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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  June 2002

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE June 2002

Subject:

Re: racism/evolution and internet projections

From:

Ivan Handler <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 28 Jun 2002 14:45:52 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (59 lines)

My apologies for the incorrect presumption.  I still believe that the
issue is one of  both scientific responsibility and of rigor.  I can
certainly understand why minorities may believe that behaviors like
racism may be genetic - they appear to be so stubborn in our society
that an explanation like that may seem plausible.  But the problems
still remain, the social use of such conjecture is well known, e.g. the
Bell Curve is still influencing social policy even though it is clearly
just a hodge-podge of useless numbers and conservative rants.  That is
why I believe that the question is not just one of what questions that a
scientist may wish to ask (any question is in theory acceptable), but
what are the criteria to be used to determine whether or not the question:

1.  has an answer that can be determined by contemporary standards of
objectivity (this lays the basis for controversy as it should, no
scientist should ever feel that their results are beyond question) and
2.  whether or not the scientist in question has actually produced data
that achieves objectivity.

In the case of ev-psy, both 1 and 2 are contentious.  As has been
remarked by many, racism is clearly a social construct, investigating
its "genetic" basis seems subjective on the face of it (without
supporting data and where would that come from?).  While I think it is
clear that these conjectures on the relations between human behaviors
(stated in terms that make sense in a human culture, not in terms that
are invariant from culture, which seem difficult to conceive) and
genetics will continue.  It is crucial that these conjectures are
exposed over and over again.  That does not stop their influence (I have
been an educator and talk to many, the idea that children are acting out
their genetic endowments in the classroom seems to be omnipresent to the
detriment of all but the chosen "gifted" ones, and maybe not even them).
One of the functions of this list is to combat the influence of these
social biases masquerading as science.

-- Ivan

Ed Dunbar wrote:

> the presumption is wrong, the proposition is that of Dr.
> Cress-Welsing, a 65 year old Black psychiatrist. She is not starting
> to appear, but has proposed this for the past 20 years.
>
>
>
>
> Edward Dunbar


--
Ivan Handler
Networking for Democracy
[log in to unmask]


--
--
Ivan Handler
Networking for Democracy
[log in to unmask]

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