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Coffee!!: Darwinism as support for racism

I have sometimes been excoriated for saying that Darwinism has been used to support racism.

Well, here is a classical modern day example, from no less a luminary than John Derbyshire:

First, the rational grounds. If a species is divided into separate populations, and those populations are left in reproductive isolation from each other for many generations, they will diverge. If you return after several hundred generations have passed, you will observe that the various traits that characterize individuals of the species are now distributed at different frequencies in the various populations. After a few ten thousands of generations, the divergence of the populations will be so great they can no longer cross-breed; and that is the origin of species. This is Biology 101.

We see the same differences in traits that we don’t think of as directly physical, what evolutionary psychologists sometimes refer to as the “BIP” traits — behavior, intelligence, and personality. Two of the hardest-to-ignore manifestations here are the extraordinary differentials in criminality between white Americans and African Americans, and the persistent gaps in scores when tests of cognitive ability are given to large population samples.

There is a huge academic literature on the gaps in cognitive test results, practically all of it converging on the fact that African American mean scores on cognitive tests fall below the white means by a tad more than one white standard deviation. There is in fact so much data on this now that we have meta-studies — studies of the studies: the one best-known to me is the meta-study by Roth et al. in 2001, which covered 39 studies involving nearly six million test-takers. That one standard deviation on cognitive testing has been so persistent across so many decades, a friend of mine, an academic sociologist, calls it “the universal constant of American sociology” — it’s like the speed of light in physics.

Etc.

Read the rest here.

I’m sure glad that I would be unable to demonstrate that I am an African or an American or an African-American. I’d feel so depressed hearing this that I would probably drop out of school, and maybe get frustrated and … well, if a crime got committed, would reserve my defence.

By the way: Apologies to those who entered recent Uncommon Descent contests, so far unjudged. I was assigned a long chapter of a book on a subject I had never researched. I have not forgotten you. Indeed, I can’t. My Calendar persecutes me every morning. I will get to your entries as soon as I turn in the chapter.

Some people fear God rather than men. I fear men more than Calendars.

Note: In the combox at 2, Allan MacNeill, ever a source of entertainment to our list, has implied that I am a racist. Precisely because I should be working, I am motivated to tell a funny story instead:

About twenty years ago, dear friends and I were having lunch in a restaurant here, shortly after the birth of their first son. They asked me a question: How would they describe the race of their son? One parent was overseas Chinese and the other was of African descent. They had decided to be Canadian citizens, and were energetically learning the names of the provinces, great rivers, etc., for a citizenship exam.

I was flummoxed by the “son” question because it wasn’t something that I had ever considered.

(I so much wish they had asked me instead about the names of the provinces, the great rivers, the mountain ranges, … gee, I could have told them all that in a flash. I was born on the prairie and used to live on the banks of the mighty Yukon.)

Okay, I said, “Just call him a kid. A Canadian kid. And if there is ever any trouble, get in touch with me about it. No one in this country has the right to bug you about this.” It worked.

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38 Responses to Coffee!!: Darwinism as support for racism

  1. It might also be informative to discuss John Derbyshire’s conclusions. Here they are:

    “Thus there are both rational and empirical grounds for believing in intractable group differences between the big old inbred paleolithic populations of Homo sapiens. In the context of this discussion, there are two things that need saying about these differences.

    First, the differences are statistical. Any population contains variation. Variation within a population is the essence of biology. Those of you familiar with Charles Darwin’s great classic On the Origin of Species will recall that three of the first five chapters have the word “variation” in the chapter title. Any population will contain individuals who are fat, thin, fast, slow, tall, short, and so on.

    And in the grand biological scheme of things, human population divergences are slight, the populations overlapping massively on most kinds of traits. To go back to that “universal constant of sociology,” for instance: Given a one standard deviation gap between black and white means, one thing we can deduce from pure mathematics is that around six million African Americans score higher on cognitive tests than the average white test-taker. In LSAT terms, over 1,300 African American test-takers in 2007-2008 scored above the white mean.

    Second, the differences are abstract. Group differences are statistical truths. They exist in an abstract realm quite far removed from our everyday personal experience. They tell you nothing about the person you just met.

    Group differences are, for example, one degree more abstract than individual differences. We all acknowledge individual differences all the time: she’s fat, he’s thin, she’s shy, he’s outgoing, she’s smart, he’s dumb.

    We are all, to various degrees, aware of our own individual strengths and limitations. Certainly I am aware of mine. For example: My wife is a keen ballroom dancer. Because I love my wife, I did my best to become a ballroom dancer myself. For two years — two blessed years, ladies and gentlemen — I went along twice a week with her to the local Arthur Murray studio to take instruction. At the end of it, I still had two left feet. The instruction I received was like water poured on to a sheet of glass.

    Even at the things we are good at, most of us are not very good. I make my living by writing; yet I can name, in my own small personal acquaintance, a dozen people who are better writers than I am. That’s not even to mention the Shakespeares and Tolstoys. Most of us are hopeless at most things, and mediocre at the rest.

    And yet — look! We don’t lose sleep over this. We don’t sink into rage and frustration at our own individual differences, or agitate for politicians to put balm on our psychic wounds. We accept our individual shortcomings with remarkable equanimity, playing the cards we’ve been dealt as best we can. That is the attitude of a healthy human being. To do otherwise would, most of us I’m sure would agree, be un-healthy. How much more unhealthy, then, to fret and rage and agitate about mere statistical abstractions?”

    Does this sound like a justification for unequal opportunity or treatment on the basis of evolutionary theory? To me, it sounds like a conclusion that what matters most is individual differences, which cannot be adequately captured in statistical profiles. But, maybe O’Leary interprets Derbyshire’s conclusions differently…

  2. To be very specific, nowhere in Derbyshire’s presentation does he assert that the empirical fact that African-American’s score lower on average on standardized tests means that they necessarilyshould be treated any differently because they are African-American.

    No, that was O’Leary’s inference.

    Who’s the racist, then?

  3. Personally, I think it is racist to be accumulating a lot of information on these topics, for the same reasons as I think it prurient of a neighbour to spy on a neighbour she suspects of having an affair with the postman.

    I also do not understand why census forms require – or even ask – people to state the race they belong to.

    In many cases, who knows? In all cases, who cares?

  4. Oh admit it, Allen. Derbyshire has just provided the amunition for the next Hitler to seize and use for who knows what evil ends.

  5. Allen McNeill

    Who’s the racist, then?

    Uh, Derbyshire is the racist. And he is a racist because he assumes Darwinism is the reason for the difference between distributions in test scores between blacks and whites. Hence, Derbyshire believes blacks are inferior to whites. Regardless if Derbyshire wants to cloak his racism behind advocating equal treatment, in his heart Derbyshire is a born-of-Darwin racist.

  6. Bilboe

    Oh admit it, Allen. Derbyshire has just provided the amunition for the next Hitler to seize and use for who knows what evil ends.

    That is not the issue nor the standard by which someone is racist or not. Derbyshire thinks that white people have evolved more intelligence that black people. Derbyshire is a racist. And it is because of his faith in Darwinism.

  7. Prof. MacNeill,

    However, reading Derbyshire’s opening remarks, pasted here (italics mine), clearly suggests his concluding remarks was simply a polite attempt at CYA.

    …..but that racial disparities in education and employment have their origin in biological differences between the human races. Those differences are facts in the natural world, like the orbits of the planets. They can’t be legislated out of existence; nor can they be “eliminated” by social or political action.

  8. BTW,

    I don’t believe for a minute that if an African American was transplanted in infancy into an affluent home with the accompanying social, economic, and educational foundation, that their test scores would still suffer “one standard deviation”.

    I am curious to find out if such studies have been conducted or not.

  9. The issues are more nuanced. There are ID proponents who defend the idea that there are racial differences in intelligence. Allen MacNeill will find an ally in the ID proponent Ann Coulter on this topic.

    I’m not wrighting to say that Derbyshire is right, but to point out, that to assert racial difference in intelligence is not necessarily an indicator one is a Darwinist.

    Coulter writes in the pro-ID book Godless

    When Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s boo The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life….

    IQ exists, it is easily measured, it is heritable, and it is extremely important.

    IQ is a better predictor than socioeconomic status of poverty, unemployment, criminality, divorce, single motherhood, workplace injuries, and high school dropout rates. Spouses tend to have closer IQs than siblings….The Bell Curve authors estimate that IQ was about 40 to 80 percent genetic

    Coulter continues

    Liberals were afraid of a book that told the truth about IQ because they are godless secularists who do not believe humans are in God’s image. Christians have no fear of hearing facts about genetic differences in IQ because we don’t think humans are special because they are smart.

    After Hitler carried the secularists’ philosophy to its bloody conclusion, liberals became terrified of making any comment that seems to acknowledge that there are many differences among groups of people–especially racial groups.

    Coulter finishes

    Science is the study of the world as it exists, which, to their constant annoyance, is not the world liberals world liberals would like it to be. Liberals are personally offended that the AIDS virus seems to discriminate against gays. So they lie about it. They are sad that IQ is not infinitely malleable but has a genetic component. So they lie about it (and denounce people who tell the truth as racists). They are angry that men and women have different innate abilities. So they lie about it.
    ….
    Liberals are hostile to the very notioin that things are things are a certain way…They want every thing to be ffluid, flexible, up for grabs. That is the one reason they are so fixated on the idea of evolution.

    After defending the idea that there are racial difference in intelligence, Coulter goes on to defend ID in her book Godless

  10. The charge of racism has been thrown about with such abandon (almost exclusively by those on the left) that it has lost all meaning and significance.

    The same thing has happened with the charge of “denialism.” Challenge the universal efficacy of random errors filtered by natural selection to explain every phenomenon in living systems (such challenges based on logic, mathematics, and empirical evidence), or challenge the claim that human activity is responsible for soon-to-be catastrophic global warming (such challenges based on the same, with empirical falsification of the computer models on which the hysteria was based) — and one will be compared with antisemitic mental patients who claim that the Holocaust never occurred.

    This tactic will no longer fly, because it is so obviously illegitimate and a sign of desperation that the foundational claims being made cannot be defended on their merits.

    Those who continue to use these tactics are committing intellectual suicide. Eventually, no one will take them seriously about anything.

    On the subject of race, I’m a believer in Dennis Prager’s definition: There are only two races, the decent and the indecent.

  11. Summary Of Evidence For Human Evolution & The Racism Evolution Engenders – Don Patton – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4032606

    The Dark Legacy Of Charles Darwin – 150 Years Later – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4060594

  12. Myth: The black/white IQ gap is largely genetically caused.

    Fact: Almost all studies show the black/white IQ gap is environmental.
    http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-IQgapgenetic.htm

    Excerpt:
    Adjustments for socioeconomic conditions almost completely eliminate differences in IQ scores between black and white children, according to the study’s co-investigators.,,,,”Almost one half of all black children whose families were not poor resided in poor neighborhoods, compared with less than 10 percent of white children,” said Duncan.,,,To determine the child’s level of stimulation in the home environment, the data included measurements of parents’ involvement and learning and language experiences that they provided for their children. For example, it measured whether the child has toys that teach color, size and shape and whether the child is encouraged to learn the alphabet and numbers.,,,,In another study of children raised in residential institutions, black, white and racially mixed children who were raised in the same enriched environment were given IQ tests. At four years of age, the white children had an average IQ of 103, the blacks had an average IQ of 108, and the racially mixed children had an average IQ of 106. (4),,,
    http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-IQgapgenetic.htm

    Who enriched learning environment produces equal IQ’s ,,,, who’d a thunk to look for that????

  13. As far as Darwinism and racism, I wouldn’t use Derbyshire to make that case.

    A stronger case can be made by the scientific malpractice involved with Ota Benga

    One of the more interesting incidences in the history of evolution and racism is the story of the man who was put on display in a zoo (Brix, 1992). Brought from the Belgian Congo in 1904 by noted African explorer Samuel Verner, he was soon “presented by Verner to the Bronx Zoo director, William Hornaday” (Sifakis, 1984, p. 253). The man, a pygmy named Ota Benga (or “Bi” which means “friend” in Benga’s language), was born in 1881 in Africa. When put in the zoo, he was about 23 years old, four feet-eleven inches tall, and weighed a mere 103 pounds. Often referred to as a boy, he was actually a twice married father-his first wife murdered by the white colonists, and his second spouse died from a poisonous snake bite (Bridges, 1974).

    He was first displayed in the anthropology wing at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair with other pygmies as “emblematic savages” along with other “strange people” The exhibit was under the direction of W J. McGee of the Anthropology Department of the St. Louis World’s Fair. McGee’s ambitions for the exhibit were to “be exhaustively scientific in his demonstration of the stages of human evolution. Therefore he required ‘darkest Blacks’ to set off against ‘dominant whites’ and members of the ‘lowest known culture’ to contrast with ‘its highest culmination’” (Bradford and Blume, 1992, pp. 94-95). The exhibit was also extremely popular and “attracted considerable attention” (Verner, 1906a, p. 471). The pygmies were selected because they had attracted much attention as an example of a primitive race.

  14. The differences in IQ and SAT scores and the like between different ethnic groups is so obviously environmental (basically socio-economic), and there is a mountain of statistical evidence to back it up. Plus it all misses the point since IQ and SATs don’t even measure real intelligence. What do you mean by “intelligence”? The ability to think for yourself, critical thinking skills, the questioning of authority, the ability to see through destructive conditioning and the like – none of this is measured by IQs which is simply a selective skills proficiency test that is itself rooted in modern Western cultural biases. Therefore IQs don’t measure real intelligence, it’s actually kind of stupid to think that they do.

    We can all be intelligent is some ways and stupid or thoughtless in others, IQs measure none of this. You believe in a 9-11 conspiracy, a Jewish conspiracy, a freemason one etc, this is stupid and sinister. Yet many people whose IQ scores vary considerably with one another will believe this kind of rot, many of them are considered intelligent and proficient in their respective fields of expertise and they may well be. My point is IQs have nothing to say on this front ie they do not measure this frightingly pervasive stupidity (I have just taken idiotic conspiracy theories as an example), thus they do not measure REAL intelligence at all. Hence IQ tests are misnamed, in fact the point has been made by education reformers that IQs and SATs are obtuse and part of the problem with the miseducation of Western youth.

    The late Stephen Jay Gould wrote one of the best books on the stupidity of so-called intelligence testing, ‘The Mismeasure of Man’. In fact I consider it one of his most important books, anybody who has a problem with bigotry and how the misnamed “intelligence” tests have been used to justify bigotry in respectable circles should read this book. All decent non-bigoted people whatever side they are on in the evolution debate would recognise the important achievement of S Jay Gould in this respect (even if they disagreed with him on his take on neo-Darwinism).

    Incidentally whatever side you are on in the great Darwin debate, you should recognise that there is only one race, the human race, just lots of different ethnic groups. Hence the very expression racism is a misnomer, it should be bigotry and prejudice. This is not a pedantic nit-picking point, because the very term racism implies that there are numerous human races, when there is only one. Hence speaking of differences between human races is simply unscientific, whatever your beliefs on evolution – there is only one human race. One would think people especially concerned with controversies in the natural sciences, like evolutionary biology would recognise that quite easily.

  15. scordova, a very similar tale from South Africa to the one you relate

    see http://architectafrica.com/node/1034

    from the link:

    Pretoria – Government is to honour the life of Sarah Bartmann by establishing the Sarah Centre of Remembrance, the Sarah Bartmann Human Rights Memorial and the Khoi-San Heritage Route, during the month of March.

    These sites will be opened during the month of March by the Department of Arts and Culture to acknowledge the tribulations and trials of Sarah Bartmann and the role that the Khoisan people played in the struggle against colonialism and racism by hosting the series of events…..Ms Bartmann has become an icon of oppression and colonialism, systems that systematically stripped Africans of their dignity…..

    Sarah Bartmann, a South African Khoi-San woman, was born in 1789 and worked as a slave in Cape Town when she was discovered by doctor from a British ship William Dunlop. The doctor persuaded her to travel with him to England where she was captured as a slave and became the object of racism and exploitation. She was forced to publicly display her unusual physical features and she was subsequently displayed as a scientific curiosity. Her physical characteristics where not unusual for Khoisan women, however to the Europeans her features were larger than normal. Ms Bartmann was later moved to Paris where she continued to be exhibited by an animal trainer in degrading displays for public amusement.

    When she died, her body landed under the knife of the leading French anatomist of the day, Baron Cuvier. He had her body cast in wax, dissected and her skeleton articulated. Her genitalia and brain were preserved in a bottle and displayed at the Museum of Mankind in Paris until as recently as 1974.

    However, a year after the democratic elections in 1994, the new South African government initiated talks with Paris for her remains to be returned. On 9 August 2002, on Women’s Day, the remains of Sarah Bartmann were finally laid to rest at Hankey, the area of her birth near the Gamtoos River Valley in the Eastern Cape.
    Her grave has been declared a national heritage site.

  16. GilDodgen:

    The charge of racism has been thrown about with such abandon (almost exclusively by those on the left) that it has lost all meaning and significance.

    and:

    Those who continue to use these tactics are committing intellectual suicide. Eventually, no one will take them seriously about anything.

    I agree and would request that O’Leary stop doing this forthwith.

  17. PaulT at 16, either follow the discussion or quit commenting.

    My point is that demanding that people state their race on census forms – for example – provides a basis for a higher than normal level of racism.

    Take that away, and we are left only with the natural level of racism that might exist in the same population. Typically, it is a population where some people will also brawl in favour of the shining stars of the local hockey team, compared with those clumsy bums favoured by the clueless cheering section that arrived on the team bus from out of town.

    Some level of prejudice is a natural feature of humans. But I deeply resent government stoking the fires by demanding information that is really none of their business in a free society.

    There is a lot to be said for minding one’s own business, especially now, when many societies are going global.

  18. Re O’Leary in comment #17:

    Surprisingly, I find myself in complete agreement with O’Leary’s comment. Of what conceivable use would be information correlating IQ and race? In a meritocracy, people should advance solely on the basis of their achievements, not their appearance, age, skin color, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Notice that I did not include effort in this list; effort, while necessary, is not sufficient, and some people can accomplish extraordinary things seemingly without effort (Mozart and Richard Feynman, for example).

    Finding statistically significant correlations between race and/or gender and identifiable medical conditions, on the other hand, is a legitimate source of information for the improvement of health care delivery. It is, in my opinion, the only legitimate use of gender and racial data, which should not be collected or included with the mandatory US decennial census. Voluntary gathering and use of such demographic information (for example, by marketing organizations) is legitimate, in my opinion, but mandatory gathering of anything beyond a straight census count is not.

    Gathering the kind of information cited by Derbyshire lends itself to the kind of racist comments promulgated by ID supporter Ann Coulter, whose endorsement of the racist policies of Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray is just the latest in a centuries-long tradition in America of using “scientific” data to support social policies.

    In my opinion it is always illegitimate (and potentially evil) for people to conflate “is” statements (e.g. the mean IQ score for European-Americans is one standard deviation higher than the mean IQ score for African-Americans) and “ought” statements (e.g. therefore we ought to reduce the wasteful provision of extra educational services to African-American children). This was William Shockley’s justification for the institutionalization of eugenics in American education, a position that was opposed by the “liberals” that Ann Coulter regularly excoriates.

    Furthermore (and as no one has yet mentioned in this thread or the many others on the spurious linkage between science and politics), it is also the case that Asian-Americans score significantly higher on IQ tests than European-Americans (on the average, of course). Should this finding be used to justify unequal preferential treatment for Asian-Americans?

    No. Nothing in science should be used to “justify” unequal treatment. Period.

    As for O’Leary continuing to link evolutionary theory with eugenics, racism, and beating puppies (oops, sorry, that was somebody else), it is legitimate to point out that when this was done in the past (and, indeed, it was), it was an entirely illegitimate perversion of science, not a legitimate extrapolation of it. The apparent inability of many people to recognize that there is a difference between “is” statements and “ought” statements and that the former cannot legitimately be used to justify the latter, is a common problem with people whose grasp of the principles of science and philosophy is rudimentary at best.

  19. Allan MacNeill at 18, I am delighted that you agree.

    My point is not only that such information demands are an unjustifiable intrusion into people’s lives (which, in my experience, has created puzzlement and, sometimes, genuine grief).

    But it also exacerbates strife in society!

    Random example, drawn from nowhere in particular: It is one thing to be Irish Canadian. It would be another thing to be CLASSIFIED BY THE GOVERNMENT as Irish Canadian.

    That’s like being classified as a Yukon Gold potato.

    One ceases to be a person and becomes simply a commodity. Soon exploited by lobby groups who can make a living off fomenting grievances that need never have existed.

    Now, in the case of many ethnic and people groups, it does little harm because we can afford to laugh at the government’s classifications.

    Memory bank: When I was a child in school, many decades ago, I was routinely asked to state my name, my father’s name, and my ethnicity. A legacy of eugenics, probably.

    The question cannot have related to legal issues, because several generations of my family were born in Canada, and that was easy to demonstrate.

    I said “My name is Denyse Ileen O’Leary, and my father is John Patrick O’Leary, and … ”

    Well, that was enough, right? The teacher had already made a little tick in the ledger beside my name, and waved me on.

    Sure, WE laughed. But for others, it could do real harm, depending on their actual history in a given region. I became sensitive to that sort of thing, and found myself scrutinizing the reason such data is gathered.

    I agree that ethnic issues can be important in compiling medical records. One of the most valuable things that family doctors do when taking on a new patient is to ask, “If any of your grandparents have died of natural causes, how did they come to die? If either of your parents or siblings have died of natural causes, how? Ah, I see. Now, do you have siblings or cousins who suffer from any of [the following] ailments?”

    Yes, it is true. Knowing about probable stress areas for one’s own personal physiology sheds much light for a person charting a course to a healthy old age.

    But the data must be handled very carefully, to prevent misuses.

  20. Science should be free to investigate anything in the natural world without fear or favor. That could include gathering data about different racial groups and it should not be inhibited about doing so for fear that it might be exploited by those with racist agendas. It has always been possible to exploit scientific knowledge for good or evil purposes but that is no reason not to do science.

    Governments, on the other hand, should be compelled by law to justify any act that could infringe on the rights of the governed. Unless it is able to show good cause for such action the default assumption should be that it is forbidden. That would certainly include gathering information about race in a census.

    As for Darwin’s alleged racism, in my view there was a sustained effort here to focus on it, even though it had no bearing on his science, with the intention of undermining the reputation of the “old Brit toff”.

  21. Seversky stated:

    “As for Darwin’s alleged racism, in my view there was a sustained effort here to focus on it, even though it had no bearing on his science,”

    Let’s see how alleged his racism was;

    Titled The Descent of Man, one entire chapter was dedicated to “The Races of Man.” In that book, Darwin wrote:

    At some future period not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes…will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest Allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as the baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla (1874, p. 178).
    http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/12

    No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average Negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man. And if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathus relative has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried out on by thoughts and not by bites (1871, p. 20).

    Do you dare defend this Seversky?

  22. As far as his “science” seversky, is it not fair to say that evolution was proposed long before Darwin?,,,,:

    The Ancient (Pagan) Roots of Evolution
    http://vimeo.com/378992

    ,,,and is it not also fair to say that the only thing novel Darwin actually added was the idea of natural selection?

    But is it not also now fair to say natural selection is dead?

    Natural Selection Reduces Genetic Information – Dr. Georgia Purdom – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4036808

    Natural Selection Reduces Genetic Information – No Beneficial Mutations – Spetner – Denton – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4036816

    Darwinism’s Last Stand? – Jonathan Wells
    Excerpt: Despite the hype from Darwin’s followers, the evidence for his theory is underwhelming, at best. Natural selection – like artificial selection – can produce minor changes within existing species. But in the 150 years since the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, no one has ever observed the origin of a new species by natural selection – much less the origin of new organs and body plans. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

    EXPELLED – Natural Selection And Genetic Mutations – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4036840

    “…but Natural Selection reduces genetic information and we know this from all the Genetic Population studies that we have…”
    Maciej Marian Giertych – Population Geneticist – member of the European Parliament – EXPELLED

    To point out part of the problem with the natural selection mechanism, one Intelligent Design advocate who was debating a evolutionist asked:

    “How did natural selection ever “get purchase on a pimple” to turn it into wing?”

    What Darwin Got Wrong: – Stephen Meyer – Feb. 2010
    Natural selection by definition only “selects” or favors functional advantage. What we have learned in biology over the last 50 years shows that at every level in the biological hierarchy — whether we are talking about novel genes, proteins, molecular machines, signal transduction circuits, organs, or body plans — functional advantage depends upon the occurrence of a series of vastly improbable and tightly coordinated mutational events. Careful quantitative analysis has shown that these events that are so improbable as to put thresholds of selectable function well beyond the reach of chance. The selection and mutation mechanism does not work because the mechanism of natural selection depends on too many improbable things going right before there is anything to select at all.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....ellig.html

    The Strength of Phenotypic Selection in Natural Populations
    This review demonstrates that our information about the strength of phenotypic selection in natural populations has increased dramatically in the past 2 decades, but many important issues about selection remain unresolved.
    http://www.oeb.harvard.edu/fac.....1AmNat.pdf

  23. Seversky: further notes on the failure of “natural selection”:

    Hopeful Monsters and Other Tales: Evolutionists Challenge Darwin – Feb. 2010
    Excerpt: Jerry Fodor, a (atheistic) philosopher at Rutgers, is angry at the dogmatic Darwinists who see natural selection as the be-all and end-all of evolutionary change.,,, Fodor’s beef with natural selection appears to stem from its storytelling propensity. Why do people have traits like hair on their heads and dark hair with dark eyes? “You can make up a story that explains why it was good to have those properties in the original environment of selection,” he said. “Do we have any reason to think that story is true? No.” – Fodor co-authored the book “What Darwin Got Wrong”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100224a

    This following study is very interesting for the researcher surveyed 130 DNA-based evolutionary trees to see if “natural selection” results in speciation and found:

    Accidental origins: Where species come from – March 2010
    Excerpt: If speciation results from natural selection via many small changes, you would expect the branch lengths to fit a bell-shaped curve.,,, Instead, Pagel’s team found that in 78 per cent of the trees, the best fit for the branch length distribution was another familiar curve, known as the exponential distribution. Like the bell curve, the exponential has a straightforward explanation – but it is a disquieting one for evolutionary biologists. The exponential is the pattern you get when you are waiting for some single, infrequent event to happen.,,,To Pagel, the implications for speciation are clear: “It isn’t the accumulation of events that causes a speciation, it’s single, rare events falling out of the sky, so to speak.”
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....tml?page=2

    Evolution vs. Genetic Entropy – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4028086

  24. “Whatever we may try to do within a given species, we soon reach limits which we cannot break through. A wall exists on every side of each species. That wall is the DNA coding, which permits wide variety within it (within the gene pool, or the genotype of a species)-but no exit through that wall. Darwin’s gradualism is bounded by internal constraints, beyond which selection is useless.” R. Milner, Encyclopedia of Evolution (1990)

  25. Seversky@20

    I honestly can’t say whether we ID proponents focus too much on the link between Darwinism and eugenics, racism, genocide, etc. Now if we were making it all up, your point would be much stronger. But since the link is well documented, I don’t have much of a problem keeping it on the front burner when discussing the “truth” of macro-evolution and the importance of being able to challenge it in a reasonable, sane way. That’s why Expelled! should be seen as important. It helped to publicize an inarguable fact: Darwinism and the concept of “survival of the fittest” played *a* role in the rationale used to justify the killing of millions considered “less fit.”

    Now don’t have a hissy fit over this. I’m NOT saying Darwinists are doomed to be racists. I’m also NOT saying that the fact that millions have been killed (in part) because of this kind of thinking necessarily makes macro-evolution invalid or untrue. No, it just means that it is *important* to be able to challenge it in the court of public opinion and academia without undue fear of loss of reputation, career, funding, etc. Left unchallenged, the potential for future (and present) idiots to repeat the mistakes of the past are only that much greater. Reasonable people *should* be able to disagree in a sane, reasonable way about biological origins. Do both sides of this have some crazies that have attached themselves? Sure, but I can ignore my crazies if you can ignore yours.

    Lastly, speaking only for myself, I can honestly say that I don’t bring up the link between Darwin and Hitler in order to discredit Darwin. On matters of race, I consider Darwin merely typical of the era in which he lived; not much better and not much worse. As someone once said, Darwin wasn’t all that original about the things he was right about and was wrong about the things he was original about. Therefore, while I don’t see a justification to deify Darwin as has been done by academia and the press, I also see no need (or basis) to demonize him. He didn’t have our current-day understanding of the complexities found in even the simplest of organisms. He didn’t have any clue regarding DNA and the ridiculous improbabilities of the inanimate becoming animate. He didn’t have an electron microscope or much (if any) understanding of biochemistry. He didn’t know that the fossil record would continue to fail to document huge leaps in complexity. I can actually understand why he would see things as he did. What I can’t for the life of me understand is why modern-day “scientists” haven’t developed an iota of skepticism about the idea that random, chance mutations and natural selection can do it all (or really *anything* of significance). I chalk it up to a mishmash of paradigm, philosophy, fear, and foolishness that to even question the Truth of macro-evolution results in being treated like a holocaust denier. All reasonable people should be able to at least admit that this isn’t appropriate. How about you?

  26. What worries me is the Darwinists’ apparent inability to just admit forthrightly that – like most members of his class in his time – Darwin was a blatant racist.

    He thought black people were closer to gorillas than white people.

    That was one of the things that made me suspicious about Darwinism in the first place. An INability to just admit certain facts about Darwin and Darwinism and move on.

    I live in a multicultural environment, where elderly Caribbean gentlemen get up to offer me their seat on a crowded bus – as a gentleman of the old school might do for a small, elderly lady, overloaded with packages.

    So Darwin’s stated view pretty much ends the discussion about his racism, so far as I am concerned.

    And the Darwinists’ inability to just admit his racism and get past it – well, as I said, that was one of the factors that started me wondering how much else could be false about Darwinism.

    Turns out, almost everything.

  27. I’ve posted many, many times that evolutionary biologists do indeed recognize that Darwin, Huxley, and most of their contemporaries were racist, sexist, and elitist by today’s standards. It would be difficult to find anyone from their social class and time period who was not, including nearly all of the hierarchy of the Anglican church.

    I’ve also posted many times that Darwin’s theories were used by eugenicists to justify their racist, sexist, and elitist social programs, just as selected doctrines of Catholicism and Lutheranism were perverted by the Nazis in support of their social programs.

    In neither of these cases is the ethical rightness or wrongness of peoples’ beliefs and actions at all relevant to the validity of their scientific arguments. The fact that most people are easily led to conclude otherwise does not make such logical fallacies valid, nor does the fact that most evolutionary biologists today recognize Darwin’s theory as the foundation for modern evolutionary theory any evidence whatsoever that modern evolutionary biologists are somehow racist, sexist, or elitist.

    Many creationists and ID supporters (e.g. Ann Coulter) commit an equivalent logical fallacy when they imply by arguments like these that evolutionary biologists today hold the same racist, sexist, elitist views as Darwin, Huxley, and their contemporaries. The plain fact is that, as a group, evolutionary biologists are generally more liberal than the general public, and therefore more likely to oppose racism, sexism, and elitism (Stephen J. Gould simply being a more widely known exemplar of this pattern).

    Furthermore, to somehow claim that one’s beliefs about social issues somehow invalidates one’s scientific findings is yet another logical fallacy. William Shockley was a virulent racist and misogynist. He also shared a Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the solid state transistor. Does his racism and mysogyny somehow support the conclusion that transistors do not function according to the physical principles that he used to develop them? Don’t be ridiculous…

    Ergo, O’Leary’s repeated (and repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated) attempts to make arguments like this are neither logically valid nor of any use whatsoever in coming to clarity on the validity of evolutionary biology and intelligent design. On the contrary, they appear to me to be deliberate attempts to muddy the argument by recasting what should be purely scientific questions as questions of personal and social ethics.

    When someone tries over and over and over again to divert attention from a logically valid argument by making what can only be described as ad hominem arguments, it eventually becomes clear to most people that they don’t have any valid evidence for the positions from which they are diverting everyone’s attention, and that they themselves know this; otherwise why resort to ad hominem arguments?

  28. mtreat

    I’m NOT saying Darwinists are doomed to be racists. I’m also NOT saying that the fact that millions have been killed (in part) because of this kind of thinking necessarily makes macro-evolution invalid or untrue.

    Well put.

  29. Allan McNeill

    Furthermore, to somehow claim that one’s beliefs about social issues somehow invalidates one’s scientific findings is yet another logical fallacy.

    I don’t think anybody is making that argument. What we are saying is that one of the logical conclusions of Darwinism is racism. (As Charles Darwin’s own son insisted.) Especially the materialist reductionist Darwinism practiced by leading atheist lights such as Dawkins. Who, not coincidently, has stated that he would like to see the public debate on eugenics reopened.

    Darwinism is all about favored vs. unfavored races. Admit it.

    The Bible, by contrast, only recognizes one human race, for which Jesus Christ the Son of God died. Thereby elevating all of humanity to equal standing before God.

  30. The Old Testament does not recognize one human race. It tells the story of one favored tribe. If you weren’t one of the Chosen People then they and God could do – and pretty much did – whatever they liked to you. In fact, God loved humans so much, at one point he almost wiped them out according to the story.

    As for Darwin, his racism – such as it was – subsisted mainly in sharing the widespread belief of the time that European culture was superior to that found in other parts of the world. Against it we can set his staunch opposition to slavery and the favorable things he wrote about the various peoples he encountered during the voyage of the Beagle.

    No, if you really want hardcore racism, you should try Martin Luther and his choice little volume On the Jews and their lies as an appetizer then, for the main course, move on to the treatment of Jews at the hands of Christians over the centuries in Europe.

    The fact is, people had no trouble being what we now call ‘racist’ long before Darwin published his theory. Racism is – and probably always has been – a human problem. We pretend otherwise at our peril.

  31. Coulter’s discussion of the Bell Curve is not so much about her acceptance of Herrnstein and Murray, but liberals’ tacit rejection of it. She writes about how the New York Times predicted that it would easily be refuted, but the next in-depth study by the American Psychological Administration confirmed it. People are just taking her description and case for the book and over-reading it as “defense”.

    For example she notes how the Times objected to the “aura of scientific certitude” of the Bell Curve. Her main use of this is how liberals react to “scientific certitude”.

    Take another article where Coulter mentions The Bell Curve: Murdering the Bell Curve. To read her reference to TBC as a fixed point would ignore that the emphasis is on the previous liberal rejection of the concept of IQ in light that they want gruesome murders interpreted in the light of low IQ.

    Racism isn’t just believing that there is a difference in IQ. It is believing in a superiority in one race over another. If Coulter steals away the main assertion in regards to racism by not imputing the importance “smartness” carries with progressives. But her statement that liberals fear the consequences of the ideas presented in the book, can be taken too much as endorsement of everything in the book. And what I’ve read of Ann on TBC doesn’t amount to “ardent supporter” that I’ve seen people suggest. (She may be, my defense of her writing is based on my experience with people’s takes on her writing.)

  32. The Old Testament does not recognize one human race. It tells the story of one favored tribe. If you weren’t one of the Chosen People then they and God could do – and pretty much did – whatever they liked to you.

    I hope you’re not being serious. The “tribe” only exists after Abraham. Until Abraham and the nation of Israel there is no “tribe” which gets favored status.

    But once established: Deut 10:19: ” So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” Deut 24:17: “You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge.” Deut 26:13: “You shall say before the LORD your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me” Jer 7:5-7: 5″For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, 6if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, 7then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.” Ezekiel 22:7, citing the crimes of the rulers of Israel, says “The alien they have oppressed in your midst; the fatherless and the widow they have wronged in you.”

    There was probably more protection in Israel for foreigners than in any similar society of the time.

  33. There was probably more protection in Israel for foreigners than in any similar society of the time.

    Darwin was probably less of a racist than any similarly educated man of his time.

  34. jjcassidy at 32, I believe you are correct.

    The text of Scripture suggests that God favoured the people he rescued from Egypt on a memorable occasion precisely because he wanted them to be a light to the nations – in THEIR day.

    They would remember their bondage, and not replicate the dire circumstances. Indeed, I don’t think they ever did.

    It is easy to say, today, 3500 years later or so – that we can think up better laws than Moses did.

    So? My computer is better than the one I had ten years ago. My dentist has better tooth fixing technology than he had five years ago.

    The thing is, Moses had to work with what he had in his own time, in his own day. And all he really did was to ameliorate the worst abuses.

    Take the status of women, for example: Moses never said that divorce was right or good, but he did say that if a man wanted to divorce his wife, he must give her a certificate of divorce to prove it – after which, he could not take her back. So, if another man wanted to marry her, her former husband could not wreck her life by interfering with ner new marriage.

    Similarly, if a man beat his slave and caused a serious, permanent injury, he had to free the slave.

    That was all Moses could do in those days, and if people were not even willing to do even that, it would be a waste of time to teach them higher ethics.

  35. @Denise,
    you are very selective when applying historical relativism:
    The thing is, Moses had to work with what he had in his own time, in his own day – the same could be said about Darwin!

    As for Moses’s approach to women, I’d like to quote Numbers:

    31:15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
    31:16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.
    31:17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

    Of course, this could be seen as an equal rights procedure, as all the males were slewed earlier.

  36. DiEb at 35: Give us all a break, will you?

    Darwin was contemporaneous with my great grandpa and Darwin honestly believed that black people were closer to gorillas than white people.

    This scandal is not going to die, no matter how many tax dollars or liberal church dollars are thrown at it.

    What happened in Moses’s day happened thousands of years ago. And as I explicitly pointed out, Moses aimed only at preventing routine injustices in his society (like men not explicitly stating that they were divorcing wives, thus preventing them from starting a new life).

    Today, I must pay taxes to hear state-enforced, tax-supported lies about Darwin. Not about Moses.

    I never hear the garbage about Moses that I hear about Darwin.

  37. Seversky,

    First, you are wrong about the Old Testament. Setting that aside, I didn’t say “Old Testament”, I said “Bible.”

    The New Testament states:

    “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” Acts 17:26

    “In him there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free person.” Colossians 3:11

  38. @Denise,

    Darwin was contemporaneous with my great grandpa and Darwin honestly believed that black people were closer to gorillas than white people.

    That does only show that we made quite a progress in a short time: Darwin was 52 when the American Civil War started!

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