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The alt right, popular media, and Darwin

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From Denyse O’Leary (O’Leary for News) at MercatorNet:

Anyone not committed to Darwinian survival of the fittest cannot be ‘alt right’.

I wrote the piece because I had been following the alt right (human biodiversity studies, etc.) for a while on account of a curious incident: An alt right group was promoting a book, Troublesome Inheritance, by a retiring science writer. Their promos landed in my box. They understood the book to be a defense of classic Darwinian racism.

At the time I was mainly interested in the way in which popular science media treated Inheritance respectfully but very cautiously. The science writers are all supposed to be pro-Darwin, you see, but anti-racist. It is not clear that the two concepts are entirely separable ,however. Anyway, I did not think that either their dance on hot coals or the alt right would amount to much, apart from a note in the files.

But then the fad developed in recent weeks for implying that just about any American who might have voted for Donald Trump was “alt right.” The fad caught on because the term sounds sinister enough to scare people. But most of the people who might be affected do not know what it stands for: explicitly Darwinian racism. For example. If you are any kind of a creationist, you cannot be alt right.

So, being one of the few people who was fitfully keeping up with the story, I thought it best to say something:

The term “alt right” is thrown around a lot these days to account for Donald Trump’s winning the U.S. presidency. Mainstream media, blindsided by results they should have been able to predict, are deflecting blame. Many conjure a vast, shadowy, menacing group that propelled Trump to power in hidden ways. A more accurate story is more complex—and far more of a problem for the generic worldview of current mainstream media.

“An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right” by Allum Bokhari & Milo Yiannopoulos offers some background to the movement at Breitbart: The most influential thinkers they follow are Oswald Spengler (1880–1936), H.L Mencken (1880–1956), Julius Evola (1898–1974), and Sam Francis (1947–2005). None of these iconoclastic figures seems likely to become a cultural icon of typical Americans who voted for Trump.

So the core alt right constituency is disaffected, underemployed millennial video gamers. Darwinism undergirds their belief in a superior “white” identity, despite their lack of notable achievements, in an age of rampant identity politics. More.

The alt right is not the cause of the disconnect between legacy mainstream media or for that matter, legacy mainstream science, and the public. The causes are internal.

See also: Nature: Scientists “stunned” by Trump win. Why? Doesn’t that speak poorly of the powers of the scientific method?

Added in response to comments:  

The underlying problem is that no one has ever confronted and repudiated the racist element in Darwinian thinking, especially fundamentalism about speciation (which means it would apply to humans too).

To see what I mean: Here’s an ongoing scandal in the United States that never just dies: Once again another push by U.S. House Democrats for a national Darwin Day (2015).

What? Do we need a nuke instead of a silver bullet? This would not be happening if the inevitable racist element in Darwin’s theory of speciation were ever properly addressed. But it is merely ignored, denied, hinted at, disparaged, and then dropped as a topic. When the ghoul walks again, those who report its presence are treated with hostility and contempt.

As a result, political operatives recently found it convenient to assert to a public that knows little of the obscure group that “alt right” means something other than explicitly Darwinian racism and encompasses a broad spectrum of people, including tens of millions who could not possibly be “alt right” (because they are creationists).

The pop science writers you pay to read or listen to would never let you in on that fact. So we do it as a free service:

Just to set the record straight on the issues we cover. Not that that’ll make any difference if one chooses to read pop science media rather than the record.

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9 Replies to “The alt right, popular media, and Darwin

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    “alt-right” is a rhetorical smear device in the tradition of “neo-conservative” and “tea party.”

    Headline: Media Organs Dip Into Same Playbook Again

    Andrew

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    Darwinism undergirds their, (The Alt-Right), belief in a superior “white” identity,

    These wannabe Nazis might be surprised to learn that white Europeans are actually genetically inferior to Africans:

    Human Genetic Variation Recent, Varies Among Populations – (Nov. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: Nearly three-quarters of mutations in genes that code for proteins — the workhorses of the cell — occurred within the past 5,000 to 10,000 years,,,
    “One of the most interesting points is that Europeans have more new deleterious (potentially disease-causing) mutations than Africans,”,,,
    “Having so many of these new variants can be partially explained by the population explosion in the European population. However, variation that occur in genes that are involved in Mendelian traits and in those that affect genes essential to the proper functioning of the cell tend to be much older.” (A Mendelian trait is controlled by a single gene. Mutations in that gene can have devastating effects.) The amount variation or mutation identified in protein-coding genes (the exome) in this study is very different from what would have been seen 5,000 years ago,,,
    The report shows that “recent” events have a potent effect on the human genome. Eighty-six percent of the genetic variation or mutations that are expected to be harmful arose in European-Americans in the last five thousand years, said the researchers.
    The researchers used established bioinformatics techniques to calculate the age of more than a million changes in single base pairs (the A-T, C-G of the genetic code) that are part of the exome or protein-coding portion of the genomes (human genetic blueprint) of 6,515 people of both European-American and African-American decent.,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....132259.htm

    “We found an enormous amount of diversity within and between the African populations, and we found much less diversity in non-African populations,” Tishkoff told attendees today (Jan. 22) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Anaheim. “Only a small subset of the diversity in Africa is found in Europe and the Middle East, and an even narrower set is found in American Indians.”
    Tishkoff; Andrew Clark, Penn State; Kenneth Kidd, Yale University; Giovanni Destro-Bisol, University “La Sapienza,” Rome, and Himla Soodyall and Trefor Jenkins, WITS University, South Africa, looked at three locations on DNA samples from 13 to 18 populations in Africa and 30 to 45 populations in the remainder of the world.-

    New analysis provides fuller picture of human expansion from Africa – October 22, 2012
    Excerpt: A new, comprehensive review of humans’ anthropological and genetic records gives the most up-to-date story of the “Out of Africa” expansion that occurred about 45,000 to 60,000 years ago.
    This expansion, detailed by three Stanford geneticists, had a dramatic effect on human genetic diversity, which persists in present-day populations. As a small group of modern humans migrated out of Africa into Eurasia and the Americas, their genetic diversity was substantially reduced.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-10-a.....nsion.html

    The Genetics of Blond Hair June 1, 2014
    Excerpt: ,,,When he and his colleagues studied this regulatory DNA in human cells grown in a laboratory dish, they discovered that the blond-generating SNP reduced KITLG activity by only about 20%. Yet that was enough to change the hair color.“This isn’t a ‘turn the switch off,’ ” Kingsley says. “It’s a ‘turn the switch down.’ ”
    “This study provides solid evidence” that this switch regulates the expression of KITLG in developing hair follicles,
    http://news.sciencemag.org/bio.....blond-hair

    Daily thought: blue eyes and other gene mutations, April 25, 2013
    Excerpt: “Research on blue-eyes has led many scientist to further affirm that humans are truly mere variations of the same origin. About 8% of the world’s total population has blue eyes so blue eyes are fairly rare. In fact, blue eyes are actually a gene mutation that scientist have researched and found to have happened when the OCA2 gene “turned off the ability to produce brown eyes.”
    http://www.examiner.com/articl.....-mutations

    Melanin
    Excerpt: The melanin in the skin is produced by melanocytes, which are found in the basal layer of the epidermis. Although, in general, human beings possess a similar concentration of melanocytes in their skin, the melanocytes in some individuals and ethnic groups more frequently or less frequently express the melanin-producing genes, thereby conferring a greater or lesser concentration of skin melanin. Some individual animals and humans have very little or no melanin synthesis in their bodies, a condition known as albinism.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanin#Humans

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    These next studies, which support the principle of genetic entropy (Sanford, Behe), would have really messed with Hitler’s plan for evolving a ‘master race’;

    Are brains shrinking to make us smarter? – February 2011
    Excerpt: Human brains have shrunk over the past 30,000 years,
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....arter.html

    If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking? – January 20, 2011
    Excerpt: John Hawks is in the middle of explaining his research on human evolution when he drops a bombshell. Running down a list of changes that have occurred in our skeleton and skull since the Stone Age, the University of Wisconsin anthropologist nonchalantly adds, “And it’s also clear the brain has been shrinking.”
    “Shrinking?” I ask. “I thought it was getting larger.” The whole ascent-of-man thing.,,,
    He rattles off some dismaying numbers: Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. “I’d call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eyeblink,” he says. “This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look.”
    http://discovermagazine.com/20.....-shrinking

    Scientists Discover Proof That Humanity Is Getting Dumber, Smaller And Weaker By Michael Snyder, on April 29th, 2014
    Excerpt: An earlier study by Cambridge University found that mankind is shrinking in size significantly.
    Experts say humans are past their peak and that modern-day people are 10 percent smaller and shorter than their hunter-gatherer ancestors.
    And if that’s not depressing enough, our brains are also smaller.
    The findings reverse perceived wisdom that humans have grown taller and larger, a belief which has grown from data on more recent physical development.
    The decline, said scientists, has happened over the past 10,000 years.
    http://thetruthwins.com/archiv.....and-weaker

    Are Wisdom Teeth (Third Molars) Vestiges of Human Evolution? by Jerry Bergman – December 1, 1998
    Excerpt: Curtis found that both predynastic Egyptians and Nubians rarely had wisdom teeth problems, but they often existed in persons living in later periods of history. He concluded that the maxillary sinus of the populations he compared were similar and attributed the impactions he found to diet and also disuse causing atrophy of the jaws which resulted in a low level of teeth attrition. Dahlberg in a study of American Indians found that mongoloid peoples have a higher percentage of agenesis of third molars then do other groups and few persons in primitive societies had wisdom teeth problems. As Dahlberg notes, third molars were ‘very useful in primitive societies’ to chew their coarse diet.
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....sdom-teeth

    Verse and Music:

    Numbers 12:1 & 9-10
    And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.,,,
    The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them.
    When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam’s skin was leprous —it became as white as snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had a defiling skin disease,

    Mandisa – Esther – Born For This – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxFCber4TDo

  4. 4
    vjtorley says:

    Hi Denyse,

    I came across this article, titled, You Are Still Crying Wolf (November 16, 2016), by “Scott Alexander” (the pseudonym of a doctor and a secular humanist, as far as I can make out), which puts things in perspective (emphases mine – VJT):

    Taking into account the existence of some kind of long tail of alt-right websites, I still think the population of the online US alt-right is somewhere in the mid five-digits, maybe 50,000 or so.

    50,000 is more than the 5,000 Klansmen. But it’s still 0.02% of the US population. It’s still about the same order of magnitude as the Nation of Islam, which has about 30,000 – 60,000 members, or the Church of Satan, which has about 20,000. It’s not quite at the level of the Hare Krishnas, who boast 100,000 US members. This is not a “voting bloc” in the sense of somebody it’s important to appeal to. It isn’t a “political force” (especially when it’s mostly, as per the 4chan stereotype, unemployed teenagers in their parents’ basements.)

    You mentioned that H.L. Mencken is a hero of the alt-right. I’ve written several articles about him for Uncommon Descent, which can be accessed here.

    Hope you are keeping well.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    Zero Hedge has somewhat to say to the media guardians of business as usual who are now pushing talking points about fake news (without addressing warrant and their own patent biases and agendas soberly): http://www.zerohedge.com/news/.....-propagand

  6. 6
  7. 7
    News says:

    Thanks to commenters! The underlying problem is that no one has ever confronted and repudiated the racist element in Darwinian thinking, especially fundamentalism about speciation (which means it would apply to humans too).

    To see what I mean: Here’s an ongoing scandal in the United States that never just dies: Once again another push by U.S. House Democrats for a national Darwin Day (2015).

    What? Do we need a nuke instead of a silver bullet? This would not be happening if the inevitable racist element in Darwin’s theory of speciation were ever properly addressed. But it is merely ignored, denied, hinted at, disparaged, and then dropped as a topic. When the ghoul walks again, those who report its presence are treated with hostility and contempt.

    As a result, political operatives recently found it convenient to assert to a public that knows little of the obscure group that “alt right” means something other than explicitly Darwinian racism and encompasses a broad spectrum of people, including tens of millions who could not possibly be “alt right” (because they are creationists).

    The pop science writers you pay to read or listen to would never let you in on that fact, so we do it as a free service:

    Christian racism? Election years bring dangerous creatures from the shadows

    The alt right, Donald Trump, and – oddly enough – Darwin. Anyone not committed to Darwinian survival of the fittest cannot be ‘alt right’.

    Just to set the record straight on the issues we cover. Not that that’ll make any difference if one chooses to read pop science media rather than the record.

  8. 8
    goodusername says:

    News,

    This would not be happening if the inevitable racist element in Darwin’s theory of speciation were ever properly addressed.

    But what is the “inevitable racist element in Darwin’s theory”? It’s been asked many times but you never answer. If you simply mean that separate populations of a species, that rarely if ever interbreed, will diverge and eventually form into separate species, well, even most Creationists and ID proponents don’t disagree with that. Are they all racist as well? (BTW, Darwin found it questionable whether humans were actually separated into true biological races. He noted, for instance, that all humans readily interbred, and that those that have attempted to number the human races have answered anywhere from two to over sixty. This was at a time when polygenism held sway and most thought humanity was made up of multiple species.)

  9. 9
    wd400 says:

    This would not be happening if the inevitable racist element in Darwin’s theory of speciation were ever properly addressed.

    If you’d let me know what it is I’d happily adress it. (FWIW, Darwin’s theory of speciation is not much like our modern theory of speciation).

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