Monday, November 26, 2007

E pur si muove

Science still has its enemies. This finally gives me a chance to blog about Watson, that fool who made the awful mistake of speaking the truth without apology.
You will notice that the major proponents of these theories of inferiority are white men, and that for some odd reason, they are not threatened by admitting that the Slants are smarter than they are. Well, the White Women aren't at stake in that imaginary equation, are they?
But, of course, were one to argue against a hypothesis by attacking the proponents of it, one would be engaging in argumentum ad hominem. For those without my impressive education in Latin, that thing right there is a fallacy. Not only does that argument (I'm using the term in a very loose sense, and I hope that any fellow logicians will spare me any scrutiny and apply it where it belongs) trip over a fallacy, it sends Ockham's razor into apoplectic fits. Either those discussing racial differences in intelligence are engaged in machinations to denigrate the status of blacks so that they won't interfere with white domination, or, on the other (sane) hand, those discussing racial differences in intelligence are interested in knowing more about racial differences in intelligence.

Take this a bit further. The "get blackey" cabal that's trying to find a genetic basis for racial inferiority, in order to preserve the white race, surely wants to preserve the white race against all comers. But, then, aren't Asians a bigger threat than blacks to the continued existence of Western European and American cultural and racial integrity? To those too ignorant to know, China (a country full of Asians) happens to be very strong, both economically and militarily, and it certainly wants nothing to do with our culture. If China could eliminate us, I do not think it would hesitate to do it. So those with a stake in using pseudoscience to suppress threats to white dominance would surely be threatened by Asians, right?

It's almost as if that entire post was utter, insane nonsense. Almost.

More illogic:
Given the enthusiasms of its supporters, it's perfectly obvious that IQ is the current equivalent of phrenology
Well, wait; a scientific theory stands or falls on the enthusiasm of its supporters? In a way, of course, that's true; if the theory has timid supporters, it won't gain currency. But this strange specimen has exactly the opposite inference in mind. Because the supporters of the theory are so vociferous, they simply must be engaging in pseudoscience. After all, human beings who evolved in different areas, with different physical characteristics, couldn't possibly have different mental characteristics.

I'm torn. I want to argue that the mind is not the body, but, then, the materialists are insisting that mind and brain are identical terms. Thus, where genetic differences cause different traits in the body, they can damn well cause differences in the part of the body inside the skull. In fact, it would be extremely surprising if this were not so.

What do we do? Succumb to magical thinking and believe that this one thing about us, at least, is not subject to evolution? Or, as one commenter to that post does, engage in projecting?
"Race" is a social construct, a politically convenient category, but NOT a scientific term. Any inquiry into "race" is just politics masquerading as science.
Right, right. Race is a social construct; that's why Sub-Saharan Africans have dark skin, whereas Northern Europeans have light skin. It's not that they differ genetically; no, they simply willed themselves to look different. Similarly, Africans willed themselves to have sickle-cell anemia in order to protect against malaria. Strange, then, that they haven't bothered to will it away now that they're relatively safe, huh?

Where's the politics? Where's the science? The lines are blurring in this discussion. What is not blurry at all is which side in the debate is engaging in magical thinking.

Because, when a scientific conclusion is simply too reprehensible to stomach, we must commit it to the memory hole. "That can't be!" And so it isn't.

A close call, to be sure.


At 12:03 AM, November 27, 2007 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

to be perfectly obvious about what you're implying - it seems to be a law of nature that IQ and male organ size are negatively correlated - and so the relative inferiority of the white man versus the yellow man in one area is compensated for by his superiority in the other area - similarly, but in reverse, for the other racial comparison

as you say, if a fact is unbearable, it is soon forgotten (on a conscious level)

just google "white chicks black" and take a look at the results

At 7:37 PM, November 27, 2007 , Blogger Vernunft said...

No, not really.

First, the correlation between race and IQ has been the subject of some empirical studies, with some rough results being apparent already. The other...claim does not have an empirical basis. If it did, I am sure there would be a reasonable evolutionary reason for it.

Second, the zero-sum theory of human traits is something that has bothered me for years. People assume that if someone is physically attractive, that person cannot also be extremely intelligent. The equality mindset we have demands that every positive quality be balanced by a negative quality, so that the sum total of all an individual's strengths and weaknesses will be equal to everyone else's sum. There is no reason this should be, and observation seems to refute it anyway.

The same thing may be true with racial differences. Some physical quality that tends to be pronounced in one race may not be balanced by a deficiency at all. Evolution may protest, because if one race is strictly better adapted than another, won't that race utterly dominate? Well, with the advent of reason and compassion, perhaps not. Perhaps history does show some sort of limited dominance, though.

Finally, and I want to perfect this in its own blog entry, intelligence does not correlate to moral worth. And if the average black man has a lower IQ than the average white man, why would that make blacks morally inferior anyway? What about the millions of blacks who are much smarter than the average white man? It would be strange to doom them to moral inferiority because of a trait that they, as individuals, do not possess.


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