Feb 17, 2016

Race & Astronomy: A Philosophical Perspective, Part 2

via Counter-Currents

Part 1

If race realism is better grounded in reality than racial egalitarianism, how do racial egalitarians still cling to a false doctrine? The answer is by making ad hoc adjustments to their theory. An ad hoc assumption is simply invented to shore up a theory in the face of counter-evidence. There is no other reason to accept it; it does not simplify anything; it leads to no independent discoveries; it only makes the theory more complicated, cumbersome, and counterintuitive.

The classic example of an ad hoc assumption is the Ptolemaic epicycle. The main problem that Ptolemy and his successors encountered was that the actual observed motions of the planets were never exactly predicted by Ptolemy’s theory, which held that planetary orbits are perfect circles. In order to circumvent this problem, the notion of the “planetary epicycle” was invented. The planets were thought not to orbit the earth in perfect circles, but to execute perfect circles on top of the originally posited circle. And if these epicycles did not fully account for observed motions, then epicycles were added on top of epicycles.


epicycles on epicycles
Epicycles on epicycles
William of Ockham originated the Principle of Parsimony or what is also called Ockham’s razor. The general point behind this idea is not to multiply entities unnecessarily. Another way of stating this is that, other things being equal, the simplest explanation is to be preferred over more complicated explanations. Ockham himself used this idea to criticize Plato’s theory of Forms to solve the philosophical problem of universals, but early modern scientists and philosophers of science also make use of it.

Perhaps the most important use of Ockham’s razor was made by Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. The assumption that the sun is stationary improved astronomy and led to a greater understanding of many planetary motions. Once the Copernican Revolution was completed by Kepler,[1] it was seen that the epicycles were no longer needed. By supposing that the sun is stationary and that the earth and other planets orbit the sun in ellipses, epicycles were seen to be the ad hoc assumptions that they always were.

Gunnar Myrdal
Gunnar Myrdal
Gunnar Myrdal is the Ptolemy of racial science. Just as Ptolemaic astronomy was committed to the false idea of the perfectly circular orbit, Myrdal was committed to the false idea of racial equality. Myrdal was a Swedish social scientist who published the book An American Dilemma in 1944. Myrdal conceded that American blacks really did appear to have the characteristics attributed to them by many American whites. That is, they were more criminal, less intelligent, less future-oriented, and so on.

However, the reason for this has nothing to do with genetic differences between the races, because there are no important genetic differences between the races; the reason is the unfair nature of US society. If racism, Jim Crow, segregation, et al. were removed, blacks would basically act like whites, and America’s race problem would disappear.

It is often awkward for racial egalitarians to concede that blacks have a competitive advantage in many sports over whites and Asians. To do so suggests that the advantage may not be completely environmentally caused but may have its roots in differential genetics. So the usual answer is that blacks excel in basketball and football because the other doors of US and Western society are closed to them; they choose sports only because that is tolerated by white society. But, given a free and just society, they could exceed at theoretical physics, computer engineering, international law, or other typically white vocations.

However, this gets less and less plausible as Affirmative Action marches on. Therefore they may concede that differential sports abilities between the races could be partially under genetic control but then go on to suggest that differences in intelligence could not. For many racial egalitarians, everything is under genetic control except the mind. Note that is just another ad hoc assumption and a violation of Ockham’s razor.[2] If skin color, hair texture, susceptibility to certain diseases, receptability to certain treatments for other diseases are under genetic control, why should intelligence and temperament be exempt from this?

Another ad hoc assumption is structural racism or institutional racism or what may now be called “White Privilege.” Since the 1960s blacks have been given every advantage including Head Start, Affirmative Action, and so on, and yet they still fail in school, commit huge and disproportionate amounts of crime, have an illegitimacy rate greater than 70%, and are stuck in generational poverty. According to racial egalitarianism, there must be some environmental reason for this. The reason is institutional or structural racism. We can’t see it but it must be there or else why would blacks fail, since all races are the same. Is this not simply the racial equivalent of one more planetary epicycle?

The great philosopher of science Karl Popper thought falsifiability is the touchstone of a scientific theory. A scientific theory is falsified if the facts turn out contrary to those predicted by the theory. What should happen next, according to another great philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn, is a scientific revolution or paradigm shift. Has there been a crucial experiment to test the Myrdal theory? Of course there has. It has been going on for more than 60 years. Brown v. Board, the Civil Rights Act, Affirmative Action, and anti-white quotas in universities and the workplace, extended welfare, and so on are largely premised on Myrdal’s book. They were all supposed to upgrade blacks and make racial outcomes equal. And how has it worked out? Are blacks now just like whites? We all know the answer to that. Therefore, racial egalitarianism is false. There can be no reasonable doubt about that. What is now needed is a Kuhnian paradigm shift to race realism. Using Ockham’s razor and six simple words, “Race is genetic, and genes count” could get us there.

The purpose of scientific theories is to explain observed facts. In astronomy, the competing theories are heliocentrism and geocentrism. The facts are the observed positions of the heavenly bodies. In the race problem the facts are racial differences in intelligence, crime, and so forth. Note that Myrdal accepts the facts, but his theory that racism can explain them has been falsified. The latest evolution of racial egalitarianism (if it can still be called that) is the denial of race. Race does not exist; it is an illusion or construct.

Many writers have pointed out that those who hold this view nevertheless support Affirmative Action and seem to understand which race will be the beneficiaries of Affirmative Action and which race will have to pay for it.[3] This is certainly correct, but I think a much stronger criticism can be made. Denying race is no different than if a defender of Ptolemy, faced with the latest challenge from the Copernicans, stated that there are no planets, sun, and stars. The observed facts are no longer explained by the theory; the facts are eliminated. This is, quite simply, crazy. Such a defender of Ptolemy, if one could be found, would be carted off to the nearest insane asylum. The same should be done with those who deny the existence of race.

If my conclusions above are correct, then every reasonable person should be a race realist even before he becomes convinced of the truth of Copernican astronomy. Both epistemology and the philosophy of science show that race realism is more certain and better confirmed than Copernican astronomy. No reasonable person should be a racial egalitarian.

In fact, Ptolemaic astronomy is more rationally defensible than racial egalitarianism (not that I would advise anybody to revert back to Ptolemy). At least there is observational evidence for the geocentric view. There is none for racial egalitarianism, as is pointed out by Michael Levin. He notes that the best of the defenders of this view never cite evidence to show that average black intelligence is high, which they could do if it existed. They simply criticize the methods of Race Realists like Jensen and Rushton which purport to show that black intelligence is low.[5]

Imagine if a group of whites held conferences, published essays in journals and on websites, and made podcasts and YouTube videos all devoted to the theme that blacks were bad in basketball, could not jump high, were slow, could not shoot or rebound well, were given unfair advantages even though everybody knows they are bad, and that all of their apparent success in the game was an illusion manufactured by white liberals. It would be pretty easy to falsify this thesis, would it not? It should be just as easy to falsify the claim that black intelligence is low if such evidence actually existed.

If race realism is so well established, why aren’t we winning? The main reason is that propaganda works. There is no doubt that the Left controls the flow of information to the public and attempts to censor our views whenever it can. Witness the successful attempts to cancel American Renaissance conferences in recent years.

Another related reason we are not winning is that people, even white people, are not terribly rational and seem especially susceptible to brainwashing even in college. I wonder how many people there are who think that Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man gives the last word on race differences and the reality and heritability of intelligence. These are two big parts of the reason for the success of racial egalitarianism. There are undoubtedly others that I am overlooking.

But there are grounds for hope. Although Donald Trump does not appeal to whites explicitly, he does appeal to them implicitly (in the sense discussed by writers like Kevin McDonald), and he is whetting our appetites for more explicit appeals. Also, based on personal observation, I can tell you quite candidly that we are actually winning in Hungary. I have lived in Hungary for over 4 years, and almost all of the Magyars I have met are honest about the Hungarian race problem (i.e., the Gypsies). Almost to a man (certainly upwards of 90%), the Magyars I have spoken to dislike or despise Gypsies. They never say the kind of things that American whites say about blacks; they never say, for example, “Some of my best friends are Gypsies,” or “Yes, there are a few bad Gypsies, but every group has some bad apples.” The Hungarians are not cowed and not afraid to say what they think; they are completely different than American whites. And considering the Hungarian reaction to the Islamic Invasion, I am further bolstered in my hope that whites around the world will wake up soon. They are clearly awake in Hungary and other Eastern European countries; there is no reason why they cannot wake up everywhere.

1. Richard S. Westfall, The Construction of Modern Science: Mechanisms and Mechanics (New York, Jason Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1971). Chapter 1 of this book makes clear that Kepler was at least as important as Copernicus to the success of the Copernican Revolution. It was Kepler, after all, who first suggested the correct theory that the planets orbit the sun in ellipses rather than circles. Probably because of the incredibly powerful influence of Aristotle, both Copernicus and Galileo were committed to the circular orbits of the planets.
2. In preparation of this sub-section I have relied on Jared Taylor’s essay “Sowing the Seeds of Destruction: Gunnar Myrdal’s Assault on America,” American Renaissance, April, 1996.
3. See Levin, p. 117.
4. See Levin, p. 19.
5. See Levin, p. 31. “. . . evidence of the equal intelligence of the races would presumably exist were the races in fact equal, and be prominently cited by the many social scientists who passionately believe they are. Yet this does not happen. Authors like Gould and Kamin tirelessly criticize studies that show black intelligence to be lower than white, but cite no black performances that indicate high mean intelligence. This is one of those cases in which absence of evidence for a hypothesis constitutes evidence against it. Everyday observation, together with the failure of egalitarians to produce evidence that the races are equal, disconfirms racial parity.”

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