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Jerry Coyne: Darwinians do SO bash eugenics!

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Usefully citing specifics:

And, as I said, since I used to spend a lot of time at UCL’s Galton Lab, the facts about Galton’s eugenic views and activities were not only recognized widely by the biology faculty, but publicly denigrated, and in many classes. It didn’t take me long to find an example of such public denigration.

This is the first column of a review of Nicholas Wade’s book A Troublesome Inheritance—a review by my UCL colleague, collaborator, author and public intellectual Dr. Steve Jones—that appeared in The Lancet in 2014. Steve is now “retired”, though (unlike University of Chicago retired profs) he’s still allowed to teach classes, and is doing so still. I can send you the whole review if you’d like to see it. Like me, Steve thought that Wade’s book was pretty bad.

Jerry Coyne, “An example of Galton-bashing by a UCL genetics professor” at Why Evolution Is True

Ah yes, Nicholas Wade, about-to-retire science writer who wrote a book whose apparent sympathy with eugenics (and racism) raised eyebrows:


What about the curious incident of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History (2014). See: City Journal addresses the “Nicholas Wade reinvents Darwinian racism” story:

As if this isn’t enough, Wade’s penultimate chapter, “The Rise of the West,” argues that natural selection similarly helped produce European societies that were open and innovative, which enabled them to “achieve a surprising degree of dominance in many spheres.” Given the influence that multiculturalists have on today’s American campuses, it’s unlikely that Wade will be delivering any commencement address anytime soon.

Wade was way too smart for that. He retired. And in most venues, this thesis was just not discussed much, or nothing like what one would have expected of a racially charged topic.

Meanwhile, a group that sounds a great deal like the alt right, the “human biodiversity movement,” kept sending me mail for years promoting Wade’s book.


We accept that Coyne and his friends didn’t find Nicholas Wade’s views congenial.

But wasn’t he one of the pop science gang? Could some Darwinians possibly shed some light on his retirement book party and then sudden submergence?

See also: Nature tut tuts on eugenics, forgets Francis Galton, Darwin’s cousin. In our current cultural climate, it is very difficult to have a useful discussion of the contribution Darwinism made to modern racism, as evidenced by racist yammer today featuring “natural selection.” To recap, Darwinism made racism “scientific.” That was much easier to sell to the educated classes in the nineteenth century than the idea that some people’s papa was a god and the rest of us were just bricks. And many committed and devoted Darwinists believed in and co-operated with the new, “scientific” racism. Until all that can be fully and freely acknowledged, the matter can never be laid to rest.

At The Stream: Why IS racism wrong if Darwinism is true? John Zmirak asks Woke students.

Historian Richard Weikart weighs in on Darwinian anti-Semitism in Poland. According to Weikart, unfortunately, it is not fake news. White nationalists use Darwinism and evolutionary psychology to promote their perspective.

and

Darwin reader: Darwin’s racism

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