Friday, July 25, 2008

Liberal creationism

Michael Shermer calls the unfortunate tendency of liberals ("the left") to resist the application of evolutionary biology to human beings 'liberal creationism'. David P. Barash, a psychologist at the University of Washington, takes up exactly this theme in a recent LA Times op-ed entitled "Monkeying with evolution":
And there's the rub. For more than 30 years, left-leaning academics -- notably residing in the humanities and, to a lesser extent, the social sciences -- have been strongly opposed to using evolutionary theory to help make sense of human behavior, in part because their professional training emphasizes the role of social learning and cultural traditions, and -- perhaps even more -- because they fear the possible findings. Do racial differences imply genetic distinctions that might argue against social equality? Are women fated for kitchen work and childbearing, not high-level physics? And even if the science is more nuanced than that (which it certainly is), will the simpler message drown out the details and provide ammunition for social regression?


  1. Until the discovery of the Holocaust, and the civil rights movement, it was generally understood that races did differ in terms of average intelligence. The belief that the different races are equal in average ability was a leap of faith that has caused liberals to jump off of a cliff. Unfortunately, they expect rational people to join them.

    Arguments against The Bell Curve remind me of Fundamentalist attacks on Charles Darwin, or denials of the greenhouse effect.

  2. Charles Murray explains why the War on Poverty failed, and why No Child Left Behind is failing.