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So non-racists are mind-body dualists now?

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Not just creationists?

A recently retired New York Times reporter has written a book, A Troublesome Inheritance, espousing Darwinian racism, that is, the belief that evolution has been occurring rapidly. This, we are told, resulted in races having different hereditary IQs.

Naturally, we were wondering why the PC police haven’t pounced. Of course the thesis is nonsense, but that isn’t why the PC police haven’t pounced. It’s just that Darwinian racism didn’t used to be a PC brand of nonsense. Now it apparently is.

Here is a revealing bit from a mostly favourable review in Evolutionary Psychology:

Most social scientists explicitly denounce mind-body dualism as an anachronistic theory that was decisively refuted by modern advances in biology and neuroscience. In practice, however, many implicitly harbor dualistic beliefs, especially when theorizing about potentially incendiary topics such as sex or race differences. The physiognomies and physiques of the sexes or races may vary, but their minds do not. This selective dualism implicitly assumes that the material inside the skull is impervious to selective forces and that the mind, like Descartes’ res cogitans, mysteriously transcends the laws of physics. Because this belief is completely at odds with current knowledge about the world, and with the explicit pronouncements of most social scientists, it is difficult not to see it as a manifestation of political ideology. This does not mean that every researcher or scholar who harbors such beliefs does so because of his or her political preferences; rather, it means that selective dualism has achieved near fixation in academia because it coheres with the ideology of egalitarianism1 that is a prominent component of the worldview of most educated citizens, including professors (see Inglehart and Welzel, 2005; also, many social scientists are liberal, which might compound this problem—see Inbar and Lammers, 2012). Haidt (2013) and others (e.g., Tetlock, 2002) have noted that conscious and unconscious ideologies, like small and imperceptible fluctuations on a superficially smooth surface, can subtly direct the path of science. If these ideologies are wedded to strong political or moral commitments, they can create a “moral tribe”[*] who values ideological consistency more than open and honest inquiry.

So rejection of racism is now part of mind-body dualism (= the assumption that the mind is real, and not simply an illusion created by the buzz of neurons in the brain)?

We have honestly never heard before that one needs to be a mind-body dualist to oppose racism. But if people insist it is true, Uncommon Descent (where everyone is some kind of mind-body dualist) is here for you. 😉

So, let’s see. In “PZ Myers Wades into the Troublesome Inheritance controversy,” I noted that invoking Darwin’s name means that one can advance a racist doctrine safely now. (The Kleagle died recently of envy, I am told. Fundamentalism had prevented him from espousing Darwinism, and now look … )

I said in irony that this was a real triumph of progressive politics. But it turns out that it is not an irony at all. One of the authors of the review, “Darwin’s Duel with Descartes” is Ben Winegard.

Here’s his bio from a leftist site (along with that of a co-author on an article there):

Ben Winegard is a graduate student studying evolutionary and developmental psychology at the University of Missouri. He has published peer-reviewed articles on sports fandom and female body dissatisfaction. He also has an interest in radical politics and activism. … Cortne Jai Winegard has a Master’s Degree in community development and urban planning. She is active in the Columbia, Missouri area promoting simple living and biking. She does not own a motor vehicle and is proud of it. She is also interested in radical politics and activism.

So Darwinism was how racism became an okay left-wing cause?

This whole “Troublesome Inheritance” controversy would appear to be two things (among others, doubtless):

1. An attack on the idea that the human mind has any real existence or that human reasoning has any independence from Darwinian genes. If this assumption is correct, it accounts for the peculiar lumping of a variety of people unsympathetic to creationism into the category, creationists.

That’s standard leftist practice. A “creationist” turns out to be anyone who is unsympathetic to whatever their program is at the moment. So everyone who doesn’t want creationist “cooties” has to run around trying to figure out what the program even is, to get on board with it.

2. Troublesome Inheritance is also probably a renewal of racism on the cultural left. If so, that would explain why “race as a biological construct” suddenly matters so much in those quarters, after it has been in eclipse so long. As is usual with such people, former heroes are now dogs, and the rest of us must figure out what their new program will be. Of that, we are not sure.

[*] Moral tribe? The Canadians who refuse to tolerate legal domestic abuse even though some say it is part of their religion and culture, can be thought of as a “moral tribe.” So? And your point is what, exactly? – O’Leary for News

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2 Replies to “So non-racists are mind-body dualists now?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    as to the claim:

    “Most social scientists explicitly denounce mind-body dualism as an anachronistic theory that was decisively refuted by modern advances in biology and neuroscience.”

    I seriously would like to know exactly which experiments in biology and neuroscience ‘decisively refuted’ mind-body dualism:

    David Chalmers on Consciousness – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK1Yo6VbRoo

    ‘But the hard problem of consciousness is so hard that I can’t even imagine what kind of empirical findings would satisfactorily solve it. In fact, I don’t even know what kind of discovery would get us to first base, not to mention a home run.’
    David Barash – Materialist/Atheist Darwinian Psychologist

    We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    Mind and Cosmos – Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False – Thomas Nagel
    Excerpt: If materialism cannot accommodate consciousness and other mind-related aspects of reality, then we must abandon a purely materialist understanding of nature in general, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology. Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history.
    http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/pro.....9919758.do

    One simple way of demonstrating that the mind is not the same thing as the brain comes from utilizing the ‘Law Of Identity’ to separate properties of mind from properties of the brain:

    Mind-Body Dualism – Is the Mind Purely a Function of the Brain? by Michael Egnor
    Conclusion: Strict materialism predicts that mental function will always correlate with brain function, because mental function is the same thing as brain function. Dualism predicts that mental function and brain function won’t always correlate, because mental function isn’t the same thing as brain function. The Cambridge findings are more consistent with the dualist prediction than with the strict materialist prediction.
    http://www.godandscience.org/e.....alism.html

    Six reasons why you should believe in non-physical minds – podcast and summary (Law of Identity: 6 properties of mind that are not identical to properties of the brain, thus the mind is not the brain)
    http://winteryknight.wordpress.....cal-minds/

    The Mind and Materialist Superstition – Six “conditions of mind” that are irreconcilable with materialism: Michael Egnor, professor of neurosurgery at SUNY, Stony Brook
    Excerpt: Intentionality,,, Qualia,,, Persistence of Self-Identity,,, Restricted Access,,, Incorrigibility,,, Free Will,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....super.html

    Alvin Plantinga has a humorous way of getting this ‘Law of Identity’ point across:

    Alvin Plantinga and the Modal Argument (for the existence of the mind/soul) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOTn_wRwDE0

    Quote:

    “It (my body) looked like pretty much what it was. As in void of life.”
    Pam Reynolds – Extremely Monitored Near Death Experience – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNbdUEqDB-k

    Verse and Music:

    Luke 23:39-43
    One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

    Mystery Of Grace-4HIM – music
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcNbzvFylmc

  2. 2
    ScuzzaMan says:

    If one cannot study evolution in real-time (and one cannot) then how exactly does one study evolutionary psychology?

    Does one assume the evolution and just study the psychology?
    (In which case the term remains redundant: why not just call is psychology?)

    Or is one ‘studying’ psychology with a presumptive evolutionary bias, which is applied to any and every stray item of intelligence that intrudes upon the process?

    My biochemistry is creating the illusion of puzzlement in my illusory mind, at the very existence of the term.

    But I don’t anthropomorphise my genes; they hate it when you do that.

    Which raises another question: if my mind is merely a biochemical illusion, then when I experience a feeling or a thought, say ‘puzzlement’, the student of evolutionary psychology will have a corresponding illusion that he must explain to my illusory consciousness that even its thoughts are illusions? The illusory thoughts of my illusory consciousness have a causal relation to his illusions?

    Oh yes, that’s clear.

    Through a glass darkly, indeed.

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