Sunday, September 07, 2008

Who Dislikes Evolution?

Liberals, supposedly, are for the theory of evolution. Recently, David Friedman highlighted a problem with liberal have with evolution, as liberals do not like to see evolutionary arguments applied to human diversity. Dogs and dinosaur are one thing, but people are just one, biologically identical, family.

The Living Races of Man, by Carelton Coon, published in 1965, is a fun book that shows all the different races of man, and I think it's a great way to show my kids what different people look like. For example, the different types of Asians (Japanese vs. Korean), something my kids won't learn very easily elsewhere. It is funny that while we celebrate diversity, books like this are considered racist, a totally inconsistent position. It seems the primary virtue my kids learn in school is related to diversity. But if everyone is the same, why all the emphasis on the race of Africans, or American Indians? Its like saying that diversity of religion is great, but that the differences in religion do not matter. My kids learn early that inconsistency is an important part of any human set of axioms.

I think the problem is that, while accepting diversity of appearance, or viewpoints, is a good thing, celebrating it is not. It's not 'great' to be gay, or Scandinavian, because that either implies being non-gay, or non-Scandinavian, is less. Or, you mean everything is great, in which case nothing is. There is nothing wrong with being gay or Scadinavian, just nothing great, either. I think it is causing a lot of confusion to highlight differences as 'necessarily good' because we all know it is not so. Everything different is not necessarily good, and even a child knows this.


Anyway, on page 37 there's a note that:

whatever their origin or genetic hitor, the Jews have for a long time contuted a community of more or less endogamous isolates engaged principally in trades and professions requiring high intelligence, for which they have been pruned. It requires no statistics here...to state that the Jews have contributed far more than their numerical share of the world's geniuses in many fields...This is in part explained by the fact that it has long been a practice to marry bright young men destined for the rabbinate to rich merchants' daughters and to encourage them to have large families.

This hypothesis, indeed, was recently explored by Cochran, Hardy, and Harpending only last year, and got front page mention in the NYT Magazine. Too bad there's a taboo against serious research in human biodiversity, as no one would actively seek out what happened to Charles Murray when he put out the Bell Curve, or what happened to Lawrence Summers when he suggested that the native intelligence or interests of women may be relevant to their being relative few females in the hard sciences.

Too bad such obvious questions (and answers), are lying around, unexplored, because of the current zeitgeist. We should not be afraid of the truth, because not looking for it doesn't make it go away.

3 comments:

Pete Sattler said...

We may be bright on average, but I've know plenty of Jews who pull on the push door.

As for me, I'm relieved every time I manage to find my car in a parking lot.

Anonymous said...

"Current zeitgeist"? It has to do with this country's beliefs. You know stuff like "all men are created equal" which has been the creed and the case for 300+ years. Hardly current. More like ever-present. Bedrock.

Eric Falkenstein said...

A "creed" is not science, whereas human biodiversity is. The fact men have equal rights by the government, and are morally equivalent, does not imply they are equal in everything else. After all, saying "John is a gay Scandinavian" is informative, because gays and Scandinavians have certain characteristics, that are morally and legally equal, but still different.