October 25, 2005

John Derbyshire: "The Specter of Difference"

"The Specter of Difference" is the new article by John Derbyshire in the Nov. 7th issue of National Review. It was inspired by Bruce Lahn's recent discovery of two heterogeneously distributed brain development genes. The Derb writes:

While I believe that results like these out of the human sciences should prompt us to begin some hard thinking about our society, and about what we can reasonably expect social policies to accomplish, I don’t think that conservatives should fear these results, or strive to deny them. For all the corruption it has suffered from public financing and infection by campus political fads, science is, I shall always believe, a fundamentally conservative profession. Pseudoscience and wishful thinking — they are usually the same thing — have their natural home on the political left, Marx’s “scientific socialism” being only the best-known example. True science doesn’t care what we believe or what we wish for. It just tells us what is, and leaves us to come to terms with it as best we can. Science is a Daddy discipline, not a Mommy discipline.

It is not the case, as foolish people like Richard Dawkins tell us, that science excludes religion. (The research geneticist personally best known to me, another native of China, is a passionate adherent of the Falun Gong sect.) It is true, however, that in his working hours a scientist owes devotion to only one deity, the one Rudyard Kipling called “the God of Things As They Are.” That God is, as Kipling himself was, profoundly conservative in all His works, and conservatives, religious or otherwise, have nothing to fear from Him. To judge from history, in fact, His greatest delight is to make fools — or slaves, or corpses — of pacifists, family-breakers, sexual liberators, dispensers of unconditional welfare, love-the-world purveyors of Uplift, Scientific Socialists, and deniers of unpleasant truths.

Some of the truths now beginning to emerge from the human sciences will strike us as very unpleasant indeed. Some of them will force us to hard thinking about our nation, our ideals, and our traditional boundless optimism towards the potentialities of human beings. We have it on good authority, though, that we shall know the truth, and the truth shall make us free. I believe that if we hold fast to faith in that proposition, and trust science to uncover the truth, neither we nor our country will come to any harm. [More] ...

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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