Oaxaca, Wednesday 21 February 2007
Friends (and enemies!, principally among the privileged members of the human race)

Sujatha just wrote:
Agreed. But I think that people would have dropped the pursuit of the study of the biological basis of intelligence if the results had shown that people of color (any color) were superior to whites. Many in this list would have have been more eager to drop it too.
On 2/21/07 8:10 AM, "Mitchel Cohen" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

If there is no such thing as "race" (defined genetically/biologically), then there is no such thing as racial differences in intelligence.
Mitchel Cohen
      The utility of this listserv is in my opinion almost null, and I tried some months ago to quit, as my correspondence with Steve Cavrak and several others, reproduced below, shows. Now with the amount of energy and generous treatment accorded Michael Balter, who must be bathing in delight to be gaining so much attention by "the knee-jerk left", I am convinced I was correct in wanting to leave. Michael Balter is simply not worth pissing our energies away on. I just went to see the membership, which as a so-called "owner" I still have access to. Here it is:


134 [View]



[log in to unmask] (Steve Cavrak),
[log in to unmask] (George Salzman)

The number has been slowly dwindling from a little above 150 a few months ago, where it had held for most of the years since 1998.
      We do a disservice to ourselves by honoring Michael Balter's supposed inability to understand that the search for genetic differences among different population groups is guided, in the dominant social system we live in, not by a desire to improve the human condition, but as a tool to be used by the privileged and powerful against the poor and downtrodden. It is nonsense to believe we can persuade him to understand this simple truth by endless appeals to "pure scientific reasoning."
      Of course there are multiple variations within humanity, but the variations ought to be relished for the richness of our genetic heritage that they embody. Individual people are different from one another, but that is no reason to deprive some of them of the opportunity to flourish as full human beings. Denial of that opportunity is precisely what much of the scientific research before which Balter professes to bow down is all about. Sujatha is exactly right. Balter would not be arguing as he is if it was we currently privileged white males who were being "scientifically" found to be inferior.
      The reason we are in this seeming trap is because we are largely powerless middle class academics, as George Lakey correctly conjectures (see my post yesterday, Re: U.S. role in overthrowing dictators nonviolently). In any event, I want out of this group. When I suggested to Steve Cavrak in the spring of 1998 that it might be good to resuscitate Science for the People I was hopeful. But it's been largely futile. Steve, take me off. As an "owner" I'm not able to just unsubscribe, but you're at the Univ of Vermont, which hosts the listserv, and you can do it. You never replied to my earlier request, which follows: (Well, I can't seem to locate my earlier request now.) Also, thanks Herb Fox and Maurice Bazin for trying to persuade me there was value in remaining. I didn't pursue it then, but now I need to focus my energy on the real struggle, which is not located in the privileged middle classes of this collapsing world society.