Right-wing activist Christopher Rufo has ties to a so-called “sociobiology magazine” that focuses on supposed relationships between race, intelligence and crime, and which experts have called an outlet for scientific racism.
At the time of writing, Aporia was one of 19 Substack newsletters that Rufo links to in the “recommended» of its own newsletter, which according to Substack has more than 50,000 subscribers. Rufo also appeared on Aporia’s podcast, which published flattering interviews with supporters of scientific racism and eugenics.
Rufo, a close ally of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and one of America’s most prominent activists fighting so-called “wokism,” has repeatedly described his goal as “colorblind equality,” but his ties to Aporia raise questions about Rufo’s proximity to extremists. .
More recently, Rufo has been credited in conservative media and beyond for playing a central role in the ouster of former Harvard University President Claudine Gay, who is black.
The Guardian emailed Rufo to ask about his apparent support for Aporia and how he reconciled that with his so-called “color blindness.” He did not respond directly to questions asked of him, but instead made a crude sexual insult to a Guardian journalist.
Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, said: “Rufo hangs out with some really bad people,” adding: “He can’t pretend this is a casual relationship. »
According to the bulletin’s own archives, Aporia was a Name change in March 2023 of Ideas Sleep Furiously, until now the personal newsletter of Briton Matthew Archer, now named “editor-in-chief” of Aporia.
At that time, Bo Winegard, Aporia’s new “editor-in-chief”, began his tenure with a articletitled Human Biodiversity: A Moderate’s Manifesto, in which he discusses purported “evidence that human populations vary in intelligence, as measured by IQ tests, in part because of genes.”
“Human biodiversity” gives its name to both a movement and a research paradigm that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) described as the “latest iteration of a long tradition of scientific racism.”
Kevin Bird, a geneticist and postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis, said that “‘human biodiversity’ is their euphemism for race science,” and added that “scientifically, Winegard has never done anything remarkable in this domain “.
Winegard, psychologist, was by his own account fired by Marietta College of Georgia in March 2020 after a seminar he gave to a University of Alabama research group sparked protests and coverage in student media.
In this speech, an audience member would have said Winegard told his listeners that “people living in colder climates, because of differences in brain size, have a greater propensity for cooperation.”
Winegard has continued to write in this vein on Aporia to the present day. In a Article from January 3 On the site titled “Yes, We Should Talk About Racial Differences,” he wrote: “So we need to be honest about race. And that means we start by noting that in the United States (and elsewhere in the world), different races have different average levels of intelligence, as measured by IQ tests (and other measures of cognitive ability).
As proof of this assertion, Winegard cites researchers including the late Richard Lynn – a white nationalistaccording to the SPLC – and the late Arthur Jensen, that the SPLC calls “arguably the father of modern academic racism”.
The Guardian sent Winegard questions about Aporia, his role there and aspects of his previous controversies. He responded with a single line: “Is Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man scientific racism?” »
Another Aporia editor, Noah Carl, has also been the subject of previous academic controversies.
Carl is a sociologist who, in 2018, was stripped of a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge after the university which had appointed him discovered that alongside his more legitimate work in sociology, he had simultaneously published scientific and racist articles in media known for drug trafficking. scientific racism.
One of the outlets Carl published in, Mankind Quarterly, was founded “to make scientific racism respectable again,” according to writer Angela Saini. It was financed for decades by the White Nationalist Pioneer Fundand the journal has been described as a “corner stone of the scientific establishment of racism”.
Another site, OpenPsych, is a platform created by Emil OW Kirkegaard, a self-proclaimed eugenicist which explicitly advocates “racial science”and who is a senior research fellow at the Ulster Institute for Social Research (UISR), an organization formerly headed by Richard Lynn – the same researcher whose data led to Winegard’s retraction.
For OpenPsych, where Carl has been a prolific contributor, he wrote in a 2016 article that racial stereotypes are “reasonably accurate.”
Carl attended the London Eugenics Conference on Intelligence (LCI) at least twice, according to leaked programs from 2015 and 2016. The 2016 program quotes 20th-century American psychologist Edward Thorndike on its cover: “Reproduction selective can impair man’s ability to learn, to remain sane, to cherish justice, or to be happy.
Carl continued to write on the same themes at Aporia. In November 2023 In his article titled “Surely Liberals Should Support White Nationalism? », he concluded: “Is it odious to advocate the “voluntary separation” of the races? This is certainly strange and does not reflect my own views. But I wouldn’t say it’s obnoxious.
In addition to publishing their own work, Aporia editors provide a platform for expressions of scientific racism by others.
This month, for example, Aporia published an article by Peter Frost, “The Goldilocks zone between inbreeding and outbreeding,” which argues that “exogamy” between humans too genetically distant from each other creates an increased risk of abnormal embryos.
The argument relies in part on data collected in a 1929 study, “Racecrossing in Jamaica,” published by Charles Davenport, which she gently presents as “a Jamaican study” and considers neutral and reliable.
Davenport, however, was a leading American eugenicist during the era when eugenics was informing public policy in the United States and beyond, leading to the passage of the restrictive Immigration Act of 1924 and contributing to the forced sterilization programs in 30 states, some of which persisted into the 1960s.
Davenport wrote that “mixing of races”—including “mixing of European races”—was a danger to American society, and also that “a hybridized people is an ill-constituted people, and a dissatisfied, restless, and inefficient people.” “.
Of Frost’s paper, Bird, the geneticist, said it was “old-fashioned racial science.”
For Andrew Winston, professor emeritus of psychology at Canada’s University of Guelph and a longtime critic of the encroachment of scientific racism in the field, such nods to eugenics reflect a historical pattern.
“This type of race science keeps coming back into the mainstream, getting heavily criticized, then toned down a little bit, maybe, and then comes back in a new form, depending on the overall social context,” he said.
Beirich, the extremism expert, said: “All of these ideas have been debunked over and over again. The danger here is that eugenics and scientific racism have historically been used to justify terrible acts, including genocide.”
Other recent articles on Aporia include Winegard’s “The case for race realism,” which reaffirms that “underlying racial differences in measured cognitive abilities and violent crime…make large disparities in outcomes inevitable”; an article by retired finance professor Gregory Conner that argues for innate racial differences in intelligence; and two articles claiming that the high IQ of Jews has its origins in their genetics.
Aporia also publishes a podcast, in which Rufo was a guest on August 4, during which he took the opportunity to discuss his recently published book.
Like the newspaper, the podcast has also featured supporters of eugenics and scientific racism.
Its January 1 episode, for example, featured a debate between Charles Murray and Helmuth Nyborg on the theme “Are multicultural societies doomed?”
Charles Murray – a white nationalist according to the SPLC – has been at the center of repeated controversy since 1994, when his book The Bell Curve claimed that class differences in the United States were determined by IQ. Critics at the time underlines that Murray and his co-author, Richard J Herrnstein, had drawn heavily on Richard Lynn and other Mankind Quarterly authors.
Helmuth Nyborg is a Danish psychologist who was suspended and reinstated in 2006 as a professor at Aarhus University due to his research linking gender and intelligence, and in 2017 he spoke at the conference white nationalist American Renaissance.
In the Aporia podcast, Nyborg purported to present scientific arguments against immigration and multiculturalism, claiming at one point that “the more genetically inhomogeneous a population is, the more critical it becomes in terms of social disorder, or whatever you call it social disruption. , crime, etc.
In the episode released immediately after the Rufo interview, Winegard interviewed Steve Sailer, a blogger and founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute who was describe as a white supremacist.
When Rufo recommended the site to his readers, Bird said, “There’s nothing legitimate about biology, evolution, or genetics that’s really been published by anyone at Aporia,” adding, ” To direct people towards this is to direct them towards unambiguous white supremacist propaganda and nonsense.
“There’s nothing of value there.” There is nothing like real mainstream science. Nothing resembles real discussions on the ground. It can only be racist propaganda.”
Beirich said of Rufo’s ties that “it’s no surprise that someone who plays football with eugenicists is also happy to attack diversity, equity and inclusion in the higher education or against a black president of Harvard.”
Linking to Aporia and appearing on its podcast, she said: “Rufo is helping to bring this despicable material back and mainstream it. »