Friday, October 19, 2007

If everybody looked the same We'd get tired of looking at each other

Racist old scrote and prize-winning plagiarist James Watson


I’m enjoying the irony in this headline immensely…

The Bristol Festival of Ideas has cancelled an appearance by the Nobel Prize-winning scientist James Watson after a row over his views on race

Presumably the organisers are going to have to have a rethink and repackage their gathering as The Bristol Festival of Nice Ideas from now on


Watson has been quoted as being “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - whereas all the testing says not really.”


The hysterical responses to Watson’s comments have proven to be consistently good value – especially those coming from Liberal Humanists who are claiming that Watson’s comments are somehow scientifically inaccurate

In particular, I’ve read some right old cock coming from people, offended by Watson’s comments, who are claiming that on a genetic level there is no such thing as race and that any differences between races are really only skin deep

Yeah, tell that to the sickle cell


People who buy into Darwin claiming that every individual and every sub-group within a species are all equal?!

For fuck's sake

The problem for Liberal Humanists who want to believe that people are all equal is that science will never be able to prove anything of the kind

That’s not to say that Watson isn’t a racist old scrotum

Far from it, Watson is the latest in a long line of racist old scrotums, stretching all the way back to Darwin and beyond




Darwinian Evolution was hugely popular amongst the ruling classes in 19th Century England because it gave the stamp of scientific approval to some of their favourite concepts. Concepts such as the inherited genetic superiority of their class, the ‘surplus poor’, the ‘White Man’s burden’ to improve the rest of the world, marvellous ideas like that.

Watson talks like a racist because the logical conclusions of Darwinism are racist


And sexist


And ageist

But the important thing from a Secular Humanist point of view is that Darwinism is not (sic.) a religion, which makes it A1 Number One in their book regardless of the implications of uncritical acceptance


I’ve seen various attempts over the years to pretend that Darwinism isn't implicitly racist/ ageist/ sexist. Most of these arguments boil down to the claim that humanity has learned that collaboration is more productive than competition

But, hey, wouldn’t humanity be even more productive if the people collaborating were all engineered to be genetically superior? Wouldn’t a spot of eugenics help things move along a lot more efficiently?



Even if I didn’t reject Darwinism because I’m pretty certain Life doesn’t work like that, I’d still personally be inclined to reject it because I don’t like the idea of living in society run in accordance with Darwinian principles


And even though I’m not religious I’d much rather live in a society run on Christian or Islamic than Darwinian principles – the belief that all people have equal worth as human beings, that compassion and empathy are worthwhile in themselves, that we are at our best when overcoming misfortune and injustice... unscientific crap like that

The problem is, of course, that so many who claim to be Christians or Muslims aren’t anything of the sort


A group of devout genocidal slave owners busy not practicing what they preach… ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’


Oh, yeah, and having to believe three unbelievable things before breakfast.

That’s a bit of a problem too…


-

and a vaguely relevant story that only native-born North Londoners will be able to fully comprehend...

I was sitting in my Mum's lounge yesterday, chatting with one of her cousins, when my Mum came into the room with a plumber who was round to fix her toilet.

She introduced me to him. I stood up, shook his hands and straight away without any warm-up he said (not in a friendly way)...

'You look like an Arsenal supporter. Are you?'

' When I used to go, yes'

'I knew it. I can spot an Arsenal supporter a mile off'

'You a Spurs fan then?'

'Yeah'

then he just glared at me for a few seconds before my Mum led him off towards the bathroom...

.

37 comments:

paul said...

Darwin's ok,
Mendel's ok
Sociobiologists/Social Darwinism suck and tend to lead to this

Stef said...

Darwin's OK

much iffyness on offer in this little tome...

http://tinyurl.com/2p63dw

but, yup, Social Darwinism is in a league of its own licking, as it does, monster donkey nuts

lwtc247 said...

Interesting chestnut this one, him being a previously heralded scientist and being so strongly linked to DNA, a whole bundle of issues meet in the pot.

I would like to hear him talk, and I don't feel at all good that the thought police are running riot again. Isn't this the last sign of fascism? Islam must be allowed to be challenged, God, morals, death penalty, macroeconomics, slavery, pornography, holocaust, Skull and bones. It all must be permissible to talk about in a genuine and sincere pursuit of knowledge. Truth cannot fall, and lies and spin are easy to detect.

I cannot sit comfortably at the stifling of genuine sincere thoughts (even tho’ Watson is I believe wrong about intelligence and genetics) and yet complain when our right to think differently is taken from us.

He's not saying anything like "kill blacks". People must be allowed to express opinions which are passive and that we don't like. No doubt a case for non-passive expression of ideas could also be made e.g. when revolutions are needed and so forth.

In a video I watched some time ago: The Judaic Role in the Black Slave Trade, by Professor Tony Martin (coincidently and relevantly, a very sharp and intelligent black man) (1 hr 8 min http://tinyurl.com/23qbpe), he destroyed possibly the origin of formalized racism in the Talmud by being able to academically discuss this. Why should people like Watson not be allowed to try and do it from the opposite side?

P.S. Watch Prof. Martins Quality speech. Interestingly it was Introduced by David Irving.

Stef said...

@paul

good link, thx

Stef said...

@lwtc247

Yes, Watson should be allowed to speak

not least because it might force some people to think about some of their beliefs and why they believe them

Watson is talking cock though, and falling for the old trap of believing that you can reduce what is 'good' down to a single number or a 2d graph

Anonymous said...

"Watson is talking cock though"
:)

- lw

paul said...

"There is only one science, physics: everything else is social work"
Watson

Wolfie said...

What this furore demonstrates is that politicians and social scientists are simply not ready to even start to understand the complexity of genetics and scientists are going to find themselves labelled the new heretics. Besides, intelligence is not the be all and end all of genetic success in any given population. Strength, temperament, disease resistance and tactile skill can be of equal or greater importance in any given environment and how these skills distribute themselves around the population median will have local variations not because of race but because of breeding choices made by the individuals over generations in that locality.

Sophia said...

Stef,

Darwin borrowed his idea for Fitness, Survival of the fittiest and Adaptation, from the sociology of his time. I read a French edition to the first version of the Origin of Species 'Ébauche de l'origine des espèces' where there is no word about that. When I told my Ph.D jury thesis this they weren't impressed.

S.J.Gould used to say that the idea of natural selection didn't work for Adam Smith but it worked for Darwin.

I agree with you that the reaction to Watson's comments are hysterical. And I agree with Wolfie's comments. We are just starting to understand how genes and environement work together to shape our cognition. I think one has to consider Watson's comments as a man of another age. I am more worried by the racists of today.

paul said...

Watson so regularly drops clangers like these its unlikely to be purely down to oafishness,he's a quite the attention seeker.
Sometimes people are incorrect for very political reasons. Genetic research is very attractive to those who run the farm, and they are the ones that fund watson.
Reading the article in the Times, he comes across as rather narrow minded and immature, with little appreciation of the value of diversity in evolutionary matters.
He naturally obsesses over 'intelligence' as that is how he justifies his status.
The truth,IMHO, is that environment is paramount. As most people are 'genetically' adequate,education,class employment etc are more important in determining your life than your individual genetic endowment.
A genetic problem is far more likely to be ameliorated by a social solution than a social one by 'genetics'.
eg I can have a faulty gene but live in a society which can provide a solution (ie haemophilia), then I don't really have a problem.

Anonymous said...

"who are claiming that Watson’s comments are somehow scientifically inaccurate"

Is there a scientifically objective measure for intelligence? Is there a scientifically objective measure for race?

If, no; then this is scientism.

If yes, then please explain how one determines the scientifically objective measures and their units.

Further, note that the Bell Curve; is rarely applicable to phenomenon outside of a gravity field. Eg, fine for people's heights but bollocks for people's incomes. See, www.fooledbyrandomness.com.

Anonymous said...

"on a genetic level there is no such thing as race and that any differences between races are really only skin deep

Yeah, tell that to the sickle cell
"

... so, how does one demarcate races? Again, what's the objective measure?

Stef said...

"on a genetic level there is no such thing as race and that any differences between races are really only skin deep

Yeah, tell that to the sickle cell"

... so, how does one demarcate races? Again, what's the objective measure?


I mentioned the sickle cell specifically because when I was being taught about evolution sickle cells were cited as a specific example of an inherited genetic characteristic which evolved in certain groups of people in response to localised environmental/ selective pressures - in this case malaria

Now as it happens I think that's probably a Darwinian fairy tale - along with that neatly arranged chart of horse evolution, haeckel's dodgy embryo drawings, vestigial organs and lots of other 'proofs' of Darwinian evolution I subsequently realised or discovered to be bollocks

But if I were a Darwinist I would find it very difficult to argue that you can't subdivide humanity into subgroups ('races') of individuals who share particular packages of inherited adaptations which evolved to suit to the different environments in which those groups live

Stef said...

"who are claiming that Watson’s comments are somehow scientifically inaccurate"

Is there a scientifically objective measure for intelligence? Is there a scientifically objective measure for race?


A fair question

I don't think that there is an objective measure of intelligence or race

And, in response, I could ask the question 'Is there an objective measure of fittest?' as in that tautological old Darwinian chestnut 'Survival of the...'

A large chunk of natural science is all about grouping things - rocks, clouds, finches - into similar groups, giving those groups names and then subsequently leaping onto perceived differences between those arbitrary groups. Hominid palaeontology is packed with funsters playing this game - slapping new species names on bone fragments that fall well within the range of variability displayed by humans alive today

Again, I'm not a Darwinian but if I were I'd find it quite difficult to rubbish someone talking about intelligence because it is subjective term and then try and pretend that adaptive fitness was an objective one...

Stef said...

The truth,IMHO, is that environment is paramount. As most people are 'genetically' adequate, education, class employment etc are more important in determining your life than your individual genetic endowment.

If Watson had said something like

'The problem with our approach to Africa development is that we're trying to impose solutions conceived by people from one culture and environment onto different cultures and environments'

No-one would have batted an eyelid

He didn't

He called people thick

I'd love to see the results of Watson sitting an IQ test set by an Aborigine - or even better, the results of a practical exam that would involve dropping Watson into the middle of the Outback somewhere to fend for himself for a couple of days equipped with nothing more than his colossal intellect

Stef said...

@wolfie/ sophia

what all this demonstrates to me, yet again, is the fact that many, not all, people who accept Darwinian evolution are being pussies about its implications and continue to cling onto moral codes that came not from science but from religion

Personally, I'm happy with that

I'm mindful of the fact that some of the biggest names of the Enlightenment believed that hierarchies and exploitation were rational, even laudable. That's how you can have the paradox of people like the Founding Fathers of the US penning the absolutely brilliant 'Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness' stuff whilst still keeping slaves and denying universal suffrage

And it's fun watching Secular Humanists going the through the process of coming up with moral codes based on 'rational principles' which add little if anything and largely replicate codes that were formulated long ago by superstitious irrationalists

lwtc247 said...

what a fantastic post this has been.

Well done Mr. Watson!

Not for being racist of course, but for catalyzing even stronger arguements against those who place DNA and on an alter and worship it.

Cheers mukka :)

paul said...

If you accept Darwin's theory of adaptationary evolution you are in no way obliged to accept its application to areas it has no utility or sense.
Mutoo kimura's neutral theory suggests that most mutations are not adaptationary, that 'fitness' is not the driver but a by product of the mechanism by which we evolve.
Evolutionary theory (ET)has no 'implications' other than those people choose to overlay on it, for whatever reasons they might have.
To choose to use that specious, morally loaded phrase 'survival of the fittest' is to misuse the ideas of ET for current social ends, nothing to do with a theory of evolution.
Fitness in ET terms means being suited to an environment, not the triumph of a single type or subtype within a population. Bacteria are just as 'fit' as us, possibly fitter as they mutate so much faster.
Adaptation, as the hectoring Dawkins tells us,takes place over very long periods long periods. Modern social changes happen so quickly it has no relevance and things like public health, clean water and food production have contrived to frustrate any adaptationary pressures. A 'weak' person in the wealthy west has generally just about as much chance at survival and reproduction as the strong (Aren't the papers always full of stuff about our alarmingly fecund underclass?).
Darwin had a good idea about how species adapt over long periods of time and mendel had a good idea about the mechanism behind it. That's it, anything else is darwin'ism' which for me, just means wishful thinking.
Using population genetics to ascribe a degree of 'intelligence' to the varied people of an entire continent is a classic case of wishful thinking.
I suppose it might have some use if all people who shared a continent comprised some gestalt communal intelligence with which they could 'compete' with peoples of other continents,but that doesn't seem to be the case so its just a high falutin' way of blaming the victim.

Anonymous said...

Asians on average do best on IQ tests. The Chinese researcher Dr Bruce Lahn reported a genetic evolution that occurred in human beings about 6,000 years ago and is believed to be an important contributing factor in intelligence.

Scientists who have researched this mutation have found evidence that it was geographically dispersed in Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Sub-saharan Africa was geographically isolated by comparison, so the mutation occured there at a much lower incidence. This is not simple IQ sampling on racial lines - it's statistical data examining for the presence of a precise genetic trait that scientists believe to be connected to the brain's size and function.

This research appeared in one of the leading peer reviewed journals a year ago:

"Ongoing adaptive evolution of ASPM, a brain size determinant in Homo sapiens. Science, 309:1720 (2005).

paul said...

The best thet can be said for that is that asians are better at doing iq tests
the presence of a precise genetic trait that scientists believe to be connected to the brain's size and function.
As no one knows how the brain works, belief is its proper realm

paul said...

Aa above, what use is the average ability of a race to perform iq tests?
Unscientifically, I would say fuck all

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but genertic "trait" is a meaningless fudge! A human impositon upon a contrived manner of intelligence assessment, piled on top of a science that can prove you have more than the average number of legs.

If I am wrong give me the gene sequence, come on, how about just the chromosome(s), where to find it?

If ones peers entertain knobish ideas, what conclusions can one draw concerning ones self?

Intelligence is overwhelmingly determined by social factors and God given bounty (See the story of Adam and also of Khidr, Moses' teacher) - lw

paul said...

If I am wrong give me the gene sequence, come on, how about just the chromosome(s), where to find it?
And if you find it,that's when you can start wondering about epistatic effects

Anonymous said...

21 October 2007 22:10 and 21 October 2007 22:26 thanks for responding to my points.

Modern thinkers say that evolution is simply a random process. Throw the dice often enough and your genes will come out so that you have a blue *rse. If this doesn't kill you; you pass it on to your descendants etc ... Further on down the line, people searching for a reason where there isn't one will say, 'oh, the blue makes him more attractive to the opposite sex etc' All nonsense, which cannot be proved etc ...

Lastly, what's the name of the French number theorist (he died ca 2 yrs ago); who calculated that the rate of evolution was such that Darwinism as described couldn't work, 'cos the earth hadn't been around for long enough? (Pictures of him show that he usually has a cigarette hanging from his mouth).

If anyone can remember his name; 't would be appreciated.

Stef said...

Hmmm, a french intellectual posing with a cigarette

well, that narrows the search down a lot...

Marcel-Paul Schützenberger

www.arn.org/docs/odesign/od172/schutz172.htm

Stef said...

I've linked to this interview before but Vonnegut has some amusing things to say about Darwinism too...

http://tinyurl.com/cljk3

Shutter said...

When I came across the definition of intelligence - that which is measured by intelligence tests, I decioded that further research / discussion / debate was worthless.

paul said...

Schutzenburger's quite a good read

Trust the Frogs to evolve into something so annoying
Must be a gene for it

Stef said...

Schutzenburger on Dawkins...

Biology is, of course, not my specialty. The participation of mathemeticians in the overall assessment of evolutionary thought has been encouraged by the biologists themselves, if only because they presented such an irresistible target. Richard Dawkins, for example, has been fatally attracted to arguments that would appear to hinge on concepts drawn from mathematics and from the computer sciences, the technical stuff imposed on innocent readers with all of his comic authority.

what a star

paul said...

It's survival of the fittest gone mad!
People living in north of country are likely to be unhealthier, poorer and live shorter lives.
But formidable reproductive success proves they are the fittest:
The under-18 conception rate is highest in the North East, at 51.2 per 1,000 girls compared with 33.6 per 1,000 in the East of England and the South East.
They might not live long, but their wretched low grade genes will

paul said...

here's another one along Schutzenburger's lines

Strange, I've always been more interested in the shit they try to pass off as evolutionary rationalisations, never thought about darwin's theory much at all.

Anonymous said...

Schützenberger - that's the one, thanks Stef, man.

Anonymous said...

"When I came across the definition of intelligence -" ... yep, entirely subjective.

Stef said...

Strange, I've always been more interested in the shit they try to pass off as evolutionary rationalisations, never thought about darwin's theory much at all.

The interesting thing about Darwin is the number of very loud voices claiming that the 'debate' is over and that any dissenters are either mad, ignorant or deluded. I see fairly clear parallels with the treatment of people who dare criticise the current man made global warming narrative

It's not about science. It's about advocacy

I always thought good scientists were suppose to welcome the opportunity that criticism provides to test their theories out and to see if they are 'true'...

lwtc247 said...

"It's not about science. It's about advocacy"

Indeed, and I believe you
(or was it Alex Fear?
http://www.abandonallfear.co.uk/)
came out with another bullseye about genetics/evolution when you said its about plausability.

Too right!

Science (and solid thought) is definately festering in the bin on these ones.

Anonymous said...

"I always thought good scientists were suppose to welcome the opportunity that criticism provides to test their theories out and to see if they are 'true'..."

So, going to Karl Popper and his idea of falsifiability of hypotheses as a test to see whether or not they are scientific: how would one falsify Darwinism?

Stef said...

So, going to Karl Popper and his idea of falsifiability of hypotheses as a test to see whether or not they are scientific: how would one falsify Darwinism?

F*cked if I know

Whilst it's very good for weaving plausible-sounding 'Just So' stories after the event the predictive power of Darwinism is negligible, so I'm not even sure that it qualifies as what I understand the term 'science' to mean