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Watson, Racism, Evolution, Herr Professor, Reprise

Well, I suppose at some point this cycle of responses between Herr Professor and myself is going to have to end.  I thought it kinda funny to basically be in a conversation with the gent, but of course in the abstract, where I pretend that my comments are to some ethereal group of readers of my blog when in fact they are actually directly mainly at him.  At some point, I guess you just got to move on.

He has posted some thoughts again derived from my original post about Watson’s embarrassing comments linking genetics to intelligence.  If you start there and follow the track backs I think you’ll hit his responses and mine.

Judging from his last entry, it looks like I’ve stumped him.  Always fun to stump an evolutionist and skeptic when you get a chance.  :)  I almost don’t want to clear things up because I like the idea that he’s been stewing in my arguments.  🙂

First, I’ve got to get something out of the way.  He says:

Hopefully, Horvath has just argued himself into a corner, and does not really believe the ridiculous notion that intelligence is somehow dependent on skin color.

Now, why would he want me to argue myself into a corner?  That doesn’t seem very nice.

Ok, now to the substance, at least briefly.   The notion in play here is that genetics may have some bearing on intelligence. In the original story I cited, Watson denied he was making the argument that blacks were of less intelligent and even apologized for giving that impression.  Trust me, I have no desire to defend Watson.  Yet, I cannot deny that there can be, in principle, genetic contributing factors to intelligence.  I need only consider one example, Downs Syndrome, to see that that is the case.

Now, here is the difference.  Merely making the observation isn’t racist, just like observing that person x has blue eyes and person y has brown eyes isn’t being racist.  To get to that point, you actually have to start down the road of assuming the superiority and/or inferiority of one or the other.   I believe that people with Downs Syndrome has as much right to life as anyone else and deserve all the respect we can give them.  This isn’t mere sentimentality.  My world view demands it.

But Darwinism is all about explaining things in terms of reproduction and survival of the fittest.   Either we have evolved as Darwinism says or we have not.  If we have, than we are perfectly in our rights to discriminate however we please to try to further our own genes.   The gene is selfish I’m told.  ‘Racism’ is just as justified as ‘speciesism.’

Which brings me back around.  I am perfectly happy to hear all these evolutionists yammering about Watson’s comments but they’ve really got no objective grounds for doing so.  Merely making an observation isn’t wallowing in prejudice.  How one responds or reacts to an observation is where the value judgments on prejudice are measured, but Darwinism is not value-neutral.   In my opinion, I think it is hardly likely at all that intelligence can be measured on a group basis as Watson is alleged to have done.    If it can, this poses a problem for the evolutionists because naturally, such differences are fodder for a little ‘survival of the fittest’ action, if you get my meaning.

But from my perspective, even if it could be classed into groups, that would still not be justification for discrimination.  Genetic manifestations of whatever trait you wish to imagine- intelligence would just be one example- are not grounds for negative action or attitudes towards a group.

I don’t know if that clears things up for the Doc or not, but it does raise important issues.  Example, is it really rationally coherent to hold to a theory that emphasizes genetic differences and the active elimination of competing genes and the advancement of your own while also denouncing as immoral anything that smacks of advancing your own genes at the expense of another?  No, it isn’t.  Fortunately, when the chips are down, most people don’t actually behave as if we evolved.  *Phew*  😉


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