Media coverage:


A Twitter Mob Takes Down an Administrator at Michigan State
(Wall Street Journal June 25)

Scholar forced to resign over study that found police shootings not biased against blacks (The College Fix)

On Steve Hsu and the Campaign to Thwart Free Inquiry (Quillette)

Michigan State University VP of Research Ousted (Reason Magazine, Eugene Volokh, UCLA)

Research isn’t advocacy (NY Post Editorial Board)

Podcast interview on Tom Woods show (July 2)

College professor forced to resign for citing study that found police shootings not biased against blacks (Law Enforcement Today, July 5)

"Racist" College Researcher Ousted After Sharing Study Showing No Racial Bias In Police Shootings (ZeroHedge, July 6)

Twitter mob: College researcher forced to resign after study finding no racial bias in police shootings (Reclaim the Net, July 8)

Horowitz: Asian-American researcher fired from Michigan State administration for advancing facts about police shootings (The Blaze, July 8)

I Cited Their Study, So They Disavowed It: If scientists retract research that challenges reigning orthodoxies, politics will drive scholarship (Wall Street Journal July 8)

Conservative author cites research on police shootings and race. Researchers ask for its retraction in response (The College Fix, July 8)

Academics Seek to Retract Study Disproving Racist Police Shootings After Conservative Cites It (Hans Bader, CNSNews, July 9)

The Ideological Corruption of Science (theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss in the Wall Street Journal, July 12)

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education: "chilling academic freedom" (Peter Bonilla, July 22)

This Lansing State Journal article is probably the most balanced of the local media accounts, which all tended to be rather superficial.


##########################################


Background: 1 2

For inspiration, see the comments here.

Read the brilliant letters here.

I am receiving emails like this:
Subject: People support you!!!!!!

Just thought you should know there are many people including young University students in Michigan who agree with and support you! God bless you, never give up and never back down! If you need anything don’t hesitate to ask I would be happy to help!

Good evening Steve,

I'm so sorry to hear about your resignation. It seems like mob rule has won. Why not just replace a university president with a twitter poll? 
I'm glad to see you have had so much support on the petition.

I was very sorry to hear what happened. I hope you and yours are alright. Don't let the bastards get you down, keep up the good work.

And do let me know if ever in Singapore, we can grab a beer, I know a couple fans of yours here too.

I am deeply saddened to read that you're being forced to resign. I can't make sense of the injustice, capriciousness, and cowardice that forces you out. I hope you know from all the letters and signatures that a great many people support you, myself certainly included! I hope you and your family are keeping your spirits up. Perhaps there will be some silver lining to this -- freed from administrative work, more time and energy for physics and genomics? ...

I am really very sorry for what you have had to deal with, and you finding yourself having to resign. This is total bullshit. You are a great scientist and great guy. I hope this does not dull your inspiration and creativity and desire to discover. You have done much for MSU, and this move does not instill confidence in MSU's ability to be a scientific institution of longevity.

I am so sorry this happened. I can't believe we are stepping into a universe where a twitter mob decides who is the director of research at a major institution. Where is the US I immigrated to?!

I hope the mob ends here and you get some consolation from having extra time to focus on research or anything else.

Thanks again for standing up to it and for all your important contributions to human knowledge over the years, as well for the many insights that I've gotten from infoproc. I sure hope this episode doesn't mean less blogging.

It seems the mob has the mandate of heaven for now. I know from history this will ultimately prove unsustainable. But I know, too, we potentially have far further to fall...

...You have chosen an endeavor worthy of your gifts. You have achieved great things and will continue to do so. Your critics' sophisms will read to future people like the babblings of a dull child. They are not even worthy of your ire.

I don't need to tell you the amount of misery your work has the potential to help eliminate, the amount of productivity it will unlock, the beautiful science and literature that our extending grasp will reach - but perhaps you could use a cheerful reminder!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Support Freedom of Ideas and Inquiry at MSU

These are letters of support sent on my behalf to the MSU President: presidentstanley@msu.edu

Several are deep, detailed scholarly documents. They firmly rebut the false accusations of the Twitter mob.

Corey Washington's individual letter is over 5000 words long. James Lee's is over 3000 words. The authors have graciously allowed them to be made public.

Corey says:
I have known Steve for 30 years and can attest that he is not a racist or a sexist. Steve is one of the most scrupulously fair people I have ever met and I have seen no evidence that he has ever discriminated against anyone on the basis of their race, sex, or any other status.

... Hsu participated in a 2018 debate at MSU’s Institute for Quantitative Health, Science, and Engineering, at the invitation of Director Chris Contag. The topic was human genetic engineering, and Hsu’s counterpart was MSU bioethicist Len Fleck. A number of people who attended tell me that they found Steve’s view thoughtful and balanced. None that I know of came away from the debate thinking he is a eugenicist in the way that the rest of us are not. It is unclear to me why MSU GEU came to a different conclusion.

Sign the support petition. Email the president: presidentstanley@msu.edu

A (not necessarily up to date) list of signatories, which includes hundreds of professors from MSU and around the world, total ~1500 as of early June 19.


Letter from
Corey Washington, Director of Analytics and Strategic Projects, OSVPRI
Joseph Cesario, Associate Professor, Psychology
Wei Liao, Professor and Director, MSU Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
John (Xuefeng) Jiang, Professor and Plante Moran Faculty Fellow, Accounting and Information Systems

Letter from Corey Washington, Director of Analytics and Strategic Projects, MSU

Letter from Matt McGue, Regents Professor of Psychology, University of Minnesota

Letter from Russell Warne, Associate Professor of Psychology, Utah Valley University

Letter from Mark Dykman, Professor of Physics, MSU

Letter from Zach Hambrick, Professor of Psychology, MSU

Letter from James Lee, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Minnesota

Letter from Richard Haier, Emeritus Professor, UC Irvine, author of The Neuroscience of Intelligence (Cambridge)

Letter from Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University


Media coverage:

A Twitter Mob Takes Down an Administrator at Michigan State (Wall Street Journal June 25)

Scholar forced to resign over study that found police shootings not biased against blacks (The College Fix)

On Steve Hsu and the Campaign to Thwart Free Inquiry (Quillette)

Michigan State University VP of Research Ousted (Reason Magazine, Eugene Volokh, UCLA)

Research isn’t advocacy (NY Post Editorial Board)

Podcast interview on Tom Woods show (July 2)

College professor forced to resign for citing study that found police shootings not biased against blacks (Law Enforcement Today, July 5)

"Racist" College Researcher Ousted After Sharing Study Showing No Racial Bias In Police Shootings (ZeroHedge, July 6)

Twitter mob: College researcher forced to resign after study finding no racial bias in police shootings (Reclaim the Net, July 8)

Horowitz: Asian-American researcher fired from Michigan State administration for advancing facts about police shootings (The Blaze, July 8)

I Cited Their Study, So They Disavowed It: If scientists retract research that challenges reigning orthodoxies, politics will drive scholarship (Wall Street Journal July 8)

Conservative author cites research on police shootings and race. Researchers ask for its retraction in response (The College Fix, July 8)

Academics Seek to Retract Study Disproving Racist Police Shootings After Conservative Cites It (Hans Bader, CNSNews, July 9)

The Ideological Corruption of Science (theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss in the Wall Street Journal, July 12)

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education: "chilling academic freedom" (Peter Bonilla, July 22)

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Manifold Episode Zero



The Twitter mob has a petition up, with fake signatures including one from Corey Washington, my Manifold co-host and friend of 30 years!

These horrible people will stop at nothing...

To cheer us all up, I bring you the first Manifold (Episode #0), where Corey and I introduce each other to the audience.

Transcript

Friday, June 12, 2020

Twitter Attacks, and a Defense of Scientific Inquiry

I have not responded to these nasty Twitter attacks, but unfortunately they have gotten enough traction that I feel I need to respond now. [ Note: I have been informed that some of the signatures on their petition are fake, including one purported to be from my colleague Corey Washington! See counter petition and support letters on my behalf. ]

The attacks attempt to depict me as a racist and sexist, using short video clips out of context, and also by misrepresenting the content of some of my blog posts. A cursory inspection reveals bad faith in their presentation.

The accusations are entirely false -- I am neither racist nor sexist.

The Twitter mobs want to suppress scientific work that they find objectionable. What is really at stake: academic freedom, open discussion of important ideas, scientific inquiry. All are imperiled and all must be defended.


One of the video clips is taken from an interview I did with YouTuber Stefan Molyneux in 2017. Molyneux was not a controversial figure in 2017, although he has since become one. Prominent scientists working on human intelligence who were interviewed on his show around the same time include James Flynn and Eric Turkheimer. (Noam Chomsky was also a guest some time after I was.) Here is what I said to Molyneux about genetic group differences in intelligence:



Here is a similar interview I did with University of Cambridge PhD student Daphne Martschenko:



As you can see, contrary to the Twitter accusations (lies), I do not endorse claims of genetic group differences. In fact I urge great caution in this area.


The tweets also criticize two podcasts I recorded with my co-host Corey Washington: a discussion with a prominent MSU Psychology professor who studies police shootings (this discussion has elicited a strong response due to the tragic death of George Floyd), and with Claude Steele, a renowned African American researcher who discovered Stereotype Threat and has been Provost at Columbia and Berkeley. The conversation with Steele is a nuanced discussion of race, discrimination, and education in America.






The blog posts under attack, dating back over a decade, are almost all discussions of published scientific papers by leading scholars in Psychology, Neuroscience, Genomics, Machine Learning, and other fields. The papers are published in journals like Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. However, a detailed reading is required to judge the research and related inferences. I maintain that all the work described is well-motivated and potentially important. Certainly worthy of a blog post. (I have written several thousand blog posts; apparently these are the most objectionable out of those thousands!)

In several of the blog posts I explicitly denounce racism and discrimination based on identity.


This paper, from 2008, discusses early capability to ascertain ancestry from gene sequence. The topic was highly controversial in 2008 (subject to political attack, because it suggested there could be a genetic basis for “race”), but the science is correct. It is now common for people to investigate their heritage using DNA samples (23andMe, Ancestry) using exactly these methods. This case provides a perfect example of science that faced suppression for political reasons, but has since been developed for many useful applications.

https://infoproc.blogspot.com/2008/01/no-scientific-basis-for-race.html


This 2016 paper is by the UCSD Pediatric Imaging, Neurocognition, and Genetics collaboration. They claim that fMRI features of brain morphology can be predicted by genetic ancestry via machine learning.

https://infoproc.blogspot.com/2016/03/genetic-ancestry-and-brain-morphology.html


These blog posts discuss the firing of software engineer James Damore by Google over a memo on diversity practices. The first post describes the legal situation and quotes a professor of labor law at Notre Dame. The second compares the claims made in Damore’s memo to an article in the Stanford Medical School magazine, which covers similar material and was (by coincidence) published around the same time.

https://infoproc.blogspot.com/2017/08/damore-vs-google-trial-of-century.html
https://infoproc.blogspot.com/2017/08/meanwhile-down-on-farm.html


These papers discuss evidence from large DNA datasets for recent natural selection in human evolution. This research has been attacked for political reasons, but should be defended since it addresses fundamental questions in deep human history and evolution.

https://infoproc.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-truth-shall-make-you-free.html


Regarding my work as Vice President for Research, the numbers speak for themselves. MSU went from roughly $500M in annual research expenditures to about $700M during my tenure. We have often been ranked #1 in the Big Ten for research growth. I participated in the recruitment of numerous prominent female and minority professors, in fields like Precision Medicine, Genomics, Chemistry, and many others. Until this Twitter attack there has been not even a single allegation (over 8 years) of bias or discrimination on my part in promotion and tenure or faculty recruitment. These are two activities at the heart of the modern research university, involving hundreds of individuals each year.

Academics and Scientists must not submit to mob rule.


######################################################

Media coverage:

A Twitter Mob Takes Down an Administrator at Michigan State (Wall Street Journal June 25)

Scholar forced to resign over study that found police shootings not biased against blacks (The College Fix)

On Steve Hsu and the Campaign to Thwart Free Inquiry (Quillette)

Michigan State University VP of Research Ousted (Reason Magazine, Eugene Volokh, UCLA)

Research isn’t advocacy (NY Post Editorial Board)

Podcast interview on Tom Woods show (July 2)

College professor forced to resign for citing study that found police shootings not biased against blacks (Law Enforcement Today, July 5)

"Racist" College Researcher Ousted After Sharing Study Showing No Racial Bias In Police Shootings (ZeroHedge, July 6)

Twitter mob: College researcher forced to resign after study finding no racial bias in police shootings (Reclaim the Net, July 8)

Horowitz: Asian-American researcher fired from Michigan State administration for advancing facts about police shootings (The Blaze, July 8)

I Cited Their Study, So They Disavowed It: If scientists retract research that challenges reigning orthodoxies, politics will drive scholarship (Wall Street Journal July 8)

Conservative author cites research on police shootings and race. Researchers ask for its retraction in response (The College Fix, July 8)

Academics Seek to Retract Study Disproving Racist Police Shootings After Conservative Cites It (Hans Bader, CNSNews, July 9)

The Ideological Corruption of Science (theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss in the Wall Street Journal, July 12)

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education: "chilling academic freedom" (Peter Bonilla, July 22)

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Warren Hatch on Seeing the Future in the Era of COVID-19: Manifold Episode #50



Steve and Corey talk to Warren Hatch, President and CEO of Good Judgment Inc. Warren explains what makes someone a good forecaster and how the ability to integrate and assess information allows cognitively diverse teams to outperform prediction markets. The hosts express skepticism about whether the incentives at work in large organizations would encourage the adoption of approaches that might lead to better forecasts. Warren describes the increasing depth of human-computer collaboration in forecasting. Steve poses the long-standing problem of assessing alpha in finance and Warren suggests that the emerging alpha-brier metric, linking process and outcome, might shed light on the issue. The episode ends with Warren describing Good Judgment’s open invitation to self-identified experts to join a new COVID forecasting platform.

Transcript

Good Judgment Inc
.

Good Judgment Open

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

Noriel Roubini (Wikipedia)


man·i·fold /ˈmanəˌfōld/ many and various.

In mathematics, a manifold is a topological space that locally resembles Euclidean space near each point.

Steve Hsu and Corey Washington have been friends for almost 30 years, and between them hold PhDs in Neuroscience, Philosophy, and Theoretical Physics. Join them for wide ranging and unfiltered conversations with leading writers, scientists, technologists, academics, entrepreneurs, investors, and more.

Steve Hsu is VP for Research and Professor of Theoretical Physics at Michigan State University. He is also a researcher in computational genomics and founder of several Silicon Valley startups, ranging from information security to biotech. Educated at Caltech and Berkeley, he was a Harvard Junior Fellow and held faculty positions at Yale and the University of Oregon before joining MSU.

Corey Washington is Director of Analytics in the Office of Research and Innovation at Michigan State University. He was educated at Amherst College and MIT before receiving a PhD in Philosophy from Stanford and a PhD in a Neuroscience from Columbia. He held faculty positions at the University Washington and the University of Maryland. Prior to MSU, Corey worked as a biotech consultant and is founder of a medical diagnostics startup.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Leif Wenar on the Resource Curse and Impact Philosophy -- Manifold Episode #49



Corey and Steve interview Leif Wenar, Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University and author of Blood Oil. They begin with memories of Leif and Corey’s mutual friend David Foster Wallace and end with a discussion of John Rawls and Robert Nozick (Wenar's thesis advisor at Harvard, and a friend of Steve's). Corey asks whether Leif shares his view that analytic philosophy had become too divorced from wider intellectual life. Leif explains his effort to re-engage philosophy in the big issues of our day as Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, Mill and Marx were in theirs. He details how a trip to Nigeria gave him insight into the real problems facing real people in oil-rich countries. Leif explains how the legal concept of “efficiency” led to the resource curse and argues that we should refuse to buy oil from countries that are not minimally accountable to their people. Steve notes that some may find this approach too idealistic and not in the US interest. Leif suggests that what philosophers can contribute is the ability to see the big synthetic picture in a complex world.

Transcript

Leif Wenar (Bio)

Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules That Run the World

John Rawls - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Robert Nozick - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


man·i·fold /ˈmanəˌfōld/ many and various.

In mathematics, a manifold is a topological space that locally resembles Euclidean space near each point.

Steve Hsu and Corey Washington have been friends for almost 30 years, and between them hold PhDs in Neuroscience, Philosophy, and Theoretical Physics. Join them for wide ranging and unfiltered conversations with leading writers, scientists, technologists, academics, entrepreneurs, investors, and more.

Steve Hsu is VP for Research and Professor of Theoretical Physics at Michigan State University. He is also a researcher in computational genomics and founder of several Silicon Valley startups, ranging from information security to biotech. Educated at Caltech and Berkeley, he was a Harvard Junior Fellow and held faculty positions at Yale and the University of Oregon before joining MSU.

Corey Washington is Director of Analytics in the Office of Research and Innovation at Michigan State University. He was educated at Amherst College and MIT before receiving a PhD in Philosophy from Stanford and a PhD in a Neuroscience from Columbia. He held faculty positions at the University Washington and the University of Maryland. Prior to MSU, Corey worked as a biotech consultant and is founder of a medical diagnostics startup.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Re-Post: Joe Cesario on Police Decision Making and Racial Bias in Deadly Force Decisions (Manifold Episode #11)

Re-posting this because of its relevance to the terrible events in Minneapolis.

Manifold Episode #11: Joe Cesario on Police Decision Making and Racial Bias in Deadly Force Decisions




Manifold Show Page    YouTube Channel

Corey and Steve talk with Joe Cesario about his recent work which argues that, contrary to activist claims and media reports, there is no widespread racial bias in police shootings. Joe discusses his analysis of national criminal justice data and his experimental studies with police officers in a specially designed realistic simulator. He maintains that racial bias does exist in other uses of force such as tasering but that the decision to shoot is fundamentally different: it is driven by specific events and context, rather than race.

Cesario is associate professor of Psychology at Michigan State University. He studies social cognition and decision-making. His recent topics of study include police use of deadly force and computational modeling of fast decisions. Cesario is dedicated to reform in the practice, reporting, and publication of psychological science.

Is There Evidence of Racial Disparity in Police Use of Deadly Force? Analyses of Officer-Involved Fatal Shootings in 2015–2016
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/...

Example of officer completing shooting simulator
https://youtu.be/Le8zoqk-UVo

Overview of Current Research on Officer-Involved Shootings
https://www.cesariolab.com/police

Joseph Cesario Lab
https://www.cesariolab.com/


man·i·fold /ˈmanəˌfōld/ many and various.

In mathematics, a manifold is a topological space that locally resembles Euclidean space near each point.

Steve Hsu and Corey Washington have been friends for almost 30 years, and between them hold PhDs in Neuroscience, Philosophy, and Theoretical Physics. Join them for wide ranging and unfiltered conversations with leading writers, scientists, technologists, academics, entrepreneurs, investors, and more.

Steve Hsu is VP for Research and Professor of Theoretical Physics at Michigan State University. He is also a researcher in computational genomics and founder of several Silicon Valley startups, ranging from information security to biotech. Educated at Caltech and Berkeley, he was a Harvard Junior Fellow and held faculty positions at Yale and the University of Oregon before joining MSU.

Corey Washington is Director of Analytics in the Office of Research and Innovation at Michigan State University. He was educated at Amherst College and MIT before receiving a PhD in Philosophy from Stanford and a PhD in a Neuroscience from Columbia. He held faculty positions at the University Washington and the University of Maryland. Prior to MSU, Corey worked as a biotech consultant and is founder of a medical diagnostics startup.


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