Monday, November 28, 2016
John Tierney of City Journal has published a lengthy piece
Real War on Science" (HT: Snedcat). Although I think there is
some room for debate about the conclusion stated in his subtitle --
"The Left has done far more than the Right to set back progress." --
the entire piece is worth reading both for specific examples and for
the bigger picture of just how inimical the left is to science,
despite its scientific pretensions.
Because I had seen this a few times (and not just from leftists) and had always wondered where it came from, I'll quote Tierney on a view of evolution that he rightly likens to Creationism. This view ultimately originates from social "scientists" who hold that, "any differences we see among races, ethnic groups, sexes, and individuals come not from differences in their innate constitution but from differences in their experiences:"
The Blank Slate dogma has perpetuated a liberal version of creationism: the belief that there has been no evolution in modern humans since they left their ancestral homeland in Africa some 50,000 years ago. Except for a few genetic changes in skin color and other superficial qualities, humans everywhere are supposedly alike because there hasn't been enough time for significant differences to evolve in their brains and innate behavior. This belief was plausible when biologists assumed that evolution was a slow process, but the decoding of the human genome has disproved it, as Nicholas Wade (a former colleague of mine at the New York Times) reported in his 2015 book, A Troublesome Inheritance.This quote hints at the bigger picture Tierney paints of how a subordination of results to preconceived dogmas among members of an ideologically homogeneous profession has, through positive feedback, led to an ever-widening gap between what the left touts as "science" and reality.
"Human evolution has been recent, copious and regional," writes Wade, noting that at least 8 percent of the human genome has changed since the departure from Africa. The new analysis has revealed five distinguishable races that evolved in response to regional conditions: Africans, East Asians, Caucasians, the natives of the Americas, and the peoples of Australia and Papua New Guinea. Yet social scientists go on denying the very existence of races. The American Anthropological Association declares race to be "a human invention" that is "about culture, not biology." The American Sociological Association calls race a "social construct." Even biologists and geneticists are afraid of the R-word. More than 100 of them sent a letter to the New York Times denouncing Wade's book as inaccurate, yet they refused to provide any examples of his mistakes. They apparently hadn't bothered to read the book because they accused Wade of linking racial variations to IQ scores -- a link that his book specifically rejected.
Some genetic differences are politically acceptable on the left, such as the biological basis for homosexuality, which was deemed plausible by 70 percent of sociologists in a recent survey. But that same survey found that only 43 percent accepted a biological explanation for male-female differences in spatial skills and communication. How could the rest of the sociologists deny the role of biology? It was no coincidence that these doubters espoused the most extreme left-wing political views and the strongest commitment to a feminist perspective. To dedicated leftists and feminists, it doesn't matter how much evidence of sexual differences is produced by developmental psychologists, primatologists, neuroscientists, and other researchers. Any disparity between the sexes -- or, at least, any disparity unfavorable to women -- must be blamed on discrimination and other cultural factors. [links in original]
P.S. Fidel Castro has finally dropped dead. Morally, Castro's passing deserves less notice than one might give to a cockroach one has stepped on, and wiped off in the grass.
But, out of respect for his many victims and for our own sakes, we should never forget this brutal dictator, or the object lesson he provided us by putting into practice the evil ideas he professed. It is telling that, arguably, even Nikita Khrushchev was not as consistent an altruist as Castro, who even tried to invite a nuclear holocaust on his own people. The following comes from a letter by Khrushchev to Castro after the Cuban Missile Crisis:
It is even difficult to say how things would have ended for the Cuban people. First of all, Cuba would have burned in the fires of war. Without a doubt the Cuban people would have fought courageously but, also without a doubt, the Cuban people would have perished heroically.Just to avoid confusion, since there are so many, including our current President, who think Castro's ideals are noble, but that he somehow botched them or failed to live up to them -- or that some passer-by leaves here under the impression that I imagine that Communism has even a shred of decency or practicality: What might have happened to Cuba would have been far from heroic, but needless and obscene. Communism is not noble in theory, but bloody in practice. It is bloody in practice because it is wrong in theory, morally and practically.
We struggle against imperialism, not in order to die, but to draw on all of our potential, to lose as little as possible, and later to win more, so as to be a victor and make communism triumph.
P.P.S. Please read the first two comments to this post. I do not wish to appear to agree with the idea of evolutionary psychology.
Today: Added a P.P.S.