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From the Edge: Another reason not to like evolutionary psychology – support for Chinese eugenics

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A friend unearthed this: From evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller of NYU at the Edge (a response to their 2013 question):

2013 : What *Should* We Be Worried About?

China has been running the world’s largest and most successful eugenics program for more than thirty years, driving China’s ever-faster rise as the global superpower. I worry that this poses some existential threat to Western civilization. Yet the most likely result is that America and Europe linger around a few hundred more years as also-rans on the world-historical stage, nursing our anti-hereditarian political correctness to the bitter end.

For generations, Chinese intellectuals have emphasized close ties between the state (guojia), the nation (minzu), the population (renkou), the Han race (zhongzu), and, more recently, the Chinese gene-pool (jiyinku). … Many scientists and reformers of Republican China (1912-1949) were ardent Darwinians and Galtonians. They worried about racial extinction (miezhong) and “the science of deformed fetuses” (jitaixue), and saw eugenics as a way to restore China’s rightful place as the world’s leading civilization after a century of humiliation by European colonialism. The Communist revolution kept these eugenic ideals from having much policy impact for a few decades though. Mao Zedong was too obsessed with promoting military and manufacturing power, and too terrified of peasant revolt, to interfere with traditional Chinese reproductive practices. More.

O’Leary for News: Yes. I remember reading, some decades ago, about the Chinese woman (refugee status) who washed up on Canada’s west coast in a shipping container, having been forced to abort her “illegal” eight-month-gestation daughter.

As for eugenics, the last people who tried it seriously were the Nazis. And what happened? They had the shout beaten out of them by Russian peasants and North American farm kids, few of whom were the products of eugenics. The main problem with eugenics is that treating people like animals misses the fact that fellow humans can generate information as well as the eugenicists can—and it is the information that matters.

And the main problem with evolutionary psychology is that it is a discipline without a subject, the not-quite-human person.

Note: Geoffrey Miller got into some type of trouble on Twitter for (trigger warning!) “fat-shaming:”

“Dear obese PhD applicants: if you didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation. #truth.” Then came the rest of the academic Twitter Police.

But it was too late: by the time Miller apologized, people had organized an email campaign directed at NYU’s administration, accused him of endorsing eugenics, and dug up other incendiary tweets that he had deleted a month ago. Less than 48 hours earlier, The Washington Post had warned, direly, of the “Twitter Police,” the paper’s name for users who take glee in surveilling Twitter accounts for errant or offensive content, who supposedly threaten “to turn interesting, provocative people — those most likely to find their accounts hounded should they say something controversial — into guarded politicians, saying a lot while meaning nothing.” Miller, it seemed, was their latest target. More.

Usage note: “Police?” Huh? What Twitter has is not police. Police work for the public, as appointed by law, decided (in a free society) by voters.

The correct term for the Twitter mob is “vigilantes.” And the most dangerous type of vigilante is the one who thinks that the mere existence of other people’s POV is an offence, a source of distress, and a wrong done to him, to society in general, and maybe to the planet.

If we need him, we don’t need universities anyhow.

See also: “The evolutionary psychologist knows why you vote — and shop, and tip at restaurants”

and

Left-wing mag slams Darwinism Many of us are unclear on why leftists ever thought Darwin was one of their heroes. Maybe this is a good time to talk about the fact that there is not a lot of daylight between “there is a grandeur in this view of life” and Spencer’s social Darwinism.

One Reply to “From the Edge: Another reason not to like evolutionary psychology – support for Chinese eugenics

  1. 1

    A/mat philosophy is the most dangerous idea known to humanity, especially when coupled with leftist political ideology…which it often is. There is no reasoning with devotees of either idea.

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