[Marxism] Lewontin, Gross, and Objectivity

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at berkeley.edu
Tue Feb 7 17:54:08 MST 2006


I would like to read Bill Lynch's work; Bill, would you kindly
contact me offlist.

A thought on your post:

If a small cult called today for the burning of witches, would
we have a national debate about whether the theory of
electro magnetism  allows for the casting of spells over long distances
or whether new developments in psychoanalysis show that the talking cure
can now supplant the pyre? I think not. We would study the cult 
sociologically--
what about these cult members allows them to be so deluded?  And
if this cult were to grow in power, we would ask
what about our times allows for the resurrection of such an absurd
and sadistic belief system. To probe electromagnetic theory and to
militate for psychoanalysis would be seen as involvement in the distortion
and the madness. Implicit agreement to the possibility that there could in fact
be or in fact are witches.

Yet our society debates the question of inherent black intellectual 
inferiority in the same
way. We turn to the new data from the sequencing of the gene; we repeat
again and again the confusion between in group and between group 
heritability; warn
against the conflation of heritability and fixity (so even if 
relatively inherently inferior,
a minority group could still progress over time in terms of its 
average IQ--what comfort!);
we demonstrate the reification of intelligence through the arbitrary 
rotation of vectors;  we show the biological incoherence of racial 
classifications; we show that socio economic disadvantage of 
minorities
is so great that when income, wealth and cultural capital (to say 
nothing of racism) are considered
  blacks seem to outperform  others, suggesting (deliciously) black 
cultural (if not genetic)
superiority.


Yet that all  this has to be done shows just how racist society still 
is. While the question
of witches would doubtless be handled sociologically--since no one 
would have to prove
again and again that witches cannot actually exist any more than deep 
racial difference can,
the debate would be about the psychological and social roots of witch hunts--
we deal with the question of race immanently, in terms of undermining 
its own logic to itself.
The very debate is a vile form of the persecution of minorities.

We  operate on the terrain of the racists and involve ourselves
in distortion.

But theories of racial inequality are not for the physical sciences;
they are for sociology, the sociology of collective madness...

Simply put, it is not "objective" to keep this debate alive; it's delusional.
But the imperialism of scientism wants nothing out of its reach. Reason
turns to unreason. Gross is proof enough.




Rakesh





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