Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Jihad Against Race

   The real problem with the current middlebrow public discussion of race is that the question "Are races natural kinds?" has been turned into a moral and political question rather than a question about classification.
   (This is distantly related to a point made by John McWhorter.)
   Here's yet another example in which it's clear that the question of the reality of race is not being treated as a scientific/philosophical one, but, rather, as a means to the end of anti-racism.
   Although the vast majority of the currently-available arguments for nominalism/antirealism about race are unsound (and rather clearly so), good arguments could, theoretically, appear in the future. The most striking feature of the disagreement, however, has to do with meta-level questions about the enforcement of political orthodoxy in science, and sciences' pliability in this respect. As with other groups, most biologists and physical anthropologists seem to be afraid of being called racist, and so they seem to be hunkering down and/or paying lip-service to the politically correct doctrine.
   However the answer to the specific question about race turns out, no one short of the totalitarian left should be applauding this kind of Lysenkoism and intellectual cowardice, especially on the part of natural scientists. Even if the nominalists are right, their demand that their conclusion be accepted by the public in the absence of sound argumentation is alarming in the extreme.
   This is not an issue to be treated lightly.

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