If so many of us are talking about Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne’s moral philosophy anyway, here’s an illustration of the conundrum it creates. Jerry is concerned about unfairness in diversity hiring. Why?:
While I favor a form of affirmative action to increase diversity in hiring, I objected to the diversity-statement procedure because it not only demands adherence to a specific ideology (candidates’ diversity statements were scored on a point system, with higher points given to those whose statements matched the philosophy of the evaluators), but also gives the diversity statement priority over all other qualifications: if a candidate’s diversity score didn’t meet or exceed the cutoff threshold of 11 points, the application was discarded without further review.
This procedure is unfair because of its use of an ideological test, because it doesn’t count other “outreach” activities that are valuable but don’t promote diversity (e.g., giving talks to high school children, writing popular articles on science), and because it bars minority candidates who haven’t engaged in diversity-promoting activities before they apply for jobs.
Imagine, for example, an African-American scholar who has spent her time with her nose to the grindstone, accumulating an admirable academic and teaching record without having had the time or the will to promote diversity. As valuable as she would be to a department—and believe me, universities are desperately looking for good minority candidates—she wouldn’t have a chance of being hired under this “threshold” process. (Such scholars exist, for I know of some.) I find this process ludicrous and counterproductive, as I find the use of all mandatory diversity statements.Jerry Coyne, “ NIH gets into the game of requiring job candidates to show track records of promoting diversity” at Why Evolution is True
But if the Darwinian view of morality is correct, might makes right and the big bugs make the rules. Who’s to say that theirs not a good system?
Of course it’s not good for the African American scholar who knows her stuff; it may be just fine, however, for the underqualified personality-about-campus who spouts diversity theory. Who is to choose between the two? How?
Without acknowledgement of a higher order than nature, there is no such thing as justice.
“So careful of the type?” but no.
From scarped cliff and quarried stone
She cries, “A thousand types are gone:
I care for nothing, all shall go.
“Thou makest thine appeal to me:
I bring to life, I bring to death:
The spirit does but mean the breath:
I know no more.” …
See also: Jerry Coyne and the contradictions of Darwinian morality. Being a Darwinist means never having to address inner contradictions. No one who matters asks.