Because Wilson corresponded with the notorious race differences psychologist Phillippe Rushton, critics claim it proves Wilson was a racist. Here’s why the critics are wrong, dangerously wrong
When I studied anthropology, around the year 2000, I quickly realized that the left-wing activists in the field viewed any biological/genetic explanation to human behavior as highly “problematic”. Any time someone suggested that there were genetic bases for behavior such as rape or male aggressiveness, for example, they would immediately stand accused of “excusing” and “normalizing” said behavior, mostly by people who held purely socioconstructivist approaches and who clearly did not grasp the science presented to them.
It's clearly become worse since with the “woke” movement. Now, the mere acknowledgement that humans are biological entities at all is tantamount to holding Nazi views. Witness how even sex is now viewed as having no basis in biology, but is purely explained as a social status “imposed at birth”… Basically, any time you refer to biology to explain anything, you will be called a sexist, a transphobe, a racist, etc., depending on what you’re trying to explain. Case closed!
My wife is a biochemist/neuroscientist. A few years ago, I remember explaining these debates to her. She would roll her eyes, sighing at how childish and unserious we were in the social sciences departments. I kept telling her to watch out, because when they were done imposing their ideology in my department, they would come for hers. This is what we’re witnessing today. And the most scary part is, science seems to be caving in.
When you make it impossible for anyone who wants a successful career in science to research racial differences between groups, what you also do is give racists a killer answer to the assertion that there is no evidence for such differences:
“Of course there isn’t - you’ve stopped anyone from looking for it” they say.
All the research that shows our species to be intellectually homogeneous, everything we have discovered about the role poor environment plays in the developments of IQ, all of it counts for nothing against the assertion that of course you’ll never find what you never look for. That argument is a powerful weapon, and we’re handing it over, fully loaded, to some extremely dangerous people.
It is very sad that these days so many people value virtue signaling over intellectual honesty and consistency. They are easily unmasked by the evident BS they say, but they do real damage.
The whole idea of racism is a tempest in a teapot. The 250 years of American experience of assimilating immigrant groups from many countries in Europe shows that over time groups that seemed very distinct at first soon merged into a standardized American culture despite all differences that seemed so important at the time. Today, when people whose grandparents were Jews eat pork, people whose Irish grandparents followed orders from the church use birth control, and none of the grandchildren of immigrants speak anything but English, the discrimination that was once common has vanished into the dustbin of history.
Seeing black Americans as immigrants who effectively arrived in 1865, they have seemingly failed to merge into the melting pot, but that is an illusion. It is merely taking them longer because they look different compared to the relatively minor differences between Europeans. Despite legal bans on inter-racial sex until only about 50 years ago in some places, today, the American Negro gene pool is around 30% Caucasian. That means that the 13% of Americans of African descent African genes are only some 10% of the total national gene pool. And the rate of inter-racial breeding is accelerating. In another 150 years the problem will have ended. There will be no identifiable Negros in America barring more African immigration. They will have merged into the majority population and their descendents will be undetectable.
This process could be helped and speeded up by offering a financial incentive such as a lifetime tax exemption for inter-racial marriages. But in the present over-heated debate it seems unlikely this modest proposal will be acceped by either side.
Excellent and well supported writing
There is one argument you never hear in the discussion of race in America and that is that Blacks are superior to Whites both physically and mentally. It could be true, as true as the opposite, but I am convinced that more people on both sides of the political spectrum believe the opposite than are willing to admit it. The defensiveness of people like McLemore about scientists like Wilson may be evidence of their own insecurity. However, to be charitable it may be the fear of how true racists can use his work. The problem with McLemore is that she wants to bury the science out of her fear of it.
That blacks are physically superior is obvious to anyone who watches sports, but why doesn’t it follow that they would be mentally superior as well, doing well in sports takes a great deal of mental acuity. The fact is they have never had the educational opportunities that Whites have had. Still, enough African Americans have achieved greatness in music, literature and science to show what is possible. What is possible for the few is possible for the many.
Blacks have been held down by the Right and let down by the Left. Jim Crow and inner-city schools that did and still do a poor job of educating and bogus studies that supposedly show blacks are inferior when taking tests have hindered Blacks from the Right. They’re failure to equal Whites on tests is due to poor educational opportunities and a culture that doesn’t value education anymore.
On the Left, paternalistic, bourgeois woke ideas that encourage Blacks to see themselves as victims and tells them it is impossible to succeed in systemically racist America hurts Black students. Rather than helping Blacks to do better on tests they just want to chuck them. That makes everyone dumber.
If we weren’t so polarized the solutions would be obvious to more people. A two-pronged approach is called for that fixes or replaces the failing public schools Blacks attend and ending the culture that tells Black kids that doing well in school is too White. Instead of making excuses for failure we must find a way to encourage success.
The tragedy is that our political system cannot solve big problems, but if we did these things, we may once and for all prove that the color of a person’s skin has absolutely nothing to do with their ability to succeed.
As Rushton’s work makes clear racists can make use of Wilson’s work even if he isn’t a racist. I also am afraid that his work allows people to say trying to bring about social change or reform is a waste of time and will never work. But how others interpret his work should not be a reflection on Wilson or the science.
The reason Wilson has to be destroyed is not science or scholarship, but is purely theological (and if you don't believe me, see also the attacks on the work of Napoleon Chagnon and Steven Pinker).
For American Leftist academics, the Blank Slate is holy dogma, as holy to them as the virgin birth and resurrection of Christ is to Christians.
The Blank Slate is the foundational belief of modern Egalitarianism, the idea that every human is an interchangeable meat widget, that we are all just blank 'bodies' until social power dynamics sculpt us out of their oppressive clay. There is no such thing as biology, no such thing as heredity, these are just right-wing conspiracy theories that bigots dreamed up to cement their power.
The Blank Slate provides the justification for every utopian fantasy, every campaign that Leftist professors have launched for the past century, in their quixotic crusade for total and comprehensive Equality (with the professors of course dictating proper ideas and morality from on high, as our enlightened philosopher kings).
For better or worse, this is one of the main currents of our intellectual life since the 60s. Either you join (or at least not cross) the righteous and holy crusade for Equality (however that is defined depending upon various political and professional needs) or the crusaders will stone you with bigotry accusations until you submit.
And you have to admit, they've had nothing but success! The age of Woke Lysenkoism has arrived.
“I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” ( a paraphrase from a biographer named Evelyn Beatrice Hall of what she thought Voltaire was thinking.)
In today's world it is difficult for anyone to say anything about race, scientifically or philosophically, without being called a racist.
Thank you so much, this is the best thing I read in a while