Andrew Sullivan offers this bizarre response to criticism of his claim that non-racial intelligence research is being strangled by p.c. egalitarianism:
[R]esearch is not about helping people; it's about finding out stuff.
That's a false dichotomy. Curiosity is a wholly sufficient reason to conduct research, but a great deal of research is intended to help people, and helping people is a perfectly legitimate aim of research.
Relevant to the discussion of IQ research, I would note that clinical psychology, neuropsychology and neurology research aren't activities reserved only for those wishing to satisfy personal curiosity; they're disciplines in which the majority of experts are actually practitioners with research training. In clinical psychology, the primary training model is itself called the scientist-practitioner model.
Obviously, Sullivan is unaware of both the historical and present-day context of research into intelligence as a subdiscipline within clinical psychology. It was, from the beginning, an endeavor driven by very practical concerns. That doesn't mean we should exclude research motivated by curiosity alone, but Sullivan's perception of the research in this area lacks groundedness in the history and predominant focus of the field.
So while I agree with Sullivan that research needn't have a practical application to be justified, he's just plain wrong when he declares that research is not about helping people, especially with respect to research that has been, since its inception, practitioner-driven. Even Arthur Jensen, who Sullivan cites as definitive on the subject of racial differences in IQ, was investigating heritability of IQ to determine why 1960s era programs intended to help children didn't seem to be helping
But aside from these observations, and as I argued in my previous post on the subject, Sullivan is obviously unaware of the amount of non-racial IQ research that is occurring in the field of psychology. I certainly don't favor squelching research because it makes people uncomfortable—that's a legitimate concern—but Sullivan is so bothered by the possible violation of an academic principle he rightly holds dear, that he's making flat-out false statements about an alleged blackout in the field of non racial IQ research. And now he compounds his error with ridiculous pronouncements about the legitimate purposes of research.
In addition to the numerous Google Scholar results I linked yesterday, see also the 23,200 results for neuroscience intelligence research in just the last 5 years. There is no blackout.
And here's a final thought on what Sullivan still doesn't get.