This exchange is developing some history, but if you start at my entry that started it all and followed the track backs I think you will cover. I now respond to Herr Professor’s post, here, which if I may say is much better thought out than his first entry, but still misses some important points.
I really must deal with this “Horvath is a racist insinuation” that came out of his first reply. In the article that I cited, Watson does not argue from Darwinism to racism, rather he argues that there genetics may have an effect on intelligence. Herr Professor like a lot of other skittish skeptics and scientists knee-jerked there way into describing this as ‘racist.’
Now, in the original article I reacted to, Watson was denying that he meant anything racist by what he said, and at least in the quotations in that article, there wasn’t anything particularly ‘racist.’ In other words, at least in the original article, Watson himself was denying that he meant anything racist.
That would actually mean that I am all alone in my insistence that Darwinism is perfectly compatible with racism because it doesn’t look like Watson is making that claim. I am open to hearing other comments by Watson that may be incriminating to him on this score, but The Professor responded to my post where I quoted an article with Watson denying the charge, so he has no excuse for attempting to make this link.
He missed the vital point about Downs Syndrome. I gave Downs Syndrome as an example not merely of a genetic condition, but one that affects intelligence. Thus, if anyone needed any evidence that there can be genetic influences on intelligence, one need not look any further. Thus, my agreement with Watson would be on this point and this point only. The Professor along with Watson’s many detractors seems to think that making this observation alone is tantamount to being racist.
That one could make that observation and not apply it in racial terms requires an adherence to an objective moral system. If a person does not have such a system but still rejects a racial application we can think of their view with as much weight as we might if they said that their favorite thing to eat is a hamburger. Fine, but I prefer pizza.
Now, he continues to focus on my emphasis on the ethical indiscretions of scientists. There is a reason for it, and namely it is this: people are giving undue regard to scientists. He still ignores the Milgram experiment and also the Spina Bifida experiment which are both cases in point on the fact that this regard is given. It is a simple fact that scientists are permitted to speak well outside their field.
Is that the fault of the scientists? To an extent. But mainly it is our fault for letting them yap their mouths. I thought it ironic that Herr Professor thought that Dawkins, a zoologist, was no longer speaking outside his field when he addressed religion, because, well, he wrote a book defending his views, didn’t he?
In conclusion, we must address what I think is the core issue from my point of view. He says:
The value judgments, for or against racism, are coming from somewhere outside of evolutionary science. And itâ€™s the value judgments that define what racism is, and why itâ€™s wrong. Darwin has nothing to do with it.
We might also add his comments again pointing out that many scientists reject Watson’s observations. I could argue that this is because they are often theists. 😉 I have often been told that many scientists are theists and even Christians and so that is proof positive that Darwinism is not incompatible with Christianity. Not that I really believe that. Francis Collin is in a small group. I think Dawkins is closer to the truth when he says that most scientists are atheists. But this returns us to our issue.
My argument is that if evolution is true, there is no place outside of Darwinism to derive value judgments. Herr Professor has surely read Dawkins’s Delusion. It is a prime example of an attempt to cast all of human behavior in evolutionary terms. If value judgments are arising from some place other than Darwinism, that is essentially picking and choosing what things you’ll explain by evolution and which things you won’t.
Herr Professor is certainly right: the rejection of racism, and why it is wrong emerges from outside of Darwinism. It is essentially borrowed capital from Christianity. Herr Professor, like most of the scientists we might reference, emerge out of the western civilization and have breathed the values of its Christian heritage. Bluntly: racism is rejected as ‘wrong’ because it is accepted in practice that there is in fact an objective morality as maintained by Christians.
If they argue that there is no objective morality, and as evidence of this our evolutionary origins are cited (as many Darwinists are wont to do), then I think we can just set aside their protestations that racism is ‘wrong.’ Yippee, a declaration that something is ‘wrong’ by moral relativists! I feel comforted, don’t you?
If Herr Professor would like to continue down the path to the moral high road he’s going to have to establish why we should think there is any kind of objective basis for his declaration that anything is wrong, let alone racism. Until then, I think of his protests as a mere beating of the wind.
I oppose racism on principled grounds that can be traced back to some objective standard which I ought to adhere to whether I like it or not. If we are to believe that evolutionists reject racism for any reason other than it makes them feel squeamish, they’re going to have to provide a rationale that does something that they are very reluctant to do, that is, it admit that there is an objective moral standard.